Popular with surfers and swimmers alike, Porthmeor is a soft, sandy beach located on the doorstep of Tate St Ives, nestled in the shelter of two headlands.
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Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2BN
Though surfing is the headline at Porthmeor Beach, there's no shortage of various other activities for the entire family. When the wind is calm, the water is perfect for a swim, while you can drip-dry on the vast stretch of sand afterwards. Adventurers both young and old can explore the numerous rock pools that lie in wait at the west end of the beach, where tiny marine creatures hop pools like bus stops. If you find yourself wanting more out of Porthmeor, why not visit a local hire shop and try stand up paddleboarding?
Even with most of the beach overlooked by buildings, Porthmeor still manages to retain much of Cornwall's picturesque coastal atmosphere. The South West Coast Path travels through Porthmeor as it wraps its way around West Cornwall, and the further west you travel from the beach, the more the cliffs rise in dramatic spectacle. In the other direction is The Island, whereupon lies a fascinating remnant of St Ives' history in the Chapel of St Nicholas: a small chapel dating back hundreds of years.
Seated just behind Porthmeor Beach and overlooking the Atlantic is Tate St Ives. The iconic gallery showcases some of the most interesting British artworks of the twentieth century alongside an ever-changing programme of exhibitions embracing the best of both British and international contemporary art.
Surfing at Porthmeor
A fairly exposed beach with just enough shelter to prevent overly choppy waters, Porthmeor is well recognised as one of West Cornwall's best surfing beaches. Though often producing quite a short ride, the surf is still often touted for its consistency and high quality, producing some excellent hollow breaks. The local St Ives surf school provides a great option for anyone wanting to get into the sport, while more intermediate surfers will be able to touch up their skills. If you're not quite ready to get to your feet, local bodyboard hire can be just as exhilarating!
Porthmeor Beach is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards during the summer months.
When you've had your fill of the surf, why not take some time to explore St Ives? With the town centre only a stone's throw from the beach, there's a whole world of shops, cafes and galleries to discover.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know about getting to Porthmeor Beach.
There are multiple pay and display car parks all over St Ives. The closest to Porthmeor Beach is Porthmeor Beach car park, which sits right behind the west end of the beach, though this is a small car park and can fill up easily. There is a very large car park at St Ives Rugby Football Club which is about a 20 minute walk from Porthmeor, but alternatively has buses that travel to the beach.
There are numerous buses travelling via St Ives, including: the 16 bus, between Penzance and St Ives; the 200 bus, between Gloweth and Penzance; and the Land's End Coaster, which loops around West Cornwall.
Everything else you might need to know about Porthmeor Beach.View all
There is a seasonal dog ban in place at Porthmeor Beach from the 15th of May to the 30th September, between 10am and 6pm. Dogs are welcome at all other times.
- RNLI Lifeguards
Porthmeor Beach is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards from the 1st of April to the 29th of October, between 10am and 6pm (2023).
With headlands sheltering it somewhat from the worst of the south-westerly winds, Porthmeor makes for a fantastic place to catch some clean, sizeable waves, with much less chop in the water than some of its nearby counterparts.
Porthmeor is a safe, sandy beach, situated between two headlands and with a gentle slope into the surf.
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