Christmas 2023 In St Ives – What to see & do!

With Christmas fast approaching its time to plan your visit to get out and about and explore everything Christmassy in St Ives and the surrounding area whether you are going to be enjoying a Cherished Christmas in one of our cosy cottages, or just on a day trip, there’s going to be plenty on to see and do with all your family and friends throughout December and into the New Year!

Christmas Lights, Lanterns and Santa arriving by Lifeboat in St Ives

Every year from St Ives to Truro and Penzance to Padstow, wonderful Christmas lights will be switched on across the county! Newlyn fishing port and the incredibly pretty Mousehole harbour are among the best of this age-old tradition and can be visited throughout the month and even into early 2024 but plan your visits to Mousehole carefully as parking and the sheer volume of visitors make this festive occasion a tad busy, but well worth the visit. Closer to home St Ives festive lights are a fabulous spectacle to with beautiful festive lights lighting up all around the pretty harbour and Smeaton’s pier and continue along the pretty cobbled Fore street bringing a real Christmassy feel to the street’s shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Join the festive parade along with Santa who will be arriving by the Lifeboat on Wednesday 13 December. The parade travels along the Wharf from 6.30pm and lighting up the streets with festive lanterns. The parade will arrive in Royal Square around 6.45pm and at 7pm you will see the towns lights sparkle as the Christmas lights are turned on by Santa and the towns new Mayor!

St Ives Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair (TBC)

Entering December, we’ll see the opening night of St Ives Etsy Made local Christmas fair celebrating the beginning of December when the festive shopping season really begins! The Fair in St Ives Guildhall hosts a wonderful fair of unique Cornish gifts all produced in Cornwall. A great opportunity to find last minute Christmas presents while enjoying the festive atmosphere that this time of year brings. Mingle among the locals, holiday makers and many visitors and enjoy the live music on offer too making this annual event a Christmas shopping trip to remember!

Kids R Us Christmas Panto

Kidz R Us is an award-winning youth theatre company dedicated to getting young people involved in the performing arts, to support their development and the wider community and year after year the children never fail in putting on incredible musical shows to be enjoyed by all the family and always host a fantastic traditional panto at Christmas. This year they will be performing FROZEN a fantastic stage adaptation of one of the most popular animated movies ever seen. This years panto starts on 20 December at 7pm and runs daily with matinees and evening shows until its conclusion on Friday 22 December, Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment! 

Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are a true Cornish speciality and can be found and enjoyed all over Cornwall as the festive season approaches . Shoppers can enjoy a fantastic array of arts and crafts, locally made jewellery, clothing, homeware and festive feasts as well as the staple Christmas treats from food tasting and refreshments to local entertainment! If you get the time, take the children and family and travel around the county to experience many different Christmas markets and Christmas fayres from Padstow to Porthlevan, Penzance to Polgoon or simply stay locally and enjoy the markets and events on your doorstep.

A few of the best ….

Una St Ives Christmas Market (Carbis Bay)

For something different but unique head up to UNA ST IVES this year! After a roaring success last year, the UNA Christmas market returns!

Visit their stunning Lido Bar & Grill and enjoy delicious wood-fired festive hot food, winter warmer drinks, charity raffles and plenty of festive music, On 23 November there will be a live performance of classic carols and Christmas tunes to get you in the festive mood, sung by vocal harmony trio ‘ The Velvets’ between 6-7pm.  Be inspired for gift ideas from an eclectic mix of talented local vendors, artists and crafts people offering their wares for sale. Whether you are looking for Xmas pressies for a loved one or a treat for yourself you will find a wonderful array of festive stalls to get you into the festive spirit.

Porthlevan Christmas Market (TBC)

The now ever bustling ‘foodie’ harbour village of Porthlevan just a 25-minute drive from St Ives will be home to a busy indoor and outdoor market and in December it specialises all out to provide visitors with the ultimate festive shopping extravaganza. Thereare stalls to visit selling the best of Cornish food and produce, art and crafts and special Christmas gifts. The stalls continue in The Shipyard Market, look out for Santa too! Grab a mulled wine or hot chocolate while wandering around this very festive Christmas market. Enjoy looking around the harbour and out to sea as this time of year you can often be treated to some spectacular winter waves with many local surfers enjoying this converted spot .

Plenty of fab foodie bars, cafes and restaurants and shops to visit as well to round off a good day out.

Fowey Christmas Market (8-10 December)

Over an hours drive to Fowey from St Ives but well worth the visit to this incredibly picturesque harbour town on the south coast of Cornwall facing the pretty village of Polruan over the river .

Fowey Christmas Market is one of Cornwall’s most magical festive events, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the quaint harbour town of Fowey, which comes alive with festive merriment, Christmas shopping, seasonal music, and a smorgasbord of quality locally produced food and drink, and festive gifts. Everyone is invited to celebrate the season with holiday shopping, delicious local fare, yuletide tipples, hand-crafted ornaments, entertainment, family fun, and much more.

Festive activities and shopping opportunities take place throughout town, with fabulous Christmas Markets spread across the stunning Fowey Town Quay, Albert Quay and Webb Street venues, where there will be almost 100 quality regional traders. Locals and visitors alike both relish in the market’s community atmosphere.

Get your Christmas shopping wrapped up with plenty of time to spare. You won’t fail to leave in the Christmas Spirit with some new ideas, a car full of presents, and the very best stocking-fillers.

Dates 2023
Friday 8th Dec 1730hrs – 2030hrs
Saturday 9th Dec 1000hrs – 1730hrs
Sunday 10th Dec 1000hrs – 1600hr

St Ives Christmas Farmers’ Market – The weekly farmers’ market is the perfect place to pick up last minute local gifts and fantastic Cornish Christmas food. There is also The St Ives Food Trail where you’re able to sample delicious Cornish produce as you go.

Boxing day Dip 12.00 noon Porthminster beach

When you are all shopped out and full of Christmas excess there’s nothing more bracing ( and way more entertaining to watch)  than joining in with a Christmas tradition in St Ives and heading over to Porthminster beach for a boxing day dip! We would strongly advise at this time of year on wearing at least a wetsuit but year after year hundreds of hardy locals and visitors simply don their swimmers & cossies, wait for the countdown, and then charge into the sea, a real sight to savour . All welcome as it’s a free event but there are charitable donations of a £1 that can be made.

31 December New Years Eve Party & Fancy dress- A spectacle not to be missed!

New Year’s Eve in St Ives started out as a local celebration. But over the years the tradition of wearing fancy dress has grown and grown until now, it is said to be the third largest fancy dress party after London and Edinburgh. It now attracts one of the largest NYE crowds in the region and the streets are full thousands of revellers, all dressed up in costume. At midnight, events centre on the harbour where annual fireworks are launched .

There’s always a fabulous atmosphere with literally everyone in some sort of fancy dress. The town gets closed off to traffic from 4pm, so its pedestrians only. The harbour front gets packed to the extent walking through the crowds can take ages, while looking around and enjoying the sights and sounds of new years eve. If you have very young children, we always advise to come in earlier in the evening as it starts to get dark to enjoy before it gets too busy. At midnight enjoy the fireworks over the harbour with live music on in the background, a fab way to see in the new year!

St Ives really is a fabulous place to enjoy a festive holiday with a lovely vibe throughout December . All the lovely independent shops remain open and there’s a huge selection of great restaurants, bars, cafes and galleries to visit too and enjoy the many beaches too. If you are thinking of Xmas or New Years in St Ives we have a lovely collection of cosy fisherman’s cottages, delightful studios for 2 , large family houses and luxury sea view apartments to choose from at and don’t forget your 4 legged friends, it’s the best time of year for them to enjoy the freedom of exploring the beautiful Cornish beaches, we have over 20 pet friendly properties ready to welcome you! Call our friendly team on 01736-490640 for more information.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Tim & The Team