St Ives Harbour has a rich history that most would feel had come from a Rosamunde Pilcher novel! Steeped in tales of the sea, smuggling, pilchard presses and net lofts; the wharf side would have been a bustling working harbour with fishing boats, fish wives and traders. Visit St Ives Museum above Bamaluz beach to look at some nostalgic photos of the harbour as it once was or perhaps visit St Ives Archive online to arrange a visit to browse their many treasured photos of a time gone by.
Being a tidal harbour, it has three piers; Smeaton’s Pier, West Pier and New Pier with two lighthouse’s on Smeaton’s Pier. The harbour still has a hand line mackerel fishing fleet as well as leisure moorings so there is a constant flow of activity throughout the day. Smeaton’s Pier took three years to build between 1767 and 1770 and was intended principally to be a breakwater. Smeaton’s plans were changed to give a vertical inner side to the pier in order for boats to lie alongside it. Between 1888 and 1890, the Pier was extended, this included the building of well-known ‘Arches’ which were built to help the sluicing of the sand. It was so effective, it sluiced the boats as well as the sand so was adapted with baulks of timber. The Arches remain an iconic and much visited feature of St Ives harbour particularly when the tide is out. West Pier, built in 1894, was a private venture for loading roadstone from greenstone quarries at Orange Lane and Carthew. The new Lifeboat House and slipway was the most recently built between 1993 and 1994 to accommodate the new ‘Mersey’ class lifeboat and to house the Inshore Lifeboat in the same boathouse.
Today the harbour and wharf side is a favourite place for visitors to walk and enjoy all that is on offer, whether it’s watching the RNLI St Ives Lifeboat going about its practice exercises, SUP paddleboarders or swimmers enjoying the calmer waters, eating a Kelly’s ice-cream or a sipping a St Ives’ Gin. Much anticipated annual events draw big crowds such as the Food Festival every May, Lifeboat Day every August, the Music Festival in September, or New Year’s Eve where fireworks and fancy dress provide colour and much hilarity! There are cafes and restaurants to sit and enjoy the local produce whether it is the locally caught Cornish crab or a sip of Cornish wine or even Cornish coffee. There are galleries to visit as well as gift shops and a choice of ice-cream parlours too!
The harbour beach is dog-friendly during most of the year so for all our guests wishing to bring along their beloved dogs, take a look at our pet-friendly properties. This is a wonderful beach to take your morning coffee and let your best friend frolic in the soft sand and safe waters. Boat trip companies run sea-fishing and sight-seeing tours of the West Coast of Cornwall from the harbour front plus, if you feel like being speedy, try hiring a jet-ski or a Fast Rib Ride for some thrills! For those that want to power their own water travel, you can hire Kayaks or pedal-boats too.
St Ives in Cornwall has been named one of the world’s top “emerging destinations” in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2021, and was the only British destination included on the list. We are incredibly proud (and lucky) to live here and share it with new and devoted visitors to our holiday cottages. Wherever you are in the world, see what’s going on with our HD webcam.
Fancy booking a holiday cottage in St Ives? Please see our collection of cottages and apartments which have been carefully selected because they offer something extra-special. We’ve fallen in love with them all, and we think you will too.