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Property for sale in St. Ives, Cornwall

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The local area guide to living in St Ives

St Ives is a very pretty seaside town with a reputation for art and literature that far exceeds its modest size. Sculptor Barbara Hepworth was a resident of the town, as was Piet Mondrian, and it was also a great source of inspiration for Virginia Woolf. The town is lucky enough to boast a branch of The Tate and is today very popular with artists, with many galleries and craft shops being based in the town.

For many centuries St Ives was dependent on fishing and for a time was the most important fishing port around the North coast, but since the decline of this industry, commercial emphasis has shifted to tourism. The town is frequently packed with holiday makers and notably achieved the title of Best UK Seaside Town from the British Travel Awards in both 2010 and 2011. Due to its popularity as a tourist destination, many of the houses in St Ives are second homes, but a small and determined local population keep the town thriving throughout the winter months.

Information about the local residents

Outside of holiday season, the town has a regular population of just under 11,500 people, with 23% being 65 and over, compared with the national average of just 16%. This is probably due to its popularity with retirees.

99% of the population of St Ives describe their ethnic background as white, compared to an average of 85% for the rest of England. The town’s next biggest ethnic group were those with mixed ethnic backgrounds, making up 0.5% of the population.

Nearby schools

St Ives has three primary schools and one secondary school. Of the primary schools, St Ives Junior School and St Uny Church of England School are described as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and St Ia School, an independent school with just one class, is described as ‘good’.

The secondary school, St Ives School: A Technology College has been classed as ‘good’ by Ofsted. There are other secondary schools to the south in nearby Penzance.

Getting around

Despite being a small town that is reasonably isolated geographically, St Ives has a train station with good links from London Paddington and onwards to Penzance. There is also a good bus service that links St Ives to nearby villages and towns.

St Ives is situated just off the A30, and as a result is well connected by road to the rest of the country. Whilst Cornwall has no motorways the A roads that do service it are sufficient for any driving needs.

Newquay and Plymouth both have airports with services to national destinations including Manchester, London, The Isles of Scilly and some destinations within Europe.

Local shops

As a seaside town, St Ives has plenty of the usual tourist shops selling beach equipment, souvenirs, surf equipment and clothing, and refreshments. There are plenty of independent shops selling crafts, clothing and jewellery, and a few of the usual high street chains, with many more to be found in nearby Penzance. Within the town centre there are a couple of smaller food shops, with the nearest large supermarket situated in the Carbis Bay area. Being an important centre for the arts and home to many artists, there are a high number of galleries to explore.

St Ives has a large number of festivals to keep both locals and tourists entertained. The September Festival features 15 days of music, films, poetry, talks and more, and the St Ives Literature Festival attracts some of the biggest authors from the UK and abroad. There are also festivals focusing on food, local artists and local traditions, such as the St Ives Feast, which celebrates the founding of the town.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.