June 12th, 2017
The sun is OUT. The longest day of the year is still in front of us and we all know that Summer is coming.
This is one of THE best times to be in St Ives and there’s a reason these next few months are the busiest of the year. When faced with a day in St Ives however there’s still the big question… WHAT SHALL I DO?
There may be a few of you who like to be up with the birds, do something before breakfast maybe? Our super simple suggestion would just be to walk through St Ives. There aren’t many times in the summer when St Ives is quiet but early morning is one of them. You may see the odd surfer running to catch a wave or a few people walking their dogs but outside of them it’s just the town getting ready for the day: Deliveries being made, cafes prepping, bars cleaning from the night before… not to mention undisturbed views of the beaches and piers.
For the rest of you we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re out of bed (yes, we know how comfortable our beds are!) and ready to go by 10am.
For breakfast you have an amazing choice and you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere you didn’t like however Build Your Own Breakfast at the Porthmeor Cafe is pretty special… make it how you like it – add things, take things away… get your eggs cooked ‘just so’, everything comes with views over Porthmeor Beach on the side.
Alternatively go like a local and hit up the Cornish Deli – one of our fave breakfast spots in St Ives. Quietly hidden away on Chapel Street (conveniently just a minute’s walk from Cohort) it serves traditional Cornish breakfasts among some more international offerings. Indulge in Cornish back bacon and local sausages or opt for scrambled eggs with chorizo. Vegans and vegetarians also catered for… along with gluten free-ers, etc.
It may seem underwhelming but when you see the views you won’t be sorry you spent a couple of hours of your day on the SW coast path around St Ives.
If you’re feeling adventurous head West toward Lands End. There’s a fantastic walk all the way to Zennor but that will take you a good few hours; if you want something that still gives you most of the day then head out to Clodgy Point just a mile or so out of St Ives and wander back in at your leisure.
Alternatively head in the other direction and spend a lovely 90 minutes or so walking along the coast path to Lelant. This path takes you along the beach and there are plenty of opportunities to drop down to Porthkidney Sands (one of the most deserted and spectacularly beautiful beaches in the area) and substitute the coast path for a more ‘sand in your toes’ experience.
Walk to Lelant Saltings train station and get the branch line train back to St Ives.
(If you need more detailed directions for any of the above just ask at reception).
Depending on when you get back and how much you ate for breakfast you might be looking for a snack about now. Well, get your little bottom over to St Ives Bakery on Fore Street. We don’t like to play ‘pasty favourites’ in St Ives but boy do these guys know how to make a pasty… not to mention a sweet treat, a loaf of bread and some of the best meringues we’ve ever tasted!
You might prefer an ice cream… if you do then Moomaid of Zennor on the Harbour is the place for you… go get that Salted Caramel cone or whatever the flavour / sundae of the day is!
If you want a cream tea then just hit up anywhere – it’s all good! Just remember however that a cream tea comes with two scones so go with a friend or don’t plan for an early dinner.
Head over to the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden immediately, especially if the sun is shining. It is the place to discover, appreciate and wander through Hepworth’s spectacular garden of sculptures. Take a notebook if you’re feeling contemplative or just go armed with some curiosity about this very strange and wonderful character who made St Ives her home in the 1950s and brought the town to international acclaim with her work.
You may have to be an art lover to do both this and the Tate in one day but you don’t have to know ANYTHING about art, sculpture or even the history of St Ives to appreciate this very special museum and gallery. The (free) guided tour is usually around 1.30pm but it doesn’t matter if you don’t catch it – the museum is laid out beautifully and her work is explained simply with gallery guides on hand to answer your questions.
Late afternoon is a lovely time to get yourself down onto the beach. If it’s been hot and you’re not a beach bunny then at the point where it’s cooling off and emptying out is your time. Get a sundowner (even if the sun doesn’t set for a good 4 hours) and sit out either on Porthmeor, Porthminster or Porthgwidden beaches.
Choose whichever one takes your fancy; we love Porthgwidden for its compactness, privacy and views of the Island… (Oh lordy, we haven’t even talked about the Island, guess you’ve got to save something for tomorrow).
If you’ve still got some energy hire a wetsuit and body board for wave play on Porthmeor or even hire a stand up paddleboard from Porthminster. It might be a bit much after what you’ve done but hey, don’t you always have that much more energy on holiday!?
Dinner at any number of places to suit any budget. We can’t help but recommend Blas Burgerworks for just purely awesome burgers (pescatarians and vegetarians also catered for). 10% discount if you take away. There’s also the recently opened Gilmores on the harbour – great value tacos, tequila, beer and burritos using only the best and freshest ingredients; we’re excited to have them here.
If you want something a bit ‘fishier’ then grab Fish ‘n Chips from the Balancing Eel on the harbour or get yourself to the upmarket Seafood Cafe where there is no evening menu (that’s a good thing!) just fresh fish, sauces and sides.
Alternatively pick up some freshly caught fish earlier in the day (or have caught yourself on an alternative day where you’ve gone on a fishing trip) and cook it back at the hostel in our kitchen. If you have any left over I’m sure any number of guests (or staff) would be happy to help you eat it…
OK OK, this is no Newquay… there aren’t heaving, loud bars on every corner, we’re just a little more laid back in St Ives. We do have some great evening haunts though and are delighted to have the West Beach Bar back and open at the far end of Porthmeor Beach.
There’s the Rum & Crab Shack for superb rum cocktails and a great selection of Belgian Beers; the Beer & Bird (also recently opened) on Fore Street has the greatest selection of craft beers you’ll ever see and The Balcony Bar on the harbour is always lively and shows the latest sporting events if that’s your deal.
Fancy a cocktail? Then hit up the Alba Cocktail Bar by the Lifeboat station. Drink a cosmopolitan while looking out over the absolute antithesis of a city view.
Of course there’s a hundred local pubs from the infamous Sloop Inn through the lesser known Kettle & Wink – all have “flexible” closing times and there’s often live music at the weekends.
Shoot back to the hostel and snuggle up in our TV lounge for a late night Netflix session… catch up on a box set or join the inevitable movie crowd already in situ.
The more we write the more there is to write… we haven’t touched on surfing, hiking, shopping or even described the plethora of art galleries there are to visit in the town. Explore the What to Do section of this site to get some more ideas and detail and – as we always say – just ask our staff, they’re the best people to give you top tips.
Extend your stay with us if you need more time…