Almost a year ago, the G7 leaders descended on Carbis Bay beach in Cornwall and, for a few short days, this beautiful bay became the setting for international headlines. As the likes of Joe Biden, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were photographed enjoying awkward banter against the background of golden sands and sparkling seas, the world asked, ‘where is Carbis Bay’ and ‘how can I go on holiday there’?!
Places to stay in Carbis Bay have always been in demand by those in the know, but now the secret is well and truly out of the bag. So, here’s our guide to making the most of your stay in the bay!
Where is Carbis Bay located?
Carbis Bay is just along the coast from St Ives, in West Cornwall. A short and easy stretch of the South West Coast Path connects the two, and in the other direction you’ll find Hawkes Point, Porth Kidney Beach and the Hayle Estuary (an RSPB reserve).
If you want a front-row seat on the whole of St Ives Bay, we have some stunning self-catering properties here. Cirrus, Wavetop and Sandsifters II are all modern, luxurious Carbis Bay beach houses with ocean views – you can be on the golden sands within moments. All have balconies or private gardens too, so you’ll have your own little haven in this world-class destination.
It’s not all about the beach though. Carbis Bay stretches inland and, on the other side of the A3074 St Ives road, gives way to pretty countryside and spacious, rural properties. This is where you’ll find The Count House, a historic Victorian house immersed in local art and history, with gorgeous walks on the doorstep.
How easy is it to get to St Ives from Carbis Bay?
The answer to that is, very easy! You can walk between Carbis Bay and Porthminster Beach in St Ives in around 15 minutes. There are regular bus services along the main road which connects Lelant, Carbis Bay and St Ives, or a car journey would take around 5 minutes (beware though, parking in St Ives can be difficult during the summer).
Alternatively, the St Ives Branch Line train journey is spectacular, and trains depart twice every hour during much of the year. This branch line also connects Carbis Bay with St Erth and the main London to Paddington line, making it a great place to enjoy a car-free holiday in Cornwall.
What is Carbis Bay beach like?
The beach is a glorious stretch of golden sand, flanked by lush green headlands. The sea here is turquoise-hued and crystal clear – on some days you could easily be in the Caribbean! The beach slopes away gently and is sheltered, so it’s a good spot for children, SUP and sea swimming, rather than surfing.
There is lifeguard cover during the summer months, when the beach buzzes with colour and life. Outside of July and August it can be a good spot for quiet strolls (or, like Boris, an early morning run!)
Is Carbis Bay beach dog-friendly?
There’s a dog ban in place from 15th May to 30th September, between the hours of 10am and 6pm. These bans are strictly enforced, especially on Carbis Bay beach as it has Blue Flag status which indicates excellent bathing water quality.
Porth Kidney beach, which is open to dogs all year round, is just around the headline and the coastal path provides excellent walking in both directions. Inland from Carbis Bay there is plenty of stunning countryside to explore as you head westwards, and our rural property The Count House accepts dogs on request.
Read our blog about dog-friendly stays in St Ives and Carbis Bay here.
What is there to do in Carbis Bay?
Carbis Bay is a great holiday destination for couples and families alike.
If you’re looking for a relaxing break for two on the Cornish coast, Carbis Bay has it all. Lounge on the beach in the daytime or stroll into St Ives – there are some great galleries and boutiques to explore.
If you fancy indulging in a spa treatment while in Cornwall, Carbis Bay Hotel’s ‘C Bay Spa’ has world-class facilities and treatments which you can book ahead when staying at one of our self-catering properties. Further inland, Una Spa also has a large swimming pool which is good for getting in a few lengths, plus a gym (you’ll need to book sessions/treatments in advance).
If getting out on the ocean is on your itinerary, check out the offering at Carbis Bay’s Ocean Sports Centre. Stand up paddleboards (SUP) can be hired as well as kayaks and canoes, and you can even have a go at hydro foiling if you fancy!
Families will simply love the soft sands and gently lapping sea of this sheltered blue flag beach. Build extravagant sandcastles, comb the shoreline for treasure, or scamper across rocks in search of sea creatures – this is the stuff of childhood memories!
Where’s good to eat in Carbis Bay?
While nearby St Ives has a huge choice of high-quality eateries, Carbis Bay undoubtedly boasts one of the best in the area – Ugly Butterfly, by Adam Handling. Here, exquisite dishes are prepared using the finest local ingredients, all against a backdrop of magnificent coastal scenery.
Meanwhile, families will love La Casita. The Spanish-inspired restaurant serves tapas, sharing boards, paella and seafood, as well as pizza.
For breakfast, we recommend travelling a short distance to The Old Forge in Lelant, where the friendly team serve excellent coffee and brunch favourites. This is also a good spot to collect supplies, including liquid refreshment from Scarlet Wines.
Find out more about Carbis Bay and our selection of luxury holiday lets here.