After looking at some reviews of St. Ives on Google which only gave 1 star Chris decided to investigate further…… It seems that a few people who visit St. Ives only visit a tiny, tiny part of it!!!!! Some of the people who awarded St. Ives only a single star complained about the ‘only beach’ being a tidal harbour beach. This made Chris a bit sad as people visiting seem unaware of what St. Ives has to offer so it must be disappointing for them and for us. Exploring an area is always important; when St. Ives is busy along the Harbour front and Fore Street (the cobbled one) it can be very stressful and being stuck in the slow-moving zombie or ant* like mass of people is not fun. As with any town though there are busy and less busy times, our 6 (you can say 7 at low tide, see our beach guide for more info) beaches means there are plenty of spaces to explore as well as lots of great business to visit.
The narrow windy streets, one-way systems and lack of parking also upset people on Google reviews. Obviously during the traditional school summer holiday times St. Ives is packed, if your not staying in St. Ives then avoid driving through the old town to the limited parking right by the beach and instead save yourself the stress and time and aim for the Leisure Centre car park. Car parks in the town and right by the beach will often be full, much like any popular town in busy times, they are used by people working and staying in town but the larger car parks often have spaces and there are park and rides to use. Driving near the train station or near the harbour will cause stress during the day and can taint the day if you are not expecting it. The streets around the harbour of St. Ives were not built for cars and we are yet to hear of a sat-nav that is actually reliable in Cornwall. if you are unfamiliar with St. Ives Check actual maps before heading in and ignore the sat-nav and concentrate on the roads instead, we have tried driving with one on roads we know and the sat-nav was stressful and often wrong. If you want to visit to enjoy the beaches in the summer do remember it is still warm in the evenings and often the beaches and big car parks get quiet from 5pm onwards as people go to get food, some will just stay on the beach BBQ’ing of course.
St. Ives also has a wealth of independent business as well as some national chains that all complement the town, they are not all on the small area around the harbour. The days of just ‘tourist tat’ shops is long gone, now it is mainly the large number of silver jewellery shops that catch peoples eye but in between them and there are great clothes, toys, home wares, food shops scatted around. St. Ives isn’t just for summer ether and much of the town is vibrant and active year round (parking is much easier in the winter months as well). As with anywhere exploring and seeking out places is rewarding, only doing the one or two most commonly done things will lead to stress and a slow day especially at the times lots of others are doing it.
*Did you know the term ‘Emmet’ sometimes used by the Cornish is actually old English for ant so we have always found it fitting when we are caught in a mass of people trying to get from one end of the harbour to the other.