St Ives Harbour Beach Cornwall

St Ives Harbour – Mind Those Pesky Seagulls

St Ives Harbour is a beautiful tidal harbour. It is often quite sheltered as it is tucked into the land and faces into St Ives Bay. It has mooring for about 140 boats and so is quite a busy place.

The Piers

St Ives Harbour has 3 piers and 2 lighthouses.

St Ives Harbour 3 Piers 2 Lighthouses Cornwall

Smeaton's Pier

The harbour is dominated by Smeaton's Pier and lighthouse. The original pier was built in 1770 and was about half the length of the current pier. The pier was lengthened in 1888 making it 600 ft in length.

You can read all about Smeaton's Pier here >>

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Smeaton's Pier

Harbour Master

At the entrance to the pier is the Harbour Masters office. The current Harbour Master is called Ben Lawler and he is the person to contact for anything boat or fishing related.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Harbour Master

Old Lighthouse

About half way along Smeaton's Pier is the old lighthouse. This marks the spot where the pier used to end. This lighthouse is no longer in use.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Old Lighthouse

New Lighthouse

The new lighthouse was built in the 1890s as is an iconic image of St Ives.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall New Lighthouse

St Ives Fishing Fleet

The St Ives fishing fleet work from here. This is a fleet of about 20 small boats who use handlines to catch mackerel in St Ives Bay. There are also some larger boats who fish for brown crab and lobster using pots. Along Smeaton's Pier you will see their gear, including fish shed, pots and winches. Please take care if you are walking along here as it is a working pier.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Fishing Fleet

New Pier

Behind Smeaton's Pier is New Pier (often called Wood Pier). This is only really used these days by people fishing with a line, or crabbing. To the right of New Pier you will see the jetty known as Rampers. This is where the boat trips pick up from at low tide.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall New Pier

West Pier

On the opposite side of the harbour from Smeaton's Pier is West Pier. It was originally built to load stone from local quarries onto boats. These days it is mainly used by the RNLI - you will see the lifeboat station there too.

You can read more about the RNLI in St Ives here >>

The Beaches

At high tide the harbour splits into 2 beaches.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Beaches

The Sloop Slipway Beach

The first beach is directly in front of The Sloop Inn. You get onto it by walking down the Sloop Slipway. Do take care with young children and dogs as this slipway is used to launch boats.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Beaches

The beach is sandy and often packed with families having picnics. Do take care though as the seagulls here are a menace!

Kitty's Corner Beach

The second beach is further along the promenade, tucked between Kitty's Corner and Smeaton's Pier. This is often really sheltered and warm, even on a clear day in Winter.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Kitty's Corner

Find out why it is called Kitty's Corner here >>

The Arches

The arches under Smeaton's Pier quite interesting. They were built when the pier was extended and help circulate the seawater and prevent the build up of sand in the harbour.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall The Arches

They also make a great place to play in or hide in to eat your pasties in away from those pesky seagulls!

St Ives Harbour Cornwall The Arches

Seaglass Collecting

The tideline on the harbour beach by Kitty's Corner is a great spot for seaglass collecting - especially after some stormy weather!

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Seaglass Collecting

To find out more good spots for collecting seaglass in St Ives please click here >>


The St Ives Harbour Beaches are NOT lifeguarded, so you do need to keep a really good eye on your children. Although it is pretty shallow in the harbour, even at high tide, there are lots of obstacles in the water. There are boat moorings everywhere, and lots of people using the water on boats, kayaks and paddleboards. It is a working harbour with fishermen coming in and out and the RNLI here too.

The lifeguarded beaches in St Ives are Porthmeor and Porthminster Beach.

Dogs On The Beach

Dogs are not allowed on St Ives Harbour Beach between 1st July and 31st August between 10am and 6pm. This applies to the whole of the harbour, including the part by West Pier and the RNLI station.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Dogs On The Beach Rules

Low Tide

St Ives Harbour is tidal and the tide goes out a long way. At low tide it is possible to walk all the way past the lighthouse, onto Pedn Olva and Porthminster Beach. Do take care though as the tide does come back in a quite a lick!

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Low Tide

The Prom

The promenade along St Ives Harbour is a lovely place to stroll, or to sit and watch the boats go by. There are lots of benches to sit on and places to get food and drink.


You can hire deckchairs on the promenade behind St Ives beach. You can't get more quintessentially British seaside than that!

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Deckchairs

Boat Trips

During the season, all around the harbour are places and signs for boat trips around the bay and up and down the coast.

The main trips are either to Seal Island, or over to Godrevy Lighthouse.

Find out more about the boats trips from St Ives harbour here >>

Equipment Hire

You can hire self drive motor boats, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and other water craft from the kiosk on the harbour.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Equipment Hire

The Gig Pilot Boats

You will usually see 2 bright blue gig boats in the harbour. These are the St Ives Pilot Gigs which are wooden rowing boats used for racing.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Gig Pilot Boats

The Jumbo Luggers

You will also see 2 wooden white boats with masts, usually moored side by side. They have very distinctive red sails. These are the St Ives Jumbo Luggers and have a very interesting history.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Jumbo Luggers

Read more about the St Ives Jumbo Luggers here >>

Fishermen's Lodges

There are 3 remaining fishermen's lodges in St Ives Harbour. They are Shore Shelter, Rose Lodge and Shamrock Lodge. These are where the fishermen sit out waiting for the tides.

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Fishermens Lodges

Read more about the St Ives Fishermen's Lodges here >>

Seals In The Harbour

It is quite usual to see seals in the harbour but please don't approach them. They are wild and you must keep your distance, even if they seem friendly. They are just looking for food!

St Ives Harbour Cornwall Seals

Mind The Seagulls

One word of warning, WATCH OUT FOR THE SEAGULLS. They watch your every move and are just waiting to grab your pasty or icecream!

St Ives Harbour Beach Cornwall Seagulls

Read all about the seagulls of St Ives here >>

Facilities On St Ives Harbour

Toilets: the nearest toilets are on Smeaton's Pier. There are also toilets behind The Sloop Inn in the car park.

Car Park: the closest car parks are at The Sloop car park, Smeaton's Pier or at The Island car park.

Food & Drink: there are masses of places to get all sorts of food and drink around the harbour. You will be spoilt for choice! The nearest ice cream shop is the Kellys kiosk on Quay St, or Willy Wallers on the corner of Fish St.

Access Onto The Beaches: there are 2 gentle slipways down onto either side of the harbour beaches, or there are steps down. This makes it one of the easier accessible beaches with wheelchairs or prams.



St Ives Harbour Beach Cornwall Location

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