St Ives has some of Cornwall’s best beaches, particularly when they’re blessed with that famous shimmering light. The beauty of St Ives’ five – yes, there really are five – easily-accessible beaches, is that each has its own personality and no two are the same. In fact, there are many more beaches than that in the area, but here we tell you what’s special about the ‘big five’.
Porthminster is crescent shaped and fringed by swaying palm trees, giving it an almost tropical feel and is the second largest beach in St Ives. With superb views across to Godrevy Lighthouse and gorgeous golden sand, Porthminster boasts a blue flag status. An award-winning beach, when the tide is low, the calm shallow waters are perfect for paddling, which is ideal for a family day at the beach.
Is Porthminster dog friendly? There are dog restrictions in peak season, which means between 15 May to 30 September dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between the hours of 10am-6pm.
Where to eat: An obvious choice, which means you won’t even have to leave the beach, is Porthminster Café. With plenty of awards under its belt, it’s relaxed and friendly restaurant with terrace area, serving up delicious seafood and locally-sourced goodness.
Where to park: St Ives Railway Station, is the closest car park to Porthminster, which is a five-minute walk.
Are there toilets at Porthminster? Yes, there are public toilets which are open seasonally from 8am until dusk.
Aerial view of Tate St Ives © Kirstin Prisk
The wonderful Porthmeor Beach is the largest beach in St Ives and situated on the North side of the town. The Tate Gallery is directly on the promenade and the town centre not far away, due to its westerly facing position, Porthmeor is popular with families and surfers alike. A huge unspoilt beach with lovely clean sand and invigorating clear water, there’s something for everyone from bodyboarders to baby’s splashing in rock pools. A prestigious blue flag awarded beach, it’s edged by rugged headlands and sheltered in a cove and is often referred to as St Ives’ premier stretch of sand.
Is Porthmeor dog friendly? Porthmeor has dog restrictions in peak season, which means between 15 May to 30 September dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between 10am-6pm.
Where to eat: Just below the Tate Gallery is Porthmeor Beach Café, renowned for its breakfasts. A locally-sourced menu sees delicious plates being served throughout the day.
Where to park: Porthmeor Beach car park is the closest, however it is short stay with only 30 spaces. Save yourself the hassle and try parking at St Erth station or Lelant Saltings and enjoy the scenic branch line into the heart of St Ives.
Are there toilets at Porthmeor? There are toilets in the car park which are open seasonally from 8am until dusk.
The town’s central beach is rather aptly named as it sits inside the St Ives’ working harbour. A soft sandy beach is revealed when the tide’s out, and you’re likely to see local fishermen catching fresh seafood. Head here to build sandcastles, take a dip in the calm waters, hunt for sea glass, or just watch the world go by.
Is Harbour Beach dog friendly? Harbour Beach also has dog restrictions in the height of season, which means between 1 July to 31 August dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between 10am-6pm.
Where to eat: You’re moments from Harbour Fish and Chips, just watch out for the gullies.
Where to park: The closest car park is Smeaton’s Pier, which is a long stay car park, however there’s only 30 spaces so you’ll want to get there early. Again, we’d suggest getting the train in if you can.
Are there toilets at Harbour? There are public toilets just behind The Sloop Inn open from dawn to dusk.
View of Porthgwidden beach at St Ives, Cornwall. Shutterstock, Philip Bird
Porthgwidden Beach is just over a five-minute walk from the Harbour. The smallest and most sheltered of St Ives’ beaches, it’s set between Bamaluz Beach and The Island-Pendinas, and is fringed with with pretty beach huts. An east facing beach, if you’re looking to bask in St Ives’ gorgeous sun all day long then this may be the beach for you.
Is Porthgwidden dog friendly? Dog restrictions are in place in the height of summer at Porthgwidden, which means between 1 July to 31 August dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between 10am-6pm.
Where to eat: Look no further than Porthgwidden Beach Café, situated right on the beach, diners can expect the freshest seafood alongside local produce.
Where to park: The closest is Island car park, which is a long stay car park with 129 spaces. Be warned, car parks are very busy during the summer months.
Are there toilets at Porthgwidden? Yes, there are public toilets here, which are open from dawn to dusk.
Bamaluz Bay is a small stretch between the Harbour and Porthgwidden, an elusive beach which is hidden at high tide. At low tide it’s sandy and pebbly in equal measures. It’s worth noting that this beach is only accessible by quite steep steps, and you’ll want to check the tide times first.
Is Bamaluz Bay dog friendly? Bamaluz is the only beach in St Ives which is dog friendly all year round.
Where to eat: There are plenty of places along The Wharf, or why not nip up a side street and head to The Loft Restaurant and Terrace? set a little further back it serves both delicious food and an equally lovely view.
Where to park: You’re not far from Island car park or Smeaton’s Pier, which both get very busy during the summer.
Are there toilets at Bamaluz Bay? The closest toilets to Bamaluz are located around the corner on Smeaton’s Pier.
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