Holidays on Porthmeor beach, St Ives

Porthmeor is one of the most iconic beaches in St Ives, attracting many a happy visitor with its breath-taking sunsets, great surf and wonderful beachside facilities.

Why stay near Porthmeor?

Porthmeor is a Blue Flag awarded beach which means its has passed all the criteria set out by the Blue Flag award programme. To qualify for this, Porthmeor beach has had to have and maintained a series of ‘stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria’. Globally across 49 countries, there are less than 5000 beaches and marinas that qualify and we are lucky enough to have one right on our doorstep.

The criteria is rigorous but we will give you a few examples of the great things Porthmeor offers that has allowed it achieve this excellent accolade;

  • It has accessible information on local eco-systems and various environmental factors relating to the beach
  • You can find a map of the beach indicating where all the facilities are such as toilets, lifeguards, water points, recycling facilities (the list goes on!)
  • Having a beach management committee

A key criteria that it holds, which attracts swimmers, surfers, walkers and bathers is the water quality and the cleanliness of the beach. The beach is and must be clean and the water undergoes continuous testing to ensure it maintains excellent water quality. If you’re interested in the science behind all of this, check-out the in-depth blue flag criteria here!

However, all logistics and official accolades aside, this beach is really something special. It is the prime sunset spot in St Ives and with this brings so much joy throughout the seasons. From engagements, to birthdays, celebrations, creative moments or just simple bliss, Porthmeor has really seen it all.

Where to stay?

We have two fantastic self-catering apartments in St Ives that sit right over Porthmeor Beach with amazing sea views, your own private balcony plus you’re so close to the sea you can smell it in the air!

Atlantic Blue

Atlantic Blue is a fantastic dog friendly holiday apartment in St Ives that sits on the Island side of Porthmeor within St Nicholas Court.

Being perched on the edge of The Island means that the walk to the beach is seconds away rather than minutes. You have the best of both sides of the beach here. You can stroll to St Nicholas’ Chapel which stands proud on the grassy headland between Porthmeor beach and Porthgwidden beach and let your heart be captured by the beautiful scenery surrounding you.

The property self is a modern apartment that can sleep out to four guests, making it the perfect spot for a family getaway or romantic break. It is a dog-friendly apartment too so your four-legged friend is welcome!

Atlantic Blue boasts amazing views over Porthmeor beach and Clodgy Head which can be enjoyed from the kitchen or your own private balcony. There is truly no better way to start you day than with a fresh coffee and hearing the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore. Spectacular sunsets can be enjoyed from this wonderful self-catering apartment which is in the heart of a very special part of Cornwall.

To find out more about Atlantic Blue and for a chance to experience the views for yourself, follow this link!

20 Barnaloft

The Barnaloft apartments are quintessentially ‘St Ives’. They’ve been an addition to Porthmeor Beach since the early 1960s and, since then, have been one of the most sought after spots in the town. Many happy memories have been made in Barnaloft over time with families returning year after year!

This holiday apartment by the beach will truly take you breath away as soon as you walk through the door. The views over Porthmeor beach look as if they were taken from a famous St Ives painting! As you walk through the kitchen and living room you’ll be pulled towards the glass sliding doors that take you to your own personal balcony sitting quite literally metres above the sand. Although the beach is just below you, you’ll find it hard to stop enjoying the views from the comfort of the outdoor sofa.

20 Barnaloft has undergone amazing renovations that were completed in August 2021 and it is a truly special place to visit. It can sleep up to four guests so is another apartment that makes for a special family or couples break.

When choosing a luxury holiday home in Cornwall above a beach, we really do feel you will fall in love with St Ives and this view forever more!

To see more of 20 Barnaloft and book, here’s the link!

Food & Drink

Porthmeor beach is not just known for its great sand, sea, surf and places to stay but also the impeccable food! 

Porthmeor Beach Cafe
Located centrally on the beach, this beachside cafe is somewhere we would recommend to all of our guests, so do try and book a table well in advance of your stay. The experience is second to none, as is the food! They have a variation of tables and seating, so you can pick your own dining experience at Porthmeor. Their unique ‘pods’ with heaters and blankets make for a romantic dining experience and, being just seconds from the sand and sea simply adds to the most perfect backdrop.

If you don’t quite feel like braving the elements, they have indoor seating where you get first hand views of the ocean on one side and their open kitchen on the other, so you get to see where all the magic happens whilst enjoying remarkable views.

Bringing a dog on holiday to St Ives? They can join you at Porthmeor Beach cafe too! Porthmeor has an outdoor terraced area that is covered with heaters and it is an allocated dog friendly area. You can come rain or shine and you can’t pre-book, so you can head there as and when you and the pooch are feeling peckish.

Their tapas style menu means it is a great location to sit and share delicious food and make wonderful memories with friends and family!

Porthmeor West 
Over on the west-side of Porthmeor you have ‘West’. This outdoor/partially covered restaurant and takeaway is open from spring to autumn and they offer some of the best pizzas in St Ives, freshly made everyday!

Their pizza menu is one of the most popular in the town and as they can be enjoyed by people dining in or to takeaway, we can’t imagine just how many they must make a day.

Don’t fancy a pizza? During their lunchtime service they run a ‘deli’ menu too which offers daily specials and healthy salad options which always adds a great variety. It is probably one of our favourite coffee spots too. So, if you are only quickly passing, be sure to head down there and grab a coffee and cake.

One of the best things about West is simply how close you are to the sea. Whether you’ve been for a long surf and you desperately need some carbs or if you’ve been for a quick dip and want to relax and unwind with a cool beer, West is just moments from the water’s edge.

Porthmeor Takeaway

If you’re entering into the debate of ‘what side of the beach do we sit!?’ and you’re trying to weigh up your options of being in the perfect sun spot, close enough to the sea, close to toilets and food, the middle is always your safest bet!

Central Porthmeor has a great takeaway that sits just below the restaurant. It is great for a quick bite to eat. Here you can find a range of pasties, sandwiches, salads, sausage rolls, chips, burgers…even crispy squid! It is a perfect compromise for the whole family as they really do have something for everyone. Another bonus about visiting here is their Ice cream shop, because what is a day at the beach without ice cream!? Although, ALWAYS watch out for the seagulls. They get better every year at snatching ice creams.

In the summer, Porthmeor Takeaway also sells Pimm’s, is there any way better to spend a hot afternoon!?

What to do on and around Porthmeor Beach?

Surf

Porthmeor beach is a popular surfing beach all year round (winter is certainly for those more experienced though!). If you are an absolute beginner or just looking to improve your skills, head to the St Ives Surf School for all your surfing needs.

The surf instructors are fully qualified and extremely experienced. Their knowledge is second-to-none and they keep safety and fun at the forefront of their lessons.

They have 3 different categories to choose from.

  • Beginner
    • The beginner lessons are for those taking their very first steps into surfing. No prior surfing experience is needed and before you even dip your toes in the water they’ll kit you out head to toe with everything you need, take you through beach safety, paddling technique and then the best bit, standing up on your board!
  • Improver
    • For those more accustomed to the water, the improver lesson is there to test your skills and push you further. It’ll ‘fine-tune your basic skills’ such as turning, duck-diving and catching those un-broken waves a little further out.
  • Advanced
    • If you’re an advanced surfer (we’re jealous!), you will be allocated one of the most experienced instructors and a one to one private session should be booked so you can maximise your experience and achieve new goals.

If you’re visiting for a large family holiday, a work trip, fun with your friends, you can book sessions to cater for all of these. For lots more helpful information on the St Ives Surf School, checkout their website here!

Sunsets

As you all most likely know (a little too well) catching an amazing sunset is very dependent on the unpredictable Cornish weather. But…when it is good, oh boy is it good!

If it’s a sunny day, you simply must head on down to Porthmeor to watch a sunset. Below are our top tips for making the most of watching a sunset at Porthmeor Beach.

  1. Check the times! The sunset times change quite drastically depending on what time of year it is. Don’t miss a sunset by getting the times wrong!
  2. Sit on the Island Side of the beach, especially in the summer. Sometimes the sunsets feel so glorious you lose track of time and next thing you know it is dark! Sitting on the Island side of Porthmeor means you get the best view of the sunset for the longest as it tucks behind Clodgy Point.
  3. Pack something warm! Even in the summer, as soon as we say goodbye to the sun for the day, the temperature drops pretty quickly. We’d always recommend packing something warm to wear to make sure you’re nice and toasty and able to enjoy as much time on the beach as possible.

Visit the Tate Gallery, St Ives

Admittedly this one isn’t on the beach, but it is right behind it.

The Tate Gallery opened in St Ives in June 1993 has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors over the years and it is certainly worth visiting to experience it for yourself. The art, the architecture of the building and the views are worth it.

To visit the Tate you need to book a ticket. We’d always suggest having a look at what exhibition is showing first and plan your trip around that. Once in, you can explore the exceptional different levels of the gallery. After you’ve enjoyed as much art as you can, hopefully you have made your way up to the top floor of the gallery. If not, get up there! You’ll find the Tate Gallery Cafe. A great place to stop off, enjoy the spectacular views of Porthmeor beach, and it is a perfect excuse to have a cream tea!

Walk around St Nicholas Chapel

Perhaps one of the most recognised spots in St Ives, St Nicholas Chapel has stood on The Island for hundreds of years. Although it sadly has no official record of being built ‘mention has been made that there was a stone chapel on the Island before St Ives Parish Church was built in 1434’. When visiting you can truly feel the years of history around you.

From the chapel you can see Porthmeor, Porthminster and Porthgwidden beach as well as it being one of the best spots to look out at the vast ocean that surrounds us here in St Ives. We’ve even been lucky enough to see dolphins from this point several times!

Frequently asked questions about Porthmeor Beach

Are there toilets?
Yes! There are toilets located next to the takeaway on the centre of Porthmeor and also in the Porthmeor Car Park on the West side of the beach. 

Can you park there?
There is parking at the Porthmeor Car Park (west side of the beach) or you can park in the Island Car Park. However, in the summer these car parks can be really busy so heading there by foot after having left the car elsewhere is a much better option! Check out our ‘Useful Information’ page on parking in St Ives here.

Are there lifeguards?
Porthmeor Beach is lifeguarded from early spring until the end of October. The specific dates change annually so make sure you check out the RNLI website to plan your trip accordingly.

Is Porthmeor Beach dog-friendly?

Yes! Although there are some seasonal bans in place. Between the 15 May to 30 September, dogs may not go on the beach between 10am and 6pm so they can go on the beach before 10am and after 6pm!  To turn more about dog friendly beaches in St Ives, read more here. The good thing is there are dog poo bins at either end of the beach!

We hope that this has given you enough inspiration to come and visit Porthmeor for yourself. It isn’t just a beach, it is truly a place that holds a place in a lot of peoples hearts and we hope you can come and make some unforgettable memories here too.

If you have any questions on where to stay, places to eat and activities to enjoy on Porthmeor Beach, feel free to get in touch with the team. You can send us an email directly on holidays@orangeroofs.co.uk or feel free to give our office a call on 01736 806100.