St Ives, the charming seaside town in Cornwall, has been on my bucket list for some time and was our first choice for a summer staycation in mid-June. We took the car for the 300 mile trip – our first road trip with 3 1/2 year old Little T – and had great weather to enjoy a sunny weekend exploring the beautiful beaches of St Ives over our weekend visit.

Where We Stayed

We found St Ives a pleasure to walk around and I would recommend choosing a hotel close to town to make the most of it. Our hotel was steps away from Porthminster Beach and only a short walking distance to the town centre, shops and restaurants, the harbour and even Porthmeor Beach.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

We stayed at the St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, and while the hotel has a fantastic location, we were very disappointed and I honestly wouldn’t recommend the hotel. In short, our room was overpriced for what it was (very small and dated) and the breakfast experience was simply awful. I’ve written an extensive TripAdvisor review if you’re interested in reading more about it.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

What We Did

We lucked out with sunny weather and clear skies to enjoy St Ives’s gorgeous coastline. Again, the town is a pleasure to explore by foot, and when we weren’t lounging at the beaches, we were browsing the shops at the town centre or enjoying the lively atmosphere at the harbor.

Porthmeor Beach

If I had to pick a favorite beach at St Ives, it would be beautiful Porthmeor Beach, a popular surfing spot where you’ll also find the Tate St Ives.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

Porthmeor Beach has plenty of facilities that include a café, surf school, restrooms and beach rentals.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

The water looks very inviting, but it is freezing and wetsuits (which can be rented at the beach) are highly recommended!

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

Porthminster Beach

For families with young children, I’d recommend Porthminster Beach for its calm, protected waters.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

It’s very conveniently located, with a train stop and a car park nearby and only a ten minute walk from the town centre.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

There are a number of facilities here too, including a beach bar and café, restaurant, ice cream parlour and chalets to rent. We had dinner at Porthminster Beach Café (see below for photos) and can highly recommend the restaurant.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives Harbour

We’d always stop at this lookout point between Porthminster Beach and the town centre for this fantastic view of the St. Ives Harbour. Along the coastline of St Ives are these bright, beautiful gardens.

View of St Ives Harbour, St Ives, Cornwall

We visited St Ives Harbour in the evening, to walk along the street bustling with activity and enjoy an ice cream from Moo Maid, and during the day when its beach area was crowded with families. There are shops, cafes, restaurants, an arcade and art galleries along the harbour – and beautiful views of the coast, looking towards Porthminster Beach.

View of St Ives Harbour, St Ives, Cornwall

View of St Ives Harbour, St Ives, Cornwall

The Town Centre

I highly recommend exploring the town’s shops. We picked up some great souvenirs, including a children’s book based in St Ives, The Little Sea Dragon’s Wild Adventure by Helen Dunmore and some beautiful handmade glass bowls by local artist Jo Downs.

St Ives, Cornwall

Where We Ate

Porthminster Beach Café

One restaurant that came up consistently in people’s recommendations for St. Ives was Porthminster Beach Café. Excellent food there, great atmosphere, very family friendly and lovely views overlooking Porthminster Beach.

Mr. G ordered the whole baked Dover sole, served with roasted garlic butter, fresh lemon, tiger prawns and baby leeks – he was very happy with his meal!

Dover sole, Porthminster Beach Cafe. St Ives, Cornwall

Meanwhile, I had the Cornish prime beef fillet and rib, which is not pictured, it arrived shortly afterwards on a separate plate because the chef was not happy with how the first one came out. This was served with a tasty oxtail hash, burnt onion, Bordelaise sauce, ripped Yorkshire and fried turnip. Little T had a plate of fish and chips off the kid’s menu.

Cornish Prime Beef Fillet & Rib, Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives, Cornwall

Seafood Café

This was another great restaurant for fresh seafood, located in the St. Ives town centre. Little T had fish and chips off the kid’s menu, a bit of a theme during our trip…

Fish and Chips, Seafood Cafe, St Ives

And Mr. G had a plate of grilled fish (halibut?) with potatoes. Simple dish with great flavour!

Grilled fish, Seafood Cafe, St Ives, Cornwall

I don’t eat seafood so just had a plate of Buffalo chicken strips. For all you seafood lovers, this is an excellent place to stop at for fresh fish!

Seafood Cafe in St Ives Cornwall

Pengenna Pasties

For our road trip back home, we picked up some Cornish pasties from Pengenna, which has a great selection of beef, lamb and vegetarian options.

Cornish Pasties, Pengenna, St Ives, Cornwall

Moomaid of Zennor

During our evening stroll along the St Ives Harbour, we picked up some delicious Cornish ice cream at Moomaid. I had a seagull chasing after me the moment after I took this photo – to the point that I had to go back and get a new ice cream. Do stop by Moomaid for scrumptious ice cream and keep an eye out for greedy, relentless seagulls!

Moomaid of Zennor Ice Cream, St Ives Harbour, Cornwall

Overall, we had a wonderful time in St. Ives and fell in love with the beautiful town, sandy beaches and picturesque coastline. We’re already talking about when we’d go back!

To give you an idea about the road trip, it was about a 7 hour drive from London on Friday afternoon. Google Maps had us driving through Bristol, and we kept getting stuck in traffic and arrived much later than we expected – nearly all restaurants were closed at that point (around 9.30/10pm)! Heading back on Sunday, we stuck to freeways and avoided driving through Bristol and it was a much easier 5 hour drive with hardly any traffic along the way.

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Weekend Trip - St Ives Cornwall

4 thoughts on “A Weekend in St Ives, Cornwall”

  1. This sounds like it was such a great weekend, Cindy. I know you said you don’t like seafood, but everything your husband ordered looked so delicious! Hopefully someday we can visit Cornwall, it seems amazing!

    1. Thanks, Ashley! It was a great weekend and Cornwall really is so very beautiful, with such picturesque countryside and beaches. I can’t wait to go back and explore some more. Hope you do have a chance to visit next time you’re in England!

  2. The weather was excellent when you visited! I love how beautiful the water look. Remind me of the Caribbean beaches. Plus, I would like to try all the food you presented in here. Funny because there are some areas in Mexico where you can get pasties. People from Cornwall moved there many years ago to work on mines (they introduced soccer to the country too). #TPThursday

    1. Yes, we really lucked out with the weather while we were there! The Cornwall coast is truly stunning. That is very interesting about the Cornish influence in Mexico, I had no idea! Especially that they introduced soccer to the country!

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