St Ives, near Penzance, is one of the most popular Cornish holiday resorts. It has breathtaking coastal scenery, with four white sandy beaches which have been awarded European Blue Flag clean water status. Porthmeor Beach is a major surfing beach on the Atlantic Ocean. St Ives has a mild sub-tropical climate and enjoys high levels of sunshine, with spectacular sunsets. There are ancient pubs, including the Sloop Inn, which dates from the 14th century. St Ives is a very picturesque town, with numerous narrow winding cobbled streets, filled with fishermen’s cottages, which lead up from the harbour to the Church of St. Ia. Built in the early 15th century from brown Zennor granite, the church dominates the skyline of St Ives and the old town, which is clustered around it. In the Lady Chapel, there is a carving, “Madonna and Child”, by Barbara Hepworth, which she created in memory of her son, Paul, who died in a plane crash in 1953. Barbara Hepworth was a prominent artist in St Ives, from 1939 until her death in 1975. Today, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden displays her work in bronze, stone and wood.
St Ives, as well as attracting thousands of holidaymakers by its scenic beauty, has the distinction of being a major centre for the arts. It has a long history of association with famous artists, who are drawn by the scenery and the clear light. J.M.W. Turner sketched St Ives when he visited Cornwall in 1811. Henry Moore worked in the town in the mid 19th century. In the 1920s, Bernard Leach started his pottery and in 1993, Prince Charles opened the Tate St Ives gallery in recognition of the international importance of art in Cornwall. It has a stunning location overlooking Porthmeor Beach.
The town has good road access, but can also be reached by train. The St Ives Bay Line is a scenic branch line off the main line to London. From St. Erth, the railway sweeps along the golden sands of Hayle Towans and Carbis Bay, to Porthminster Beach at St Ives.