How To Spend 24 Hours In St. Ives, Cornwall

There is something so magical about the little town of St. Ives in Cornwall. It’s a hotspot holiday destination for couples, families and individuals who want to either enjoy the local beaches, indulge in the delicious food or explore the more arty culture of this vibrant seaside town.

If you’re planning on coming to Cornwall any time soon, then a day trip to St. Ives is an absolute must. The town is bursting with things to do and with the most stunning views around every corner, we’re sure you’re not going to want to leave.

We’ve rounded up our favourite way to ‘spend 24 hours in St. Ives’; from where you should eat, to what you can do.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives



If you’re one for having breakfast on the go, then we recommend you grab a coffee and croissant from Yellow Canary. They do the best coffees in town. Trust us!

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

Sit and enjoy your coffee and breakfast on the harbour front, as you watch the town slowly come to life. On a sunny day the water turns the most magical azure colour. Keep your eyes peeled, occasionally there is a seal or two bobbing about.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

If you prefer a more hearty breakfast then nothing beats eating at the Porthminster Kitchen. Especially if you want a meal with a view.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

With a balcony on the outside and huge windows with panoramic views of St. Ives Harbour on the inside, you can’t find a more picturesque spot to start your morning. Porthminster Kitchen’s breakfast is our favourite in town!


After breakfast it’s time to start your day in St. Ives.

For the adventurous….head to Porthminster Beach and hire a kayak. Or, if you want to do something a little bit different, try your hand at paddleboarding. It’s a great way to explore the bay and is becoming more and more popular with locals and tourists alike.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

For the families…take to the seas by hiring a self drive boat from the harbour. Cruise up and down at your leisure all the way to Porthminster Beach and back. This goes down really well with kids of all ages, although you may end up fighting over who is going to drive.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

If water isn’t your thing, head to Porthminster Beach and spend some time building sandcastles, playing in the park by the Garden Bar or challenging your family to a game of mini golf. 

For the arty types…head to either the famous ‘Tate Gallery’ or the neighbouring ‘Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculture Garden’. If you are on a budget, take a stroll to ‘Downalong’, the older part of St.Ives. Here you will find a whole range of art galleries, studios and museums all nestled between beautiful old fisherman cottages.



If you want a traditional ‘Cornish’ lunch on the move then grab a pasty from the famous St.Ives Bakery. Situated in the middle of Fore Street, the St. Ives Bakery is extremely popular with tourists and locals alike.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

It can recognised by it’s famous window full of meringues and delicious cakes. If you do choose to eat outside, just beware of the seagulls! They’re always on the hunt for food and will not hesitate to steal your lunch.

If you prefer to sit in and have lunch, then there are plenty of delicious restaurants and cafes to choose from. A few of our favourites are Cafe Pasta, The Searoom, Porthminster Beach Cafe and Porthmeor Beach. All four of these restaurants have sea views, refreshing drinks and mouth watering food.


After a busy morning of adventure and eating it’s time to do a spot of shopping. Spend an hour or two mooching through the shops along Fore Street. Fore Street is a beautiful cobbled street that is set one row back from the harbour front in St. Ives.

It’s the main hub of town and is full of a mixture of high street shops and independent stores. Our favourites are Sweet Lime Boutique, Silver Origins and I Should Coco. Spend time here stocking up on presents, homewares and sweet treats. Prepare to spend a bit of time walking along the street. It does get very crowded in the summer months, so don’t expect to get anywhere very fast.


When you’re finished shopping and you need a bit of peace and quiet, head over to the ‘Island’ for a stroll or a sit down. The Island is a beautiful hill with an ‘Old Chapel’ sat on the top. It is famous for its 360 degree views of St. Ives Bay, the ocean and beyond and is also where you’ll find the local coastguard station. The grassy banks and benches all around give you a great spot to sit, relax and enjoy the views.

If you fancy a dip in the sea, then walk down to ‘Porthgwidden Beach’. Porthgwidden Beach is nestled in a little cove just beside the Island. The beach is usually very sheltered and the waters are a lot quieter. It’s our favourite spot for a quick swim. Afterwards we love to warm up with a takeaway hot chocolate from the Porthgwidden Beach Cafe takeaway.



It’s time to start thinking about dinner. St. Ives is spoilt for choice with eateries. We really recommend you book a place to eat in advance, especially in the summer months. Check out my post ‘The Best Places To Eat In St. Ives, Cornwall’, for recommendations.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

If you want to be in a prime position to watch the sunset and reminisce all about your incredible day in St. Ives, then head to Porthmeor Beach. There are two eateries to choose from on Porthmeor Beach.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

If you’re looking for a restaurant environment on your sunset adventure, we highly recommend you book a table at Porthmeor Cafe. Here you can enjoy either a filling meal or a tapas style dinner.

If you’d prefer to eat right on the beach then West Beach Services, on the far end of Porthmeor beach, is the place to go.

How To Spend 24 Hours In St Ives

Open all evening you can get a whole range of take out foods from thai inspired curries (like the one above) to pizzas. You can either sit on one of the benches and enjoy table service, or ask for takeaway and go and sit on the beach to watch the sunset.

When the sun is set it’s time to head home and start to plan when you’ll be heading back to this beautiful town.

We hope you enjoy your 24 hours in St. Ives. Let us know below if you’ve been to St. Ives before or if it’s on your bucket list.



    August 15, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    St Ives is so beautiful and I actually when we were there we only had about 4 hours to spend there so I can totally get that you could see A LOT in 24 hours….and what a beautiful 24 hours it would be!

  2. Ana De- Jesus
    August 16, 2017 / 1:06 am

    Its almost hard to believe that this in the UK, this is stunning what a magical place. Look how blue that water is ! x

  3. Sophie's Nursery
    August 16, 2017 / 7:29 am

    I absolutely love St. Ives! Its stunning. Great ways to spend a day there – love the sound of hiring a boat! x

    August 16, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    I am heading down to Cornwall in December for a wedding. I can’t wait to try a proper Cornish pasty!

    August 16, 2017 / 5:46 pm

    Oh wow, beautiful pictures. I have never been to Cornwell before, it looks so beautiful. One to add to my wishlist of places to visit now 🙂

  6. Rachel Neal
    August 16, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    The first picture you have added looks like it is somewhere abroad, we absolutely love Cornwall its just a beautiful place. I have never seen those self drive boats before they look so good, really need to give these a go the kids would love them.

    August 16, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    St. Ives is on our bucket list for next summer, but not so sure we’d be able to fit everything in a weekend as we’d need to stay longer in order to justify the 6 hour journey. Great post though and its amazing what you can do if you plan it out xx

  8. Lauretta at Home and Horizon
    August 17, 2017 / 8:17 am

    I will definitely try the self drive boat. I just love the sea. Lovely photos. 🙂

  9. London Mumma
    August 17, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I have never been to Cornwall but it does sound very lovely and the perfect getaway.

  10. Mandi
    August 19, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    This is definitely on my bucket list when all the children are old enough to take care of themselves and I can have a week away with just my husband!

    August 21, 2017 / 8:10 pm

    It’s looks so beautiful, I’ve never been to Cornwall but always wanted to go.

  12. Michelle Bradbury
    September 6, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    We would love to holiday in Cornwall, and this post has served to confirm our desires! It is absolutely stunning and we will definitely put St. Ives on the “to do” list if we manage to go down the coast that way. Beautiful pictures and fantastic review!

    • September 7, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      Honestly Michelle, it is so worth it. St. Ives is also a great area to stay in because it’s so close to attractions like ‘The Minack Theatre’ and ‘St Michaels Mount’. Definitely worth it if you can ever get down here and there is accommodation and things to do for all budgets. Can’t afford luxury accommodation? There is camping and glamping. Can’t afford fine dining? Take a bbq to the beach! That’s our favourite thing about this town. Is that it’s for everyone! 😀

  13. Nicky L Ashworth
    September 6, 2017 / 10:30 pm

    St Ives is such a beautiful place I love it more each time I go! The best bit for me? The scones with the cornish clotted cream!

    • September 7, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      Mmmmm scones with cornish clotted cream is the best. Our favourite place for scones is ‘The Searoom’ on the harbour. They’re so delicious x

  14. Jenni
    September 17, 2017 / 11:33 am

    This looks so lovely I have never been to Cornwall and really want to go and after looking at these pictures I am definitely going to visit next year. I will also love to try one of those pasties from the famous St ives Bakery yumyum

  15. May 26, 2018 / 10:48 am

    On our way to Cornwall so hoping we will be able to fit a trip to St Ives in. I think my son would love the chance to drive a boat! How do you know where the safe places do drive it is?

  16. July 4, 2018 / 10:17 am

    Oooh this looks like so much fun for a getaway weekend! I’ll keep that in mind for my next “escape”!

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