Best Beaches St Ives Cornwall

Explore The 7 Glorious Beaches In St Ives Cornwall

Beaches In St Ives – Which Is Your Favourite?

FAQ About St Ives Beaches...

Q: How Many Beaches Has St Ives Got?
A: St Ives has 7 beaches, all within walking distance of the town.

Q: Which is the main beach in St Ives?
A: Harbour Beach is probably known as the main beach in St Ives. However, Porthmeor is the main surfing beach.

Q: Can you swim in the sea in St Ives?
A: Yes, people swim in the sea all year round in St Ives.

Q: How big is St Ives biggest beach?
A: Porthmeor is St Ives biggest beach measuring approximately half a mile wide. There is plenty of beach for everyone, even at high tide.

Q: What is the sea like around St Ives Cornwall?
A: The Harbour Beach, Breakwater, Lambeth and Porthminster face into St Ives Bay, making them usually much calmer places to swim and paddle. Porthmeor faces directly into the Atlantic which makes it good for surfing. Porthgwidden and Bamaluz Beach face in between, making them sometimes good for surfing. The sea is cold ranging from about 11 - 16 degrees.

Q: Which beaches in St Ives are dog friendly?
A: The dog ban on beaches in Cornwall has massively improved (for the dogs) in the last year or so. Porthmeor and Porthminster Beaches allow dogs on all year except from 15th May to 30th Sept between 10am and 6pm. Porthgwidden and the Harbour Beaches allow dogs on all year except from 1st July to 31st August between 10am and 6pm. Bamaluz, Breakwater and Lambeth Beaches allow dogs on all year, but access is limited at high tides when the beaches disappear.

Q: Which is the easiest beach in St Ives for parking?
A: In the height of Summer you will struggle to park near to a beach in St Ives. There are council car parks near to all of them, if you can get a space. I always recommend parking at the St Ives Rugby Club and getting the shuttle bus down, which drops you right in front of the Tate St Ives and Porthmeor Beach.

Q: Which beaches have toilets?
A: All of them - at least close by.

Here is my run down of all 7 of the beaches in St Ives. Each one is very different – they sort of have different moods. From the rough and rugged Porthmeor to the very calm and gentle Porthminster. Read on to find out what each beach has to offer and which one you would like to visit first!

1. Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall

Starting at the South West side of St Ives is Porthmeor Beach. This is a huge sweep of a beach facing North West. This makes it the most exposed beach in St Ives and very popular with surfers. It lies between Man’s Head and The Island, with the Tate St Ives right in the middle behind it. It is a beautiful sandy beach with super rockpools at either end.

Porthmeor Beach is a blue flag beach – a testament to it’s pristine water and sands! It is rarely affected by sewage, unlike a lot of the other beaches in St Ives Bay.

Things To Do On Porthmeor Beach

Beach Walk – it is long enough for a good long walk.

Dog Walking – there is a seasonal ban between 1st May – 30th Sept between 10am to 6pm.

Surfing – hire a board or take lessons at the St Ives Surf School.

Rockpooling – there are super rockpools at both sides of the beach at low tide.

Swimming and Body Boarding. Lifeguards operate between April and October between 10am and 6pm, making it a good safe beach.

Waterfall – near the West Side of the beach is a waterfall, river and rocks which are really good fun to play in.

Sandcastle building. The sand is lovely fine sand, excellent for building sandcastles. Near the tide line you will find lots of nice shells and seaweed for decorations.

Boilers Rock. At The Island side of the beach at low tide you can see part of the wreck of The Alba. The 3 boilers stick out and look like rocks. At very low tides you can still make out part of the bow of the boat.

Eating & Drinking – there are excellent food and drink options on Porthmeor Beach.

There is the fabulous Porthmeor Beach cafe, which is a sit down cafe/restaurant. Below this is a takeaway selling hot food and drinks, sandwiches and beer. They often put on a barbeque in the Summer too.

Next to this is an ice cream shop and a jiuce bar.

Over on the West side of the beach is West Beach. This year they are selling Greek food which sounds incredibly delicious.

The nearest proper pasty shop is St Ives Bakery along The Digey. If you are having a picnic on the beach – mind the seagulls. They are not as ferocious as on The Harbour, but still have a good try at stealing your pasties!

Useful Information About Porthmeor Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is Porthmeor Short Stay. Maximum 3 hours stay and 30 spaces.

Lifeguard: Porthmeor Beach is lifeguarded from 29th March - to 3rd Nov. 10am - 6pm.

Toilets: there are loos in Porthmeor car park and on the deck below Porthmeor Beach cafe.

Dogs: dogs are banned from the beach between 15th May to 30th Sept. 10am - 6pm.

Access: steps down to West Beach, slope behind the Surf School, steps by Porthmeor Beach Cafe and gentle slope or steps by The Island.

2. Porthgwidden Beach

Porthgwidden Beach St Ives Cornwall

Porthgwidden Beach is tucked away on the opposite side of The Island to Porthmeor Beach. It is quite a small beach, especially at high tide but is beautifully sandy and sheltered. It is very popular with young families as it is small and enclosed.

Things To Do On Porthgwidden Beach

Swimming and body boarding. Although Porthgwidden Beach isn’t lifeguarded, it is a fairly safe beach for swimming and body boarding.

Sandcastle building. The sand is really fine and great for building sandcastles on. There aren’t many shells on the beach but there are rocks to explore with seaweed at low tide.

Sunbathing. Porthgwidden Beach is a real sun trap in the Spring and Summer. It faces East, out to Godrevy Lighthouse and is pretty sheltered. Even on a blustery day there is usually a warm spot to be found for a little sunbathe!

Seal watching. There is often a big seal by the rocks on the Island side. He is very friendly but please don’t approach him as he is a wild animal.

Bird watching. Cormorants often sit and dry their wings on the rocks in the sea by Porthgwidden Beach.

Eating and drinking. The Porthgwidden Beach Cafe is a fabulous place to sit in and eat. Below this there is a takeaway selling super sandwiches, chips and drinks (their prawn baguette is top notch!). At the top of the slope is a little shop selling ice creams, snacks and takeaway tea and coffee (it is really good coffee at a much more reasonable price that the one on the beach!!). The nearest place to buy a pasty is on The Harbour.

Useful Information About Porthgwidden Beach

Car Park: The Island Car Park is on the hill just behind Porthgwidden Beach. It is a long stay car park with 129 spaces.

Lifeguard: Porthgwidden Beach IS NOT lifeguarded.

Toilets: there are loos to the side of The Island Car Park at the top of the slope down to the beach.

Dogs: dogs are banned on the beach between 1st July - 31st August. 10am  - 6pm

Access: steps down from The Island, slope down from the car park, steps at the opposite end.

Beach Chalets: You can also hire beach chalets at Porthgwidden Beach. For Chalet enquiries please call 01736 799097.

3. Bamaluz Beach

Bamaluz Beach St Ives Cornwall

Bamaluz Beach is the main dog walking beach in St Ives. It is hidden away at the back of Wheal Dream near the St Ives Museum and is only accessible by steep steps or at low tide from Breakwater Beach by Smeaton’s Pier.

Things To Do On Bamaluz Beach

Dog walking – this is a BIG dog walking beach. You can take your dogs on there all year round.

Surfing – occasionally when the wind is blowing the opposite way you do get decent waves on Bamaluz Beach. I watched 2 surfers having a terrific time of it in February this year when Storm Doris was on the rampage.

Swimming – it is a nice shallow beach to swim off.

Seal watching – you can often spot seals from here. They don’t always come up close due to so many dogs being on the beach, but on a quiet day.

The Wood Pier. At low tide by Smeaton’s Pier side wall you can make out the old foundations of the wooden pier.

Useful Information About Bamaluz Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is actually on Smeaton’s Pier. We don’t really recommend you use this – it is tiny, long stay and often full as the harbour staff and fishermen use it. The Island is the next closest which is long stay with 129 spaces.

Lifeguard: Bamaluz Beach IS NOT lifeguarded.

Toilets: the nearest toilets are on Smeaton’s Pier.

Dogs: dogs are allowed on Bamaluz Beach all year round.

Access: down some VERY steep stair by St Ives Museum, or down the slope and rocky steps and across Breakwater Beach at low tide.

4. Breakwater Beach

Breakwater Beach St Ives Cornwall

Breakwater Beach is not very well known in St Ives. It is the beach BEHIND Smeaton’s Pier and so it is only there at low tide. It is a lovely beach though and brilliant for dog walking.

Things To Do On Breakwater Beach

Dog walking. You can take your dogs on Breakwater Beach all year round.

Seal watching. Lots of seals play around the boats and pier. Breakwater is a great place to watch them from fairly close quarters.

Boat watching. Breakwater Beach gives you a really good spot to watch the boats in the bay.

The Arches. You can get a good view of the 3 arches built under Smeaton’s Pier. These were built to help with the tidal flow and to stop movement of sand in the harbour.

Useful Information About Breakwater Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is actually on Smeaton’s Pier. We don’t really recommend you use this – it is tiny, long stay and often full as the harbour staff and fishermen use it. The Island is the next closest which is long stay with 129 spaces.

Lifeguard: Breakwater Beach IS NOT lifeguarded.

Toilets: the nearest toilets are on Smeaton’s Pier.

Dogs: dogs are allowed on Breakwater Beach all year round.

Access: down the slope by Smeaton’s Pier and then down some rocky steps. You can also walk round past the lighthouse in the harbour at low tide – but PLEASE do watch the tide.

5. St Ives Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach St Ives Cornwall

St Ives Harbour Beach is probably one of the most photographed beaches in the UK. It is incredibly pretty and interesting with lots of old houses and shops crowded round it. My favourite spot is by the beautiful houses right on the beach by Smeaton’s Pier known as “Kittys Corner”. This is often sheltered and warm and is a super spot for a cheeky little sunbathe!

Please do take care in St Ives Harbour. It is a working harbour with fishing boats, day trip boats and the RNLI lifeboat working from here.

Things To Do On St Ives Harbour Beach

Sandcastle building. The sand is very fine and great for building sandcastles. There is always lots of shells, stones and seaweed to collect on the tide line for decorations.

Jumping the ropes. The boats in the harbour get tied up on moorings by ropes. My children spend hours playing around these ropes at low tide – jumping over them or crawling underneath them like an assault course.

Playing under the arches. The three arches underneath Smeaton’s Pier are a brilliant place for children to play. Mine play Monsters as apparently sea monsters live in there!

Boat watching. Watch the fishing boats go in and out of the harbour.

Seal watching. Seals often follow the fishing boats in when they have a good catch. This means they can be seen from fairly close up in the harbour. You can also sometimes spot sun fish and dolphins.

Beach walk. At low tide the whole harbour is accessible. You can walk right down past the boats, around the end of the pier and lighthouse, across to the RNLI station, across to Lambeth Walk Beach and Pedn Olva, and at very low tide, you can walk across to Porthminster Beach. Along the way there are pools to explore and jump in, boats to look at and all sorts of creatures and shells to find.

Boat trips. In season there are plenty of boat trips you can catch from the harbour. From fishing trips to seal island or Godrevy lighthouse.

Food and Drink. There are plenty of shops, cafes and takeaways all within a shop hop and a skip from the beach.

Useful Information About St Ives Harbour Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is The Sloop which is a short stay car park with 42 spaces. The nearest big car park is The Island.

Lifeguard: St Ives Harbour Beach IS NOT lifeguarded.

Toilets: the nearest toilets are on Smeaton’s Pier or in The Sloop car park.

Dogs: dogs are banned on the beach between 1st July - 31st August. 10am  - 6pm

Access: down the Lifeboat slope near The Sloop, down some little steps by The Sloop, down the long slope by the art gallery or down some steps near Kittys Corner.

6. Lambeth Walk Beach

Lambeth Walk Beach St Ives Cornwall

Lambeth Walk Beach is a little beach behind the RNLI lifeboat station. It is only accessible at low tide. Lambeth Walk is called Pedn Olva Walk on maps, but is known locally as Lambeth Walk. Lambeth Walk Beach is rocky by the shore and sandy further down. It is great for a scramble and an explore and you can take your dogs all year round.

Things To Do On Lambeth Walk Beach

Dog walking. You can take your dog on Lambeth Walk Beach all year round.

Exploring. The rocks and stones hide treasures such as crabs and rockpools. For the nimble-footed this is great for exploring!

Stone balancing. You can often find a stone balancer here. I find it incredible that someone has the patience to balance so many stone on top of each other. I struggle with square bricks!

Pools. There is often a deep water pool by the pier on Lambeth Walk Beach. This is great for dogs to play around in and is sometimes filled with mackerel who were caught out by the tide!

Useful Information About Lambeth Walk Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is The Station Car Park, or The Stennack.

Lifeguard: Lambeth Walk Beach IS NOT lifeguarded.

Toilets: the nearest toilets are on Lambeth Walk behind the RNLI building.

Dogs: dogs are allowed on Lambeth Walk Beach all year round.

Access: down the steps by the loos – it is a bit of a scramble. Or across the harbour at low tide.

7. Porthminster Beach

Porthminster Beach St Ives Cornwall

Porthminster Beach is such a beautiful beach. It is fringed with palm trees and often looks more like the Caribbean than Cornwall! It is situated right underneath St Ives Train Station and is the first glimpse train travellers see when they arrive in St Ives. It is a very sheltered beach and is perfect for families.

Things To Do On Porthminster Beach

Sandcastle Building. The sand is very fine and perfect for building lovely sandcastles. In the Summer there is often a sandcastle building competition held here!

Sunbathing. Due to Porthminster Beach facing North, it gets less wind than some of the other beaches and is often a real sun trap. One things to note is that the sun does go down here a bit earlier, so late afternoon it does tend to get a bit colder.

Water Sports. Porthminster Beach is not a surfing beach but it is very good for kayaking and standup paddleboarding. You can hire equipment from Porthminster Beach (near the Pedn Olva side) or take lessons.

Swimming. The water here is usually very calm and is great for swimming and body boarding.

Eating and Drinking – there is a lovely takeaway café with picnic benches at the Pedn Olva side of Porthminster Beach. They often do a beach barbeque in the Summer. At the other end of the beach there is the award winning Porthminster Beach Café, which is a fabulous (although a wee bit pricey for us) restaurant. There is also an icecream shop and a takeaway in the Summer.

Train Watching. You get a great view of the St Erth – St Ives train coming in from Porthminster Beach. My little boy gets so excited when he sees it coming in – maybe that is what happens when you live in such a small place!!

Porthminster Food Festival. The St Ives Food Festival takes place every year in May. This year (2017) it takes place on the 13th and 14th of May. It is a wonderful festival right on the beach with loads of local food, drink and entertainment.

Bonfire Night. Porthminster Beach always puts on an AMAZING firework display on the weekend closest to bonfire night. If you are in St Ives in November it is well worth going to!

Useful Information About Porthminster Beach

Car Park: the nearest car park is The Station Car Park above Porthminster Beach

Lifeguard: Porthminster Beach IS lifeguarded 18th May - 29th Sept. 10am - 6pm.

Toilets: the nearest toilets are behind Porthminster Beach, on the green.

Dogs: dogs are banned on the beach between 15th May to 30th Sept. 10am - 6pm

Access: down a steep slope at either end of the beach.

Beach Chalets: You can also hire beach chalets at Porthminster Beach. For Chalet enquiries please call 01736 799097.

The next beach along is Carbis Bay Beach. This is about a 20 minute walk along the coast. Further along from this near Lelant is Porthkidney Sands. Even further along are the beaches around Hayle, Gwithian and Godrevy.

Further round towards Zennor are Clodgy Point Beach and Hor Point Beach. These are accessible by a scramble down from the cliffs. They don’t have any facilities but are definitely worth an explore!

Map Of The Beaches In St Ives

Map Showing St Ives Beaches Cornwall

Which Is My Favourite Beach In St Ives?

If I could only visit one beach in St Ives it would have to be Porthmeor Beach. It is the closest beach to my house and it is the beach that we spend the most time on.

No matter how often we go down there (and in the Summer it can be nearly every day) that first view you get of Porthmeor Beach from the top of Porthmeor Hill never gets stale. It always takes my breath away and I have to pause and say “wow”!

I like the rugged nature of Porthmeor and can spend forever watching the waves, but I also love that there is usually a nice little sheltered spot at either end for a sit down and a cup of tea. My children love playing on here and will spend hours looking in rock pools or hunting for shells and lego in the tide line (there was a huge shipment of lego lost at sea in the 90’s, bits of which can often be found in the tide line!). My nephews and nieces love this beach too (they are slightly older than my children, and a bit braver) as they love surfing and playing in the waterfall.

It is really a beach for everyone and it is always such a joy to be there.

Some of us…on Porthmeor Beach on an after-school run about.

After School Run On Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall

Have you read 101 Brilliant Things To Do In St Ives Cornwall?

It will give you so many ideas of things you can do on your next visit to our lovely town!

St Ives Seagull

Have You Heard About Our St Ives Game?

If you love St Ives you will love playing it. It features all the best beaches on it too!

Buy The Great St Ives Pasty Dash Game
Buy The Great St Ives Pasty Dash Game
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