Carbis Bay and Lelant Things to See and Do
Although Carbis Bay and Lelant are close to St Ives, take time to explore them before automatically heading into town. Both villages have glorious sandy beaches, superb rural walks, and pretty streets and parks to meander around. With watersports and golf courses, they’re also good for sporty days out.
When you arrive at Carbis Bay beach, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve fallen down some portal into the Med. The tree-fringed bay has golden sands and clear azure waters, while the cafes and watersports centre add a lively vibe.
The view is especially wonderful if you arrive via the coast path from St Ives, when you emerge from the trees and catch your first glimpse of the beach. By car, park at the top of the hill and walk down (there is parking at the beachside hotel, but it’s expensive and not always easy): just be aware that the walk back may feel like the longest ten minutes of your life. The branch line station is a bit closer: park in St Erth, and catch the sandy-floored train to Carbis Bay.
In Lelant, take the path from the church down to Porthkidney Sands. This gorgeous sweep of beach has stunning views across to St Ives, and because it’s so big (at low water, anyway), it always feels nicely empty. When the tide’s right, you can walk along the beach to Carbis Bay (please check the tide times first).
It’s not a safe place for swimming, but – and this is a massive bonus – Porthkidney is dog-friendly all year, and is simply one of the best places in West Cornwall to bring your pup for a scamper.
Carbis Bay is a great spot for swimming, and the cliffs provide welcome shelter on a breezy day. If you fancy trying your hand at any water sports while you’re in Cornwall, Ocean Sports on Carbis Bay beach offers kayak and SUP lessons, as well as a hire service for more experienced water babies.
See St Ives from the water by booking onto an Ocean Sports guided tour: exploring the coast on the 8-person Mega SUP is definitely a holiday highlight. Forgotten your wetsuit? No problem: Ocean offers a wettie hire service (plus deck chairs and wind breaks for those of us who prefer a more chilled-out day on the beach).
Often voted “the most beautiful train ride in Britain (or similar title), the short St Ives branch line runs from mainline St Erth to St Ives along Hayle estuary and the coast, with stops at Lelant and Carbis Bay. It arrives in St Ives within 12 short minutes, and you’re practically straight onto Porthminster Beach.
St Erth has recently been developed into a transport hub, with a large car park and a bus service (you can also pick up the open-top bus from here, which stops near Lelant or in St Ives). When you get on the train at St Erth, aim to sit on the right hand side for those glorious coastal views. The train may get busy in the summer, but it’s still easier than parking.
Fancy a round of golf? There’s an 18-hole Presidents Course at Tregenna Castle Resort in Carbis Bay, which is open for non-residents. The views from the course are spectacular, and the 19th hole is in a fabulous setting…It currently costs £15 on a pay-and-play basis, and you can also hire or buy equipment.
The links course in Lelant is home to the West Cornwall Golf Club and is the oldest course in Cornwall. Visitors are welcome to play here: just book online in advance. Like Tregenna, the sea views from the golf course are stunning. The current cost is £50 per player.
Carbis Bay Train Station
Carbis Bay (CBB), Carbis Bay, Saint Ives, UK
Lelant Train Station
Lelant (LEL), Saint Ives TR26 3DQ, UK
Ocean Sports Centre
5 Beach Rd, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives TR26 2NP, UK
Porthkidney Sands Parking, Wharf Road, Saint Ives, UK
West Cornwall Golf Club
West Cornwall Golf Club, Church Lane, Lelant, Saint Ives, UK