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Enjoy an art escape in St Ives – a world-renowned destination that has historically been a stronghold for artists and creative types. When pilchard reserves dried up in the 19th century, it was the artists that flocked here to take up residence in the abandoned net lofts, lured by the magical light, stunning seascapes and a bohemian lifestyle. Now one of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts, you can fling open the door of your holiday cottage to witness the gob-smacking landscapes of St Ives that have inspired countless artists including Barbara Hepworth, Bernard Leach, Alfred Wallis, Terry Frost and Peter Lanyon.
Testimony to the town’s immense art legacy is the eminent Tate St Ives and it’s no less impressive sister gallery – the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Enjoy an art holiday in St Ives with Carbis Bay Holidays and you can stay in Hepworth’s former home, Chy an Kerris, and soak up your own inspiration from the surroundings.
Beyond big names that also include the Leach Pottery, there’s also a littering of independent galleries where you can come face-to-face with local artists and makers. At the Barnoon Workshop you can get hands-on at all sorts of art and craft workshops, or at Back Road Artworks you can witness painting and artworks in progress, and find all sorts of arty gifts to take home.
From St Ives it is also easy to reach a plethora of art hotspots across Penzance, Newlyn, Lamorna and St Just. Get your hands on an Art Pass and it couldn’t be easier to enjoy six of the finest art gems at your leisure. This unique ticket gives you unlimited access to the Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Leach Pottery, Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange.
Many of the art galleries also offer arty activities such as craft workshops, creative activities and art weekends.
And it isn’t just art that St Ives and its surrounds are famous for – the landscape has also been an inspiration for numerous authors, from Rosamunde Pilcher (The Shell Seekers) and Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse), to DH Lawrence, who once lived the rugged little outpost of Zennor.
Come and seek out art and literary destinations in St Ives and beyond, and for an in-depth introduction to the county’s rich and diverse art heritage, don’t miss the Cornwall Art Fair in St Ives in April.
- Discover the world famous art culture of St Ives and Cornwall.
- Find hidden galleries where local artists are at work.
- Whatever your age, you can try your hand at some arty activities in St Ives, from pottery to painting.
- Visit St Ives during the Cornwall Art Fair in May.
- Stay in Barbara Hepworth’s former home.
- Seek out destinations featured in TV series, books and films.
- Stay and experience our wonderful Cornish events and traditions.
- Enjoy a show in one of Cornwall’s open air theatres.