A tiny patch of sand hidden away on the eastern side of The Island in the heart of St Ives lies Porthgwidden. Even with its proximity to the town, Porthgwidden (Porth Gwydn, meaning white cove) is often overlooked and the larger beaches of Porthmeor and Porthminster are favoured. Sheltered from the Atlantic, surfing here is a rare and almost mythical occurrence and only possible during the wildest of winter storms. Its east facing orientation means that Porthgwidden is sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds and can become a real sun-trap around midday, ideal for worshippers of the big flaming ball in the sky. The waters are safe for swimming and paddling when the sea is calm. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution originally built a lifeboat house at Porthgwidden but it was promptly relocated to due to launching difficulties. Impressive views across St Ives bay can be found by making the short climb up from the beach and onto The Island. Originally named Pendinas, the fortified headland has played an important role in local defence for centuries and originally had up to 15 gun turrets. It is now equipped with an HM Coastguard station that is run on a voluntary basis.
The Far West: Nineteen Secret Beaches
A beach guide book pulling together all of West Cornwall’s best secret beaches and hidden coves.
This guide is about new adventures. For those who want to create the first footprints in the sand, discover that forgotten cove hidden at the end of an over-grown footpath, or to simply find ... Read More
Park anywhere in St Ives and walk towards The Island. To the right of The Island car park you'll notice and small set of steps leading down to the cove. We recommend parking at St Erth and taking the train to St Ives as driving can be frustrating during summer months and the journey is beautiful!
Postcode: TR26 1SY
Lat / Lon: 50.216999, -5.47569
OS Explorer Map: 102 - Land's End
Porthmeor Beach: 0.3km
Porthmeor Beach is a sandy beach in the heart of St. Ives on the north coast of Cornwall. The Tate St. Ives gallery overlooks the bay and good views c... read more
Porthminster Beach: 0.5km
Porthminster Beach is near St. Ives on the north coast of Cornwall. A popular beach overlooked by the luxurious Porthminster Hotel. Its golden sands p... read more
Carbis Bay: 1.3km
Carbis Bay is a sandy beach near St. Ives on the north coast of Cornwall. ... read more