8 quirky things to do in Cornwall near St Ives
St Ives has plenty of classic holiday activities on offer to keep holiday-makers busy. But for the more adventurous visitor, why not try one of these quirky things to do in Cornwall.
With gorgeous sandy beaches, amazing restaurants, a great choice of gift shops and a plethora of watersports and activities, we don’t think you’ll have a chance to get bored!
So, how about discovering some more interesting places that most tourists don’t know about? Read on to discover 8 quirky things to do in Cornwall in St Ives and the surrounding areas.
See our top 8 quirky things to do in Cornwall:
- Scare yourself on a ghost walk with Shanty Baba the Storyteller
- Get creative in the workshops at St Ives School of Painting
- Visit the mysterious site of the Mên-an-Tol
- Eat dinner in a 14th Century castle at Carn Brea Castle
- Walk the Tin Coast from Botallack to Cape Cornwall
- Discover secret coves in West Penwith
1. Scare yourself on a Cornish ghost walk with Shanty Baba the Storyteller
Top of our list of quirky things to do in Cornwall is the lantern story ghost walk, which shows you the darker side of St Ives. Go on a lantern-lit tour of the town after nightfall and explore the most haunted and eerie parts of St Ives.
Discover parts of the town where mysterious things have happened, tiptoe down dark and creepy alleyways and listen to ghostly tales in the graveyard. Shanty Baba is a brilliantly quirky storyteller who also offers other immersive walks, such as a pirate walk and a comedy walk.
2. Get creative in the workshops at St Ives School of Painting
Unleash your inner artist with an art workshop or creative course at the renowned St Ives School of Painting. Develop new skills in an inspiring oceanside setting. Choose from a short workshop, a creative weekend retreat or an art holiday.
St Ives is an artist’s paradise and there are many galleries to explore as well as the incredible landscape from which you can draw inspiration. The shorter workshops offered by St Ives School of Painting start from just £40 and all materials are provided.
So, you just need to turn up ready to release your quirky inner artist and have fun learning new skills!
3. Visit the mysterious site of the Mên-an-Tol
One of our favourite quirky things to do in Cornwall is to explore weird and wonderful histroric sites. And Cornwall has plenty to choose from!
The ancient site of Mên-an-Tol (meaning ‘holed stone’ in Cornish) is one of the most interesting and bizarre historic sites in Cornwall. These unusual stones are thought to date back to the Bronze Age, making them over 3,500 years old.
Magical fables about these stones say that passing through the circular stone can cure illnesses and ensure fertility. In fact, it is thought that these stones were originally used for fertility rituals.
Whether you believe the old wives’ tales or not, it’s certainly a unique and quirky place to visit during your stay in Cornwall.
4. Eat dinner in a 14th Century castle
If you’re looking for quirky things to do in Cornwall where you can also enjoy a delicious meal, this one’s for you. Arrive at Carnkie, the village that backs onto Carn Brea Castle and embark on an adventure you won’t forget.
Carn Brea Castle is an impressive grade II listed granite stone building. It was extensively remodelled in the 18th century as a hunting lodge in the style of a castle for the Basset family. Now, it’s a fantastic place to go for a unique dining experience.
Sitting at over 700 feet high it’s definitely a bit of a climb and it’s easy to get lost even when you see the signpost! But, when you find it, knock on the castle door and be prepared to discover the amazingly quirky venue.
Inside, you’ll dine in a small and intimate setting meaning you must book your table in advance. Enjoy tasty middle eastern inspired food and music, which echoes within the granite walls.
You’ll struggle to find anywhere else that offers such fantastic food and beautiful music in such a historic and atmospheric setting. The restaurant is largely lit by candlelight and the views from the castle are incredible – you can see for miles on a clear evening.
The delicious food includes lots of vegetarian options and is a wonderful place to go for a quirky, memorable family meal.
5. Walk the Tin Coast from Botallack to Cape Cornwall
The coastal walk from Botallack to Cape Cornwall is a two mile walk across breathtakingly rugged landscapes. The Tin Coast has a fascinating history. This part of the historic and wild Tin Coast was often used in scenes in the hit TV show Poldark.
The coastline here was intensively mined in the past and the route will take you past abandoned engine houses, an Iron Age cliff castle and the Kenidjack Valley, once home to 50 working waterwheels.
You will also pass Wheal Owles, which was used as Ross Poldark’s Wheal Leisure in the TV series. As you get closer to Cape Cornwall, you will see the striking chimney which was once part of the old Cape Cornwall Mine.
Walk back to the Queens Arms pub in Botallack, a great place to stop for a drink or a bite to eat after your history-filled coastal walk.
6. Discover secret coves in West Penwith
With over 300 beaches to choose from in Cornwall, you don’t need to stick to the crowded beaches of St Ives. If you love an outdoor adventure and you don’t mind a beach or cove with no facilities, you have plenty of beautiful places to choose from in West Cornwall.
You don’t need to travel too far to find yourself a secret cove. Nestled in between St Just and St Ives, you’ll find Treen Cove, also known as Gurnard’s Head Beach because of its close proximity to the Gurnard’s Head pub.
Explore interesting rocks and caves at Nanjizal. This hidden cove is usually virtually empty and it’s a great place to go for seal-spotting. Or, clamber across giant pebbles in the cove at Cot Valley, a fantastic place to sit and watch the sunset.
Discover the unspoilt smuggler’s coves of Prussia Cove and Piskies Cove on a coastal walk from Perranunthnoe or Praa Sands. Find a secret paradise at Portheras Cove. If you’re prepared to step off the beaten track and go exploring, you’ll see some of the most stunning beaches that many people never visit. You may even have the whole beach to yourself!
7. Bring home a piece of Cornwall with a jewellery making workshop
Want a memory of your holiday that you can wear with you every day? A jewellery making workshop is a fantastically quirky thing to do in Cornwall.
And, best of all at the end of the workshop, you’ll have your own piece of Cornwall to wear with you and remind you of your holiday.
Porth Jewellery in Falmouth offers regular day classes in seaglass jewellery making. Choose to make either a necklace or ring by hand at their silver and seaglass sessions.
You can bring your own piece of seaglass that you’ve found on your adventures in Cornwall or browse Porth’s selection of stunning seaglass to set in to a special piece of handmade jewellery.
8. Uncover your inner wiccan at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If you’ve always felt a connection to the supernatural, or you’re a sceptic willing to have their mind changed, a visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is sure to be a memorable quirky day out in Cornwall.
Situated in Boscastle, on the North Coast of Cornwall, this museum of withcraft and wonder houses the largest collection of objects related to witchcraft and the occult.
With activites and events througout the year as well as an impressive permanent collection of objects and records, this museum is certainly sure to be a quirky stop on your Cornish adventure.
St Ives is the perfect base to explore West Cornwall and discover quirky and fun things to do. Browse our St Ives cottages and begin planning your unique holiday in Cornwall.