St Ives Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach from the Malakoff

Is it a harbour? Is it a beach? Well actually it’s both. Whilst you might imagine a grimy patch of muddy sand down a flight of steps you could not be further from the truth. St Ives Harbour beach shares the same beautiful, golden sand and azure waters as the town’s other main beaches. The fact that it is still a working harbour only adds to the beach’s charm.

As you might expect the beach is sheltered. With a near southerly aspect and Smeaton’s Pier to protect the boats from the Atlantic swells only the tiniest of waves make it to the beach. It is also sheltered from the breeze by the town and pier making it a veritable sun-trap (when it’s sunny!).

The other great thing about the Harbour beach is it is smack, bang in the middle of town. This means not only is it easy to get to but you have all the facilities of the town right on the Wharf behind you. So you are never more than 2 minutes from a harbour-front cafe, ice cream shop or choice of Cornish pasty – just be warned that if you don’t take care the seagulls ‘ll have it!

As mentioned this is still a working harbour. Whilst nowhere near as busy as it was 40 or 50 years ago fish are still landed here. Much of the harbour’s trade these days involves fishing trips and excursions, including the ever popular trips to ‘Seal Island’  a couple of miles down the coast towards Zennor.

Old Photos of St Ives

Gutting fish, 1890

During the 19th century St Ives was one of the biggest pilchard ports in Britain with fish being exported all over Europe from here. Life was centred around the harbour as it was 100s of years before, and to some extent still is. Fishing was dangerous work and many lives were lost at sea yet despite this poverty was rife in the warren of streets behind that run from the harbour. It wasn’t just fishermen who risked their lives at sea; over the years many ships have run aground in and around St Ives causing loss of life to both mariners and lifeboat men.

Tide Times

Weather Dials

St Ives tide timetable

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*Times are only approximate and may vary from those given above


Harbour Beach Photos

Quay House and Harbour Beach

Is it a harbour or is it a beach? Well it actually does a pretty good impression of both! The golden sand stretches along the wharf side and at low tide all the way to Porthminster beach. One of the best things about the harbour beach is it is right in the heart of the town.