Places to Visit

Read our compilation of places to visit in St Ives, a guide for holidaymakers in St Ives or day trippers

St Ives in Cornwall is well known as a holiday destination in itself. Visitors holiday in St Ives for a week or two with plenty to see and do without leaving the town. It is fact that the light in St Ives is special. There is a certain luminosity that seems to heal and inspire. The light and the landscape draws visitors to St Ives who wish to appreciate the art created by others or to create their own yet be inspired by the greats. Below is a list of some of the best places to visit in St Ives and unsurprisingly, they all feature talented artists!



St Ives is well known as being a hub for artists from all over the world, famous for its beautiful landscapes and fantastic light.

Pioneering modern art since the 1940’s, artists transformed St Ives from a small fishing town into a place of international recognition for future artists and architects. Therefore it only seems right that the Tate gallery chose to create a home here in St Ives to honour this. Built in 1993 overlooking Porthmeor beach, only seconds from the sea and sand, the gallery is built upon the site of a former gasworks in which the architects took inspiration for the visually striking ‘rotunda’ which is seen as the heart of the gallery, with the exterior clad in ceramic tiles as a nod to famous local ceramicists including Bernard Leach. Explore the gallery’s current installations and enjoy the fantastic views from special viewpoints within the gallery itself, showing off the scenery that inspired artists for decades.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 791177

 



Managed by the Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens showcases the work of one of St Ives’s most famous late sculptors from within the intimate setting of their former home, studio and garden.

Gifted to the nation as per Barbara’s request, her Trewyn Studio and home have much of her artwork displayed throughout the property, with some of Barbara’s most significant carving and sculptures still laid in their original positions within her gardens. Visiting the Barbara Hepworth museum is a unique chance to explore the environment in which her famous works were made, but also seek inspiration from her displays of modern sculpture. Tickets to explore Barbara’s legacy are available online.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 791177



Founded by friends Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, Leach Pottery is steeped in history and has attracted potters wishing to train and study from all over the world being a hub for Studio Pottery in the UK.

Previously being home to Bernard and a number of other potters who joined him throughout the years, the Leach Pottery is now managed by the Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Ltd and is made up of the pottery workshop, on-site museum and shop. Visit the museum and explore the 100-year-old pottery barn, the clay room and the throwing room with Japanese climbing kiln, as well as their changing program of exhibitions and Leach’s work. Why not get hands-on and book onto a taster course? And create your own holiday souvenir. Or for budding potters, Leach pottery offers intensive three-day courses.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 799703

Found just off Balamuz beach, the St Ives Museum is run entirely by volunteers and displays photographs and artefacts relating to old St Ives, including its boat making, fishing and mining heritage.

The building was formerly a pilchard curing cellar, as well as a Bible Christian Chapel, a laundry and a cinema! The Pilchard curing cellar is still on display within the museum. This is a fantastic spot for history buffs and also those interested in learning about past St Ives and the roots on which the popular holiday destination has been built since. For younger visitors, activity sheets are available or take part in their ‘Find for fun’ challenge where you search for tiny model cats hidden within the museum displays.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 01736 796005



The St Ives School of Painting is at the forefront of art in St Ives and it was established in 1938 by two army officers who had made a pledge, whilst in the trenches, that if they were to survive the war they would fulfil their dreams of moving to St Ives in Cornwall to paint.

Created as a centralised art school in St Ives, one of the founding members Borlase Smart was also responsible for the St Ives Society of Artists, promoting local artists and their work. Today the St Ives School of Painting is cared for by The Borlase Smart John Wells Trust and supported by Arts Council England.  The school regularly supports art events, exhibitions and lectures, as well as hosting various art courses in which you can enrol and take part.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 797180



Penwith Gallery, formerly a pilchard packing factory, has 3 public galleries which means an exciting and varied showcase of contemporary and historical art, sculptures and handmade jewellery.

The gallery also has 10 artists’ studios, a Printmaker Workshop, a sculpture courtyard, archive and shop so mooching around Penwith Gallery may take a pleasurable while! The gallery is also home to the Penwith Arts Society founded in 1949 by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon, Bernard Leach, Sven Berlin and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. With so many progressive artists of their time, the Penwith Art Society maintains a unique position within British art history.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 795579



In the heart of St Ives, this gallery has over two floors of contemporary and historical art gallery space as well as beautifully handcrafted jewellery.

With over 55 years of experience, The new Craftsman gallery is established in the St Ives art heritage. The gallery supported the early careers of figures now very well respected such as Peter Lanyon, Bryan Winter, Patrick Heron and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. It continues to support emerging and established Cornish artists together with a varied range of contemporary crafts including glass, automata, wood, handmade jewellery, ceramic sculptures and metalwork.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 795652



Anima Mundi is a gallery showcasing contemporary art over two floors in individual rooms so there is plenty of white wall space and time for reflection to appreciate each art installation.

Located on the east side of St Ives, the gallery is open every weekday and supports contemporary artists exploring new and exciting media to express their creativity and deliver their often heartfelt, powerful message. An extraordinary addition to Anima Mundi is its charitable endeavour to raise money for ‘Funding Neuro‘. A purchase from a limited charitable edition will mean 20% of the purchase price is donated to an extremely worthwhile cause. The gallery is situated in a former Christian Science reading room in St Ives but has now converted into a prominent, private exhibition space rivalling gallery spaces of London.

Visit their website or call them on 01736 793121

 



Probably one of the most photographed corners of St Ives, or possibly the best place to capture a favourite and memorable view through a camera lens.

The Malakoff in St Ives is an open space inviting visitors to take in the extraordinary views of St Ives Bay, Porthminster Beach and St Ives Harbour and also look at the town from a very special perspective. A Barbara Hepworth sculpture gifted by the artist to St Ives stands prominently as a looking glass to the sea. A number of benches are positioned to offer an incredible view and feast for the eyes often framed by colourful flowers known to thrive in the warm tropics of Cornwall. We recommend taking a stroll to The Malakoff perhaps with a flask, takeaway coffee or ice cream to enjoy the sights whatever the season, take in the sea air, relax and unwind.

Main photo of this page shows the sculpture and one view from The Malakoff.

Surrounded by sea on three sides, St Nicholas Chapel, a granite medieval building stands prominently on top of The Island in St Ives.

When we say The Island in St Ives, it’s not really an island! To be exact it’s a promontory; a high point of land or rock projecting into a body of water. Whilst the exact date of the chapel is not known, it is thought that a wooden chapel stood in its spot since the 5th Century when the first Irish missionaries arrived in Cornwall. The granite chapel has been around since medieval times suspected to date back as far as the 14th Century. St Nicholas is the patron saint of children and sailors and the chapel was the place for local sailors to come and worship.

For the romantics, many a proposal has been inspired by the beauty of St Nicholas’ Chapel, The Island and its stunning sea views. It holds many memories dear for so many visitors to St Ives, Cornwall. Whilst you cannot get married at the Chapel, newlywed couples who marry at the Guildhall in St Ives can get their marriage blessed at the Chapel afterwards. For more information on St Nicholas’ Chapel and getting your local marriage blessed inside, visit the St Ives Town Council website.

It’s an over 200-years-old door behind a bakery in St Ives, Cornwall but somehow it has achieved such notoriety to have its own Flickr page and is all over Instagram!

It has to be the most photographed door in Cornwall, why? Well, there aren’t many 212-year-old doors in St Ives that are tiny-weeny (almost hobbit-sized) and that are quite so picturesque. Plus, it has gained such fame that The Tate St Ives offered to buy the door from the owners for an insane amount of money. That’s how important it is to St Ives’ history. The family who own the property and the door have listed it to protect its paint and, to enhance its appeal and photographic beauty,  tend to beautiful flowers outside it all year round. The family also said that tour groups (especially Germans) are led specifically to see and photograph themselves in front of the ‘little green door’ so, being such a famous place to visit in St Ives, we thought we would share it too!

Where is it? Tucked behind St Ives Bakery just off The Digey at Number 1 Virgin Street. Want to stay right opposite the Little Green Door? Book Plane Sailing now!

 



Want to discover Cornwall like a local? Introducing Elizabeth Dale, The Cornish Bird, a Cornish writer with a passion for the history and heritage of her home.

Her blog and podcast dive into the past to uncover the lesser-known stories, forgotten characters and hidden places that you just won’t find on the usual tourist trail. Whether it is a hidden cove, haunted woodland or mysterious ancient site The Cornish Bird Blog has it all and there is even a handy interactive map to inspire your travels around this fascinating part of the UK. See Cornwall through a local’s eyes and discover some of its most unusual myths and legends. When you want to go off the beaten track a little, read The Cornish Bird and get a taste for adventure and real Cornish history.

Visit The Cornish Bird’s website and start planning your next adventure from your holiday cottage in Cornwall.

N.B. Please note, the address on the map is Orange Roofs’ office given, understandably, Elizabeth didn’t want to give her home address away!