Location guide: Cornwall beaches
It’s no secret that Cornwall’s beaches are some of the best in the world. With more than 300, along the 400-plus miles of coastline, you are spoilt for choice.
St Ives Bay
The golden sands that hug the waters known as St Ives Bay comprise several beaches stretching from Hayle beach in the south to Gwithian Beach to the north, with Mexico Towans and Upton Towans in the middle. Three miles of soft sand await you and there is plenty of space for everyone. The beach is backed by dunes offering shelter and is lifeguard-patrolled in high season. The north end is popular with surfers and large areas of rock pools and caves are uncovered at low tide.
The beach at Pentewan is somewhat unique – it is privately owned by the holiday park that sits behind it. The beach stretches for over half a mile, is east-facing, sheltered and consists of fine sand. Cornwall Watersports, on the beach, offers expert tuition in everything from paddleboarding and kayaking to windsurfing and also offers boat rides to go wildlife spotting. There’s equipment for hire and a slipway for launching your own watercraft. There are toilets and refreshments at Pentewan Sands Holiday Park that are open to people not staying on the park.
Possibly the best known of Cornwall’s beaches, Fistral is the surf capital of the UK. The sandy beach is backed by cliffs and sand dunes. A walk along the top of these cliffs (the path is part of the South West Coast Path) leads past a golf course and down to the beach’s shops, restaurants and bars. The north end of the beach is where the car park and food outlets are located and, if you want to watch the surfers, then this is the place to be. For a more sedate activity, take a walk up from the beach out onto the Towan Headland for stunning coastal views.
This popular beach in Bude is a great hit with families because it’s less than five minutes’ walk from the centre of Bude and all of its facilities. A wonderful part of the beach is the sea pool that’s located at the foot of the cliffs. Showing itself at low tide, this part man-made and part natural rock pool is cleaned daily by the tide and swimmers have been enjoying it since 1930.
The beach at Porthcurno is like something akin to the Caribbean. This award-winning beach has fine, white sand and the sea turns turquoise in the sun. The beach is ideal for children, as the stream that flows down one side provides a safe place for paddling. There’s lifeguard cover in high season, and the cliffs on both sides of the cove provide shelter. This is a good spot for looking out for birds, basking sharks and dolphins. And, of course, it’s close to the famous outdoor Minack Theatre, hewn out of the rock, on the edge of the cliff.
A popular beach because of its expanse of soft sands and low waters. At low tide there is a large area of fine sand fringed by cliffs and dunes. To one side of the beach are lots of rock pools, teeming with shrimps, crabs and small fish. The beach is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with small, sheltered coves ideal for sunbathing. At the top of the beach are public toilets and a seasonal shop. The coast path above the beach provides memorable views to Trevose Head in one direction and Newquay in the other.
If you're tempted by Cornwall for your holiday home or park home location or for your next holiday, read more about the county and neighbouring Devon in the rest of our regional guide: