Never visited St Ives during the winter? Let us explain why you should.
A resort for all seasons
Owing to its charming location on the sunny western coast of Cornwall, St. Ives is famed as one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts. Indeed, it’s no surprise that every summer thousands of holidaymakers flock to the town to take advantage of its stunning beaches and unique local shops and restaurants. In an ever-changing world, the English summer holiday is one tradition that is still going strong, but have you ever considered what you might be missing out on during the rest of the year? St. Ives is a vibrant and lively town with a raft of unique holiday cottages that are available regardless of when you choose to travel, so you can always be assured that you’ll have the opportunity to do as much – or as little as you like.
A bracing trip to the beach
Visiting the beach outside of summer isn’t as crazy as it sounds. In fact, enjoying a walk along St. Ives’ rugged coastline can be a truly exhilarating experience and is an opportunity not to be missed. The South West Coast Path is an option, running along more than 600 miles of remarkable Cornish coastline, covering sprawling golden beaches, hidden rocky coves and rolling country views. The path runs directly through St. Ives and can be enjoyed by heading in either an easterly or western direction from the town. Each of these paths boasts its own unique character with the eastern route offering a relaxed stroll for unseasoned walkers, while the western trail presents a more rugged challenge. This route combines rocky coastal cliffs with miles of inland moors that offer breath-taking views and a rewarding challenge for experienced walkers.
The beaches of St. Ives are also popular destinations for visitors throughout the year owing to their varied coastlines, access to water sports and local amenities. Porthmeor Beach for example, combines sweeping stretches of sand with rocky headlands and fascinating rockpools. The beach is home to a highly recommended local café and a wonderful takeaway bakery, so you can enjoy stunning views while you enjoy an early morning breakfast or post-walk lunch. Porthmeor is also well-regarded for its local surf and is an ideal spot for both beginners and advanced surfers.
By contrast, Bamaluz Beach is something of a hidden gem that can be accessed via the backstreets of St. Ives, meaning that there is never far to travel between the town and the shoreline. Bamaluz also has the advantage of being dog-friendly throughout the year and like Porthmeor, the beach offers both golden sands and rocky outcrops, so there is plenty for you and your four-legged friends to explore.
Lots to see and do
While St. Ives is arguably best known as a thriving seaside resort, the town is also highly-regarded for its vibrant arts scene. The Tate St. Ives for example, overlooks Porthmeor beach, offering exhibitions that combine local modern art with inspiring displays from around the world. The Tate St. Ives was the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year award in 2018 and also manages the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is located just five minutes’ walk from the Tate itself.
The town is also home to several local events that take place throughout the year. The St. Ives September Festival is one such example that takes place between 14th-28th September and offers everything from talks, poetry and theatre to stand-up comedy and films across a host of the town’s local venues. These include Guildhall, which is a multi-purpose concert hall that rests at the heart of St. Ives and is widely regarded as the premiere venue for both music and theatre during the festival. It has performances taking place throughout the event and pre-concert vegetarian suppers available at Café Art, which is located a short stroll away on Chapel Street.
Enjoy the local flavour or even the taste of Mexico!
The pretty lanes of St. Ives are home to a tempting selection fine restaurants and relaxing bars that are sure to offer cuisine that caters to all tastes and even the most discerning of young diners. The Mermaid Seafood Restaurant for example, is set within the heart of the old St. Ives fishing quarter and offers a sumptuous selection of freshly-caught seafoods, alongside tasty locally farmed meat and poultry. Blas Burgerworks is set within a narrow backstreet, named The Warren and offers traditional favourites such as classic cheese burgers, served with hand-cut chips. Blas also offers an extensive range of vegetarian and gluten free options, including vegan alternatives.
If you would prefer something a little different, The Mex is situated on Gabriel Street within the centre of St. Ives and offers an authentic, exotic Mexican menu that is suitable for the whole family and boasts an additional tequila menu for grown-ups, with a dozen distinctive tequilas to choose from.
Christmas and New Year at St. Ives
During Christmas and the New Year, St. Ives comes alive with an impressive array of festive events, ranging from Christmas markets, special events and even personal visits from Santa! St. Ives Guildhall will host its St. Ives Christmas Market between 29th November to 1st December 2019, with over 40 stalls of arts, crafts and other products, as well as choirs and singers. This year’s event will also feature a special Friday evening opening with mulled wine and mince pies, making it a must-attend event to get into the Christmas spirit. Last year, Santa himself arrived at the town with the help on the RNLI and similar events will take place during Christmas 2019, so be sure to check in on the St. Ives in December website to keep up to date.
On Boxing Day St. Ives often plays host to its own Boxing Day Swim for those who are brave enough, but for those would rather not take the plunge, there is no reason not to join the crowd as a spectator and enjoy some tasty seaside food and drink. The town is also no slouch when it comes to seeing out the year, with New Year celebrations taking place across St. Ives. Every year thousands of locals, visitors, families and friends come together to enjoy the annual festivities, however what makes the St. Ives New Year celebration special is that the event encourages fancy dress, so you can take the opportunity to don your most outlandish outfit and venture out to see the other elaborate costumes on display!
Come and see for yourself
By now you should see why visiting St. Ives at any time of the year will reward you with a warm welcome and plenty to see and explore. When planning your stay, be sure to talk to the friendly team at St. Ives Holidays who will be more than happy to share all of best kept local secrets to ensure that you get the very most of your holiday.
Why not PIN this post about a Holiday in St Ives during the winter?
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.