Beaches in Cornwall you need to visit

PUBLISHED: 15:50 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 24 July 2018

Porthminster Beach. Picture by Ian Wool. Getty Images

Porthminster Beach. Picture by Ian Wool. Getty Images


With more than 150 beaches to choose from, there are miles upon miles of beautiful Cornwall coastline to explore. We take the difficulty out of choosing where to go with our round-up of some of Cornwall’s best beaches

1. Best beaches for food with a view…

Whether visiting or calling it home, Cornwall is best known for its beaches and its food. Combine those together and you’ve got foodie heaven. We’ve chosen three great places for the best of both worlds…

Porthminster, St Ives

The Porthminster Beach Café sits on one of Cornwall’s most perfect beaches. Its terrace offers incredible views across St Ives bay to Godrevy Lighthouse. The menu features produce from its own cliffside gardens.

Gyllyngvase, Falmouth

A firm favourite this Blue Flag sandy beach sits on the edge of Falmouth overlooked by Pendennis Castle, the Gylly Beach Café is the only place to be for Sunday brunch, and there are plenty of special food-themed events. The beach also boasts a surf and SUP centre, a bakery and a stylish beach hut hiring deck chairs and parasols.


Sam’s on the Beach serves up a great menu and a great view – head to Polkerris and watch the sailing boats in the harbour. This sheltered crescent shaped beach makes it a great family spot too.

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2. Best beaches for sunsets...

Sennen Cove

The sun will set here towards the edge of the land during the summer allowing you to see the pretty harbour bask in the extended golden hour a sunny day can offer up.

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In the middle of summer gather with surfers and families to watch the sun slowly drop into the Atlantic Ocean. A truly stunning sight.

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3. Best beaches for families…

Praa Sands, Penzance

South west facing long stretch of golden sand considered to be one of the finest beaches to be found in the UK and is popular with families, surfers and with good bathing. You can also reach the little known Kenneggy Sands Beach at low tide from Praa Sands.

Summerleaze, Bude

Summerleaze beach is home to the famous tidal Sea Pool that is now being brought back to life by its hardworking and enthusiastic supporters, Bude on the north coast, also has Crooklets beach – and both have similar facilities attached. When the tide is at its lowest, it is possible to take in the spectacular coastline between Bude and Sandymouth Beach by walking the two miles along the beach. Returning by the coast path makes it a very pleasant, circular walk.

Carbis Bay

A Blue Flag beach, Carbis Bay is a stunning stretch of sand sitting in St Ives Bay, owned by the Carbis Bay Hotel that sits above it, which is busy adding plenty of new attractions this year.

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4. Best beaches for getting active

Fistral beach

This legendary surf beach is the spiritual home to British surfing, this Newquay beach is a great landing spot for surfers thanks to that famouse Cribbar wave. Try out neighbouring Lusty Glaze, Holywell Bay and Watergate Bay for even more action.


Polzeath near Wadebridge: is a trendy resort destination for surfers, swimmers and the occasional dolphin.

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5. Shhh... Secret beaches

Porthilly Cove

Porthilly Cove beach at Rock is a mile-long sandy beach with dunes located across the Camel estuary from Padstow. Foot passenger ferries visitors between Padstow and Rock daily, and a water taxi can take people after dusk. A sheltered beach means it is very popular for water sports including fishing, canoeing, windsurfing, water skiing and rowing. There’s lots of facilities nearby including bars, cafés and restaurants overlooking Padstow harbour.

Portherras Cove

This hidden treasure sits along the wildest stretches of Cornish coast between Pendeen and Morvah. There are no facilities here, but the lure of having the beach to yourself makes the walk all the more worthwhile. For those in the know, the beach is popular with local body-boarders.

Porthchapel Beach

This National Trust owned south-facing sheltered cove is surrounded by cliff and accessed along a narrow cliff path with a rock climb down to the beach. Oh and be quick - this is becoming the media’s go-to photo-op beach when they feature Cornwall.

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Whitsand Bay

Tucked away in Cornwall’s forgotten corner, here you will find four uninterrupted miles of golden beach is one of the longest in the south west. But all that beauty doesn’t come without some effort - access is via steep paths and steps that wind down between the verdant vegetation where the view takes in dramatic scenery and high cliffs.

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6. Beaches with good disabled access

Cornwall prides itself on being open to all – and through the fantastic charity DisAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, some of our more accessible beaches now offer sand chairs or beach access wheelchairs which can be used in a range of outdoor environments. Beaches boasting sand chair access include Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, Porthminster Beach near St Ives, Fistral Beach in Newquay, Polzeath near Wadebridge and Crocklets and Summerleaze beaches in Bude.


7. Dog friendly beaches

Many of Cornwall’s beaches are out of bounds for dogs in the height of the summer but usually you can access the beaches early in the morning and early evening – by far the best time to enjoy time with your pooch by the water’s edge. Try Harlyn Bay, Trebarwith Strand, Tintagel, Summerleaze beach in Bude, Seaton beach in Looe, Fistral beach in Newquay and Mexico Towans in Hayle. And don’t forget Cornwall’s stretch of South West Coast Path, which has 250 miles of dog-friendly walks with amazing views.

Don’t forget to check out our list of top dog-friendly pubs and walks.

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