Horizontal axis tidal turbines have attracted more and more attentions nowadays, because of their convenience and low expense in construction and high efficiency in extracting tidal energy. The present study numerically investigates the flow motion and performance of a horizontal axis tidal turbine with a supporting vertical cylinder under steady current. In the numerical model, the continuous equation and incompressible Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations are solved, and the volume of fluid method is employed to track free surface motion. The RNG k-ɛ model is adopted to calculate turbulence transport while the fractional area/volume obstacle representation method is used to describe turbine characteristics and movement. The effects of installation elevation of tidal turbine and inlet velocity on the water elevation, and current velocity, rotating speed and resultant force on turbine are discussed. Based on the comparison of the numerical results, a better understanding of flow structure around horizontal axis tidal turbine and turbine performance is achieved.