Getting to know… St Ives

The latest instalment of our spotlight series takes us to St Ives, an idyllic coastal town that’s a world-renowned surfing hotspot.

St Ives is tucked away in north Cornwall, on the coast of the Celtic Sea, and is famed for having some of Europe’s most highly rated beaches.

The local community numbers a little over 11,000, but the picturesque market town typically welcomes thousands of visitors from near and far during the summer months.

So if you’re one of the thousands of home-movers planning a change of scenery, we’d love to show you why St Ives could be your next move.

We’ve spoken to two local estate agents who know the town better than most, to reveal what St Ives is really like.

In this article, we hope to highlight the best that the area has to offer, and why, if you’re planning a move out of the city, you might want to consider this thriving seaside town.

So what are the main things you need to know?

Average asking price: £304,092

Average asking price, three-bedroom house: £428,535

Average asking price, two-bedroom flat: £405,436

Average asking rent: £704

Location: A 20-minute drive north of Penzance

Interesting fact: In 1999, the town was the first landfall of the solar eclipse of 11th August 1999

What’s currently on offer?

What do the local agents say?

Jon Harvey, branch manager at Bradleys Estate Agents, said: “St Ives is a quintessential Cornish fishing village, it’s a proper seaside town that’s got just about everything going for it.

“There are two main things that people associate with St Ives, which are art and surfing. The art scene is a pretty big deal down here and the art community is based around the Tate art gallery. We’ve also had the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, two famous artists, live in the town so we’ve always had a thriving arts community.

“As for surfing, it’s far and away the most popular sport in St Ives. We’ve got a beautiful bay here with seven miles of beautiful sandy beaches and the bay has been voted as one of the top ten bays in the whole world.

“I’d say that 60% of the people who live here do some kind of surfing, whether that be longboard surfing or paddle boarding or whatever. It’s a massive part of the town’s cultural identity. I’d say that one in three cars have a surfboard strapped to the roof, and people from seven-years-old right up to 70-years-old love surfing here.

“The lifestyle in St Ives is very laidback and has a far slower pace of life than what you’d find around the rest of the country. But I think people are also drawn here simply because it’s a really beautiful place.

“The harbour is gorgeous, there are cobbled streets in the town centre, and the sea views are really something special. It’s a place where people come to enjoy themselves and you can feel that here.

“Over the summer, we’ve been really busy, and we’ve not quite seen a market like it. Last month I had seven viewings in a day and all seven sold the same day – at the asking prices as well. Things have just gone through the roof.

“I think a big part of that is down to people working from home more. Why would you work somewhere you don’t like as much when you can move here and have incredible views while you’re at your laptop.

“Lots of the people showing serious interest in moving here are those ‘one day’ people; the people who say they’d love to move to the coast one day. I think that ‘one day’ has come for lots of people this year.”


Chris Clifford, head of residential sales for Savills’ Cornwall office, added: “Jutting out on the north coast of Cornwall, visitors to St Ives are greeted by turquoise waters and soft white sands, as if it’s a small slice of Caribbean paradise.  The ambiance, though, is a typical Cornish fishing village and artists’ haunt. 

“Drawn by the light and colours, many famous artists have made St Ives their home and it’s this same laidback, arty vibe that continues to draw people to the town. 

“Narrow, cobbled streets filled with art galleries, restaurants, and shops brimming with all manner of locally made goods make St Ives a really easy going place.  It’s a place where abandoning your car in the car park or driveway is the best thing to do to really appreciate all that the town has to offer.

“One can’t talk about St Ives without mentioning those gorgeous sandy beaches.  With beaches to three sides, there is plenty of choice for your day out, from the safe, sandy, family-orientated Porthminster beach to the surf beach of Porthmeor with waves to test even the most experienced surfer. 

“And if watching the action down in the harbour is more your thing, you’ll enjoy watching the boats coming and going and the (almost) resident seals playing in and around Smeatons Pier.”


READ MORE: How can homes sell 26 days more quickly?

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