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St Ives Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    The town took its name from a Persian bishop called St Ivo, who was believed to have travelled to the area to convert people to Christianity. Legend claims his bones were discovered in the area in 1001. In the 1600s, Oliver Cromwell lived in the town as a young man, and his presence is still marked with a statue in Market Hill.

  • 2. Now

    St Ives is a traditional market town and also a very popular holiday destination. It was voted seaside town of the year in 2007 by Guardian readers. It boasts beautiful beaches and a climate influenced by the Gulf Stream. The town has also always been a magnet for artists and this is reflected in the numerous galleries and exhibitions. St Ives also offers pavement cafes, anci...Read moreent pubs, great fresh fish restaurants and a working harbour. Read less

  • 3. Events

    The St Ives Literature Festival runs for nine days in May and includes book launches, poetry readings, workshops, live music, comedy acts and creative writing workshops. The St Ives September Festival lasts for 15 days and includes a programme of exhibitions, concerts, poetry, walks, talks, workshops, comedy, theatre, plays, stories and film and more. The St Ives May Day is a...Read more traditional celebration to mark the end of winter and the start of spring. The event includes a parade, maypole dancing, music and food. St Ives Food and Drink Festival is a week of all the best flavours and tastes that Cornwall has to offer. The festival takes place in May and includes cooking demonstrations, tastings, stalls, guided walks and quizzes. Read less

  • 4. Attractions

    The Tate St Ives includes exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Tregenna Castle Gardens consists of a 72-acre estate offering great views over the town. Highlights include a sub-tropical walled garden and woodland water garden. Paradise Park and Jungle Barn, in nearby Hayle, includes animals, tropical birds...Read more, Victorian gardens and an indoor play area for children. The St Ives Museum tells the history of the town through displays and collections. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    There are plenty of stunning beaches to enjoy in the area, including Portheras Cove, Carbis Bay, Mexico Towans, Porthmeor, St Ives Harbour, Porthminster and Porthgwidden. The town has strong connections with the art world and there are plenty of galleries to explore, including the St Ives Gallery, Art House Gallery, Art Space Gallery, the Belgrave Art Gallery and the New Mille...Read morennium Art Gallery. Guided tours of the town take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and visitors can just turn up at the Guildhall at 11am to take part. Read less

  • 6. Business

    The town has many great restaurants and cafes to choose from, many offering fresh fish caught that morning. Some restaurants also offer great views of the bay. The main shopping streets in the town centre are Tregenna Hill, Tregenna Place, St Andrews Street, Fore Street and Wharf Road. These contain many specialist shops selling gifts, arts and crafts and specialist food items...Read more. Read less

  • 7. Transport

    The main road to St Ives is the A30, which links to Exeter and the M5 to the north east. The B3306 is the coastal road running south west of the town. Train services into the region are good. Services directly into the town involve changing at nearby St Erth for a local train. Coach services from across the country run to Bristol, Exeter and Plymouth. The nearest airport is N...Read moreewquay, which has flights to and from London. Read less

  • 8. Entertainment

    The Kidz R Us Theatre is a venue dedicated to children and offers a programme of shows for and by local children. The St Ives Jazz Club takes place every Tuesday night at the Western Hotel and features international and UK musicians as well as local talent. The town’s Royal Cinema offers all the latest blockbuster films and many of the pubs in the town offer live regular li...Read moreve music. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    Knill Monument is a mausoleum in the form of a 50ft-high pyramid on Worvas Hill. The structure was built in the 18th century by John Knill, a customs collector and mayor of the town. He had intended to be buried there but ended up being buried in London. Parts of the Church of St Ia, or St Ives Parish Church, date back to the 15th century.

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    A legend about the town claims St Ia, a virgin saint, travelled to the area from Ireland on a giant leaf sent by God. She was praying at the seashore when the leaf floated past, and as she touched it, it grew bigger and bigger. The story also claims she founded an oratory in a clearing of wood – now the site of the St Ives Parish Church.

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