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2012 Drop-on Tours start soon!

Hello everyone,

It’s Dawn here – your new Tour Guide who has taken over Guided Tours of St Ives from Valerie Hurry. Preparations are now in full swing for the new season, and we have some changes to announce.

Firstly, we will be running three tours this year – ‘Welcome to St Ives’, ‘The Story of St Ives’ and ‘Art in St Ives’ – check out the website for full details.

Secondly, there will be no drop-on tours on Fridays this year, but we will run one on Wednesdays instead. So, the week will run as follows:

Welcome to St Ives – Monday at 11am

The Story of St Ives – Wednesday at 11am

Art in St Ives – Thursday at 11am

All tours meet at The Guildhall as usual, and we start on Monday 5th March. Very Exciting!!

I will be dropping off new leaflets around town during w/c 27th Feb – if you need some but I don’t come to you please contact me! I look forward to meeting lots of new people during the coming weeks and months.

The Drill Hall

The Drill Hall in St Ives is a hidden find. Originally the building was the Teetotal Methodist Chapel but it has now been converted into a lovely space filled with quirky and unusual shops.   At the entrance to the space is Cafe Art a wonderful cafe which hosts all kinds of slightly different events together with changing Art Exhibtions. Cafe Art has free wifi and some very good coffee not to mention a range of different tasty lunchtime (or anytime!) snacks. Pete and Zoe are a lovely couple and the place has a very friendly and homely feel. Many locals make it their second home 🙂 Follow  them on facebook.

But there is more…………..go inside and you see Favela which sells lovely original children’s tops, Salon Uno for all your hairdressing needs and of course the new She. Also inside is the well known Poppy Treffry. Newly opened Chic Abode has interesting and ecletic Cornish crafts for every home.

Any of you looking for Brooksmith Gallery they have moved and are now concentrating their time near Bath where they live. If you miss them and want to buy just go on to their website.

The Drill Hall is on the corner of Chapel Street – just near the Co-op and sort of opposite the cinema. Don’t miss it!

Hidden Masterpieces!

If you find yourself in Hull, Cork or Dundee, what paintings should you go and
look at? Many masterpieces are waiting for you around the British Isles,
sometimes neglected, in our galleries and museums. Here, broadcaster, critic and
President of the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies
(NADFAS), Christopher Lloyd, identifies over 265 masterpieces in England,
Scotland, Ireland and Wales from the National Gallery to The Burrell Collection
in Glasgow some acknowledged greats, others surprising, quirky and richly
rewarding. All the paintings are the personal selection of Lloyd who has come
across and enjoyed or admired them in public collections during the course of
his career. His purpose throughout is to encourage others to visit the same
places and experience the same pleasures. For tourists, this book offers a
treasure trail; for the art lover, a vade mecum and companion in all an expert
guide to the highlights of British collections our countrys galleries have found
their Pevsner!

Christopher Lloyd’s book In Search of Masterpiece as described on the Amazon Website. But for visitors to Cornwall  one of the artists mentioned in the book  Michael Porter actually has a studio in Newlyn and currently is being shown at  the Wills Lane Gallery St Ives. In fact for groups or seriously interested individuals I could even arrange a studio visit!

Michael originally comes from Derby and has a work in the Derby Museum so look out for him there as well.

And Christopher Lloyd himself is a fascinating Art Historian formerly Surveryor of the Queen’s Collection.

Enjoy 🙂


Pubs and Real Ale in St Ives!

Hi Everyone, I expect a lot of you will want  a pint when you are in our lovely town.

You can of course look at the Camra website. But just to tell you some of what is on offer.

Doom Bar from Sharps Brewery

Betty Stoggs from Skinners

And our own St Ives Beer Brewery beer known as Boilers

The Castle Inn in Fore Street  has a wide range of real ales.

Make sure you visit the Sloop.  The Sloop website also  has great live webcams. Take a look

You could try Rum and Shrub. Shrub being a mixer that was originally devised to mask the taste of rum which was tainted with salt water from being left to long on the ocean shore whilst avoiding customs officers!

And a drink from the past which I have not tried Mahogany. A mix of gin and black treacle! Go on I dare you 🙂

As for pubs well there is plenty of choice. The Western has a good bar called the Kettle n Wink (come on my tour to find out why) It also has a reputation as a great music venue with many local and visiting musicians gathering for acoustic night, songwriters night and others. Not to forget the amazing Jazz nights on Tuesday evenings upstairs in the function room.

The Queens Hotel has recently got new owners and has been refubirshed with a tasty pub menu and beer from the St Austell Brewery.

The Lifeboat Inn on the Harbour front, the Sheaf of Wheat just up the Stennack (excellent value food served), The Golden Lion also recently refurbished, The Union in Fore Street and just to complete the pub tour of St Ives The Three Ferrets which is the real drinking man’s pub in Chapel Street.

If you do want to venture a little way out of St Ives (possibly to avoid the crowds in school hols) the Watermill at Lelant is lovely with a nice pub garden, the Tinners Arms at Zennor, the Badger Inn at Lelant, The Lodge at Balnoon (formerly the Balnoon Inn) nice garden and a playroom with pool, table football etc to keep the adults and kids happy………..,  and at Halsetown we have the Halsetown Inn which serves the most amazing pies.


Literary St Ives!

Hi Everyone, I can’t begin to tell you about all the authors who
currently or very recently have written books which include settings from St
Ives as I am constantly surprised when reading to suddenly come across some
little snippet. For those of you who have already visited St Ives you will know
how inspirational the place is both for artists and writers. Anyone who hasn’t
visited come on down!
Anyway Literature. Firstly of course Virginia Woolf stayed here every
summer of her childhood and visited many times as an adult. Her book ‘To the
Lighthouse’ is based on Godrevy Lighthouse. Marion Whybrow a local author has
written a lovely book about Vanessa Bell and Virginia in St Ives ‘ Remembering
St Ives’ Sadly out of print but you can read it in the St Ives library. Pick up
any of Virginia’s books and you will find wonderful painterly descriptions of
St Ives especially in The Waves.
And now for some other authors.
Cyril Noall ‘A book of St Ives’  Cyril was THE HISTORIAN for St Ives. A great
way of finding out more about our historical past – new paperback edition currently for sale in St Ives Library
Ann Kelley The Bower Bird. Ann won the Costa Children’s Book Award but
this Gussie series is a must read for all ages.
Herbert Read Contemporary British Art Well St Ives has many many writers
on art and Herbert Read was THE CRIITC around the 1950s. Read this or any of
his books for insights into the art and artists of the time written from the
Patrick Heron Artist and Art Critic
Leslie Stephens Virginia Woolf’s father who was the instigator of the
National Dictionary of Biography which is still an amazing resource
Compton Mckenzie My Life and Times Octave 4, Whisky Galore, Carnival He
lived in Hayle in his 20s and wrote plays for the locals to act out in the St
Ives Arts Club
Jessica Mann Godrevy Light. What a LOVELY book and Jessica also writes
crime fiction.
Philip Moran Soggy the Bear. Soggy lives in St Ives! Illustrated by
Michael Foreman. Worth buying a copy for the amazing illustrations of St Ives
Norman Levine One Way Ticket. Norman was a Canadian who lived in St Ives
and his book and stories tell of a time past. The library has a collection kept
behind glass but you can ask to read the books.
Guy Thorne Portalone. An Edwardian bestselling novelist. Read Portalone
and see St Ives as it was
Michael Morpurgo Dolphin Boy set in St Ives with illustrations by
Michael Foreman,. MM is the author of the famous War Horse
David Tovey—St Ives Artists books
Sven Berlin The Dark Monarch This booked was BANNED!!!!
Daphne du Maurier – she did visit St Ives!
Denis Val Baker The Seas in the Kitchen, Britains Art Colony by the Sea
– wonderful stories of a family coming to live in St Ives and Penzance 50s
W S Graham Nightfishing WONDERFUL POET
D H Lawrence Kangaro written partly when he lived in Zennor during the
1st World War. Sadly he and his German wife were drummed out of Cornwall.
Helen Dunmore Zennor in Darkness about the above and also some other
wonderful books many set in St Ives. Adult and Children’s books.
Teen/Childrens Writers
Chris Higgins
Liz Kessler
More Art Writers (There are many more than this!)
Michael Bird
Virginia Button
Tom Cross
and lastly the below
Suzanne Griffith Stitching for Victory. A local author.  Sounds  an unusual subject  but the most brilliant book if you are
interested in the social history of WW2

Visiting Tate St Ives and other galleries

Remember the Tate closes 3 times a year for  nearly two weeks to rehang . Always check if you are planning to specifically come to view the Tate St Ives – don’t be disappointed.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum is always open and what a delight that is.  And remember we now have the wonderfully revamped Leach Pottery. Also why not go to  the Penlee House Gallery in Penzance which is filled with wonderful Newlyn School Paintings, has a delightful little museum and wonderful tearooms!

You can buy a joint admission to the Tate and Hepworth but there are also Art Passes available which cover all the above  and more  enabling you to pop in again and again while you are in the area.

People sometimes say to me that it is hard to know which other galleries to go to in St Ives. There are so many! If you pop into any gallery you can pick up the handy Gallery Guide which covers most of the galleries in St Ives and has a sort of map on the back. Remember the St Ives Arts Club founded in 1890 has exhibitions of current member’s art work.  Also  do visit The St Ives Society of Artists which is where the artists of St Ives first exhibited as also The Penwith Society of Artists (come on my tour to find out more :)).  Otherwise you need to browse! Don’t miss the back streets and look out for the Millenium Gallery (you can pick up the ‘St Ives Select Arts Guide’ from them), Wills Lane, The New Craftsman, The Belgrave, Westcotts Gallery which all have amazingly knowlegeable owners and stock some work from the hey days of St Ives Art plus some excellent new discoveries.

And just a reminder the library has some wonderful art works mostly high up where you might not look. Ask them for the laminated sheet. Also an excellent art book collection. You can browse the reference section or if you have your home library ticket you can borrow books while you are down. And that is all books not just the Art ones so you could always read………..hmm better do a blog about the literature in St Ives 🙂



They look nice but BE WARE!!!! Seagulls steal your food. St Ives is just a giant smorgesboard for them. Pasties, fish and chips, icecream, your picnic food on the beach and someone on my tour last week said a seagull stole some liver they were cooking in the frying pan outside on their campsite!

Public conveniences and baby change in St Ives!

Ok well I am told that all this is going to change but for now! There are toilets at the large car park by the Leisure Centre I would recommend using them before you come down into town.

THE BEST and cleanest toilets and with reasonable baby changing are behind the Sloop Inn just off the harbour front. (Pop into the Sloop Craft Market while you are there :))

The toilets on the harbour front next to the Lifeboat House are usually pretty smelly but convenient (excuse the pun). They do have a disabled toilet.

There are small toilets between Nat West Bank and the flower shop just at the bottom of Tregenna Hill. Handy if you are that end of town as that is pretty much the only option apart from the Library. The library is closed on Sundays and Wednesdays.

There are reasonably ok toilets at the end of Smeatons Pier, toilets just off Porthgwidden Beach and off Porthmeor Beach. Porthmeor and Porthgwidden are ok for baby changing.

The toilets off Porthminster beach are all in separate cubicles and get really smelly and messy. I can’t really suggest an alternative when you are that side of town and they are also the nearest to the station.

The Tate has nice clean toilets and baby changing. You can access the Tate Cafe, Bookshop and toilets without paying to go into the exhibition. Also a disabled toilet.

Well I think that is it……………

Happy Holidays!



Buses in Cornwall and the 300 Open Top Bus!

Wonderful bus – what views! And you can get on and off to walk, explore or do whatever you like. It goes to Lands End, Zennor (great place with the Tinners Arms Pub, a tea room attached to the hostel, The Wayside museum and flour mill. Plus absolutely stunning parts of the Coastal Footpath.)

There are other buses! You need to get the timetable from the Visitor Information Centre or the Bus station.

What to do in St Ives in wet weather!

It has been raining today and it made me think……………………The Tate is the obvious choice but everyone goes there in the rain!  Somewhere which is often neglected is  the St Ives Musuem – well worth a visit as it is full of fascinating history- a real jumble but homely like St Ives itself and there is a trail for the kids. It is round the corner between Porthgwidden and the Harbour.

The amusement arcade, the cinema which during peak season puts films on during the day when it is wet.

I like going indoors in the Pednolva and just looking out over the harbour with newspaper, book, sketchpad.  Did you know the Pednolva is built on a mine?!  Ask them more about it.

The library has a fantastic reference section of St Ives History and Art books. You can also borrow items  if you have your home library card.

The Leisure Centre pool but again that can get crowded on wet days.

Not too far afield is the lovely little Wayside museum at Zennor.  Or you could venture to Penzance and visit the Penlee House Gallery and Museum. There is a cinema in Penzance too.

For kids there is the Playzone at Carbis Bay.

It is actually better to go to the Eden Project on a nice day as there are extensive grounds outside.

There are loads of places further afield so you could pop in to the Visitor Information Centre! Have a look at Flambards website. It is not too far.

And of course you can come on one of our tours which we tweak to cope with wet weather! Or even do totally inside with some great old photos. Which reminds me don’t forget to visit the St Ives Archive!

As always any suggestions are welcome and I will add them to this blog.


Drop on Tour Times

The Story of St Ives
Wednesdays 11am

Drop on Tours run from April to the end of October.

Private Tours

Private Tours can be booked at any time of year.

For more information and booking, please contact Dawn on 07816 180639.

Recent Comments
  • Sue Meadows: Fabulous, informative and fun walk with Dawn around St Ives today. Highly recommend!
  • Leigh Brownsword: I’ve been coming to St Ives all my life and learnt more today, in 1.5 hours,...
  • Conrad Shail: A great interactive tour. We are glad we decided to go along and join Dawn on her...
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