Secret St Ives
Keep your finger on the St Ives pulse with a little bit of local knowledge.
Everyone knows that for all the regular places that the tourists visit, there are always some secret gems that the locals keep for themselves. We’ve been looking out for the secret delights that St Ives and the wider area have to offer. For intrepid foodies, bon viveurs or just the insatiably curious, discover these less obvious delights in and around town.
SILCo – St Ives Liquor Co.– is a local brewery famous for it’s own blend of gin. The SILCo Searoom Gastrobar is a funky yet sophisticated eatery at the far end of Wharf Road. Serving full-English breakfasts, afternoon and evening tapas and humdinger cocktails at night, you can’t book in advance, you just turn up. Open everyday 9am – 10pm.
If you want the best coffee and you’re not in a hurry head along to Mount Zion Coffee. With his 5 grand state-of-the art German coffee machine, owner Mike Lang is as passionate about his coffee as his Dad, St Ives artist Wharton Lang, was about woodcarving. Housed in his father’s old studio, Mike’s approach is methodical, leaving more time to sip and enjoy the incredible harbour view. There’s a no rush approach in this coffee bar so be prepared to queue, they don’t serve food but the coffee is worth the wait! Open Weds – Sat 11.30 – 4pm; Sun 12-3pm.
Take refuge from the maddening world in St Ia church. This chapel of ease was constructed during the reign of Henry V and houses one of Barbara Hepworth’s most personal works, Madonna and Child, a memorial to her eldest son, who died on duty with the Royal Air Force.
The Cornish Cinema Club have started evening screenings of mainstream Hollywood movies on Porthmeor Beach this year. Tacos, popcorn, ice cream, soft drinks and bear are available. Start time is usually 8:30. Ticket price £5.
The Pilchard Press Alehouse is located up an alleyway of bins next to Pizza Express, but once inside this lively hole-in-the-wall with eccentric opening hours (4pm Wednesday-Sunday) a steady rotation of the finest quality beers and ciders in the Southwest are served. The proprietor is a singing solicitor.
The Pier Coffee Bar serves simple but amazing Italian bites; deliciously full sandwiches and baguettes, freshly baked cakes and muffins, good coffee and rich hot chocolate. Run by a friendly Italian couple, they also host mouthwatering ‘Pizza Nights’. This place really is a slice of Italy at the end of the pier. Open Sun – Thurs 10am – 4.30pm.
For a bit of a bite just outside of St Ives, visit Birdies Bistro in Hayle. Birdie’s sits on the edge of the RSPB’s Hayle nature reserve in Lelant and gives prime views over the estuary. They have a large outside seating area and a gazebo in the garden for shade. Breakfast is served until 11.45am. The lunch/dinner menu is served from noon and is an eclectic mix classics such as bubble & squeak, local caught fish, burgers, sandwiches and salads. Birdie’s is dog-friendly and they also cater for kids. It’s open everyday from 9.30 and stays open until late as required.
Rosevale Mine is a restoration project that preserves Cornwall’s tin mining heritage. Located in Zennor four miles outside of St Ives, this is a rare opportunity to don illuminated helmets and experience a working mine. Visits can only made by special appointment with the Rosevale Historical Mining Society.
To take in the full beauty of the Cornish coast visit Commando Ridge. Along the St Ives coastal path, its granite cliffs hover high over a boulder-strewn cove. This Royal Marine training patch is where Bear Grylls brought world champion boxer Anthony Joshua out of his comfort zone for the TV show, Bear’s Mission. Then afterwards why not retire to nearby Rosemergy Tearoom for arguably the best scones in the county. Jam first, naturally!