Hands up if a weekend of beautiful beaches, coastal views, and art and culture sounds like fun to you. It does? In that case, a St Ives weekend break is perfect for you!
St Ives might be one of Cornwall’s busiest hotspots – but there’s a good reason for it.
St Ives is a beautiful harbour town. It’s well known for its stunning beaches and thriving art scene. It’s also in a suitable location for day trips to some of Cornwall’s other beauty spots.
When I studied at the University of Plymouth, I spent many weekends in St Ives – visiting friends, relaxing on beaches, learning to surf and even exploring further afield.
What follows are my tips and advice on how to make the most of a St Ives weekend break based on those many outings to the Cornish seaside. I hope you find my advice helpful.
Note: This blog post is kindly sponsored by Aspect Holidays, who provide beautiful self-catering holiday cottages in St Ives and around Cornwall. That said, all thoughts, opinions and recommendations are entirely my own.
St Ives Weekend Itinerary & Top Things To Do
Hopefully, this example St Ives weekend itinerary gives you some ideas of the best things to see and do in St Ives.
As you’ll likely need to travel to St Ives, this itinerary assumes you’ll travel down the day before your weekend officially starts. There’s more about this below.
Friday – Travel to St Ives
You’ll likely need to reserve a few hours before your weekend to allow enough time to get to St Ives – especially if you’re travelling there from beyond Cornwall or nearby Devon.
The easiest way to get to St Ives is by car. However, parking can be troublesome in the peak seasons, so you might want to choose some accommodation that comes with parking. I’ve listed some examples of these in the “Where To Stay” section at the end of this blog post.
If you’re not driving to St Ives, then your other options include travelling by train or plane.
I’d suggest catching a train. Many major train stations across the UK connect with St Erth (especially during the peak seasons). From St Erth, you can catch the scenic train to St Ives, which usually takes about 15 minutes.
If you’re travelling from further afield, such as Scotland, then you may want to consider getting a plane to Newquay and then hire a car or catch a train to St Ives from there.
Either way, you’ll likely spend a few hours getting to St Ives, so why not take the pressure off by arriving the day before so you can make the most of your entire weekend?
Saturday – See the Sights
Take in the views from the South West Coast Path
If you’re an early riser and outdoorsy type, then you may like to start your weekend in St Ives with a walk or hike.
In St Ives, one of the best walks you can do follows part of the South West Coast Path.
Stretching for 630 miles across four counties, the South West Coast Path is England’s longest waymarked trail.
Why not start your day with an enjoyable one or two-hour walk along part of this trail? The views are well worth getting up early for!
Visit the Tate St Ives art gallery
After your walk (or instead of if you’d prefer a gentler start to your weekend), you might enjoy soaking up a bit of culture for a few hours at the Tate St Ives art gallery.
St Ives has a thriving art scene with many of its independent boutiques devoted to arts and crafts.
And this is particularly celebrated at Tate St Ives, which exhibits artwork linked to St Ives and its surrounding areas.
You’ll likely want to spend a relaxing hour or two here. You may even want to grab some lunch from the onsite cafe, which has stunning seaside views.
Treat yourself to something pretty from an independent boutique
Speaking of art and independent boutiques, you might also enjoy wandering around St Ives to browse the little shops found here.
While you’ll find many art and crafts businesses in St Ives, you can also expect to find plenty of independently-owned jewellery stores, surf shops and clothing boutiques, which are well worth a browse.
Relax on some of Cornwall’s finest beaches
After an epic day of exploring and sightseeing, why not spend your afternoon and early evening catching some rays or simply walking barefoot across the sand?
St Ives boasts some of Cornwall’s finest beaches. Yep, you read that right: beaches (plural).
There are several excellent beaches to choose from in and around St Ives.
Porthmeor Beach and Porthgwidden Beach are perhaps the most popular, but there are also some lesser-known beaches to discover within St Ives. So, take your pick!
Sunday – Enjoy a Day Trip & Travel Home
See more of Cornwall with a fabulous day trip
For your final day in St Ives, you might want to see more of Cornwall via a fun day trip.
There are lots of day trips you can do from St Ives, but listed below are a few of my top favourites:
- Boat trip from St Ives: Why not hop on one of the many sightseeing cruises that operate out of St Ives harbour? This one will even take you past an area nicknamed “Seal Island”, where you might see a herd of Grey Atlantic Seals basking in the sunshine.
- Godrevy: The beaches near Godrevy are about a half-hour’s drive from St Ives and are much quieter than St Ives’ beaches. They’re also the perfect spot for learning to surf!
- Marazion and St Michael’s Mount: Even though Marazion is on the opposite side of Cornwall to St Ives, it takes less than 30 minutes to drive there. From Marazion, you can wander across the slipway to see the infamous St Michael’s Mount. Just be sure to time your visit accurately so you don’t get stranded on the island when the tide comes in.
Alas, the time has come to return home. By this point, you’ve hopefully had an epic time in and around St Ives.
Where To Stay For A Weekend in St Ives
Given St Ives’ popularity, you should find there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from for your weekend away.
I’d recommend staying near the train station (especially if that’s how you’re getting to and from St Ives), or in the bustling heart of the town where all the action is.
With this in mind, I’ve scoured the Aspect Holidays website to find a handful of fabulous accommodation options in these two areas of St Ives. They also all have parking available – especially useful throughout the peak seasons!
Lamorna Studio is a charming apartment for two people. It’s just a couple of minutes walk from the Porthmeor and Porthgwidden beaches. I love the cosy home-away-from-home feeling of this one.
Also just a couple of minutes’ walk from Porthmeor Beach is Little Breeze – another cosy apartment for two. This one also has a home-away-from-home vibe with added rustic charm.
Found close to the town centre, the Shell Seekers apartment looks like a comfortable and relaxing stay. It even has a sunlit dining area and patio for al fresco dining. I also love the pretty coastal decor at this one!
Smeaton’s Pier Penthouse
Smeaton’s Pier Penthouse is also close to the heart of St Ives. This pretty apartment for two offers stunning views across St Ives Bay and the St Ives harbour on the other side. Simply perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway!
38 Carrack Widden
Also boasting stunning views across St Ives Bay and within a short walk of St Ives train station, the third-floor apartment of 38 Carrack Widden is another fantastic option for a relaxing escape from everyday life.
Read More About Cornwall, UK
If you’re staying in Cornwall for longer than just a weekend, you might find some of our other Cornwall travel blogs helpful:
- The Best of Cornwall Itinerary: 3 Days Road Trip
- 5 Days in Cornwall Itinerary: Where To Go & Where To Stay
- 15 Best Beaches in Cornwall | Quick Cornwall Beach Guide
- Beautiful Places in Cornwall, England | Cornwall Beauty Spots
- 7 Intriguing Secrets & Hidden Gems in Cornwall
I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful for planning your St Ives weekend break. It’s such a charming town! If you have any other questions about St Ives or Cornwall in general, please drop me a line below and I’ll reply asap…
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