How to get to St Ives, Cornwall: road, rail or bus!

If you’re on holiday in St Ives, the first step is working out how to get there! 

The town is located all the way down in West Cornwall, in one of the most remote areas of the country, but it is connected to the rest of Cornwall, Devon, London and the rest of England by road and rail.

So, if you’ve booked your accommodation and are wondering how the heck you get there, this blog post is here to help! 

How to get to St Ives by car

To get to St Ives by car, first take the M5 or A303 to the West Country

Both of these roads end around Exeter, but from here you can join the A30 and follow it all the way to St Erth. 

At the St Erth roundabout, follow signs to St Ives! 

How to get to St Ives by train

St Ives has a station, and while it’s not connected to London, you can get all the way here by rail! 

So, while you can’t take a direct train from London or Bristol to St Ives, you can take one to St Erth. 

The main Cornwall line stops at St Erth, along with stations like Penzance, Truro, Bodmin Parkway and Par. 

So, hop on the London line and head straight to St Erth (around 5-7 hours – I know, it’s a long’un!) or travel from Bristol (3-5 hours depending on the stops) or even Birmingham (about 5 hours, two trains per day). 

Then, it’s an easy change to St Ives. The St Erth to St Ives train takes about 10 minutes and it’s one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the UK. 

You can even get the Night Riviera sleeper train to St Erth, which arrives at around 7:45 am. Here, you can change for the train to St Ives.

Taking the train to Cornwall can be pricey, but it’s relaxing and environmentally friendly. Here’s my PSA to get a railcard if you are applicable and save 30% on trains.

Seeing St Ives by public transport

St Ives and Carbis Bay aerial photography. This photograph was taken at sunrise.

Once you get there, you’re free to enjoy all of the best attractions in St Ives, including the TATE, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gallery, incredible beaches and hikes on the South West Coast Path. 

If you want to see more of Cornwall, you can take the Land’s End Coaster bus around the far west, the Atlantic Coaster all the way up to Padstow or the train to places like Redruth, Camborne, Truro and Penzance

It’s a bit of a mission to get to St Ives by train, but it’s entirely possible to have a great holiday in this part of Cornwall just relying on public transport! 

How to get to St Ives by coach

London, UK - September 15, 2018: National Express shuttle bus parked white sign text transport service on street road by Victoria Coach Station exterior building

You can’t go all the way to St Ives by coach, but you can go to Penzance, which is a 25 minute bus ride from St Ives. 

The National Express connects London with Cornwall on a stunning 10 hour journey. It also calls into Bristol, Exeter or Plymouth. 

There’s even a route from Birmingham all the way to Penzance – again, taking 10 hours!

When you get to Penzance, change to the 16 or 17 bus to get to St Ives. It’s better to take the bus rather than train, as if you take the train you’ll have to change lines in St Erth. 

The coach is much, much cheaper than the train, but the journey time is enough to make anyone wince a little!

Can you fly to St Ives? 

St Ives is hardly a metropolis, and it won’t surprise many people who’ve been there that there isn’t an airport. 

However, there is an airport at Newquay, which flies to destinations around the UK and a few (very) limited international destinations. 

Technically, you could take a bus or taxi from Newquay Airport to Newquay town centre and then take the Atlantic Coaster to St Ives. 

However, by the time you’ve faffed at the airport, flown and dealt with two different types of transport (including wait time), I don’t think you’ll have saved any time. 

So no, I’d wager to say that you can’t fly to St Ives! 

How to get to St Ives from London

Picturesque St Ives, a popular seaside town with golden sand beach in Cornwall, England

Here are some steps to take to get to St Ives from London: 

  • Driving: Take the M25 to the M3, and follow it for a few junctions until the A303. Drive into Devon on the A303, and join the A30 in Exeter. Follow this road to St Erth, and then follow signs to St Ives. It’s around a six-hour journey!
  • Train: Take the train from London Paddington to St Erth (around seven hours). Then change to the branch line to St Ives. It’s a long way, but the views make it all worthwhile! 
  • Bus: Take a bus from London Victoria Bus Station all the way to Penzance (around ten hours). Then jump on the 16 or 17 bus! 

How to get to St Ives from Newquay

Crantock bay and beach North Cornwall England UK near Newquay with waves in spring and yellow gorse

If you’re travelling from Newquay, it’s fairly easy to get to St Ives. 

If you’re driving, take the A3075 and then join the A30 to St Erth roundabout, then follow signs to St Ives. 

Public transport takes a bit longer, but it is possible! 

Either jump on the Atlantic Coaster Bus (2 hours 20 minutes), or take the train from Newquay to Par, Par to St Erth and then St Erth to St Ives (2 hours). 

How to get from Penzance to St Ives

Praa Sands Cornwall England near Penzance and Mullion on the South West Coast Path with sandy beach and blue sky and white fluffy clouds on a beautiful sunny day

From Penzance, it’s only a 20 minute drive to St Ives on the B3311 – straight across the tip of the peninsula! 

Or you can take the 16 or 17 bus, or jump on the train to St Erth and then change lines to St Ives. 

Now you know how to get to St Ives!

Depending on where you’re coming from, getting to St Ives can be a bit of a mission – but I promise it’s well worth it when you get here.

With incredible beaches, great food and a lovely atmosphere, it’s one of the best places to visit in Cornwall and is even magical in the winter.

Check out my Cornwall travel guide for more information about visiting this part of the UK (I’m part-Cornish and have spent a lot of my life in the region, so I’ve got LOADS of tips and advice to share!).

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Instagram.

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