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Art holidays

Nowhere in the UK outside of London is more famous for art - be it fine or contemporary. Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo are all characters associated with this beautiful part of the world.

"[Cohort] is clean and airy with a contemporary design and the manager, Caroline, couldn't be more helpful. It was such a joy to be back with our Art students". (Kate, Bishops Wordsworth School, Wiltshire)

In the 1960’s and 70’s St Ives was the international centre of the art world. A sleepy little fishing town had the world’s eyes on it due to associations with Barbara Hepworth, Margaret Mellis, Alfred Wallis and many others.

Turner, Whistler and Sickert were drawn here in the 19th century by the dramatic landscape and brilliant light, and age hasn’t reduced St Ives’ allure. Ramshackle fishermen’s cottages jostle for space with galleries and artists’ studios, crowned by our very own Tate Gallery.

Why St Ives?

You can see the whole town in 2 – 3 days and everywhere you might want to go is within walking distance of the hostel so there’s no wasting time on public transport. Due to the concentration of private and public art galleries you can do a lot in each day: Spend the morning in the galleries for inspiration and the afternoon painting. Even get the group to try their hand at photography so they can capture the view to paint once they’ve left.

It’s a well-worn fact that all you have to do is look up as you walk around St Ives and you’ll see a view worth painting at every corner; chances are you’ll also see someone painting it as artists are a familiar sight in St Ives. We can suggest great vantage points for you to take your group – get a birds eye view of the town from Trenwith Leisure Centre or paint the famous Smeaton’s Pier from St Ives Harbour.

If you’re a teacher download our free Quick Guide for Arts & Sports Teachers

Tate, Barbara Hepworth Museum (BHM) & Leach Pottery

Pre-booked groups of 10 or more get a reduced group admission price to the Tate and BHM. Visits must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance and pre-paid. As a group this is really worth doing as the price for an adult is reduced from £6 to £3.50 (Tate only) or from £9 to £5 (Tate & BHM).

To book, call +44 (0)1736 791177 or email You can also use this number to enquire about group visits to Leach Pottery.

The Tate also run a selection of sessions and workshops for school groups which can be booked in advance of your visit and have a great resources section online to assist with your planning. See their School Visits page.

Leach Pottery also have a variety of workshops on offer. We have a small selection of documents you can view here: Leach Pottery – Pottery Workshop Leach Pottery – Guided Tours Leach Pottery – Raku Firing Workshop

Painting courses and Arts & Crafts

St Ives School of Painting have been running art classes and painting courses in Cornwall since 1938; they take place in the famous Porthmeor studios overlooking the ocean. Tutors are practicing artists with many years teaching experience; tailoring their approach to enable anyone at any level to develop their skills.

The school provide unique and flexible workshops for school and college groups, from life drawing to landscapes; these tailor-made workshops let you decide on your subject, select any mediums or materials you wish to work with and ensure that certain techniques or relevant areas of interest beneficial to your group are covered.

To talk to them in more detail email them at or call on 01736 797180.

If you’re interested in something a bit more ‘crafty’, give the guys at Barnoon Workshop a call; they are a dedicated space for Arts & Crafts activities with workshops led by a collective of arts and craft professionals who aim to inspire creativity for all ages. There have weekly drop-in classes, short courses for adults and bespoke group workshops.

Email them at or visit their website.

Planning a group art trip?

If you would like some planning assistance for your trip download our Art group options document for some inspiration. We can assist you in booking or organising any of the activities listed.

Why stay at Cohort?

  • We are a 10 minute walk to the Tate and St Ives School of Painting, a 5 minute walk to the BHM and a 20 minute walk to the Bernard Leach Pottery Studio.
  • We can pre-book the Tate & BHM for you meaning you just have to pay one invoice.
  • We are a short walk from both the bus and train stations and 5 minutes from 3 public car parks – one of which has coach parking.
  • We can liaise with local organisations on your behalf.
  • We are within a 10 minute walk to all the private galleries in St Ives including the world-renowned St Ives Society of Artists.
  • We have large internal and external communal spaces to gather and discuss the day’s activities. They are even big enough to paint in should you wish.
  • Superfast WiFi and lots of charging points ensures that big groups will be able to plug in laptops / charge phones all at the same time and without any problems.
  • Our pod beds provide privacy within the dorm accommodation so as to suit students and people who are not used to sharing / don’t know each other very well.
  • We have private rooms for teachers / supervisors.
  • Our large kitchen is perfect for group cooking should you wish to self-cater; we have catering sized pots and pans for your group: Alternatively we can make recommendations and reservations at local eateries for you.
  • The hostel is secure and meets all fire and health & safety regulations.

Book now

Pod dorm beds £25/person/night
Twin/double rooms £50-56/night
Triple rooms £74/night

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