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Things to do in St. Ives, Cornwall

Beach and Harbour St. Ives © Dave Wilton

St. Ives is magnificently situated, overlooking a spectacular crescent of beaches. St Ives grew up around a small chapel built by St. Ia in the sixth century. The productive waters around St. Ives made it an important fishing port, where vast quantities of pilchards were landed. The diarist Francis Kilvert recorded that the local vicar told him that at times the smell of fish was so great, as to stop the church clock!

Visitors to the town today need have no fear of being overwhelmed by a fishy smell, as little fishing now takes place from the town. However the old fishing quarter is worth exploring, it is a picturesque warren of stone cottages, cobbled alleys and narrow streets.

St. Ives with its wonderful pure light, has been attracting artists since the nineteenth century and has had an artists' colony for almost 100 years; Sickert, Whistler, Nicholson and Lanyon are all names associated with the town.

Porthmeor Beach to the north side of St. Ives is a wide expanse of sands and popular with surfers.

Porthminster Beach is a favourite for swimming and sunbathing.

East of the town is St. Ives Bay, with magnificent golden beaches.

St Ives holds a major arts and folk festival each September.

The Tate Gallery St. Ives - Changing displays from the Tate's collection, temporary exhibitions, contemporary artists' projects, events programme, and café with spectacular sea views.

Barbara Hepworth Museum - Arranged in the house and garden are sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, one of the foremost sculptors of her time. Also on display are photographs, letters and catalogues relating to Hepworth's art.

St. Ives Museum - A unique collection of art, blacksmiths, Cornish kitchen, farming, fishing, geology, Hain Steamship Company, lifeboat, mining, photography, railway and toys.

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