Home » St Ives Weekend Break: Places To Visit, Eat, Shop, And Stay

St Ives Weekend Break: Places To Visit, Eat, Shop, And Stay

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore local culture, or indulge in tasty food, a St Ives weekend break is the perfect destination. During my visit to south-west Cornwall, I was struck by the town’s unique blend of natural coastal beauty and cultural richness.

The turquoise waters and golden sand of Porthmeor Beach offer the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine, whilst the bustling narrow alleys of the town provide an energetic atmosphere for shopping and dining. In this article, I’ll share some of the best activities for making the most of your own weekend break in this delightful town.

Things to do on a St Ives weekend break

St Ives weekend break

Enjoy the beach

St Ives is known for its beautiful beaches, so beautiful in fact you could mistake them for somewhere abroad! The sand is so soft and golden, and the sea is a sparking turquoise. For me personally I like to just walk along the beach or sunbathe if it’s hot, but for those more active, the beach has consistent waves and is a popular destination for surfers. If you want to give it a go, you can take surfing lessons from one of the several surf schools located nearby.

St Nicholas Chapel St Ives

Walk up to St Nicholas Chapel

Siting atop a hill overlooking Porthmeor Beach is St Nicholas Chapel. There are no historical records to say exactly when it was built, but mention has been made that there was a stone chapel in the area before St Ives Parish Church was built in 1434. Over the years St Nicholas Chapel has had several uses including a place of worship, a vantage point to catch smugglers, and even a gun storeroom during the war with France. A short service is still held there on Thursdays, and it’s a truly magnificent spot to look out over St Ives.

Tate St Ives

Check out the art scene

St Ives has a thriving art scene, and the Tate St Ives is a must-visit for art lovers. Part of the Tate Collection (with two other museums in London and one in Liverpool), the museum has an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, and its location overlooking the beach adds to its charm.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum is another attraction that showcases the works of the renowned British sculptor. Another smaller spot to check out is Back Road Artworks – a large, inviting studio space where six artists permanently show their paintings and also offers visitors the opportunity to see them at work.

St Ives weekend break

Stroll the South West Coast Path

The South West Coast Path offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is perfect for a leisurely walk. The path takes you through some of the most scenic spots in St Ives and further afield. This really is the best way to fully appreciate the beauty of the area, take in the sea air, and leave your troubles behind even if only temporarily.

Barnoon Cemetery

Visit Barnoon Cemetery

This isn’t normally a suggestion I’d make for a holiday activity, but Barnoon Cemetery is quiet and scenic to walk around. Laid out in 1857, it looks out over the vast expanse of sea and has many ornate gravestones dating back to Victorian times which are interesting (and emotional) to look at. One of the graves I came across belonged to several members of the Carbines family, including William Carbines, who lost his life aged 20 on the Titanic.

Places to eat on a St Ives weekend break

When it comes to food, there’s plenty of options to suit all tastes and budgets on a St Ives weekend break. You won’t have to lift a finger as tasty local delicacies are served straight to your table. Here’s some to consider:

Courtyard St Ives

Courtyard Tea Room: Think pink, flowers, and bunting! This kitsch tea room is tucked away in a colourful and photogenic courtyard and is great if you want a little slice of quiet. As you’d expect from a tea room, the main food offering is lunch items such as sandwiches, cake, and scones.

The Rum and Crab Shack: It’s really all in the name – this rustic shack serves over 100 types of rum and there’s a lot of crab on the menu, as well as lobster and other seafood. There’s a couple of vegan options too.

Porthminster Kitchen: This restaurant serves up fresh, seasonal food with a focus on seafood. The menu changes regularly to reflect the best ingredients available, and the dishes are always beautifully presented. From a vantage point above the harbour with a 180° view, if you’re looking for a special night out, this is the place to go.

St Ives weekend break

Mermaid Seafood Restaurant: Situated in the heart of ‘Down-a-Long’, the old fishing quarter of St Ives, this restaurant is family-owned and is one of the town’s oldest. Inside it’s full of character with lots of vintage items. The extensive menu offers local seafood, alongside a selection of locally farmed meat and poultry, and a carefully selected wine list.

The Hub: This bar and restaurant is located right on the beachfront, so you can enjoy stunning views while you eat. Inside is a stylish, contemporary diner type vibe. The menu has all sorts of seafood, grilled meat, and burger options – even better, it serves cooked breakfasts too.

Olive’s Cafe: A quiet haven from the bustle of the town, this cafe has a Mediterranean style to it. It’s a lovely spot in summer with seating out front to watch the world pass by. Enjoy a cream tea, slice of cake, or a light meal such as salads, sandwiches, or tapas.

Scoff Troff Cafe: This cafe has a cool, industrial interior with a diverse and varied menu. Meals are inspired by the owners travels to Bali, Thailand, and Australia so it’s great if you like trying new things. They also have an interesting range of hot drinks including Cornish Mist and Cold Drip Coffee.

Whether you’re looking for a fancy dinner or a quick bite on the go, you’re sure to find something delicious.

Places to stay on a St Ives weekend break

When it comes to accommodation in St Ives, there are plenty of options to choose from, from smaller places down the cobbled side streets, to larger premises with far ranging sea views. Here’s some options to consider:

St Ives weekend break

Uno St Ives: Built in 2017, Uno is a contemporary house situated in a slightly elevated position with far-reaching views over St Ives Harbour and Hayle. With over 50sqm floor space per room, each room has its own unique features and the luxurious feel of a high end hotel suite. It’s in a great spot just a stone’s throw from the town centre.

Cornerways Guest House: Tucked away in a quiet spot in the Artists’ Quarter, this house is full of period features and modern amenities, so you have everything you need for your stay. Cornerways is also dog friendly, and can provide special extras such as champagne, flowers or chocolates for your arrival.

Harbour Hotel: This beachside hotel and spa is a totally tropical retreat, standing grandly above Porthminster Beach. Choose from 50 rooms and suites, brimming full of nautical charm and all featuring beautiful art deco seaside prints, bold striped bedding, and soft furnishings to match.

Primrose House: Part of St Ives since 1908, Primrose House is a delightful Edwardian building idyllically located only seconds away from Porthminster beach. All the rooms are designed to be comfortable, relaxing and homely – the neutral tones make the perfect space for you to chill out when not exploring.

Whether you’re looking for a modern upscale stay, or a cosy, relaxing retreat, there’s plenty of accommodation options to choose from for a St Ives weekend break.

Shops to visit on a St Ives weekend break

As someone who always loves a bit of shopping, I was thrilled to discover the variety of shops in St Ives. The small cobbled lanes and the bustling high street offer plenty of visitors to enjoy, including:

Independent shops in St Ives

Gullz R’ Loud: You can’t pass by this shop without appreciating its name! Inside is a range of cheeky gulls, crabs and puffins on all sorts of items from tea towels and aprons, to cushions, lampshades, and fridge magnets.

Whistlefish: This is a local independent shop that sells artwork and cards, both in-store and online. I’ve bought several of their cards and wrapping paper and they’re great quality with beautiful designs.

Rose Lane: The place to go to find vintage treasures including art, furniture, rugs, books, and photographs. You may find yourself spending a lot of time in here looking through all the items on offer!

Cornwall Soapbox: This family-run business produces high quality natural handmade soaps, scented candles and aromatherapy skincare – great if you’re looking for gifts.

Fudge in St Ives

The Cornish Candy Shoppe: No weekend break is complete without a sweet treat to enjoy back at home. Stock up on fudge, chocolate or cake at this family-owned shop that has been serving the area since 1976.

The Common Wanderer: Providing a new approach to outdoor lifestyles, this shop only sells items from more environmentally conscious labels.

Black Seal Gallery: Selling original photographic prints, locally made pottery, and ceramics, you can also enjoy coffee with a sea view at this gallery come shop come cafe.

There are plenty of familiar brands on the high street too, including Fat Face, Joules, White Stuff, and Boots. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, fashion, or homewares, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

Places to go near St Ives

As much as I love St Ives, there are plenty of other places worth visiting in the area too if you get the chance. Here are a few of my favourites:

St Michael's Mount causeway

St Michael’s Mount

About 20 mins by car from St Ives is the town of Marazion and the iconic St Michael’s Mount. This tidal island is home to a medieval castle, and you can walk across to it at low tide. It really is worth the trip if you’re in south-west Cornwall already, I’ve never seen anything like it! Marazion itself is a lovely town with some great cafes and shops too.

Carbis Bay

If you’re looking for some more beach time, head to Carbis Bay. The beach has crystal-clear water, soft sand, and small waterfalls flowing down the coastal rock. There’s a great coastal walk here too. It’s less than 10 mins by car from St Ives and tends to be quieter.

Mousehole Cornwall


The small fishing village of Mousehole is around 30 mins by car from St Ives. It’s worth a visit if you have the time, as it has a picturesque harbour, pretty streets to explore, and independent shops and art galleries to browse.

Overall, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on a St Ives weekend break. Whether you’re drawn in by the shopping, the fresh food, the sandy beaches, or the local culture, there’s truly something for everyone in this beautiful part of the world.


Sophie is a Content & Social Media Manager, and the Founder of Britain and Beyond.

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