Travel hacks for visiting St Ives

St Ives is a beautiful, picturesque, seaside town that has stolen the hearts of many. However, it comes with its quirks, which makes it even more loveable, but it's good to know about them when planning your holiday!


St Ives and parking come hand in hand when planning your holiday.

St Ives has changed quite a lot over the years, however the size is still the exact same as it was when it was simply a fishing village, and that goes for a lot of the parking too. There are just five long stay car parks:

The Island Car Park – 129 spaces
Barnoon Car Park – 124 Space
Train Station Car Park – 106 Spaces
Park Avenue – 77 Spaces
Trenwith – 759 Spaces (311 in the winter)

Now, although that adds up to a hefty 1192 spaces, that is a minute number when considering St Ives averages around 220,000 visitors in the peak seasons. However, fear not, there are ways around this!

– Booking a St Ives holiday property with Parking

An obvious yet excellent form of stress relief. Booking a cottage with parking in St Ives is a must for some visitors as it guarantees you a space for the duration of your stay. We have a large array of properties with parking, either on-site or a prearranged and allocated space elsewhere. Time and time again these cottages prove hugely popular as it means parking can be at the back of your mind and you can simply focus on which beach you’re going to hit first!

 – Private Parking

Thankfully there are a great number of private parking options to help alleviate the numbers on the Cornwall Council car parks. The St Ives Rugby Club has a very large parking area and overflow parking too. You can also pre-book spaces here which is a huge help to many. If you’re looking for another car park where you can book parking, St Ives Secure parking offers some limited car parking at the top of town. Finally, there is the ‘Park on My Drive‘ option. This site allows people to rent out their own private drives throughout St Ives, so you may find something conveniently close for your holiday.

Eating Out

St Ives has earned itself a fantastic name for its food, but make sure to book ahead...

The combination of location, resources and local ingredients available in St Ives are all factors that contribute to why we have so many amazing restaurants and talented chefs. Consequently, people travel far and wide, booking months in advance to secure their favourite beachside restaurant. Here’s how to prepare!

– Booking in advance
Ok, so it’s not much of a secret, but this will truly help you avoid disappointment when it comes to visiting your favourite restaurant in St Ives. Calendars now open up months in advance, so if your holiday is booked, we’d recommend booking your restaurants at the same time. However, if you can’t make your reservation, be sure to contact the restaurant as soon as possible so they can open the space to other visitors.

– Keeping an eye on Instagram
A lot of the restaurants and cafes in St Ives will post any last minute cancellations or availability on their social media as they know just how quickly the space will get snapped up. Make sure to follow your favourite restaurant’s Instagram and you’ll be able to see any last minute gaps.

– Visit a ‘walk-in’ restaurant in St Ives
There are several restaurants that operate on a ‘walk-in’ only basis, meaning no need to book! If they can’t seat you right away, they’ll simply just take your number and give you a call as soon as a table is available for you. Beer and Bird, Talay Thai and The Balcony all work on a walk-in only basis and they all offer some seriously delicious food!

Porthgwidden Beach Cafe

Prepare for some hills

Downalong in St Ives is aptly named, due to being 'down' and 'along', meaning no hills. However, if you've booked self-catering accommodation in other areas, the chances are you may need to tackle some...

The heart of St Ives is wonderfully flat. From the harbour front to Fore Street and from Porthminster to Porthmeor, you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of ease as the majority of your walking requires minimal effort. However, there is only a finite number of holiday cottages or parking spaces available in this area, so you may be required to face a hill or two. Luckily, they’re not very long, but they can be quite steep, so let us help you prepare.

– Check the address of your property
If you’re looking to stay in a holiday cottage in St Ives that doesn’t require any sort of uphill walking, be sure to check in with a member of our team when you’re picking the perfect one. Our team is based locally and our office is in St Ives, which is great as we have all visited each of our properties and can give you a very good indication of location and walking distances.

– Check where your parking space is
If you have booked a self-catering holiday cottage in Downalong, that also comes with parking – result! However, make sure you check in your property description where the parking space is. Downalong in St Ives was not built for cars, so there is often very limited ‘on-site’ parking in this area and you may have an allocated parking space elsewhere, at either the Rugby Club or a private drive. The St Ives Rugby Club is approximately a 15-20 minute walk away from most properties and it is uphill. However, during school holiday weeks across the year, there is a shuttle bus that runs frequently into town which is perfect for those days when you don’t fancy the walk.

– Pack light for the beach
If you’ve got to tackle Porthmeor or Windsor Hill to reach a beach, the downhill is an awful lot easier than the up! We’d recommend taking only the essentials and hopefully they fit into a rucksack which means you can easily transport them too and from the beach with ease. Sadly there are often instances of body boards, inflatables, windbreaks, portable BBQs and much more being abandoned on the beach so only take what you can carry home!

Mind the Seagulls (This is not a joke!)

As comical as the seagulls can be, watch out for them!

Seagulls always have been, and always will be, a staple part of your St Ives holiday whether you love them or loathe them. Now, you may think we’re being paranoid but we’re sure they’ve gotten bigger, smarter and developed an insatiable appetite for anything you’ve got in your hand. Here’s how to stay safe from the seagulls:

– Do not feed them. 
People feeding seagulls has become a huge contributing factor to how tame they have become and quite simply fearless of anyone or anything. You’ll see signs all around St Ives imploring you not to feed them, everyone in the town would kindly ask you follow these instructions!

– Eat under shelter/covered areas
We appreciate this may be a little tricky and could deter from enjoying your ice cream whilst strolling along the harbour front, but trust us, they’ll be watching you like an MI6 Agent! Just before your food gets robbed from your hands in broad daylight, everyone around you seems to notice the swarm of seagulls circling before you do and then it’s too late. Save your pasty, eat undercover.

– Keep your friends close, but your pasty closer
Just to add insult to injury, sometimes you don’t even need to be eating your food for a seagull to know you have something delicious. It may sound ridiculous, but if you don’t have large bag, hold your food tight, even if it is a small food bag, they know…trust us. The safety of it being in your hand may not be enough. Play the seagulls at their own game of poker and keep your cards (pasty) close to your chest!

Arrival Times

If you’ve travelled to Cornwall in a peak visiting month, you’ll know that the traffic can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare and we wholeheartedly appreciate what nine hours of driving can feel like to reach your Cornish holiday cottage. However, we’d always recommend that if possible, plan around your check-in time. With us, it is 5pm. Changeover and arrival days can be busy for all sorts of reasons and an awful lot goes on between the 10am departure and 5pm check-in. Cleans, maintenance, window cleaning, owner visits, various trades people visits, hamper drops…the list goes on!

Nothing makes us happier than getting our guests into their holiday properties early after a long day of travelling and we endeavour to do this whenever we can, however until we have had the all clear from the team that the property is ready, we’re sadly unable to release the key code. If you are due to arrive in St Ives early and you’re stuck for ideas on what to do, where to drop your luggage or where to relax for a couple of hours, give us a call and we’ll gladly be able to help you plan your arrival day.

Here’s a link to a few more helpful pages for all you need to know about travelling to St Ives!

Orange Roofs FAQs

Staying with us 

Places we love

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