New Year’s Eve in St Ives, Cornwall is like no other New Year’s Eve celebration. It is a huge gathering of locals, visitors, family and friends. Everyone is welcome, except those not in fancy dress. Yes, if you DON’T dress up, you will stick out like a sore thumb!
This will be our 12th New Year’s Eve celebrating in St Ives. I’m sure everyone does things completely differently. But this is how our family and friends tend to celebrate New Year’s Eve in St Ives.
Let’s Get The Party Started
From 2pm onwards, friends and family start arriving at the house. We are quite popular as we have quite a few parking spaces on our drive and we are near enough to walk into town. First come first served!
The big dress up begins. We start creating our outfits in the afternoon. Bits are sewn on, hair is done up, faces are painted and glitz is spritzed! And we have some lovely drinks and snacks with music too.
Into Town We Go
From our bedroom window we can see one of the main roads into St Ives. From 5:30 onwards the children love to look out of the window and start spotting fancy dressed up people. At first it seems no one is dressing up. Then one group appear, and then another and then hoards of people all start pouring down the hill, dressed up in some brilliant fancy dress.
At around 6pm we join the procession down into town.
Join In The Parade
We walk down Virgin Street to The Digey and Fore Street. We usually loop Fore Street and onto Wharf Road several times. It is like a parade of fancy dress and it is really sociable and lots of fun.
Food & Drink
Some years we book a table to eat in a restaurant. If you do want to do this, DO IT EARLY. The tables, especially for big groups, get booked up very early in the year. If you don’t manage to get anything booked, you can get lots of street food. Pels by The Sloop Inn is especially good for getting snacks and hanging out around. They also do the most deliciously warm mulled wine.
To be honest, we have found that with the children, getting them to sit down to a meal in a restaurant when everyone is out on the streets having fun, a bit of a faff. If you are all grown ups I’d say go for it. The atmosphere in the restaurants is great. If you have young children though, I’d say eat your main meal at home and get some snacks out on the street. Getting them to sit down to a meal whilst there is a party going on in front of their eyes is like trying to tame a pack of monkeys!
Most years, we duck in and out of several pubs. This is fine to do even with the kids! It can get a little hectic, especially if it starts to rain. The Lifeboat is good for this as they take out all their furniture so there is a lot of room for everyone.
From about 9pm our youngest children get taken off home by their amazing grandparents. The older ones love to play on the harbour beach. There is always lots of other children, many friends, for them all to play with. We always set a few rules, lots of boundaries and dress our children up in bright things so we can spot them fairly easily.
What Ever The Weather
I don’t know what happens to the weather in St Ives on New Year’s Eve. Maybe I am always wearing a really thick beer coat, but it always seems unseasonably warm and dry. The few times it has rained it hasn’t been too much bother. If rain is forecast, we take brollies and raincoats with us. It is never stopped us yet!
Fancy Dress Envy!
Whilst the children play, us adults get drinks from The Sloop Inn and stand around chatting, drinking and eating. Plus of course admiring the many amazing costumes. No matter how elaborate we think we are, there is always someone wearing something more amazing.
Some of the most memorable New Years Eve outfits we have seen are:
There are always loads of fabulous mermaids and pirates too.
Fireworks At Midnight
At midnight, everyone gathers on the harbour for the most amazing fireworks display. It is seriously extravagant! If the tide is in there is always people jumping in for a dip too.
Just a word of slight warning. The harbour gets really crowded at midnight so hold on to your kids. It is easy to get jostled and separated!
The After Party
Those hardy, energetic souls then party on into the night. We have never lasted longer than midnight and have always walked back home, happy, slightly drunk and ready for our comfy beds.
Every year Kidz R Us at the St Ives Theatre on The Stennack opens their wardrobe. They hire out the most amazing costumes, whilst raising money for them to continue with their wonderful work.
Streetlife Fancy Dress on Ventor Terrace near the top of Porthmeor Hill do excellent fancy dress.
The local charity shops must save up all of their fancy dress gear for the week before New Year’s Eve. They get in all sorts of amazing costumes for you to buy.
There is a super fancy dress shop in Penzance called Bag O’ Rags. It is right on the harbour in Penzance.
Don’t leave it all till the last minute though as everything get bought up very quickly!
Q: What time does it all start?
A: From around 6pm people start parading the streets in their fancy dress. There are lots of families and children at this time.
Q: Do the roads get blocked off?
A: Yes, from 6pm the roads are closed from The Stennack Surgery, Tregenna Hill all the way into town.
Q: Where should I park the car?
A: If you want to drive home after midnight, park at The Station, Trenwith, Barnoon or The Rugby Club. Barnoon especially gets full very early on in the day though, so be prepared to drive around for a space.
Q: Do I need to book tickets to get in anywhere?
A: No! So far as I know, no pub is ticketed. There are organised events that do need tickets at some of the hotels and The Guildhall. I have listed these below. These are not part of the main celebrations in town though.
Q: Are children allowed in pubs?
A: Yes, up until 9pm
Q: Can we get street food?
A: Yes, lots of places are open for you to buy snacks and drinks
Q: Can we drink in the street?
A: Yes, just use plastic cups
Q: Are there plenty of taxis at the end of the night?
A: No, there aren’t many to go around. If you need a taxi it is best to try and book one way ahead of time!
New Year’s Eve Party At The Carbis Bay Hotel
Are you planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve in St Ives? What outfits are you thinking of wearing? What do you normally do? Any top tips for me to add?
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