A chocolate-box of a harbourside unfurls around the wide, water-sloshing bay of St Ives. It's unquestionably one of the most handsome spots in Cornwall, with whitewashed homes, a peppering of palm trees, and narrow cobbled lanes weaving this way and that. Art lovers and beach lovers alike find plenty in this corner of the South West, what with the Tate and Carbis Bay's white sands beckoning nearby. To find the stay that's perfect for you, read this guide to all things St Ives cottages.
Choose boutique St Ives cottages
If there's one sort of cottage that St Ives does brilliantly, it's surely the boutique. Steeped in style, with characterful touches and a taste of local heritage, these are the pads you'll want to write home about. Some of the things you can expect to find are listed below.
Historic features in St Ives cottages
With their roots in the medieval ages, the streets and quays of St Ives have a long story to tell. That's true of many of the cottages here, too. Some are even Grade-listed, which means they have unique features worthy of historic attention. You'll see that come through in the weathered stone facades and the stacked chimneys, the paned window frames and the indoor spaces with exposed beams and big hearths.
Luxury aspects of St Ives cottages
St Ives is no stranger to the jet-setting crowd, so don't be surprised to find a whole medley of uber-luxurious rentals tucked into its rabbit-warren of streets. From the outside, they might look like any other old Cornish cottage, but inside, the lounges could be loaded with elegant local artworks, the kitchens might be bespoke and designer, and there's a chance there will be a hot tub awaiting in the garden.
A dog-friendly cottage in St Ives
Because St Ives is more of a culture destination than an adventure one, you might find fewer cottages here offer pet-friendly policies than out in some of Cornwall's other coastal towns. However, there should still be something to suit if you want to treat the pup to a taste of the South West seas. They could have size restrictions on the pooch, though, and it's worth remembering that nearby Carbis Bay has regular limits on dog access.
Areas to find St Ives cottages
St Ives isn't a huge place, but it does spread between an historic marina and a number of other areas along the wide stretches of St Ives Bay.
A place to stay on St Ives harbour
The beating heart of the town is the <a href="https://www.homeaway.co.uk/d/107631/st-ives-harbour">harbourside</a>. Once a bustling pilchard fishing port, it's now a quaint vision of the Cornwall of yesteryear, lined with paint-peeling skiffs and fishmongers and tearooms. Just one street behind is where you'll find the Barbara Hepworth Museum and the New Craftsman Gallery, which showcase work from some of the region's most prestigious artists.
Go to Carbis Bay for beach views
Carbis Bay isn't just the best beach in the region of St Ives – many say it's the best beach in the whole of Cornwall. It manages to live up to that reputation with sands that glow a sugar-white hue, seas of light blue and a lining of sub-tropical flora. Many of the St Ives cottages here stud the clifftops above the beach, meaning you can bag some jaw-dropping views from your bedroom window.
Quaint St Ives cottages on the North Terrace
A whole string of charming, stone-faced fisher's cottages lines the North Terrace area of St Ives. It's a high-perched part of the town, which means a number of the rentals cast their gaze over the Gothic St Ives Parish Church and down to the Celtic Sea. Settling here also means being just a short drive from the reserves of the Penwith Heritage Coast, where the craggy cliffs loom up to herald the very south-west tip of Cornwall and England as a whole.
How to get a great deal on St Ives cottages
You might not think that this stylish corner of Cornwall would be a budget-friendly place to venture, however, there are ways you can score great deals on rental homes.
Bag your St Ives cottage nice and early
St Ives is a such a popular summertime escape for UK staycationers that you'll need to search for your home early if you want any chance of getting a bargain between June and August. Being prepared might not lower the cost of stays, but it will ensure you have the full range of wallet-friendly homes to pick from in the most enticing parts of town.
Head away from the harbour
The harbour of St Ives is the place to see and be seen. Cocktail bars, slick tearooms and cutting-edge art galleries all make their home there, as do the most coveted of all St Ives cottages. If you don't mind being just a short walk from that boat-bobbing quay, you can head deeper into the village and get lower rates along with a little more quietude.
Come to St Ives cottages in the autumn or spring
Although summer is very much the season to catch St Ives in full swing, there's a lot to be said for trips in spring and autumn. This far south in the UK, you can expect some pretty decent weather at those times of year. Beaches like Carbis Bay might also be a little more secluded, while rates in holiday homes could plummet.