Porthmeor Beach

Enjoy views of rugged cliffs and take lessons with a local surf school at this picturesque cove that has long inspired artists.

Porthmeor Beach is a stretch of golden sand sheltered by two headlands. With excellent water conditions for both swimming and surfing, the beach is a favorite among vacationers. Bring the whole family to enjoy this safe and clean beach.

Admire views of the sparkling sea and the green park on the eastern headland. Use binoculars to search for elusive Cornish choughs on the cliffs. Art studios look out over the beach, which often serves as inspiration for their work.

Find a sandy area for your family and set up a picnic. Build sand castles and comb the beach for crabs, shells and other treasures. Other popular beach activities include sunbathing and swimming.

Bring your surfboard to practice on the choppy waves. The St. Ives Surf School, located on the beach, offers lessons in surfing as well as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The school also takes groups coasteering, which involves climbing, jumping and swimming around the rocky coastal cliffs. Alternatively, rent boards, wetsuits, kayaks and other gear from the school and go it alone.

The coastline has many nature trails with impressive views. Follow sections of the South West Coast Path long-distance walking route, which lead off from the beach in both directions. Buy snacks and refreshments from one of the beachside cafés and peruse works of art in the Tate St. Ives gallery.

This beach is one of only a few in Cornwall to attain Blue Flag status, which indicates a high level of water quality and safety. Several parking lots are located in St. Ives though spaces are limited. During peak season, consider using the park and ride facilities at Lelant Saltings instead.

Lifeguards patrol the beach on weekends in late spring and daily throughout summer. Dogs are not allowed here from Easter through to the end of September. Walk northeast from central St. Ives to get to Porthmeor Beach. Nearby landmarks include the Barnoon Cemetery, Imagianation Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.

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