The Ultimate '48 Hours in St Ives, Cornwall' Guide - BRB Travel

BRB's Travel Expert Roxana, shares how to spend 48 hours in St Ives, Cornwall.

10 min read

After our Founder Greg shared his top tips on how to spend 48 hours in Barcelona, I thought it would be a good idea to look a little closer to home.

Following our recent survey, you told us that you wanted to explore Europe but also holiday in the UK. So at the end of July, we added 'Staycation' as a new trip type and since then, the BRB team has been booking #Staycays like there's no tomorrow! And with extended breaks now available, why not discover what puts the Great in Great Britain!?

So last week, I went away to the beautiful village of St Ives, to find out about the best way to enjoy 48 hours in Cornwall!

The Wonders of St Ives

Based on recent trips, St Ives has been a popular destination for BRB'ers looking to relax and recharge their batteries.

Originally a fishing town, St Ives was transformed into an artist’s paradise in the late 19th century when the St Ives train station was built, connecting it to the rest of England.

Since then it has attracted thousands of artists searching for inspiration from the tremendous coastal views and natural essence of the town. Most recently it has become popular with surfers, families and couples looking to escape city life, relax and catch a few waves.

4* Harbour Hotel & Spa

After a five hour drive from the BRB headquarters in London, I arrive in St Ives late-morning on Friday and head straight to the Harbour hotel to drop off my bags and check out this amazing hotel. Right off the bat, I come across this amazing lounge area and I immediately know that it is going to be a great stay!


The receptionist is incredibly friendly, checks me in quickly and gives me the key to my room. I make my way to the first floor and cannot believe my eyes when I open the door. This has to be one of the nicest bedrooms I've stayed in. The blue, orange and white colours compliment each other incredibly well, and the beautiful ceiling chandelier gives the room a certain 'je ne sais quoi'!


I put my bag on the bed and head over to the bedroom window and to my surprise, I have beautiful uninterrupted sea views. I can't wait to sit here with a book and watch amazing sunrises and sunsets!


I'm slowly falling in love with this hotel and I can tell you that I am looking forward to my breakfast in the restaurant tomorrow morning. With one side of the restaurant made entirely of windows overlooking the ocean, I already know that I'll be up early just to get a table by the window!


Day One


After a hearty and energising breakfast, visit Porthmeor Beach, once the golden sand is firmly between your toes, your holiday spirit is ignited. It’s a popular beach for families as its safe and kids have access to fun rock pools, during low tide. Surfers also love it here, so it is great for people watching.

Embedded content:

To get your sea legs, check out St Ives Surf School, they offer beginner and improver surf classes as well as paddleboard classes.

Embedded content:

But if you feel like you just want to chill but still want to conquer the open seas take their scenic kayak tour. It lasts approximately 90 minutes (from £30/person) and provides unique views of the shores of St Ives.

Embedded content:

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush during your St Ives adventure, coasteering may be what you are looking for. All activities with St Ives Surf School need to be pre-booked in advance.

Embedded content:


When at the seaside the traditional English meal of fish and chips is a must! It´s literally available in every restaurant. There are plenty of great eateries around Porthmeor Beach, so you can´t go wrong. Popular choices include:

The Loft Restaurant and Café, Norway Lane

Embedded content:

Porthmeor Beach Café, Porthmeor Beach

Embedded content:

Olives Café, Island Square

Embedded content:


Overlooking Porthmeor Beach is St Ives main attraction, Tate St Ives. Once you´re inside you'll understand why. The views make it even better than the Tate London, see if you agree. It´s open 10-4:30 pm. Tickets and entry time need to be pre-booked.

Embedded content:

For more art sophistication include Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in your Tate ticket, it´ll save you some money. You´ll get to step through the interesting life and work of Barbara Hepworth’s as you explore her home, studio and garden. It’s a truly magical place, that is also fascinating. I bet you´ll be thinking about it for the rest of your time in St Ives.

Embedded content:


Another absolute must when visiting St Ives is having a drink in The Sloop Inn. It´s believed to be the oldest pub in the area as it was built around 1312. Perfect spot for a photo!

It´s also a great place to eat, as they were recently awarded the AA Dinner award in recognition of their food in both the pub and their restaurant the Captains Table. If you love the vibes here stay and eat.

But if you are wanting something unique visit The Mermaid Restaurant, in the old fishing quarter. While it is described as the “most romantic restaurant” in St Ives, it´s also pretty tasty. Give your dining experience a twist by choosing to sit at the church pew tables.


To avoid an overdose of fish, order one of their many meat dishes or even a vegetarian curry dish. During the first hour (6-7 pm) you can get the affordable early bird menu, which is a set 3-course menu for £22.95 per person. Great for when you are starving!

End your day with a night stroll through the town and along the harbour. Be sure to look out at the floating lights on the ocean, which are hard at work catching your lunch for tomorrow.

Day Two


Start day 2 exploring the focal point of St Ives, the harbour. Watching the fishing boats return from a night of trawling, is spectacular as the harbour starts to bustle. The smell is unforgettable.

Walk along the harbour and enjoy the beautiful stone buildings, which house local shops and cafes. You can pick up a coffee and pastry at The Pier Coffee Bar and a few souvenirs.


Take a boat trip to Seal Island, which is only 3.5 miles off the coast of St Ives. Boat trips operate daily and cost around £20. You´ll definitely see plenty of spirited grey seals and great ocean views, but if you´re lucky (and may people are) you may also see Basking Sharks, Dolphins, Porpoises and Whales.

Embedded content:

Alternatively, or additionally, you can visit the famous St Ives landmark, Godrevy Lighthouse. It was built in 1858–1859 to protect and warn the ships from the harsh stone reef that surrounds the area.

Embedded content:

Now that you have seen most of what St Ives has to offer, discover why it is the way it is at the St Ives Museum. It overlooks Bamaluz beach and explores the local influences of the fishing industry, railway and mining. Open 10:30 - 4:30 pm (closed on Sundays) and entry is £4.

Embedded content:

In and Around St Ives

St Ives is famous for its beaches. If you have more than 2 days or fancy exploring the horizon check out these other beautiful spots and attractions.

Gwithian Beach

For an epic coastal walk, check out Gwithian Beach which offers miles of golden sand in every direction, shelter from the wind near the cliffs and the best rock pool ever.

"Sheep Dips" as the surf spot is named refers to a large pool formed between two big sets of rocks. Quite deep in the middle, gently sloping on both sides and with water far warmer than the Atlantic, this is a must see.

Embedded content:

Minack Theatre, Penzance

If you fancy a short 20 minute drive outside of St Ives, head over to the Minack Theatre in Penzance. This open-air theatre is dramatically situated on the cliffs at Porthcumo, near Land's End. It is open from May to September and hosts a season of plays and musicals during that period.

Embedded content:

Bude Sea Pool

On your way back from Cornwall (or on your way down), why not stop at Bude's Sea Pool. The pool is a part-natural and part man-made tidal pool on Bude's beach and provides safe bathing in sea water, but away from the dangerous Atlantic currents in the bay, ideal if you have kids or don't feel like swimming in the ocean.

Embedded content:

Love Travelling...Hate Trawling Travel Sites?

If like me you love staycation or taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!

The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.

With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.

With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.

Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.

Simply go to our how it works page to find out more about BRB or sign-up to the service now!

I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to St Ives in Cornwall and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!

Roxana (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)


Ready to experience Europe?
One surprise at a time

Get Started

FAO: BeRightBack
Founders Factory
Northcliffe House
Young St.
London, W8 5EH

Email us

We're hiring!