How to spend a day in St Ives
St Ives is situated in the South of Cornwall around a hour from Padstow to the north and 40 minutes from Lands End to the South. The beautiful town is built on a narrow peninsula surrounded by a harbour and sandy beaches. Set out below are my recommendations of how to spend a day in St Ives. If you have more than a day, I recommend visiting St Michael’s Mount only a 20 minute drive away.
Morning in St Ives
It is difficult to find parking so make sure you leave enough time if you have anything planned.
We started our morning in St Ives at Porthmeor Beach Cafe overlooking the harbour. There are tables inside and outside on a heated terrace. We had a delicious build your own breakfast with scrambled eggs, avocado and grilled tomatoes which was under £10 with a hot drink.
Next up was a one hour boat ride with St Ives Boats ‘Dolly P’ which was £20. You must be at the departure point 20 minutes before the allocated time and depending on the tide you may have to get a small boat to the larger boat.
The larger boat has enough space outside for around 10 guests. The hosts are friendly and provide information about the seals, their habitat and how they use the tides to lift up onto the rocks! The trip to the ‘seal island’ takes 20 minutes each way so you get around 20 minutes viewing the seals.
After the boat trip, we spent the afternoon walking around the cobbled streets of the town. We popped in and out of the boutique shops, local art studios and ice creams shops.
Evening in St Ives
We started our evening in St Ives with happy hour cocktails at the Rum & Crab Shack which are available from 3-6pm. There are also punch bowls available for between 2-12 people.
This was followed by al fresco drinks at The Beach Cafe Bar just next door. Don’t worry, there is space inside if it is too cold but it was a great place to people watch.
Dinner in St Ives
A day in St Ives is not complete without dining in one of their many restaurants. There are plenty of great restaurants in the centre but many get booked up quickly. We tried Porthminster Kitchen with panoramic views over the harbour and The Mermaid Restaurant specialising in seafood but they were both booked weeks in advance.
However, we were SO happy with our choice of The Cellar Bistro which sadly has closed temporarily at the time of writing. The quality of the food and service was outstanding. The Lightly fried tender calamari, lemon & garlic mayonnaise was fantastic – exactly as it says, only lightly fried (so not greasy) with a great texture.
Our main dish of Parmesan & herb crusted Cornish hake, pea, mint & lemon puree, garlic & herb roasted potatoes was incredible. We finished off a delightful dinner with 3 Cornish cheeses and biscuits with port. Fingers crossed that The Cellar Bistro can reopen soon.
To finish our wonderful evening, we visited The Castle Inn pub which was established in 1840. The host (possibly the owner) was SO friendly making us feel extremely welcomed. It’s a homely, traditional pub with plenty of drinks on offer, including a large gin menu. There are also various deals on shots (including Jager Bombs). Suffice to say I had a headache the next day…
So that is how I spent a day in St Ives – hope you find some useful tips from this post.
East London Girl: A Day in St Ives
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