Hayle sits at the mouth of an estuary, nestled between St Ives and Gwithian. The town is home to top notch ice cream and pasty shops for hungry stomachs, while the soft sands of the river’s banks cry out for a paddle as it weaves its way towards the shoreline. Watch the trawlers come and go, take a dip in the calmer waters around the rivermouth (unless the swell is raging), or bump your way across the patterned ‘rills’ left behind in the sand by the receding tide.
St Ives Bay stretches from Hayle estuary to Godrevy lighthouse, miles of golden sand and expansiove horizon. A little further along the beach’s stretch you’ll find Gwithian, flat open sand perfect for racing, kite flying and horse riding too – you’ll often see ponies being taken for a canter in the shallows. The towering cliffs and rock formations that back the beach offer sheltered nooks when the offshore wind is blowing, as well as a natural dive spot The Sheeps Pool where kids love to clamber and swim.
Before long, Gwithian morphs into Godrevy and the iconic lighthouse stands proud on the skyline, rearing up from its rocky outcrop bright white against the sky. Famed for inspiring Virgina Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, it’s a feature of the landscape loved by locals, surfers and visitors alike. From here, the rugged coastline sweeps away from the beach and over the National Trust owned headland to the inaccessible Mutton Cove, where a Grey seal colony lives. Because it can’t be reached by humans, it’s a perfect place for them to gather and bask, while interested wildlife spotters can peer down unobtrusively from above.
Back in Hayle, the Saltings nature reserve is a prime place for murmurations in the shoulder months and Carbis Bay and St Ives are a short hop away by train. The ultimate scenic route, it clings to the coastline promising photo-worhty vistas galore.
Hayle has a fabulous collection of enviable eateries on its doorstep including Lula’s Beach Shack, Feed Cage, Sunset Surf Cafe, The Rockpool and Salt Kitchen Bar. Jump in the car and head a little further afield to St Ives and Carbis Bay to find Porthminster Kitchen, Sands Kitchen and the popular Porthminster Cafe.
All year round dog-friendly beaches in Hayle include Beach View and Mexican Towans. The more popular beaches of Godrevy and Gwithian have a season dog ban between July-August 1st July to 31st August / 10am to 6pm.
Most beaches in Hayle are backed by large sand dunes, making access more difficult. However there are some beaches further afield including Marazion which allow for guests to park with easy access to the sand.