Cornwall is blessed with hundreds of beautiful beaches. To the north, the sands are offer cliffs and Atlantic rollers, whilst the south coast enjoys calmer coves, harbours and estuaries.
Whether you seek surf and sand, or simply a place to lie back and enjoy the view, we’ve combed the length and breadth of Cornwall to find the finest beaches.
A big draw for painters and photographers, Kynance Cove is a lovely white sandy beach dotted with dramatic rock stacks. It’s a steep walk to reach its clear turquoise waters, but it’s worth the effort – Kynance is considered one of the best beaches in the world.
Perched on the wonderful Lizard Peninsula – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the cove has been popular since Victorian times, when poet Alfred Lord Tennyson picked it for his holidays (and found plenty of inspiration when he arrived).
When you’re done beach bathing, feast on fresh crab sandwiches, Cornish pasties and home-made cream teas at an eco-friendly cafe, just above the cove. Or walk up the cliffs, discovering rare wildflowers, to join the South West Coast Path.
A couple of miles further along you reach mainland Britain’s most southerly destination at Lizard Point. Keep your eyes peeled for the distinctive Cornish chough – these rare birds are making a comeback on the Lizard!
Another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its mud flats and marshes offer brilliant bird-watching spots, especially for the Little Egret as Britain’s very first colony originated here.
The beach at Daymer Bay is a great swathe of golden sand backed by dunes with amazing views over the estuary. The wide, sheltered, gently shelving beach is superb for swimming, sailing, wind-surfing and canoeing.
You will be in good company, as Princes William and Harry have holidayed here! It’s also dog friendly, has easy to access from the car park and rock pools to explore, making it great for families.
Porthcurno Beach lies about three miles east of Land’s End on the south coast of West Cornwall. Porthcurno bay, sheltered by the Logan Rock headland, has been listed among the ten most beautiful bays in the world! The south–east facing beach is especially popular with families because of its soft, fine white-gold sand.
It’s worth noting that the beach is steeply shelving and attracts more experienced swimmers, but the stream at the top of the beach is ideal for small children to paddle and family-friendly amenities (such as toilets, car park and café) are all close-by.
From the late 19th century, and crucially during the Second World War, it was the centre of world telecommunication, with submarine telegraph cables stretching under the sea, to the other side of the world. You can learn all about it at the fascinating Porthcurno Telegraph Museum.
The beach has won many awards and the cliffs above boast the iconic Minack Theatre, hosting open air drama with an amazing maritime backdrop.
Golden, sub-tropical, pristine, and with gorgeous views across to Godrevy Lighthouse, (the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s famous novel ‘To the Lighthouse’) Porthminster is an award-winning Blue Flag beach.
Only a short hop from the centre of St Ives, it enjoys safe swimming waters, deck chairs, beach huts, a mini-golf course and has disabled access. It also boasts the Porthminster Beach Café, which has won many awards, including The Times’ Best Coastal Restaurant.
Stroll along the coast to the white-sand paradise of Carbis Bay or take a train trip from St Ives railway station. If the weather plays ball, with the balmiest climate in Britain and all those palm trees, you really will feel like you’re in the Med!
The wildly gorgeous Gwenver Beach is a sandy, west-facing beach in the very far west of Cornwall. Commanding a stunning spot below Trevedra cliff, it is just around the corner from the dazzling Sennen beach at Whitesand Bay, which it joins at low tide and is usually a little quieter.
At high tides, the beach slopes steeply and can be dangerous; calm days are rare and surf is usually up, making it a truly superb surfing beach! It’s worth knowing that there is a lifeguard service, but only during the summer months.
Nestling in the West Penwith AONB, the beach offers amazing south-west views across to the outlying Scilly Isles. You can also scramble to join The South West Coast Path, linking Gwenver to other wonderful beaches on the Penwith, or Land’s End peninsula.
South of Newquay is the 3 mile long spectacular expanse of Perranporth beach. Popular with horses and riders, the beach gets busy later with snorkelers, sailors, sunbathers and surfers. It’s easily accessible from Perranporth village and there’s even a pub down at the quieter end of the beach...well, what better place for a Cornish ale on a sweltering summer’s eve?
When the tide is low, Perranporth joins with its neighbour Penhale to make one huge stretch of unbroken sand. It's a good excuse for a bit of exercise – if you can drag yourself upright – and walking north along the sands, you’ll come to the dunes which are a Special Area of Conservation.
A highlight amongst the rock pools, is Chapel Rock, in whose shelter is a small, sheltered tidal bathing pool looking out on the Atlantic swell. It’s also worth walking on to Ligger Point. Take it barefoot on the firm sand at low-tide, or hike the scenic cliff path above.
Take a look at cottages in Cornwall by the sea
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