A UK Coastal Trip – St Ives

Read and look with caution. This is a virtual section of our coastal trip, with images and blurb taken from Tourist Board and town websites.

Porthgwarra visitcornwall.co.uk

A picturesque fishing hamlet with some boats still launching from here, Porthgwarra has a small secluded beach just around the corner from Porthcurno.

© Matthew Jessop

Land’s End visitcornwall.co.uk

Land’s End is mainland Britain’s most south-westerly point and one of the country’s most famous landmarks. From the 200-foot high granite cliffs that rise out of the Atlantic Ocean you can gaze across to the Longships Lighthouse, the Isles of Scilly twenty-eight miles away and beyond that, North America.

© Matthew Jessop

Sennan Cove visitcornwall.co.uk

Head down the hill from Sennen and it’s not long before your view is full of sea and sunshine. Some days huge blue rollers head towards the shore making Sennen Cornwall’s most westerly surf hotspot, other days the tides out and the wide golden sands provide plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. The small harbour with its lifeboat station and art galleries is great for those days when the sun is in hiding.

© Matthew Jessop

Porthgwiggen visitcornwall.co.uk

The smallest beach of soft golden sand in St Ives, near to the Island, is very popular with families as it is very sheltered and quite an east-facing sun trap. It is a hard climb back up to the large car park at the top of town. Why not park at Lelant Saltings and enjoy the scenic railway branch line right to the heart of the town?

© Matthew Jessop

St Ives visitcornwall.co.uk

St Ives is a seemingly subtropical oasis where the beaches are golden, the vegetation is lush and the light piercingly bright. It’s no wonder then that the town has been attracting artists for decades who come to capture the area’s undeniable natural beauty. It started with J M W Turner and the marine artist Henry Moore who first came to St Ives in the mid-1800s and since then the town has become a magnet for some of the world’s greatest painters, sculptors and ceramists. Visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden where sensual sculptures by one of the country’s leading 20th century artists are exhibited in tranquil gardens. Wander along pathways through trees and shrubs and discover some of her most celebrated works in bronze and limestone. At the top of the town can be found the Bernard Leach Pottery, established in 1920 and now a working museum. There are only four Tate galleries in the world and one of them is Tate St Ives. 

© Matthew Jessop                                                                        © Matthew Jessop

There are plenty of pavement cafes, ancient pubs and top-notch eateries with mouth-watering menus. Behind the 14th century Sloop Inn on the Wharf and the Harbour beach there is a maze of narrow cobbled streets and fisherman’s cottages. This is the heart of old St Ives, known to the locals as ‘Downlong’. Spend an hour or so delving into the life and times of bygone St Ives at the local museum. The large space is packed with memorabilia and artefacts that reflect St Ives’s long and varied history including fishing, boatbuilding, art and agriculture.

Gwithian Towans visitcornwall.co.uk

Blasted by the breeze off the Atlantic, the magnificent beach at Gwithian Towans is always a colourful scene of windsurfers on the water, blokarts on the beach and kites in the sky. Backed by sand dunes tufted with wild grass, at low tide there is a vast amount of sand to enjoy and large areas of rock pools and caves are uncovered which are great for kids to explore. Access to the beach is along a path through the sand dunes from the car park.

© Adam Gibbard

The beach is a favourite destination for surfers as the constant swell coming in from the ocean provides good all year-round conditions. Common seals are a regular sight near the beach and the area is a breeding ground for colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills and cormorants. The Sunset Surf beachside café and bar overlooks the beach and is open all year, serving locally sourced, seasonal ingredients wherever possible and nearby the Jam Pot Café and Shop, a former 19th century coastguard lookout, is where you can enjoy home cooked snacks and be distracted by the stunningly natural views out over St Ives Bay.

Portreath visitcornwall.co.uk

The large beach has soft fine sand, with shingle below the shore line, that is popular with families. The harbour wall and “rocky” is popular with surfers for its “vortex” surf break. Refreshments may be obtained from the Beach Café or The Retreat Restaurant & Take-Away which has a relaxed atmosphere with comfy sofas. There are two surf/beach shops and an amusement arcade for families located on the seafront. Public toilets are also available close by. The village has a local supermarket, Post Office, Bakery and a tearoom located within The Square. The village also has three pubs.

© Matthew Jessop

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