For as long as I can remember my family have been visiting Cornwall for at least one week in the summer holiday, most of my early vacation memories are from beaches in the West Country. My Dad has been going to Cornwall for even longer, staying down there as a child with his parents long before Doc Martin aired, before Aidan Turner was Poldark and before the last mines closed.
When holidaying in Cornwall there are certain places you always visit, some are personal like your favourite surf spot or a secret beach that isn’t on TripAdvisor! Others are more typical such as visiting popular tourist spots like Padstow or St Ives.
St Ives, with its tourist-friendly shopping, fantastic art galleries and exceptional dining is often a place we visit. But, as anyone who has been there will tell you, getting to the town centre is tricky, especially during the summer holidays.
Generally speaking, you have two options, park in Trenwith car park and make the long descent by foot into town (it feels even longer on the reverse journey in full sunshine!) or park in Trenwith car park and catch the bus into town (which will make you wish you had walked!).
So when a family friend recommended that we take a truly exceptional train journey that ends in the heart of St Ives we were a little confused about why we hadn’t heard of it before. Looking back, it is clear this is largely due to where the start of the line is located and the lack of advertisement for the train journey.
Those who do know about the line will only speak positive words. If you don’t believe us just read the reviews for St Ives train station on Google!
It is now the only way we travel into St Ives, and after reading this guide, you can join us on this stunning journey!
Where Can I Find the Train Station?
The train station isn’t quite Harry Potter levels of hidden but it isn’t far off, to find the starting train station set your satnav (or phone) for Lelant Saltings Train Station. The station car park is accessed via Saltings Reach, off the B3301. The postcode is TR26 3DL.
To get there from the B3301 you turn into Saltings Reach, which looks like a fairly normal housing estate. But if you continue to the end of the road past all the houses you will reach the station car park.
There is both a main concrete car park and overflow grass one.
Parking costs £2.80 for the entire day, you can pay at one of the machines on-site or via the Just Park app.
Train tickets are available via the station ticket office (it’s really a shed!) or one of the ticket machines. The ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult – £4
- Child (5-15) – £2
- Group of 4 adults – £8
- Family (2 adults and up to 3 kids) – £10
- Under 5s go free!
The train ticket is ‘ride all day’ so you can travel between St Erth and St Ives as many times as you like! Once you have your tickets head up on to the exceptionally scenic platform.
When boarding the train you want to sit on the far side of the carriage (the side of the train that is already facing the water). Try to position yourself strategically on the station to ensure you get a good pick of the seats (look for an area where no one else is standing!).
The trip lasts around 10-15 minutes and meanders along the River Hayle before dramatically appearing above the colossal Porthkidney Beach.
From here the track clings to coast giving stunning views across the various bays before arriving at St Ives. Check out our gallery below to preview the journey!
It is worth taking the train just to finish at St Ives station, the train arrives at the platform just meters from the beach providing a view that would easily trick your friends that you are in the South of France.
From the station follow the equally scenic coastal path into town. Departures are every 30 minutes from St Ives; we would usually advise planning your day around the train timetable but, trust us this is one line where waiting at the station is not a problem given the spectacular views!