St Ives is a strikingly picturesque town with three glorious beaches. Its rocky headlands and bustling harbour have made it a cornerstone of the Cornish tourist revival. With its exclusive boutiques and restaurants, St Ives is the archetypal fashionable seaside resort, visited by royalty, government officials and celebrities. But despite its sophistication, St Ives still manages to retain its old-world charm with innumerable antique and craft shops found amongst the enchanting maze of streets and winding alleyways.
Plus, the town has a thriving artistic community demonstrated by its numerous exhibitions and its own Tate Gallery overlooking the Porthmeor beach. In short, St Ives is the perfect mixture of intriguing and refined culture set amidst a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty. The region surrounding St Ives is diverse.
Inland, visitors will find a 'living museum', with ancient sites and monuments dating from pre-historic times and set within a wild, unspoilt landscape. Further down the coast, there are numerous tiny fishing towns and villages following age old fishing routine, tradition and trade.
At the tip of Cornwall, Land's End boasts an unparalleled mix of outstanding scenery, intriguing legend and mystique, whilst just 28 miles off the mainland lies the stunning archaepelago of the Scilly Isles; every single one of this group of Islands is a Designated Area of Outstanding Beauty and its entire coastline is Heritage Coast.
St Ives is a myriad of steep, winding cobbled streets lined with fishermans' cottages and an array of quaint cottages. It is also a magnet for artists, who flock here to catch the town's unique light and there are several galleries dotted around town.
Beach and Gardens
The town's beaches are extensive, safe and clean, with Porthmeor beach providing the surf and excitement whilst the quieter beaches at Porthminster and Carbis Bay provide more sheltered and relaxed bathing. The Trewyn Gardens, found just outside the heart of the town, offer welcome respite from the bustling pedestrianised streets and regularly win Britain in Bloom awards for their incredible floral displays.
Activities and Attractions
Tourist Information Tel:01736 796267
Tate Gallery Tel:01736 796226
The gallery is of international standard and presents rotating displays selected from its collection of around 300 works of art, many produced by the St Ives School of Artists.
Flambards Village - Helston Tel:01326 573404
An exciting family attraction with rides, play areas, aviation display and lamplit Victorian village.
Heartlands - nr Redruth Tel:01209 722322
This new attraction, standing on the site of a former mining complex, offers visitors the chance to experience a diverse range of facilities including a range of exhibitions, Botanical Gardens, farmers' markets, cultural festivals and year-round events.
Paradise Park Tel:01736 753365
Home to fabulous collections of rare and endangered parrots, owls, birds of prey and many other animals.
Barbara Hepworth Museum Tel:01736 796226
Visiting the Museum and Garden is a unique experience, which offers a remarkable insight into the work of one of Britain's most important twentieth-century artists.
St Ives Mayday Festival A weekend of concerts, guided walks and exhibitions culminating in a grand May Day parade with maypole dancing and the crowning of the May Queen and King.
St Ives September Festival
A two week celebration of the musical and artistic heritage of St Ives with art, poetry, jazz and folk music.
Newlyn Fish Festival Held in August, a unique festival which includes auctions, cookery exhibitions and numerous stalls and craft sales.
Golowan Festival takes place in June in Penzance and offers a week of world music and diverse entertainment.
Farmers Markets are held in Penzance every Friday and sell a range of fresh and locally produced goods.
Helston's Flora Day Ancient Spring Festival
The Flora Day is characterised by its Furry Dance, with the gentlemen wearing top hat and tails for the Principal Dance and the ladies their finest dresses. The children are dressed all in white.
For a summary of events in the region see:
Places of Interest
The Lizard is the most southerly point on the British mainland and is both beautiful and unique. Small whitewashed villages hug the rugged coastline and colourful fishing boats, resting on the beaches are reminders that this region still depends largely on the sea for its livelihood. The area is rich in wildlife, including many rare species of animals and plants and the temperate local climate ensures a year-round abundance of sub-tropical vegetation and floral colour.
Newquay is Cornwall's premier tourist centre. Its eleven magnificent beaches, amongst the best in Europe, offer a range of activities from surfing to sunbathing. The town boasts all the amenities of a major resort, including swimming pools, golf, bowling and tennis, as well as excellent shops and atmospheric pubs.
Penzance and Land's End provide all the ingredients for a fascinating day out. Stroll around the pretty harbour in Penzance then visit Land's End, the 'first and last point of England', which is one of the country's top tourist attractions.
Eden Project Tel:01726 811911
Without doubt one of the most spectacular modern attractions in Britain, its striking architecture and its amazing collection of plants from around the world will enthral enthusiasts and non-gardeners alike.
Minack Theatre Tel:01736 810181
A unique open-air theatre; its high quality performances are presented on an open stage against a stunning backdrop of rugged cliffs and turquoise skies.
Heligan Gardens Tel:01726 845100
With Italian, walled and water gardens, as well as a famous 'Jungle' it is little wonder the gardens attract a record-breaking quarter of a million visitors every year.
St Michael's Mount Tel:01736 710507
Perched on a volcanic rock, this romantic castle/house dates from the 12th Century and features sub-tropical hanging gardens, some so steep that gardeners have to abseil down to tend to them!.
Marazion is one of the oldest towns in Britain, with origins dating back to the Roman occupation. Set on the shores of Mount's Bay and separated from St Michael's Mount by a causeway, its clean sandy beaches and breathtaking views towards the Lizard and Land's End have established Marazion's place on the tourist map.
Isles of Scilly are easily accessible by ferry which leaves Penzance daily (crossing is just over 2½ hours). Key features of the islands, of which only five are inhabited, are crystal clear seas, dazzling white beaches, unspoilt marine scenery and an abundance of historical and archaeological remains.