...stamps and where to post them!!
Whilst there are plenty of places around the town to buy postcards buying them here has the advantage of being able to get the correct stamps - especially for sending abroad - plus the post box is right outside. You just need to pop down to the Sloop Inn to write them out first.
The Post Office is open Monday to Friday from 9 am until 5.30 pm and on Saturdays from 9 until 12.30.
What to buy: As well as postcards and stamps the shop also sells a variety of gifts and souvenirs.
Since you are never far from the coast in Cornwall, fishing plays a big part of local life, and Cornish fishermen have long worn these "smocks" to protect their own clothing underneath. For the same reason, the smocks later became very popular with all the artists who also settled down here, and today both these categories love to wear this useful garment and the trend has spread to us tourists. Originally blue, the smock shop in Penzance now does them in several colours which are sold in the little shack in St Ives Harbour. They are also made in different materials and styles today, with more unconventional smocks having different kinds of neck designs to the original ones. The Smock shop also sells some childrens navy style clothes, pirate designs and some other things and these days they even have a webshop if you need more when you come home.
What to buy: Smocks :)
What to pay: £25-45 depending on style and size
I have no special favourite shop here so I mention the whole of Fore Street (a common name for a main street in western England) which is where most tourists end up sooner or later but for a good reason for this is a street full of art galleries and other specialist shops so everyone will find something they like here, along with some cafés and a couple of pubs to rest in afterwards. The only annoying thing is that some of it has traffic along it and it is a narrow street so you keep having to get out of the way between shops a lot during busy periods.
What to buy: Local art is always fun if you can afford it. Not everything is expensive but it might also be hard to get it back home. There is a shop towards the harbour end selling all sorts of notice books and funny mugs that I like. The other end of the street has a shop with 1960s retro and such and there is a toy shop with odd issues of Top Trump and things you do not come across everywhere. Fudge shops seem to exist in abundance but one of them also sell Cornish cider and ale which can be fun to try since not all are found in St Ives' pubs. Maritime things are big here but personally I stay away from seashells and such - they belong back in the sea where they shelter small creatures and break down into more sand eventually. A couple of the St Ives surf shops are also along Fore Street, selling everything from boards and wetsuits to trendy clothing.
What to pay: Anything
Couldn't there's too many - but as a nice momento of your trip, pick up an original painting - there's loads of galleries all around this part of Cornwall and after being inspired by a visit to the Tate - we picked up a gorgeous little paining from on of these galleries near our Hotel for our bathroom - the colours are beautifull and it was only £60.
St Ives and Marazion had some great shops selling Art!
What to buy: Paintings and anything for the bathroom
What to pay: Up to £500