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St Ives’ beaches — which will you choose?

With six beautiful beaches within easy walking distance of the town centre, the ‘island’ of St Ives has earned itself a reputation as one of the best places in Cornwall for a holiday by the sea. Each stretch of sand is completely different to the next, so whether you’re looking for wide sweep with surf schools and places to eat right on the beach or a ‘secret’ spot where the dogs can roam free all year round, St Ives has it all.

Porthminster

With gorgeous views across to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, this award-winning Blue Flag beach in the arty town of St Ives has an almost tropical feel, with waving palm trees and clear, calm waters — it’s a firm favourite for swimmers, bucket-and-spade families and deckchair dozers. It’s also next to the train station, so an easy choice for those that have caught the train from St Erth. The brilliant, award-winning Porthminster Beach Café, just off the sand, serves up great local food.

Lifeguarded? Yes, from mid May to end of September
Dog restrictions? No dogs from mid May to end of September, 10am-6pm

Harbour Beach

Boats At Low Tide In St. Ives

This beach sits inside the town’s working harbour from which you can often watch local fishermen catching fresh seafood. A natural sun-trap, this soft sandy beach is ideal for swimming and sandcastle building, whilst being in the hustle and bustle of town, with its independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. From here you can join boat trips to spot seals or sail across the bay to the famous Godrevy Lighthouse and Hell’s Mouth.

Lifeguarded? No
Dog restrictions? No dogs in July and August, 10am-6pm

Porthgwidden

The smallest and most sheltered of all of the beaches in St Ives, Porthgwidden is east facing, so it’s perfect for those who wish to get to the beach early and bask in the sun all day. While this isn’t lifeguarded, Porthgwidden is usually completely safe for bathing, and also has a lovely café right on the beach, a row of beach huts, a handy snack kiosk, as well as toilets and parking nearby.

Lifeguarded? No
Dog restrictions? No dogs in July and August, 10am-6pm

Porthmeor

One of only eight Cornish beaches to be awarded Blue Flag status, Porthmeor is tiptop for water quality, safety and environmental management. Nestled below the iconic Tate St Ives and just a stone’s throw from St Ives’ centre, it’s easy to explore the town from here…visit old pubs or quirky cafes for a spot of lunch, or wander into the Porthmeor Beach Cafe for lunchtime tapas or afternoon cocktails. You’ll also find St Ives Surf School here; they offer surf, paddleboard and kayak lessons and hire, as well as coasteering sessions.

Lifeguarded? Mid May to end of September
Dog restrictions? No dogs from mid May to end of September, 10am-6pm

Lambeth Walk

Often overlooked by visitors, this is the perfect beach if you’re bringing your dog as it’s one of only two beaches in St Ives without restrictions — and it’s very close to town for a bite to eat. Make sure you check the tides before your visit as the beach disappears completely at high tide; at low tide, you can walk the dog down to the Lighthouse at the end of Smeaton’s Pier.

Lifeguarded? No
Dog restrictions? Dogs welcome all year round

Bamaluz

Situated between Porthgwidden and Harbour Beach, this tiny ‘secret’ stretch of sand often goes unnoticed as it disappears at high tide. It’s dog friendly all year round, and a great place to take the kids as there are rockpools to explore and boulders to clamber on. You’ll need to pop round to Porthgwidden to use their facilities, but don’t worry – it’s only across the carpark.

Lifeguarded? No
Dog restrictions? Dogs welcome all year round

GETTING THERE

St Ives Trainline

Avoid taking your car into St Ives during the summer — the town’s narrow lanes and car parks are often packed in the busy months. We’d recommend leaving the car at St Erth station and making the scenic 10-minute train journey (there are two an hour) into the town.

Tempted to book a holiday to St Ives? Have a look at our holidays cottages in and around St Ives