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View of St Ives

One of the best things about going on holiday is, without a doubt, the opportunity to see flora and fauna that we simply can’t elsewhere in our lives. On holiday, we not only get the opportunity to chance across new wildlife, we have the time and mental space to really appreciate it.

It’s no different on our fantastic self-catered St Ives and Carbis Bay holidays. Our cottages, apartments and homes offer unparalleled access to some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife anywhere in the UK, though with so much to see, you might be wondering where to begin.

In this guide, we’re going to share with you some of our favourite wildlife and nature hotspots around St Ives.

Dolphins, Seals, Sharks and More!

St Ives has a host of incredible wildlife highlights, but there’s nothing quite like seeing a family of dolphins playing just off the coast of the rugged Cornish coastline or witnessing a family of grey seals lounging atop rocks, taking in the sunshine.

If that sounds like your kind of day out, then the good news is that the appearance of dolphins can happen at any time of the year, as they come to feed on the small fish shoals off the island. The most common species you’ll see are the common and bottlenose dolphins, though you may well spot a rissos dolphin, or even a harbour porpoise.

During summer months, you’ll sometimes see the floppy dorsal fin of an oceanic sunfish – the largest bony fish in the world, which grows to around 1.8m at adult size. If you’re lucky, you could even spot a basking shark or two during settled weather.

As for seals, small numbers of grey seals can be seen at any time of the year, weather permitting. These are often from a large colony, which live near Carbis Bay at Godrevy Point.

Brilliant Birds.

Consider yourself something of an amateur birdwatcher? Well, St Ives has a few treats in store for you. Alongside a huge array of land birds, you’ll enjoy a comprehensive complement of seabirds, attracted by the variety of fish and safe places to nest.

Seabirds can be seen at any time of the year, though the viewing opportunities are at their best when strong NE-NW winds force the birds closer to the shore, leading to some spectacular views and (if you’re so inclined) wonderful photography opportunities.

Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills and a few Balearic Shearwaters can be witnessed on favourable days, whilst the shoals of fish mean that razorbills and guillemots, along with the obligatory gulls.

During the months of April and September, you’ll often see some of the rarer species as sea birds move through the area, so keep an eye out and bring a notepad!

Glorious Gardens.

There’s also a huge variety of stunning gardens around St Ives, each of which offer rare plants, beautiful walks and unimaginable numbers of wildlife, covering everything from butterflies to songbirds. In particular, we love the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens, designed by the lady herself. We’re also big fans of Trengwainton Garden and, of course, the Eden Project.