8 beautiful beaches in and around St Ives

PUBLISHED: 16:27 04 July 2019

Evening light on Porthmeor Beach. Photo credit: Ian Wool, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Evening light on Porthmeor Beach. Photo credit: Ian Wool, Getty Images/iStockphoto

ian woolcock

St Ives Bay is famous for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters and it's also home to the largest beach in Cornwall. We pick 8 beautiful beaches to visit in and near to St Ives

Porthmeor Beach

One of the trio of St Ives' beaches - the others being Porthminster and the more diminutive Porthgwidden - Porthmeor is a crescent of white sand surrounded by high headlands on either side. Sitting at its middle is the Porthmeor Beach Café where seats on its top terrace are in high demand during warm sunny days (and quite a few colder ones). There are chalets at one end available for rent by the week - if you don't fancy dragging your beach paraphernalia up to your car (the most available car park is a bit of a hike - or you can get the train in from nearby St Erth and enjoy the spectacular views en route).

For surfers it's known for its hollow, fast, north-facing break (that those in the know say works best in bigger swells). In the water there are surfers and swimmers of all ages and abilities and lifeguard cover from Easter to the end of October. Dogs are only allowed on the beach out of season.

Porthgwidden Beach

Porthgwidden is easily identifiable due to the pretty and colourful beach huts overlooking the small bay. The beach is very sandy and the water nice and clear making it perfect for young families to splash and play. Due to the size of the beach it can fill up very quickly during the warmer months.

Feeling hungry? Sister café and restaurant to Porthminster, Porthgwidden specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood cuisine. The restaurant overlooks the beach with plenty of seating outside for al fresco dining in the warmer months. Porthgwidden is also open for breakfast. Start the day right with poached eggs, coffee and a side of sea views.

Porthminster Beach

St Ives has long been a favourite with sunseekers and at Porthminster there is always something a bit special on offer. This white sandy beach rarely stays empty whatever the weather.

One of its many attractions is The Porthminster Beach Cafe - boasting an incredible menu, amazing views and a well-earned reputation for keeping it Cornwall. This award-winning restaurant specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood cuisine so come hungry and prepared to be impressed.

The St Ives Food & Drink Festival takes place on Porthminster Beach every May.

Bamaluz Beach

Bamaluz beach in St Ives is hidden enough that it is often missed by visitors making it a quiet place to take a load off. Overlooked by the beautiful Wheal Dream tin mine and the St Ives museum, this sandy beach is tucked between Porthgwidden and St Ives harbour. But be aware that at high tide, most of the beach disappears!

Carbis Bay Beach

A stunning crescent-shaped bay with white sands and lazily lapping waves topped with a beach-side bistro, luxury spa and hotel: welcome to Carbis Bay.

Carbis Bay Hotel has added to its significant charms with multi-award winning C-Bay Spa featuring its own Champagne bar while the beach features a stunning bar and bistro offering indoor and outdoor views of this 25-acre privately owned Blue Flag beach offering everything from a coffee stop to fine Mediterranean cuisine.

Try your hand at stand up paddle boarding (SUP) or a range of other ocean-based activities. The Ocean Sports Centre on Carbis Bay beach, holds regular SUPwise approved classes and coaching sessions which are run by some of the country's leading watersports professionals.

Porthkidney Beach

Next door to Carbis Bay and accessible at low-tide, you'll find Porthkidney Beach at the mouth of the Hayle estuary. At low-tide, the sand can stretch a mile out to sea. Towards the Lelant-side of the beach you'll find sand dunes which form a cliffside as they merge towards Carbis Bay.

Strong and unpredictable tides mean it's not the best place for swimming however the beach is dog-friendly all year round so it's great for dogs.

Gwithian Beach

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of St Ives but you'd still like to enjoy its beauty from afar, take a picnic to Gwithian Beach. Just across St Ives bay and a stone's throw from Godrevy lighthouse, the beach is perfect for spending the afternoon picnicking and watching the surfers catch some waves. There's ample parking so you won't have too far to carry your wicker basket, and there are sand dunes and lots of rock pools to explore too.

Gwithian has the honour of being the biggest beach in Cornwall and at three miles long, there is lots of space for your dog to run and explore in autumn and winter.

Godrevy

Sitting at the edge of the stunning three miles-long golden sands of St Ives Bay and next door to the world famous Gwithian and its surf, is this small but perfectly proportioned cove owned by the National Trust - which also boasts a cliff-top café made famous by its exquisite hot chocolate.

Back on the beach and pick your way through golden sand is dotted with rocky outcrops to create a beach full of interest and rock pools ready for endless paddling and sealife hunting. For newbie surfers there's often a gentle break here, and a nearby surf school if you want to learn more.

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