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Parking in St Ives

August 17th, 2015

Parking is a contentious subject in St Ives. ‘Just don’t drive in’ is the general consensus but we all know that’s not always an option – heavy bags, surf boards, sometimes you just need a car to get you to the door.

80% of the questions we get asked are about parking so here’s our quick ‘go to’ guide for parking in St Ives.

  1. Come in the off season, i.e. any month that isn’t July or August, any weekend that isn’t a bank holiday or falls within school holidays. Job done, you’ll have no problems parking at all. OK, OK, so maybe you want to / have to come at those times of year…
  2. Expect to pay. If you expect to pay you won’t be peed off when you’re asked to pay – which you will be. To those of you coming from London – it’s cheapy cheap cheap (let’s face it, you’re used to paying £3/hour), for those of you not coming from London it’s not going to break the bank but do factor it into your daily budget.
  3. Have low expectations. St Ives was not built for cars, it was built for fishermen and the odd horse; it’s part of its charm. Remember that when you’re driving around narrow streets cursing because you can’t find a parking space. You will appreciate the fact that there are not multi-storey car parks on every corner within seconds of seeing the town. You will find a space eventually just be patient and enjoy the views.
  4. Plan your parking options. Have an idea of where you’re going to park in advance of driving in. There are clearly marked car parks all of which are well maintained and managed. Don’t ‘see if you can find a space outside the hostel’ – you won’t and that’s just fine because all the local car parks are pretty close so you won’t be walking far. See our map for details.
  5. Out of town options are a good option.There’s the Rugby Club car park which has a regular bus service into and out of town (it’s also only a 10 minute walk), it’s just north of the town and you should find a space with very little trouble. There’s also the park and ride in Lelant – park up at Lelant Saltings station and grab the train into St Ives. This has the added bonus of ensuring you take this train which is one of the most picturesque journeys in the UK; it’s a stunning 10 minute journey along the coast and trains run about every 20 minutes. You can find the timetable here.
  6. The car parks don’t give change, take notes or accept cards. Have change with you (see points 2 and 4). At the council car parks (see our map for details)you can pay over the phone but that only works if a) you have signal and b) you’re on a UK mobile and therefore not going to be charged a fortune for the call. If you have a smart phone you can download the Phone and Pay App in advance and pay with that; the advantage to this being that you can update your parking while lying in bed – always a winner! There’s free wifi at Cohort if you don’t have 3G at the car park but we can’t guarantee you won’t get a ticket between leaving your car and arriving at the hostel so best to come prepared with change, even if it’s only for an hour to give yourself time to get sorted and get online.
  7. We have parking wardens. It’s not just signs to scare you. We have them. They will give you a ticket if you are parked incorrectly. Don’t moan, just don’t give them the opportunity to catch you out.
  8. Avoid parking in the middle of the day. We have a lot of day visitors to St Ives which means the car parks are at their fullest between about 11am and 5pm. If you aim to arrive either before or after that window you will find it a lot easier to get a space; if you drift in at midday be prepared to wait quite a while.
  9. Hang around. If you arrive at one of the less popular times of day and the car park is full hang around for 10 minutes or so: There’s often a fairly quick turnaround after 3pm so it’s worth waiting.
  10. Switch off your SatNav. Get directions off our website for how to find us and the car parks and ignore your SatNav. SatNavs do not agree with or like the St Ives one way system and they will send you on a merry dance around the town. This is no laughing matter at the busier times of year so have faith in our directions and turn it OFF.

The best places to park when you’re staying at Cohort are either of the two council car parks – Park Avenue and Trenwith Leisure Centre – or the private car park just a few yards past Cohort on your right hand side. See our Parking page for more information. See you soon!

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