St Just, Cornwall, Britain’s most westerly town, is a vibrant market town, once the centre of mining in West Penwith but now a thriving community of creatives, farmers and holistic practitioners.

The area around St Just is dominated by historical relics, many of which are easily visible as you drive or walk through the surrounding countryside. From Neolithic burial tombs to World Heritage mining remains, there’s plenty of history dotted amongst the landscape.  Sitting on the westerly end of the Land’s End peninsula the landscape is spectacular, with miles of stunning coastline to explore, high moors looking down on the town, hidden beaches and iconic engine houses, used in the filming of Poldark, including Botallack, Levant and Geevor.

Make sure you don’t just pass through the town though; this hub of activity is a great place to stop, explore, shop and grab a bite to eat. The list below is just a few things to do whilst in and around St Just, West Cornwall.

Botallack Mines |St Just West Cornwall -Things to Do
UNESCO World Heritage Site at Botallack
1. Shopping 

St Just is a foodies heaven, shopping local really is made easy; the market square covers pretty much everything you need.  There is a great butcher, McFaddens; as well as plenty of locally raised meat, they also sell great pasties, but you have to be quick before they sell out, and lots of local cheeses.  Stones sell everything from fresh bread, oat milk, fruit and vegetables, Claire also has an array of spices, stock ingredients and delicious chocolate; she will also offer great suggestions of what to cook with the local, seasonal ingredients.  You can find wines and Cornish rum in 10 Market Square, dog food in Clemo’s and everything else in the small but well stocked Co-op.

There is a weekly farmers market on Saturdays from 10am – 12.30pm, found in the WI hall opposite the church, you will find an array of local makers here, as well as fish from Newlyn and plenty of cakes.

If you are looking for a farm shop then head just out of town, on the Kelynack road heading towards Lands’ End Airport, to Bosavern.  This is a wonderful community farm, with chickens, bees and veg all reared and grown on site.  The farm shop also offers locally made pestos, jams and cheeses.

Its not all about food though!  You will find some great gift and antique shops. Blossoms, Jane Adams gallery, Windswept Gallery  and the Makers Emporium.  For local books try London Books and for antiques and curiosities either Bygones or Cape Cornwall Antiques. There is a pharmacy on the main road and a doctors surgery located by the library in case of any emergencies.

Unlike many towns, parking is also easy; the Lafrowda public car park is large and currently free, its just opposite the library in St Just.

2. Eating Local

I realise I have talked a lot about food already (it’s a subject close to my heart!), but it would be remiss not to mention some of the lovely cafes in St Just. Moomaid of Zennor in the Square is a café but primarily an ice cream parlour selling luxury Cornish ice cream made just a few miles down the road in Zennor, no trip to St Just is complete without sampling a Moomaid icecream! The dog and rabbit café, tucked off Bank Square (by the post office), is a lively, warm and welcoming place serving coffee, cakes, breakfast and lunch; and catering for all food intolerances. Newly opened is The Old Haberdashery Café which serves breakfasts at the weekend and wonderful southern Indian thali nights on Fridays – its first come first serve though, so get there early.  If you fancy a take-away, then The Square does great pizza and Jeremy’s, delicious fish and chips.

3. Slightly Further Afield

There are so many beautiful restaurants in West Cornwall, it’s a subject for another time; but there are a few special places just outside St Just which are worth a mention.  The best bit: you get to drive probably the most beautiful coastal road in the country!  The stretch of road between St Just and St Ives is 15 miles of the most glorious landscape, the road intersects high moorland on one side with the rugged coastline; peppered with fields and idyllic farmsteads along its distance.  Make sure you make time to drive this road; it is truly breath-taking.

Along its stretch you will find The Queen’s Arms in Botallack; a family run pub with great food and a lovely pub garden.  Close to Zennor is the iconic Gurnard’s Head, easily distinguished by its bright yellow exterior.  It is the ideal spot for a long coastal walk followed by a late lunch, the food is beautiful, sustainable and locally sourced or foraged from the local landscape.  It’s a must at any time of year, when warm the garden is glorious or hunker down and dry off in the cosy bar with its open fire.  In the nearby village of Zennor, you will find the cosy Tinners Arms, and then you reach St Ives with its array of incredible eateries.  I would recommend Talay Thai Kitchen, you cannot book so have to queue, but you are overlooking the beautiful harbour of St Ives and the food is authentic Thai so it really is worth the wait!  Also recommend Porthmeor Beach Café, Porthminster Café and The Ugly Butterfly.

The Bar, Gurnards Head | St Just Cornwall - Things to Do
The Gurnards Head, Zennor
4. Art

St Just is the home to the famous Jackson Foundation, Named Best Art Gallery in Cornwall the last three years in a row, it is a unique, ambitious, multi-award winning, carbon-negative art-space celebrating the relationship between art and the natural world. It is free to the public and is the ideal venue to view Kurt Jackson’s varied and eclectic range of artistic expression spanning painting, poetry, sculpture, installation and film.

If a further cultural fix is needed then just a glorious drive along the B3306 you reach St Ives and the home of Tate St Ives. Visit the Mark Rothko’s Seagram murals between May and January 2025, the first time five murals are being shown at the Tate in Cornwall.  A must visit whilst in St Ives is the Barbara Hepworth museum and sculpture garden.

Kurt Jackson Gallery | St Just Cornwall - Things to Do
Jackson Foundation Gallery in St Just
5. Events

The most famous event in the St Just calendar is the Lafrowda festival, this year it runs from 14th – 20th July; there are free activities for all the family during the preceding week, culminating in Lafrowda Day itself; full of live music, stalls and three fantastic community parades and a torch-lit procession.  This years theme is “Going Underground”; if you are in Cornwall that week, do go and experience Lafrowda, its an unforgettable experience!

St Just and the surrounding area is also littered with ancient and historical sites from the mines at Botallack and Geevor, to ancient monuments at Men a Tol, Chapel Carn Brea and the Tregaseal stone circle.  We’ll dig a little deeper into these in the next journal …St Just, West Cornwall, Things to do, part II!

So Why not Come and Stay and Discover St Just for yourself?

Bank Square

The ideal base for a couple, right in the heart of vibrant St Just, Bank Square is a newly converted, spacious and comfortable one bed flat, with double bedroom, shower room and open plan living area with small kitchen and dining space.  Located right opposite the historical site of Plen-an-Gwarry (The Plen in local speak), one of only two surviving Cornish medieval amphitheatres and still used as an outdoor theatre or just a place to relax with a picnic.

Cot Valley 

Just a mile from St Just heading to the coast you find a stunning, magical valley, with crystal clear stream and old historic mine buildings. Along a quiet rural track, just a short walk from Porth Nanven Cove (sandy at low tide) are found Porth Nanven House and Porth Nanven Cottage, which can be rented together or separately.  Porth Nanven House, sleeps 7 and is only available for a few weeks per year, it is a spacious and beautifully presented house with stunning garden and sea views. Porth Nanven Cottage, nestled into the valley side is a lovely, single story Cornish Cottage which sleeps 4 in great comfort, with large open plan sitting and dining area, private garden and well equipped kitchen.  For more details see the individual property pages: Porth Nanven House / Porth Nanven Cottage.

All three properties are stylishly furnished, super comfortable and dog friendly. We still have availability at all these properties in 2024 and each are super dog friendly.  Please email me for more details or book from the links in this page, or just feel free to reach out if you need more information on St Just West Cornwall Things to Do.

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Porth Nanven House & Cottage | St Just Cornwall - Things to Do
Porth Nanven House (Centre) & Porth Nanven Cottage (Left) from Above.