Some say it’s the painterly light that makes St Ives so special. For others it’s the great swathes of golden sand.
One of its key attractions is Tate St Ives, a self-consciously architectural gem right on the beach. Here you can see 20th century art in the context of Cornwall and the work of locally inspired painters including Ben Nicholson. When you’ve seen enough art, you can head to the lovely rooftop café for a relaxing lunch with fantastic views over Porthmeor Beach.
Save a few pounds when you buy joint admission tickets for Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, just a short walk away and well worth seeing for its extraordinary sculpture garden and insight into the artist at work. St Ives Harbour looks like something out of a picture postcard with its bobbing boats and Cornish Pasty stalls which come highly recommended for a cheap lunch, accompanied by some local scumpie (cider).
If you like beach life, book a beach hut well in advance on Porthminster Beach where you can hide away from the world together, or take the scenic cliff walk to Carbis Bay on the South West Coastal Path.
It doesn’t cost much to take a short boat trip to watch seals basking on the rocks. And you can enjoy the view across to Godrevy Lighthouse, immortalised by the novelist Virginia Woolf.Go in the middle two weeks of September and the St Ives Festival celebrates the town’s musical and artistic heritage with live classical, jazz and folk, poetry readings and exhibitions.