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Cornish Art Galleries - The Tate St Ives

Updated on October 6, 2016
Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate St Ives
Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate St Ives | Source

The Tate St Ives gallery first opened its doors in 1993 from a very striking modern building right on the edge of the beach, overlooking Porthmeor Beach. Attracting over 240,000 visitors per year, the Tate in St Ives is well worth visiting, not just for the art gallery, but to also enjoy the rooftop cafe with fabulous coastal views all around. Visiting the Tate is enriching for the experience of the location, even if you're not an art fan.

St Ives has been synonymous with artists of all kinds for nearly 100 years, when the Newlyn School's popularity brought many artists to the area, some of whom settled in St Ives and pursued a more modern style of art, different to the older style of the rest of the group.

The Tate Modern is therefore appropriately placed, right on the beach of St Ives, taking in the fabulous light and sea views that these artists have been enjoying in the area.

While there is usually an exhibition going on at The Tate St Ives, there are about three semi-permanent exhibitions running through the year too.

Fire at the Tate, St Ives - May 2014. The gallery is open.

There was a small fire at the Tate gallery in St Ives on the bank holiday weekend. The fire started in the kitchen area and artworks were protected from smoke damage. There's no damage to the artwork or main gallery areas.

Since 2003, The Tate St Ives has also had a residency programme, where an artist is supported in their work by receiving a studio to work from, a residency fee, materials costs covered and mentoring to develop their style and commercial acumen. Each artist is then provided with exhibition space to exhibit their work. This development of emerging artists ensures that The Tate St Ives remains modern and relevant.

Cornish Art and The Light

All artists agree that it is the light in St Ives that's brought their work and their paintings alive, the colours of the sea, the sky, the beaches and the surrounding area have been brought into their paintings, creating vibrant and exciting canvasses. If you're an artist who moves to St Ives, at first you'll have your own style and preferred colour palette, but before long you'll find that 'the light' finds its way into your work too, changing the way you see the scenery around you, changing your palette and changing your art until you become of the St Ives School.

The light floods the Tate Modern too, really showing off the art that's displayed there. There's a sense that you've stepped into another place - and maybe you have. The magical setting, the magnificent modern and light building, the art. They all mingle together, bringing you possibly one of the best art gallery experiences you'll ever know.

Gallery Tour Times

If you're alone, or your party is quite small, then you're welcome to join the Tate St Ives Gallery Tours, which are run daily at 11:30am and 2:30pm

A member of The Tate St Ives staff guides you round, with an informal introduction to the exhibitions and the Tate building itself. Simply turn up at the Exhibition Study Point at the start time for the Guided Tour, there's no extra fee to pay.

The informal Guided Tours are intended for individuals and small groups, but if you're a large group (over 10 people), then you can arrange for your own guided tour, which you can book in advance.

Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate, Time for Tea at the Tate.
Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate, Time for Tea at the Tate. | Source
Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate St Ives views.
Cornish Art Galleries: The Tate St Ives views. | Source

The Tate Rooftop Cafe

No visit to The Tate St Ives would be complete without a visit to the rooftop cafe, with its awesome views over the old town of St Ives and Porthmeor Beach, then further out to sea towards Godrevy Lighthouse.

The cafe has the same opening times as the gallery and they do try to source all their ingredients from local Cornish growers and suppliers. From cheese to fish, potatoes to ice cream and cider to wine, you'll find a good stock of premium Cornish goods to buy.

Serving a lunch-time menu and an afternoon menu, lunch at the Tate is surprisingly affordable, with the lunchtime main course costing under £10 and probably more vegetarian options than you'll find in other local eateries.  The afternoon menu is for soups, sandwiches and simple desserts.

Directions to The Tate Modern

A markerTate Modern -
Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1TG, UK
get directions

St Ives has very limited parking and as a rule it's not recommended that people try to take a car into St Ives at all. Why not start your journey by parking at St Erth Station, or Lelant Saltings and take the train in. The St Ives branch line runs a very efficient branch line service directly into St Ives town - with fabulous views over the whole of the Bay. With an off-peak return ticket costing only about £4, it's easier and cheaper than parking - in fact, most of the time, the train takes you closer into the town centre than most of the car parks.

Opening Hours: Mar-Oct open daily from 10am to 5.20pm. Nov-Feb open Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays) from 10am to 4.20pm. Last admission is 20 minutes before they close.

Note: At times this art gallery is partially closed for rehanging, usually for about three times a year, for 10 days at a time.

Admission Prices: Adult £5.75, Senior/Student/Jobseeker/Disabled £3.25,

Address: Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1TG
Telephone: 01736 796226



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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oooh- sign me up for tea at the Tate!