Porthminster Beach - St. Ives, Cornwall
Whilst I have been to Cornwall many times in the past, this was my first trip to the beautiful costal town of S. Ives and it's wonderful beaches.
Beaches in St Ives
There are four beaches around the bay of St Ives, all within walking distance of the town and all actually fantastic beaches in their own way:
My first view of Porthminster beach was from the car park that sits at one end of the beach. It was stunning, with it's crystal clear waters and beautiful golden sands, and my initial though was that you could easily be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean!
Half a mile long as well, the beach is pretty well sheltered from the wind from behind and it's sides. The water is also calm and thus it is not a beach for surfers, but ideal ideal for families.
Behind the beach at Porthminster, there are some great places to eat and drink with it's restaurants and cafes and I highly recommend Porthminster Cafe for their cream teas. There are also beach huts for hire, toilets and a large parking area at the municipal car park.
Near the beach is a putting green that can be enjoyed by the whole family and from here you can also enjoy the excellent costal walk to Carbis Bay on the South West Coast Path.
The beach that is located within the harbour, is aptly known as the Harbour beach.
Because the harbour is tidal, this beach grows and shrinks a huge amount throughout the day depending on the tide.
It is located in a warm shelterd spot right near the heart of the town and is a great place to relax on the beach and watch the local fishermen land their daily catches.
There are public toilets and you can enjoy the many cafe's resturants and pubs located directly behind Harbour beach. I highly recommend a sundowner at the Sloop Pub or a lunchtime Pizza at Pels Cafe.
Porthmeor beach sits right in front of the Tate Gallery in St Ives and is a Blue Flag Atlantic Ocean family and surfing beach.
Not only is this an excellent place to see the sunset, as well as sunbathe, but there is a surf school as well. The beach is wide enough to accommodate both swimmers and surfers and during the summer, there are fully trained lifeguards on hand to ensure everyones safety.
Restaurant and cafe facilities are located right on the beach as well as toilets and beach huts on the terrace behind.
Remember to bring some binoculars with you as on your visit as we often saw pods of dolphins enjoying the clear waters in this bay. If you do not have any binoculars, take a look at this site: Best Binocular Reviews, for reviews as well as places to buy binoculars.
A small sandy cove and sun-trap known as Porthgwidden beach, It is the most sheltered beach in St Ives and is an ideal place to catch the morning sun and relax the whole day.
Porthgwidden beach is located right next to the Island of St. Nicholas with it's unmistakable chapel situated on the summit.
Behind the beach there are beach huts available for hire, toilets as well as a cafe.
Things to do in St. Ives
As with many beach holidays in the UK, you have to be prepaired for all types of weather, but even though we visited in mid May, the weather we experienced was very pleasant, with some days of beautiful sunshine which we spent on the beach and some slightly overcast days that were still warm and where we decided to enjoy some of the many other things you can do in and around St. Ives.
Golf in St Ives
There is only one golf course actually in St Ives at the Presidents Golf Course on the Tregenna Castle Estate, with another less than 5 minutes drive away at Carbis Bay, the West Cornwall Golf Club.
There are some fantastic walks in and around St Ives. A stroll through the town is highly recommended and will take you past the many historic buildings and locations as well as give you the chance to take in the wonderful smells that waft frommany shops selling cornish pasties and other treats.
If you want to go further there are also some fantastic costal walks, with stunning views of coastline. Just remember to take some binoculars with you, not only for the birds, but we also often saw pods of dolphins enjoying the clear waters in the bays. If you do not have any binoculars, take a look at this site: Best Binocular Reviews, for reviews as well as places to buy binoculars.
Tregenna Castle Estate
The 72 acre estate of Tregenna Castle Hotel overlooks St. Ives and the coastline of St. Ives Bay. The Hotel has 81 bedrooms as well as renovated coach houses and stablesthat provide further accommodation on the estate.
Golf at Tregenna Castle Estate
The 18 hole Presidents Golf Course at the Tregenna Castle Estate is interesting in that all the holes are par 3's so it makes an excellent place to work on your short game. The whole course is located within the estate and because it sits above the town, you also get spectacular views over St Ives and the surrounding coastline. After your round you can enjoy some refreshments and food at the Castle Bar & Brasserie, where I was told that the course is open throughout the year.
My round cost me £15 and if you have forgotten to bring your clubs, or would like to try golf for the first time, you can hire a set of £5. (Prices correct in May 2010)
As well as golf, you can also enjoy a woodland walk that takes you through the gardens and woods of the estate, giving you the wonderful opertunity to view some of it's wildlife that includes many species of birds, grey squirrels, rabits and foxes and he best bit is that it is free!
Places to Eat In St Ives
St Ives has many, many places to eat and drink, to suit most tastes and budgets and I cannot speak for them all, but below are the places that I visited during my stay:
Situated just behing the Harbour beach, the Sloop is a great place to enjoy a lunchtime beer on the benches located infront of the pub. Inside you can enjoy some good pub food and they also have a more serious resturant known as "The Captains Table."
We decided on a pizza for lunch, which was excellent. They also sell many other types of food including home cooked meals. This Harbour beach side cafe is also a great place to enjoy a tea and coffee in the morning or late afternoon.
Located on the harbour is famed for its Cornish pasties one of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Lifeboat Inn
A great place to enjoy a cheap pub meal, like fish and chips or scampi and chips. Try for a table near the window that over looks the harbour in St. Ives.
Overlooking Porthminster Beach, Porthminster Cafe came top in a recent survey of British seaside restaurants in the Weekend section of yesterday's Telegraph. I cannot vouch for all their food, but can say that I enjoyed one of their excellent cream teas on the balcony overlooking the beach.
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