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Early autumn is quite possibly the best time to rent a holiday cottage in St Ives and Carbis Bay! September ushers in a slower pace, with more freedom to appreciate the beauty of St Ives Harbour or enjoy a stroll along Carbis Bay beach. Blustery shores and meandering cobbled streets, cosy pub corners and window seats for wave-watching… Autumn is a great look on St Ives!

Below we’ve shared our thoughts on the best things to do in St Ives and Carbis Bay as the seasons shift. It’s also a great time of year to come on a dog-friendly holiday to Cornwall – more on that here.

1. Treat yourself to a seasonal dining experience

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For food-lovers, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness offers rich pickings. The talented chefs of Cornwall have a new larder of local ingredients to play with, making it the perfect time of year to splash out on a first class dining experience.

In St Ives, our favourite treat is a trip to Porthminster Beach Café. Tuck into an array of amazing seafood (look out for Red Mullet from Cadgwith Cove which is in season Sept – Nov) served with hyperlocal ingredients – including those foraged from the coast path and shoreline, and grown in the restaurant’s own kitchen garden.

Over in Carbis Bay, The Ugly Butterfly is a sensory experience like no other. Celebrated chef Adam Handling and his team will take you on a journey through prime local ingredients where everything is put to good use. Choose from the five or seven course tasting menu, with or without wine matches.

Your perfect base: The White Lantern. This bright, stylish and spacious property for four is ideally located above Porthminster Beach, a short distance from the train station which also gives you easy access to Carbis Bay. Your perfect base for indulgent nights out!

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The White Lantern is ideal for a holiday with your foodie friends!

2. Go foraging and feasting in Zennor

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Discover the edible bounty of the coastal path

You’ll notice from visiting St Ives’ top restaurants that foraged ingredients are very much the order of the day. If you’d like to learn how to forage yourself, plus enjoy tasty ‘wild food’ for lunch, book onto one of The Fat Hen’s Forage & Feast Days.

Ecologist Caroline Davey will take you on a guided walk along the coast path, finding wild foodstuffs along the way. This is followed by lunch at one of our favourite local haunts, The Gurnard’s Head, where the team will prepare a lunch using lots of foraged ingredients. Courses take place in spring and autumn when the wild larder is most plentiful and interesting.

Your perfect base: Corva Farmhouse is your home-from-home in rural St Ives. Explore West Penwith in all its autumnal glory, and put your new-found foraging skills to the test!

Corva Farmhouse
Corva Farmhouse is a delightful holiday cottage near St Ives

3. Get stuck into The September Festival

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Enjoy the full St Ives colour palette during the September Festival

The St Ives September Festival is a fortnight-long annual event bringing world-class live music, comedy, theatre and other cultural happenings to town. There’s always a packed schedule of events, including open studios, talks, film showings and special exhibitions at various galleries.

The festival is spread over several venues in the town and makes for a lively few weeks. You might chance upon street entertainment or be tempted by a guided walk led by an artist or historian – it’s a great way to see another side to St Ives.

Your perfect base: Nordga. A Scandi-inspired base for your festival stay, Nordga is in a central spot so you’ll be close to all the action!

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Dive into the St Ives art scene from your base at Nordga

4. Walk the South West Coast Path

Enjoy the famous light of St Ives in autumn

St Ives and Carbis Bay are ideal bases for a walking holiday in Cornwall, allowing you to explore the stunning coast path in both directions. Autumn can be everything from gentle warmth and sunshine to stormy skies and windswept seas, making for spectacular scenery along the way.

From St Ives the walk to Zennor and beyond is challenging and dramatic, while from Carbis Bay you can meander more gently along sand dunes and estuaries, where you’re sure to spot some interesting birdlife.

Your perfect base: Sea and Sand. Walkers and birdwatchers will love this location, right on the Hayle Estuary and a short stroll from Porth Kidney Beach.

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A dream spot for birdwatchers overlooking Hayle Estuary

5. Take an art course

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Unleash inspiration at The St Ives School of Painting

If you fancy revealing your creative side this September, St Ives is the perfect destination. The St Ives School of Painting has courses of varying lengths available, covering everything from abstraction to watercolours, still life to mixed media.

Meanwhile, the Leach Pottery has a programme for anyone who fancies learning to throw on a potter’s wheel, starting with taster sessions all the way up to intensive 3-5 courses and specialist skills tuition.

Your perfect base: Stay in inspiring surroundings at The Count House, where Bernard Leach himself once lived.

The Count House Carbis Bay
The Count House in Carbis Bay is a perfect base for those interested in St Ives art history

We hope this has inspired you to take a trip to beautiful St Ives this autumn! Browse our full collection of great places to stay here, or feel free to contact our friendly, knowledgeable local team for personalised advice.