The most beautiful beaches in Cornwall

The most beautiful beaches in Cornwall

During the summer months, Cornwall attracts visitors for a reason: its abundance of stunning beaches. With over 300 to choose from, ranging from expansive sands to hidden coves, there’s something for everyone

Many boast crystal-clear blue waters, golden sands, and dramatic cliffs that provide natural shelter for sunbathers and swimmers alike. The North Coast is particularly popular among surfers of all skill levels, drawn by the North West Atlantic Swell. Thanks to the county’s subtropical climate and ample sunshine, beach life thrives here. Charming coastal villages, surf schools, boat excursions, and fantastic beachside cafes and restaurants offer plenty of activities to enjoy near the shoreline. Here are some of our top recommendations.

The best beaches in Cornwall

1. Porthtowan Beach, Porthtowan 

Located within the captivating Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Porthtowan offers a serene retreat along Cornwall’s coastline. Its Blue Flag beach, cherished by surfers, is hugged by majestic cliffs and rolling dunes, creating a picturesque backdrop. At low tide, the beach seamlessly merges with the neighbouring Chapel Porth, inviting leisurely walks along the shore. Strolling along the Coast Path reveals remnants of Porthtowan’s rich mining past, including the iconic Wheal Coates engine house, amidst stunning sea views. And for a cosy beachside experience, Blue Bar awaits at the beach’s entrance, offering warm hospitality and spectacular vistas.

2. Carbis Bay, St Ives

Carbis Bay, located near the charming town of St Ives, boasts a pristine white-sand cove and sparkling turquoise waters, making it a true gem. This sheltered bay offers calm seas ideal for paddling and swimming, surrounded by lush sub-tropical vegetation thriving in the warm West Cornwall climate. On a sunny day, it’s easy to forget you’re still in the UK. The Carbis Bay Hotel provides excellent amenities, including beach shops, water sports, and delectable pizzas and ice creams. The beach itself is meticulously maintained, exuding a premium atmosphere. Plus, with St Ives’ attractions and amenities just a mile away, there’s no shortage of dining, drinking, and entertainment options after a day of sun and sea.

3. Fistral Beach, Newquay

Fistral Beach stands at the heart of Cornwall’s renowned surfing culture – a vast crescent of sand embraced by verdant dunes, frequented by waves often exceeding 8 feet. Seasoned surfers opt for stylish beachfront apartments at Natural Retreats Fistral, while novices can take a look at lessons at The Hotel & Extreme Academy nearby. August brings the exhilarating Boardmasters festival, Europe’s premier surfing and skating event, transforming Fistral and adjacent Watergate Bay with thrilling competitions, lively beachside bars, and a five-day music extravaganza.

4. Porthminster Beach

For a stylish atmosphere, venture to Porthminster Beach, just a brief stroll from downtown St Ives and conveniently close to the train station. Sink into a multicoloured deckchair and admire the boats gently swaying in St Ives Bay, with the Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance. Kids will delight in building sandcastles and frolicking in the waves on this pristine beach, proudly displaying its prestigious international Blue Flag award. Every detail has been meticulously planned here, from the charming beach chalets for rent to the beachside bar, ice cream parlor, and takeaway fish and chips. Those seeking laid-back luxury can indulge in a sumptuous lunch at the acclaimed seafood restaurant, The Porthminster Cafe. If you need a break from the beach, St Ives offers a plethora of attractions to explore, including The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden and The Tate St Ives.

5. Sennen Cove, Land’s End

Sennen Cove, located near Land’s End, beckons surfers with its impressive Atlantic waves, nestled within the tranquil fishing village of Sennen in western Cornwall. Renowned for its scenic beauty, this Cornwall gem boasts pristine white sands, rolling hills, and azure waters. After a thrilling surf session, unwind with a pint and a hearty ploughman’s lunch at the charming Old Success Inn. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the breathtaking Land’s End, just a stone’s throw away. Set out on a stroll along the coastal paths, meandering through fields of vibrant wildflowers and fluttering butterflies, while soaking in the panoramic views.

With over 400 beaches spanning Cornwall’s coastline, the possibilities for exploration are endless. From expansive stretches of sand that seem to stretch on for miles to secluded coves accessible only during low tide, each beach offers its unique charm and allure. While we’ve highlighted some of the best-known beaches, the beauty of Cornwall lies in its abundance of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

So, venture beyond the beaten path, wander along rugged cliffs and explore the picturesque coastline to uncover your slice of paradise. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, Cornwall’s diverse beaches promise an unforgettable experience for every visitor. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and set out to explore the wonders of Cornwall’s coastal treasures.

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