Right in the very south-west of England you’ll find the fantastic little seaside town of St Ives. Just a 20-minute drive up from Penzance across the peninsula, St Ives is a really well-known tourist retreat complete with bright sandy beaches, classic caravan parks and cosy little Cornish seaside pubs. Extremely popular with surfers and inspiring entire generations of artists with its cute cobbled lanes, St Ives is one of those places you’ll definitely long to return to time and again. St Ives was originally established as a fishing village in the 6th century by Irish saint Ia, who’s mythical appearance was said to have created a Christian chapel there. Her life was shrouded in mystery and legend has it that she floated over from Ireland on a leaf that magically turned into a boat. From that moment on the small town prospered with a roaring pilchard fishing industry, until it was almost entirely replaced by tourism in the early 20th century due to overfishing. Nowadays St Ives has a population just shy of 10,000 people. The Sloop Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the south-west of England, having first been established in the year 1312. Traditionally a fisherman’s inn, it was rebuilt in the 17th century with tough granite walls and a classic Cornish black slate roof, common to most local buildings of that period. During the Victorian period it became increasingly popular with artists, gaining a legendary status due to names like Australian-born Louis Grier. Nowadays it remains extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, and you can try a wide variety of local Cornish ales. Porthmeor Beach is one of only a handful of ‘blue flag’ beaches in Cornwall, meaning it has excellent environmental standards as well as great beach management. As you’ll see, it really lives up to its reputation. Porthmeor Beach’s crescent-shaped bay makes it perfect for surfing, but be advised to wear a wetsuit as the Atlantic Ocean can be pretty chilly, even in the summer! The beachfront is packed full of lovely restaurants and cafes and it could be a perfect family day out. As mentioned above, St Ives is a real haven for artists and therefore has an impressive amount of art galleries. The Tate Gallery is just up from Porthmeor Beach and has a top-class view of the Atlantic. The building itself is extremely impressive, as well as being a real badge of pride for the locals. The entrance fee is £10 for adults but under 18s get in for free as part of a government scheme. Another source of inspiration for budding artists and creative people alike is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, celebrating the life of the great 20th century sculptor. Her work is wonderfully surreal and it would be a real shame not to visit her old house and garden. There’s also an option to buy a combined ticket for both the Tate and the Barbara Hepworth Museum for only £14.50
If you’re more into natural beauty then we highly recommend taking one of the boat trips to check out some seals on Seal Island. You might be lucky enough to spot some dolphins, basking sharks and whales as well as a huge variety of bird life. Going to Cornwall without getting some glorious salty ocean spray in your chest just wouldn’t feel right. As well as all the creativity in the air, there’s a wonderful little harbour full of great gift shops, which is also a massive tourist attraction. For such a small town the tourist statistics are unbelievable, with half a million day trippers and 200,000 tourists taking breaks there annually. Out of all of the towns and cities we’ve covered, St Ives is one of the worst to find a parking spot in and the locals are likely to react very badly if you park in the wrong place. On top of that there are huge amounts of pedestrians during the day time, ultra-narrow streets, and the majority of them are one way. If you still want to find free parking in St Ives you can do it with our comprehensive list of parking options down below, but you should also consider the less stressful options we’ve listed, such as the park-and-ride system.
Free Parking in St Ives
Free Parking in St Ives
Table of Contents
Free, unrestricted residential street parking
Times are tough and some of us need to look after the pennies these days. You can save money and park for free using residential parking options in St Ives, but you should always be vigilant about checking for any signs the locals may have left to avoid potential confrontations. Always check for any extra newly enforced parking regulations to avoid possible charges and remember that during the summer months, there will be extreme amounts of tourists, so you’ll most likely be driving at walking pace down tiny narrow lanes. If that doesn’t put you off, read ahead for a full list of free residential street parking addresses in St Ives. As with all residential parking options, you should be respectful of how you park, as well as how you behave in and outside of your vehicle, but in St Ives you should be extra nice to the locals. Don’t even think about leaving a ‘be back in 5 minutes’ sign in the window with your phone number. Tensions can run high and no one wants to get into an argument. The following addresses are measured in distance to Fore St, just a block away from Wharf road on the beach.
The B3311 will take you straight up to St Ives from Penzance in the southernmost point of Cornwall. You’ll drive right past the Hellesveor Holidays campsite and caravan parking site as well as the St Ives skate park, with its sleekly designed contours and talented local skaters. The countryside is immensely beautiful around this part of England and the Trevalgan Touring Park has more camping and caravan parking options, as well as rocky coves and The Merry Harvesters Stone Circle. As previously mentioned, parking is chaotic in St Ives but we’ve found some good spots. The further out you try, the easier you’ll find it to actually pull it off and find somewhere free to park, not to mention stress free!
- Alexandra Road TR26 1ET – 0.7 miles
- Tremar Road TR26 1EX – 0.7 miles
- Trelawney Avenue TR26 1BS – 0.7 miles
- Carnellis Road TR26 1BN – 0.7 miles
- Tregwary Road TR26 1BL – 0.7 miles
- Trelawney Road TR26 1AN – 0.4 miles
- Penwith Road TR26 2HX – 0.9 miles
- Penbeagle Crescent TR26 2JF – 0.9 miles
For those of you driving down from Newquay in the north-east, there’s one residential street option with very limited residential parking options. From here the walk along the coast towards the centre is pure bliss. It’s only a half-mile walk to the harbour with its many restaurants and quirky little shops. You’ll walk right past St Ia’s Parish Church, which is estimated to have been built in the 5th or 6th century! Visitors are always welcome and it should definitely be on your list of interesting attractions to see in St Ives. You can also stop off for a full English breakfast at the Scoff Troff Cafe, which has really great reviews and a great friendly atmosphere.
- Porthminister Terrace TR26 2DQ – 0.5 miles
The following car parks are only free after midnight in the summer season, but in the winter they’re free after 6pm. The cheapest car park section will give you more details. Car parks are not free on Sundays in St Ives.
Park and Ride Services
- St Erth Station Park & Ride TR27 6JW – southeast of St Ives
- Lelant Saltings TR26 3DL – southeast of St Ives
Cheapest Paid Car Parks
Parking on the cheap is really tough in St Ives because of the number of tourists. In the winter between the 1st of November and the 31st of March you’ll be able to park in these council-run car parks at a reduced price and the timings will change, so make sure you check the signs not to get caught and to avoid fines.
During the winter months parking is free between 6pm and 8am for all short-stay parks. In summer, it’s only free from midnight to 8am, so make sure you leave before the parking wardens come to avoid big charges.
- Porthmeor Beach Car Park TR26 1JZ – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- Sloop Car Park TR26 1LU (Free after 6pm) – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
You’ll be able to get more free time in the winter in these long-stay car parks. They allow free parking from 6pm to 8am, but no later. In the summer it’s only free from midnight to 8am. Please be very careful not to get caught out by the different rules in the following long- car parks. See below for details.
- Barnoon Long Stay Car Park TR26 1JF – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- The Island Car Park TR26 1SY – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- Park Avenue Car Park TR26 1QE – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- Porthrepta Long Stay Car Park TR26 2TU – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer) – Free between 6pm and 8am year-round.
- Station Parking TR26 2BH – £2.30 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- Smeatons Pier Car Park TR26 1LP – £2.30 per session (Winter) // – £3.40 per session (Summer) – Free between 00:30am and 8am year-round
- Trenwith Long Car Park TR26 1DD – £2.60 for 2 hours (Winter) // – £3.40 for 2 hours (Summer)
- Stennack Laundrette Private Car Park TR26 1QX – £3.00 for 2 hours