If you are visiting England for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking that you have to start by exploring London. However, we challenge you to think outside the box and consider heading outside of the capital and visiting an area such as Cornwall in southwest England. During Heather’s first visit to the UK, we headed to Cornwall for a week to explore this gorgeous region and we stumbled across the picturesque town of St. Ives along with various other hidden gems along the southwest coastline.
Where is St Ives?
For those of you unfamiliar with the Cornish region, St. Ives is a seaside town and working harbor. Situated in near proximity to the Celtic Sea, St Ives was for many years predominantly a fishing town, just like many of the other villages throughout Cornwall. However, in recent years the influx of commercialism has led St.Ives to drift away from relying purely on the fishing income and now offers a nice blend for tourists to enjoy.
Visitors to Cornwall will likely want to experience many of the other iconic towns but for now, we want to focus on why St Ives should be on your radar.
Where to Stay in St. Ives
The beauty of visiting St Ives is that you won’t be short of places to stay. Whether you are looking to stay in a local bed and breakfast or perhaps something a little more luxurious, you can be sure the Cornish locals will make you feel welcome in the myriad of accommodation options.
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Perhaps you prefer the thought of camping in Cornwall and either way, we can attest that you will have an amazing experience in this part of the country.
Things to Do in St. Ives
We parked on the north side of St. Ives above the quaint fishing village and immediately saw some spectacular views over the bay and down to the commercialized area below us. Walking down to the town center gave us a mixture of both historical heritage and the apparent influence of modern society as the fishing industry continue to flourish but tourists are visible throughout the town enjoying the small gift shops and afternoon tea options.
St Ives is renowned for its beaches that are popular among surfers and also the local art scene. Head over to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden where sculptures by one of the country’s leading 20th-century artists are exhibited in tranquil gardens. This is the ultimate relaxation spot in the heart of summer where you can enjoy gorgeous surroundings while admiring these intricate works.
But regardless of your desire to experience either of these, this Cornish town is a place where you can just wander around and explore before sampling one of the best reasons to visit Cornwall – the Cornish Cream Tea!
Cornish Cream Tea
I have to admit, I love a good old Cornish Cream Tea! It’s a delicacy in Cornwall that in my opinion is irresistible. For anyone unaware of the components of this, it involves a fresh scone, jam, a cup of tea and the most important ingredient, the Cornish clotted cream. Clotted cream can be purchased pretty much anywhere in England and I have even found this in stores throughout the United States, but nothing compares to the homegrown delight of Cornwall’s finest.
After enjoying such a magnificent snack, we ventured along the “front” which gave us the chance to see the local fishermen in action as they were either preparing to head out to sea or they were cleaning up their tackle and bait after a long day. It really gives you an appreciation of how some people are truly making their money the hard way!
Local Shopping Scene
Many of the shops are tourist friendly, in fact, the majority are now catering purely to the tourist population as many of the locals have chosen to move further afield with their daily shopping due to the influx of global supermarkets such as ASDA, Tesco etc.
We both enjoyed walking around these antiquated shops, many of them offering what we would classify as “junk” but at the same time offering tourists the opportunity to take something memorable back from their trip to St.Ives. Culture is also very apparent throughout this historic town. The parishes, museums, and infrastructures are particularly eye-catching and popular among tourists visiting the region.
St.Ives offers a pleasant coastline walk whilst also providing tourists with plenty of quaint gift shops. An afternoon Cornish Cream Tea is a is must whilst visiting Cornwall and this is a perfect location to sample such delights. Enjoy a stroll along the harbor front and admire the gorgeous scenery.
Have you visited the Cornish town of St. Ives?