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St Ives Beach Guide

The beach guide to St.Ives…

The harbour beach is amazing for soaking up the St Ives vibe. Watch the fishing boats returning from their catch and the freedom of the changing skies and tides. Grab a coffee in one of the harbour  front cafes or bars and do some people watching! Sunny corner
or Poets corner famous for the subject of many Art works, located in the corner next to the pier sat above the beach, always reflects the light in the most unusual way.

One of our favourite things to do in spring time, whilst there is still a bite in the air, is to grab a couple of huge blankets, one to lay on the sand, and one to snuggle in.  Pitch up down on the beach, against the harbour wall looking out over to the old Coast Guard Cottages that nestle into the green headland.  We take a flask of something and watch the children seeking for interesting sea life left behind in the rippled sand pools.



 Can’t stress enough how vicious these creatures can be for some lunch or dinner! And please don’t feed them as it motivates them more to take from you.

TOP TIP- Never walk away from the ice cream kiosk carrying ice creams freely keep them shrouded and eat them against a wall or under a brolly!  Watch out for them circling above and calling their pals along to attack you!

Bamaluz Beach

This is a small beach that sits behind Smeatons Pier, at low tide you can walk around the pier to reach it, or nip down the old slip way behind the Harbour Masters Office. Alternatively head
towards the St Ives Museum and there are steps that lead into the beach. Dogs are allowed on this beach all year round, although there is not much beach when th tide high.

Porthgwidden Beach

This is my favourite beach for a family days, secluded by rocks, it is a cove that faces East and can tend to find itself as a bit of a sun trap. There is a beach cafe for take aways and a small terrace with benches. You can purchase ice creams, cold beers and drinks,  sandwiches, chips, salads  and snacks.  The Pothgwidden beach Cafe restaurant sits above the beach cafe kiosk.

There are also a few Beach huts that can be rented out from the beach cafe. Great if you are staying at the top of town and don’t fancy lugging your beach kit back and forth every day! The beach cafe is connected to the Porthgwidden Beach cafe, which has refreshments,beers,wines and of course a variety of food. The crayfish salad is one of my favourites.

At the top of the slipway there are public toilets. Which are easily accessible up the slipway to them. There are also benches to sit on if you don’t want to go on the beach.

The beach has three access points. Going in an anti-clockise motion there is some steep steps coming down into the beach from the green above. The second is a slipway (the main way) which is another steep climb so be careful with a wheelchair or pram. The third is from a private a car park way in which is followed round from Bamaluz beach with only sea and rocks in between.


Porthmeor also known as the surf beach, is the biggest and the best of what St.Ives holds for water sport fun.The kids will love it, as it has the shallow waves close to shore where you can watch them and theres plenty of room to play around in the sand. When there isn’t much surf it may favour them a lot more, than being out in the depths where waves have racked up to be 10ft and above. But thats only on good days usually surf varies from 3ft to 6ft meaning that passion of surfing and bodyboarding can be thoroughly for filled. And don’t worry over evenings when you may be relaxing or having a barbecue you will experience one of the best sunsets that Europe has to offer.

Porthmeor offers a surf school for kids up to adults and also takes bookings for this. So if your on holiday in a group this could be a good activity. However it does offer wetsuits, surfboards and bodyboards if you already know the stuff.

It also has a cafe serving a range of food and drinks if you did’t bring enough. Fitted with toilets for the beach users as well. This beach also has a life guard team during the these times:


Easter school holidays 25 March-10 April
Weekends only 16-24 April
Daily 30 April-25 September
Weekends only 1-16 October
October half term 22- 30 October
Patrol times 10am-6pm

During the summer season you will also nice a build towards one of the ends of the beach and this is a pizza restaurant, with a lot of different bases and toppings. From sourdough bases to your tradition dough base.

Access to the beach can be found by one end closest to the chapel with a slope which is a bit rocky and is the closest assess if you are crossing over from Porthgwidden. The middle access is from the town through a street called The Digey. This is steps down to the main middle area of the beach. About 50 metres further on yo will come to a slipway car access down onto the beach.

The best spot on this beach is a little cove at one end by the chapel side. As you can get sun all day long.


This is a beach just a bit smaller than Porthmeor. It is towards the outskirts of St.Ives, but still only a short walk from town. It is over looked by the Pend Olva hotel which is a good place for a hot chocolate on a rainy day. This beach is similar to the Portgwidden. Its calm and peaceful and happens to be basking in the sun all day long. Better for small children that may not like the waves of Porthmeor.

The beach has toilets just before it and a nice cafe to get food from it if you want to get some. There is also a restaurant if you fancy it. RNLI lifeguard Summer cover daily from 19 May to 30 September.

You can get to this beach from town if you follow the path from the Lifeboat Station, all the way along past the Blas Burger Bar and then the Pend Olva. Through the trees you should be able to see the beach. The path bends round and drops to the beach. Although 5 minutes out of town its a really nice location.

Carbis Bay

Carbis bay is a longer walk from St.Ives but ideal if you don’t want to be caught up in he peak season traffic of the town. It is the next beach on from Portminster, with a direct train route, buses and a 30 minute walk from St.Ives. If your planning on walking I would take the coastal path as it is quicker. Trains you need a ticket and buses you need to wait for the right time. Carbis bay is a perfect view of St.Ives and is another calm sunny beach.

It also has good toilet and cafe facilities and has a restaurant there for food as well. access to this beach is from the main car parking area where you can park and there is a charge to get your which can fluctuate. There is also luxurious hotel which is a great place to stay. Their is another access further up the road and it is a coastal path down which is a steep path that has water running cross it so be careful not to slip! also don’t get out of your depth because there is not a life guard here.


Porthkidney is past the headland of Carbis bay and is a huge expansive beach with amazing natural sand dunes behind it. Dogs are allowed on it all year round and is close to the Hayle side only across the estuary. Dogs will love the beach especially the natural forming pools that the can splash about in. This the beach we take our dogs mostly because of its perfect conditions and the amazing view of St.Ives in the distance.

Porthkidney has many access routes and its fun discovering your own through the dunes each time that you go on a walk there. You can access the main footpath through the path from the Lelant church where there is a small bit of parking. When I say small I mean around 5-6.

There is a life guard at this beach because of its tidal rive and its fast moving tides between Hayle’s beach. The times of the Lifeguard is: RNLI lifeguard Summer cover daily from 7 July to 2 September.


Seasonal dog ban applies: Dogs are banned from the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September on Porthmeor, Porthminster and Porthgwidden. Carbis Bay beach you are allowed between 5am and 8am, still complying with the seasonal dog ban below. You are allowed on the harbour before 8am and after 7pm from the Sunday before Easter until the 30th of September each year.

Wetsuit Hiring 

There are various places in town where you can hire wetsuits from in the sea. We use to normally hire and buy our wetsuits from Off the Beaten Track close to the church end of St.Ives.

The charges daily and weekly are:

D           W

Summer Suits – £5          £25                                                                                                           Winter Suits    – £8          £35

Surfboards are:

Soft boards      – £10        £45                                                                                                  Bodyboard       -£5           £25

And they have said family deals are on offer.