Stay Safe: Visiting St Ives in Summer 2020

25th July 2020

Summer’s arrived in West Cornwall, and it’s lovely to welcome our visitors back.


St Ives is as lovely and inviting as ever – but there have been a few essential changes to make sure we all stay safe on the beaches.

Please read our quick guide to Covid-secure St Ives, then pack up your sun block and hand san, and set out for the seaside.

Safe Swimming

There’s nothing like cooling down in the sea on a sunny day. Please bear in mind that lifeguard cover is reduced this year, and nobody wants to put themselves or the responders at risk. Simply, please be sensible and stick within your swimming or watersport abilities; and families may like to use Porthmeor beach which does have RNLI lifeguard cover during the day.

However, you can still have lots of fun in the sea, safely. St Ives Surf School on Porthmeor Beach is up and running for surfing lessons, and Ocean Sports in Carbis Bay is an accredited Covid-secure activity provider, providing lessons as well as SUP and kayak hire.

Social Distancing on the Beach

Happily, West Cornwall has plenty of beaches, which hopefully should cut down on any single place becoming overcrowded. If the beach looks really busy, or if you can’t get parked in town, it’s a good idea to try again later or head for a different beach.

The guidelines still advise a 2-metre distance wherever possible and to keep to small groups. Here are the government social distancing rules for England (from 13 August).

Dogs on St Ives Beaches

The beach is as big a treat for most dogs as it is for us humans! As regular visitors to St Ives will know, our beaches have some dog restrictions in the summer. During July and August, dogs are only permitted on Porthminster, Porthgwidden and Harbour beaches before 10am and after 6pm. This period is extended from 15 May – 30 September for our two Blue Flag beaches, Porthmeor and Carbis Bay. However, we’re lucky here as we have two lovely year-round, all-day dog beaches in St Ives: Bamaluz and Lambeth Walk.

When you’re walking your dogs on the beach, please try to keep them on the lead. As per kennel club guidelines, it’s best not to stroke strange dogs at the moment, however cute. Take a look at our dog-friendly St Ives blog for more information.


Dog on the beach during sunset in St Ives, Cornwall

Public Toilets in St Ives

Yes, they are open! Now we’ve all breathed a sigh of relief, here are the details. The public loos in St Ives are cleaned five times a day, and have hand san dispensers as well as basins. Please follow the guidance on the toilet signage. The radar key for the disabled toilet is available from the RNLI shop, the library and the Tourist Information Centre.

Rubbish and Recycling

There are bins around town and near the beaches – but if they are full, please take your rubbish home with you (never leave rubbish next to full bins in St Ives – the gulls will be down in seconds). We’re still trying to be as plastic-free as possible: here are some tips for responsible trips to the beach from Surfers Against Sewage.

St Ives Town

The town council has produced a ‘Stay Safe in St Ives’ Town Information Guide, which includes details of the new pedestrian system in place on the busy little streets of St Ives – basically, keep left. It’s clearly signed and easy to follow, and traffic is restricted to make this easier. Most shops are open, although many will need to be strict with numbers as they’re housed in such small buildings. Most cafes and restaurants are asking customers to book ahead: take a look at our guide to eating out in St Ives.


Stay safe in St Ives leaflet

Parking in St Ives

Car parking is often tight in St Ives in the summer, and the easiest place to find space is the large coach park at Trenwith (at the top of the hill). If you use the Trenwith park and ride bus or come by public transport (or if you’re staying at Polmanter, use our handy bus service), remember to wear a face covering as per government guidelines.


It’s so good to see St Ives opening up again, and we’re delighted to welcome visitors back to our town and beaches. Please stick to these guidelines, respect the water and each other (and the gulls…), and 2020 should be the lovely, fun-filled summer that we all deserve and need.