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Porthmear beach is one of the beating hearts of the stunning town of St Ives. Its golden sands and sunsets are a sight to behold, and the food and coffee are just as great. Porthmeor is the true epitome of St Ives, and although it can get busy, it is always worth a visit. It is so much more than just a beach, too, so we are here to showcase what this particular part of St Ives has to offer.

The beach itself

If the turquoise seas, incredible waves and beautiful dunes are not enough for you, then do not fret. Porthmeor is so much more than just that. 


Surfing lessons for all ages are a must-try on your visit to Cornish shores. Porthmeor boasts some of the best waves in Cornwall. Many avid surfer journeys from all over the country to experience the breathtaking waves on offer here. St Ives surf school has some of the best surfers in Cornwall ready and willing to share their experience and skills with everyone. 

Porthmeor Beach Cafe

Porthmeor beach cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, meaning that your trip to the beach will not see you going hungry. They offer a delectable menu that includes vegetarian and vegan options so that no one will be left out. If you are after a coffee on the go, then they can also help you out. 

The cafe is also split into two separate parts. So if dining in with a view isn’t for you and you would instead take your food to the beach, then head downstairs to the West Beach section.

Man’s Head

Named as such because the rocks look like a man laying on the grass. Man’s head is a fantastic viewpoint that overlooks the beach and Island. 

The views

On the bright summer days, the sea looks almost tropical from here. When the tide is out, you can enjoy walking on the surrounding rocks to the small beaches that appear. To the left of Man’s Head is another stunning cove. 

When the wilder weather strikes, the crashing waves often engulf the head with huge clouds of sea spray. Don’t step too close though, the waves can be twenty feet of power and could do a lot more than just soak you. 

The walk

When the beach is closed to dogs, the green offers a perfect pot for your puppies to run free. It also has a fair few benches should you want to sit with a packed lunch and enjoy the views. 

There is also a cracking walk that takes you past the cove and onto the next headland. A clear trail makes it an easy hike and is about a mile long but well worth it.

The Island

The Island is the most prominent aspect of Porthmeor. It is almost a right of passage to walk around the island at the beach. It houses the famous St Nicholas chapel and the Island lookout. The Island used to be called Pendinas, which means fortified headland.

The views

The views from the Island are second to none. To the left, you can see the entire coastline all the way to Godrevy bay and beyond on a clear day. To the right, you have a stunning vantage point to watch some of the best surfers in the U.K carving up the waves on the ocean surface. 

The walk

The loop around the island is a short walk but with some pretty steep climbs. It takes you up and around the island’s peak and enables you to take in a cracking 360-degree view of St Ives and the surrounding coast. You can often see seals floating around the rocks and, if you are lucky, the occasional pod of dolphins. 

The chapel and the Island lookout

St Nicholas Chapel dates back to the medieval period, meaning that it is shrouded in history. It was partially demolished in 1907, but it was repaired in 1911. A little known fact is that it was used as a lookout point for those wishing to find smugglers. 

The chapel can also boast that it has been partially decorated by the famous St Ives potter, Bernard Leach. 

The Island lookout is another notable building on the Island. You can log directly onto the website to find the current weather, humidity, wind direction and speed, plus loads more. 

The building is also part of the National Coastguard Institution and is just one of 56 stations around the U.K.

Porthmeor webcam

Here is where you can find the Porthmeor webcam. You can use it to check the surf, how busy the beach is and what the tide is doing.

The Tate Modern

If you want a break from the sunshine and have had enough of sandy toes, then why not head into the Tate Modern.

Showcasing fine art, sculpture and much more, the Tate has something for everyone. Due to covid restrictions, you may want to check the website for bookings and current exhibitions before your visit. 


As you can see, Porthmeor is so much more than just a beach. You can easily spend more than a day sunning yourself, grabbing breakfast, lunch, take in some history and art, then have your evening meal while watching the surfers riding the waves till the sun goes down.