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Best Beaches St Ives

Nestled along the rugged coast of Cornwall, St Ives is a picturesque seaside town renowned for its stunning beaches. With golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and breath-taking coastal scenery, St Ives boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the United Kingdom.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best beaches that St Ives has to offer, each with its own unique charm and allure. From family-friendly shores to hidden coves waiting to be discovered, prepare to be enchanted by the beauty of St Ives’ coastal treasures.

Read on to discover more about the best beaches in St Ives…

1. Porthgwidden Beach

Porthgwidden beach

A small sandy cove at the western headland of St Ives Bay, Porthgwidden Beach is particularly popular with families thanks to its small range of facilities, including the Porthgwidden Café. From coffee and rolls at their takeaway area to enjoying fish and chips inside the restaurant, with stunning views of St Ives Bay, Porthgwidden café, on this St Ives beach, offers it all.

The beach is sheltered from the prevailing winds, making it a popular sun trap for beachgoers. Swimming in the buoyed area is safe here too, although care must be taken as there is no lifeguard on-site at this beach. However, the St Ives National Coastwatch Station overlooks the beach and is manned every day by volunteers for that extra bit of safety.

If you are looking for something extra special, why not rent a beach hut for the whole family to enjoy? Look forward to chilling out in the hut if the sun gets too much; plus it is the perfect spot to admire Cornwall‘s coast.

While there is not a huge opportunity for surfing at Porthgwidden Beach, there will still be keen surfing enthusiasts trying their luck if the conditions are just right.

Location: Western headland of St Ives Bay, close to The Island, just a few minutes from the town centre
Type of Beach: Sandy
 Multiple car parks in town (the largest of which involves a steep climb on the way back from the beach). The nearest car park is The Island car park, although this can get particularly busy during the summer
Postcode: TR26 1PL
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban in place during peak season (usually from just before Easter to the end of September)

2. Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach

One of the more popular St Ives beaches, Porthmeor is situated close to the heart of the town, right behind the Tate St Ives gallery. Both families and surfers love it here, thanks to the good waves, safe swimming and expanse of golden sand; it’s often considered one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall.

You’ll also find all of the amenities and things to do in St Ives within walking distance. Head to Porthmeor Café, just below the gallery, the café offers a range of meals from breakfast, right through to evening dining. If the weather is nice and you’re able to pick an outside space this café showcases one of the best views while enjoying a lovely meal.

There is a local surf school for St Ives close by, which is great for any ages and abilities; from intermediates to complete beginners looking to learn. There are also opportunities for coasteering and sea kayaking around the shores of St Ives for the ultimate aquatic adventure.

There is a lifeguard on the beach daily between May and September, with some weekends, bank holidays and school holidays also included. See the RNLI website for more details

Porthmeor Beach is a multiple-time blue flag beach winner and with all these facilities available, you can see why it is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Cornwall and had to be included in our guide to the best St Ives Beaches.

Location: Very close to the town centre, just behind Tate St Ives
Type of Beach: Sandy
Parking: Limited. There are multiple car parks in St Ives but these can get extremely busy, particularly in the summer. Arrive early to avoid disappointment. Visit Cornwall suggests parking at either St Erth or Lelant Saltings station and catching the train into St Ives
Postcode: TR26 2BN
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban in place (usually from just before Easter to the end of September)

3. Porthminster Beach

Porthminster Beach

So many of St Ives’ beaches could be described as picturesque, but Porthminster probably takes the crown, thanks to its white sands, crystal blue waters, palm trees and views across to Godrevy Lighthouse. The mild climate, calm waters, selection of great facilities, and proximity to St Ives town centre make it one of the more extremely popular beaches in St Ives, particularly with families.

The waves here may not be as high as other areas around St Ives, so if you are looking for surfing options, then other beaches on this list maybe better. Porthminster Beach is perfect for wild swimming in Cornwall due to fewer currents and less exposure. Lifeguards are on the beach between the end of May until September, but for more details, see the RNLI website.

Facilities at the beach include deck chairs to rent if you fancy taking in the rays in comfort. Also, why not try competing with the family on the 18-hole mini golf course and find out who is the best golfer? After having a crazy golf competition, head to the award-winning Porthminster Beach café, using fish sourced from St Ives Bay, choose from options such as Porthminster fish curry and traditional fish and chips.

With the beach being so close to St Ives, it is only a short walk into town with restaurants such as Pedn Olva and Blas Burgerworks. After your trip to the beach, why not head to Moomaid Of Zennor Ice Cream Parlour for a perfect treat after a fantastic day by the sea?

Location: Less than five minutes walk from St Ives train station
Type of Beach: Sandy
Parking: There is a car park overlooking the beach but, as with all car parks in St Ives, this can get very busy, particularly in peak season
Postcode: TR26 2BN
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban in place (usually from just before Easter to the end of September)

4. St Ives Harbour Beach

St Ives Harbour beach

Concluding our guide to the best beaches in St Ives is St Ives Harbour Beach. Perched in the centre of town, the harbour beach is a beautiful picture-perfect scene. As you might expect, the sandy beach of St Ives Harbour is at its best when the tide is out. With its soft golden sands, the south-facing beach is sheltered by the harbour walls, making it the perfect place for a safe swim and sunbathing in Cornwall.

When the tide is in this fantastic St Ives Beach is still a working harbour and the quaint fishing boats bobbing lazily in the harbour mirror something off the back of a postcard. There is no lifeguard support at St Ives harbour beach, however, St Ives Lifeboat Station is situated on the harbour and is open to visitors in the summer.

Thanks to its central location, you’ll find every facility you could want only a short distance away, not to mention some of St Ives’ many art galleries. There is a wide selection of pubs and some of the best restaurants in St Ives to keep the whole family happy during your seaside holiday. There are even plenty of shops close where you’re sure to bag lovely mementos to remember your St Ives holiday.

Location: Along the coast to the east of The Island and Porthgwidden Beach
Type of Beach: Sandy
Parking: Car parks in St Ives but spaces can be limited, particularly in summer when the town is at its busiest
Postcode: TR26 1LG
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban in place (usually from just before Easter to the end of September)

If you’re thinking about experiencing what the town has to offer for yourself, take a look at our range of self-catering cottages in St Ives and start planning your trip. Be sure to use our St Ives Travel Guide to find all the best things to do on your next getaway!

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