Wild Swimming

Swimming in the sea is one of the many pleasures of a Cornish holiday – and there are plenty of wonderful places for wild swimming in St Ives. Grab your wetsuit, a good pair of goggles, and a big pile of towels, and try out some of the following.

Nick Pumphrey-Sea Swimming 02

Take a dip into the Atlantic Ocean – Nick Pumphrey

Porthminster Beach – best for families

St Ives has a choice of swimming beaches. Porthminster on the east side of town has lifeguard cover during the summer months, and is one of the nicest beaches for families to enjoy a swim together.

If you’re up with the larks (or have been woken by the gulls), try an early morning swim at Porthminster, when the sea is mirror-calm and the beach nearly empty.

Kernow Splash Mob – for sociable swimming

If you prefer to swim in a shoal, join in with Kernow Splash Mob. They meet at Carbis Bay beach every Thursday evening during the summer, and will even provide you with a hot drink afterwards. To find out more about Kernow Splash Mob, have a look at the local wild swimming website.

Jubilee Pool and Battery Rocks, Penzance – the traditional place for outdoor swimming

The recently restored Jubilee Pool is a grand Art Deco lido on Penzance prom. Sea-fed, it’s a great place to enjoy a relaxed salt-water swim during the summer – or lounge around with a book, pretending you’re on a 1930s cruise ship…

If you prefer the open water, behind the lido is Battery Rocks, a popular locals’ wild swimming location for generations. It’s a sociable spot if you’d like to meet some like-minded wild swimming enthusiasts. There’s a car park across the road from Jubilee Pool and Battery Rocks.


Nick Pumphrey Prussia Cove

Prussia Cove at high tide – Nick Pumphrey

Prussia Cove – great for snorkelling

Secluded Prussia Cove is in Mount’s Bay, and is named after notorious eighteenth century smuggler John Carter, the “King of Prussia”. Choose your time, as the beach disappears at high tide. It has some of the best snorkelling and shore diving in the area. There’s a car park about half a mile away; however the effort of lugging your kit down to the beach from here is outweighed by the fact that this helps to keep the beach (relatively) quiet. Visit www.bsac.com to find out more.

Pedn Vounder – proper wild…

How wild do you want to go? Beautiful Pedn Vounder beach near Porthcurno is renowned for two things: its bright golden sands and crystal-clear sea, and for being West Cornwall’s unofficial naturist beach. If you want to enjoy swimming here as nature intended, please check the tide times first – it gets cut off at high water.

For wild swimming advice, please visit the Outdoor Swimming Society before you head out.

Article info & credits

November 17, 2016
Written by Kate Waddon
Photography by Nick Pumphrey

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