Cornwall in focus

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St Ives Town in Cornwall

Photograph of St Ives

Location

Fine golden sands and the clear blue sea are some of the things that will interest you as well as the Tate Gallery.

For a suitable Ordnance Survey map of the area please purchase OS Explorer 102 - Land's End.

How do I sum up St. Ives? Well here goes...as a boy St. Ives was always the seaside, the place to go. Initially as part of the old Methodist tradition of 'Tea-treat', then as a place to go to 'catch some sun', later as a place to meet old friends and make new. Porthminster Beach St. Ives will always be the best beach ever. The sand was always fine and golden. The beach always seemed to be very clean, no litter or other unwanted rubbish. Other towns had people, St. Ives had characters, the lifeboatmen with their windburnt and weathered faces, wearing their smocks not just as a fashion accessory.

Porthgwidden Beach and the 'Island'

As I grew older I began to learn that St. Ives wasn't just ONE beach but a series of beaches each with a slightly different character. Porthminster (my favourite - a large crescent of northeast facing sand; Harbour (the Town beach); Porthgwidden (the smallest beach a good sheltered family beach with white sand - as its name implies - on the east side of St. Ives Island) and Porthmeor (a popular surfing beach on the west, Atlantic side, of the island overlooked by the Tate St. Ives - Tel. (01736) 796226. I learned that St. Ives is actually an anglicised form of the Cornish name for the town, which is Porth Ia or 'cove of St. Ia'; that St. Ives is just one bead on a fine necklace of golden Cornish beaches all the way around the 296 miles or so of the Cornish coast.

Panoramic View of Porthmeor Beach and the Island

St. Ives still has that special feeling about it. The artistic community would say that it's 'the light' - as first recognised by Alfred Wallis, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and friends in the late 1920's and 1930's. Holidaymakers would probably say 'the fine beaches' or 'the view' on entering St. Ives by train as you round the bend from Carbis Bay. Others might point out the quaint streets with strange names like 'Salubrious Terrace', 'Bethesda Hill', 'Teetotal Street' and 'The Digey', the small cottages stacked haphazardly climbing the steps to the car park at Barnoon. Coastal footpath walkers might call it the 'gateway to the granite cliffs and outcrops of north Penwith'. Is it any one of these things?, well I think all of the above add a little something to the rich tapestry that makes up the complete St. Ives. Standing near the harbour with your back to the Sloop Inn, you can look across St. Ives Bay to Riviere Towans and Gwithian. I almost forget that I am still on the mainland and think that I am on an island - that 'I am relaxing here and that all the rat race has been left over there'.

The Tate Gallery, St. Ives

St. Ives always has been, and probably always will be, a magnet for those people with a bit of flair - be it with paint, with sculpture, with architecture or whatever. Why not check out the following attractions in and around the town: The Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden, Barnoon Hill, St. Ives Tel. (01736) 796226, The Leach Pottery at Higher Stennack Tel. (01736) 796398. Others may wish to take a boat trip out to Seal Island aboard the old St. Ives Lifeboat the James Stevens No.10 or purchase the excellent The Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden book by Tate Gallery Publishing. Nearby Zennor offers The Wayside Folk Museum (Established 1917).


More Photographs of St. Ives

Tourist Information

The nearest source of local information is available from St Ives Tourist Information Centre.

Events near St Ives

Dining out near St Ives

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