St Ives Holiday Guide

...the UK's top holiday destination?

Arguably Cornwall's most famous holiday town, St Ives finds itself routinely showered in awards and acclaim. So what’s all the fuss about?

Perched on a rocky headland on Cornwall’s northern coast, St Ives was once of the UK’s most prominent pilchard fishing ports, but with activity on that front in steady decline, St Ives is now better known both as Cornwall’s capital of culture and, moreover, as one of the finest seaside towns around - arguably the standard-bearer for holidays in Cornwall.

Awards Galore

In 2010 that reputation was reinforced courtesy of a trio of prestigious awards. St Ives was named Best UK Family Holiday Destination by readers of Coast magazine, and was lauded for its blend of adult and child-friendly attractions.
Porthminster Beach Cafe was awarded Best Coastal Cafe, Pub or Restaurant, while the Tate St Ives (more on that later) was voted runner-up in the Best-Loved Coastal Building category. St Ives was also named Best Seaside Town by The Guardian in 2007 – voted by a panel of experts including travel guru Bill Bryson and Rick Stein, unofficial patron of Padstow.
It’s little wonder, then, that St Ives holidays remain so popular. Blending a stylish and bohemian chic with a vintage British seaside vibe, St Ives is centred around its beautiful and vibrant harbour, flanked on either side by pretty sandy beaches.
There are four beaches in all – Porthmeor, Porthgwidden, Harbour and Porthminster - each of them with their own unique charm and appeal, catering for the bucket & spade brigade, surfers and watersports fanatics alike.

Cornish Capital of Culture
The town has held a magnetic attraction for artists for over 200 years, all drawn here by the port’s picturesque beauty and outstanding natural light. That artistic legacy has remained, pervading the town to such an extent that it is one of only four British towns to have its own Tate art gallery – Tate St Ives.
Giving way to the harbour is a maze of cobbled alleys and quaint, winding streets lined by wonderfully ramshackle fishermen’s cottages, art galleries – over 40 of them - studios, quirky boutiques and independent shops, craft markets, pubs, restaurants and tea rooms. The old town really is a charming jumble of discovery.
Excellent walking opportunities can be found away from the town centre and waterfront. The famous South West Coast Path meanders though St Ives and various routes can be joined here. The dramatic clifftops give you an ideal vantage point from which to spot seals, basking sharks and other sea-life.

For such a small town there’s a remarkably healthy choice of St Ives hotels and other accommodation. The Boskeriss Hotel secured another feather in St Ives’ cap in 2010 when it ranked 3rd in the top 25 hotels in the UK, voted for by members of the influential website Trip Advisor in its annual awards. The Boskeriss is a classy boutique hotel of just 15 rooms, each boasting breathtaking panoramic sea views. Trip Advisor’s impressive accreditation speaks for itself.

Panalba is a four star bed & breakfast just a few hundred yards from the centre of St Ives, while Primrose Cottage is a beautiful detached holiday home rated five star. Sleeping four in two bedrooms, Primrose Cottage offers amazing views of both sea and countryside.
St Ives clearly isn’t just any old seaside resort. Aided by the mildest climate in Britain, the clear, rarefied air and the uniquely cultured ambience, St Ives justifies its reputation as the finest holiday spot in the UK. Don’t just take the word of those doling out all those awards - try St Ives for yourself. There’s not a chance you’ll regret it.

Sean Cummins

February 2011


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015