The best beaches in Cornwall
The south west, and in particular Cornwall, is famous for its glorious beaches. With amazing sands at every turn it can be hard to know which to choose, so we've done the hard work and selected our best of the bunch ...
See these turquoise waters and you might wonder why people are ever tempted to fly overseas. Pednvounder near Land’s End is on a rocky bay which bottoms out in sand, and is overlooked by Logan’s Rock, balanced precariously on the headland. Access is by boat, or along the ferny footpath from Porthcurno, just a kilometre away, or from the village of Treen. It’s good for older children. We think this beach is probably the best incentive you can offer to teenagers when you want to persuade them to walk more, though younger kids may struggle with the steep rocks at the end of the footpath. Swimming off the far side of the sandbar is dangerous.
Harbour Beach, St Ives
The bustling town and artistic hub of St Ives might not be an obvious place to go beaching, when there are quieter spots immediately to the east, but its Harbour Beach is a bit of a gem. It’s south facing and sheltered by harbour walls, making it a suntrap, and like many beaches on this coast when the tide’s out the expanse of sand is absolutely massive. The Sloop Inn is on the beach. St Ives Harbour Beach is one of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK, with holiday makers and local people walking down to the beach in fancy dress, and fireworks at midnight.
The Looe area has some lovely beaches and Hannafore is East Looe’s quieter little neighbour. It’s only sandy in patches and has no lifeguard, though you can swim there. What it does offer though is some of the best rockpooling in these parts – and Cornwall’s beaches set the bar quite high. Be sure to come here as the tide goes out, to see a rocky reef that has sponges and a variety of crabs in a good mix of habitats.
A vast beach, excellent for swimming and, being sheltered in an estuary, also a great place to enjoy the sunshine. Polzeath can get very crowded, and most of the sand disappears when the tide comes in, but when the tide is out it’s wide and flat and offers some shelter from the wind. It was Sir John Betjeman’s favourite beach.
Whitesands Beach nr Sennen
Sennen Cove at the south east end of Whitesands Bay is just a mile from Land's End, and has the most westerly village in Cornwall. It’s right on the South West Coast Path. It’s a great place to come to if you want to combine staying at this pretty village with a trip to St Michael’s Mount and to the Minack Theatre, which is built into the side of a cliff. Kids love the very fine sand at Whitesands Bay and the stream that runs down to the sea. The shops and cafés in the village make it a family friendly spot and there are lifeguards during the summer. It can be blustery here, so we advise taking windbreaks.
This blue flag beach is convenient to get to from all the campsites from St Agnes to Hayle, and as far east as Newquay. Its proximity to the Wheal Coates mine puts it well and truly in the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. The name of the beach stands for ‘landing place at the sand dunes’ and those dunes can seem vast. The Blue Bar overlooking the beach has live music at weekends.
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