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Art Trips

Inspire your students in St Ives. Artists including Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallis, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo and Margaret Mellis made St Ives their home. Follow their footsteps through this spectacular town.

"Cohort was the PERFECT base for our KS4 Art Retreat to St.Ives. The location is excellent and we were able to easily walk to all activities. The interiors are clean, bright, spacious and contemporary with various communal areas which were excellent for meetings and activities. Cohort Staff were very friendly and helpful and made all of our students and staff feel very welcome and at ease throughout our stay". (Rowena Tarplee, Falmouth School)

In the 1960’s and 70’s St Ives was the international centre of the modern art world. A sleepy little fishing town had the art world’s eyes on it due to its powerful associations with world famous figures such as Barbara Hepworth, 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, newly refurbished, Tate Gallery.

Why bring your art students to St Ives?

There is a high concentration of iconic art institutions from the newly refurbished Tate St Ives to the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Museum to Leach Pottery. Not to mention the St Ives Society of Artists, the famous St Ives School of Painting and over 40 private galleries and individual artist studios.

Everywhere you might want to go is within walking distance so there’s no wasting time on public transport; students can do more in a day and it’s less stressful for supervisors and staff.

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 on 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.

  • Sarah Beales, Head of Art at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham, is interviewed in our blog about why she loves bringing her art students to St Ives in January; she shares with us her reasons for choosing St Ives as their annual art trip destination.
  • Kate McLaren was Head of Art at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Wiltshire; read her experience of bringing a class to St Ives and top tips for anyone doing the same [Kate is no longer at Bishop Wordsworth’s School but they still continue to come to St Ives every year].

For information about Cohort Hostel – capacity, layout, food options, etc. please see our Educational Visits page and if you’d like to make an enquiry please fill in the form at the bottom of the page.

Art class downloads for itinerary planning

To help with your trip planning we’ve put together some free downloads which may help with your planning.

the definitive guide to art trip planning in St Ives

meeting national curriculum objectives in St Ives

more varied activities

Tate, Barbara Hepworth Museum (BHM) & Leach Pottery

The new Tate St Ives opened its doors on 14th October 2017 after a renovation period lasting over 2 years. There is an amazing, new gallery and increased space for exhibitions. See more about the project on Tate St Ives site.

Pre-booked groups of 10 or more get a reduced group admission price to the Tate and BHM and all under 18s on a school trip are free. 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 classes in St Ives

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 practising 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.

Art, design & craft in St Ives

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. They have weekly drop-in classes, short courses for adults and bespoke group workshops.

Email them at or visit their website. You can also read more about them on our blog.

Artist educators

Many of the residential, gallery artists in St Ives also run workshops and we are happy to put you in touch with the Society of St Ives Artists so you can speak to them about your individual requirements.

We also highly recommend Greg Humphries, an artist educator with years of experience working with students – from the very young to A’level and graduate standard. He offers standard half day or day workshops as well as customising days to suit your group’s particular focus / curriculum.

Art Trip to St Ives

Below are some photographs from a school’s recent art trip to St Ives (July 2019) Students were aged 14 – 18. It was a jam packed itinerary which included a couple of surf lessons in amongst all the art workshops.

Why stay at Cohort?

  • We are close to everything

It’s a 10 minute walk to the Tate and St Ives School of Painting, a 5 minute walk to the BHM and a 15 minute walk to the Bernard Leach Pottery Studio. We are also a few minutes from any one of the 5 beaches in St Ives and within 10 minutes of all the private art galleries.

  • Large internal and external communal spaces

They are big enough to paint in should you wish and ideal for seminars.

  • Superfast and reliable WiFi

We have fibre to the premises broadband and in addition to lots of charging points it ensures that big groups will be able to plug in laptops / charge phones all at the same time and without any problems.

  • Pod beds

Custom built beds provide privacy within the dorm accommodation so as to suit students who are not used to sharing.

  • Private rooms

Suitable for staff and / or supervisors.

  • We can provide breakfast, packed lunches & evening meals

For groups of 10 people+ staying 2 or more nights we can provide breakfast packed lunches and evening meals. See our School Trips page for more info.

  • Self-catering kitchen and other options

Our kitchen is perfect for group cooking and we have catering sized pots and pans. We also have a number of catering options where people will bring food to the hostel for you, alternatively we can make recommendations and reservations at local eateries.

  • Easy transport links

Cohort Hostel is a short walk from both the bus and train stations and 5 minutes from 3 public car parks – one of which has coach parking.

  • Health & Safety

The hostel is safe, secure and meets all fire and health & safety regulations.

Free stay at Cohort

We offer a free stay prior to your booking for supervisors or staff, enabling you to run a risk assessment and ask all the questions you need to ask in good time for the actual trip. Two people can stay with us for up to two nights completely free of charge at any point prior to the trip. There are no restrictions but it is subject to availability.

See our Educational Visits page for more information on bringing your students to St Ives.

Make an enquiry

If you would like to talk to us about a school art trip to St Ives we’d love to hear from you. Please give us a call on +44 (0)1736 791664 or send an email to; alternatively fill in the short form below and we’ll get back to you as quick as we can.

Book now

Pod dorm beds from £17/night
Single & Twin Private rooms from £25/night
Triple rooms from £50/night
Family rooms from £68/night

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