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View of St Ives

Cornwall and St Ives are known for a great many things, from its beautiful beaches and walks to its world-class restaurants, but there’s something that might not spring to mind when you think of the beautiful south coast – the world-class culture and art escapes on offer there.

Yes, whilst London might make the biggest noise when it comes to arts and culture, Cornwall has quietly developed an international reputation for incredible cultural highlights. Indeed, Cornwall has been a natural home and source of inspiration for artists since the early 19th century, and currently boasts more working artists than anywhere in the country, London aside.

So where are the things you should see and do whilst you’re on your Cornwall holiday? Here are some of our favourites.

The Minack Theatre

A short drive from St Ives, the Minack theatre is perhaps the most stunning open-air theatre in the world. Carved into the cliffs above the wonderful Porthcurno beach, the theatre offers a compelling and varied programme of shows with a view that I rivalled only in quality by the acting present on stage.

The season typically runs from April until October, which is a shame for those visiting during the winter months, though I’m sure you’ll agree that an open-air theatre built into a cliff in December is far from appealing.

If a show isn’t your thing, you’ll also find the Minack hosting fantastic music acts, and even circus groups. There’s something for everyone!

Lanhydrock House & Garden

From its imposing gate to the stunning grounds on which it sits, there are few finer places to spend a day in Cornwall than Lanhydrock House. As a National Trust property, it’s been deemed of supreme value to the British public and thankfully, it’s custodians have kept it in absolutely remarkable conditions.

We won’t spoil what’s in store for you, but rest assured that you’ll enjoy the intersection between history, art and design.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

World-renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth lives and worked in St Ives until her death in 1975, at which point her studio was turned into a museum of her work. Today, it stands as a monument to her genius, complemented by the sub-tropical garden that Hepworth herself designed, which is dotted with examples of her work – many of which are in the same place she placed them.

From Spring 2017, the Tate gallery in St Ives will reopen after a major renovation and will once again stand as one of St Ives finest cultural locations. Until then, the Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden is a glorious alternative.

Penlee House Gallery and Museum

Located in Penzance, an easy drive from St Ives taking in beautiful panoramic views of St Michaels Mount and Mounts Bay, the Penlee House Gallery and Museum is ranked as one of the best things to do in Cornwall by users of TripAdvisor, and we can’t argue with that. Featuring incredible collections of archaeology, textiles, decorative arts, costume and for 2017 a large collection of paintings from the famed Newlyn School Artists, Penlee House is an undoubted smash.

You’ll love the building, exhibits and food available, and lovely surrounding of Penlee Gardens, with Penzance just out of the door, you can make a full day out of your trip to Penlee.

To experience these great attractions for yourself book yourself onto one of our amazing holidays in St Ives and Carbis Bay.