One of my favourite places in the UK has to be Cornwall! And one of my favourite things about Cornwall is all of the beautiful beaches it has! So if you are heading to Cornwall this year we have rounded up the best beaches in Cornwall, and trust me there are quite a few!
Table of Contents
Best Beaches in North Cornwall
Crantock Beach – a beautiful beach close to Newquay
We love this sandy, tidal beach, which is bordered by towering dunes, close to Newquay. The sand is perfect for making castles, there’s estuary for kids to splash in, and it’s dog-friendly all year round, so we can bring our four-legged friend on beach days whatever the season. If you enjoy surfing you’ll also love Crantock. As this is a tidal beach it’s important to check the tide times so you don’t get caught out by the rising water. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer.
Crantock Beach has a National Trust pay and display car park behind the dunes, which members can park in for free. You get to this down a narrow lane beyond the village of Crantock. Be prepared for a bit of a wait to get into and out of the car park on sunny days. In the car park there’s a toilet block with baby changing facilities, but the beach doesn’t have a cafe. Bring a picnic or grab something from the shops in Crantock before you hit the beach.
Nominated by Tin Box Traveller
Polly Joke – one of the best beaches near Newquay
Not many people know about this idyllic little beach south of Newquay – in fact, I’m rather hesitant to share. If I divulge this secret beach in Cornwall, you have to promise you will keep it to yourself.
The wonderful thing about Polly Joke (apart from the fact that no one is ever there), is the walk to the sandy cove.
Unless you are staying on the campsite then without a car this may be quite a treck – especially for those with little legs, but put in the effort (and maybe the bribe of an ice cream from the farm shop on the way) and you will be rewarded with a pristine white sandy cove lapped by turquoise safe swimming waters.
To find Polly Joke beach go to Crantock; don’t go down to the village, instead, stay on the main road and head out to West Pentire (about two minutes.) On the left-hand side, you will see the brown sign for Polly Joke Beach. There is also a sign for the campsite. Walk down the lovely country lane, past the camp shop on your right (where you can refuel little people with delicious Cornish ice cream), and open the farm gate at the bottom. You are now walking across Cubert common a vast open space hosting wildflowers, sheep and the occasional cattle. Make sure you close the gate behind you please.
Follow the well-trodden path and after two more gates and a couple of kissing gates (a necessity for anyone heading to a secret Cornish beach), you will arrive at Paradise. Welcome to Polly Joke. Remember our deal; don’t tell anyone else.
Nominated by It’s a Drama
Porth Beach, Newquay
You will find Porth beach to the east of Newquay and it’s a great beach if you are on holiday with kids. We visited Porth beach in February and it was unusually warm and dry for that time of year. We were able to park very close to the beach but I suspect it gets busy during high season.
There is level access to the beach which makes it really accessible if you have small children or mobility issues. When the tide is out there is so much sand to play on which is just what families are after. Porth beach itself is within an inlet, so the waves are fairly gentle making it a popular spot for paddling with kids. While you are here you can take the SW coastal path and walk over Porth bridge to the small island that sits in the Atlantic ocean to take in a different view of the coast line.
You will find hotels and holiday accommodation, a small beach shop and the Mermaid Inn near Porth Beach so you won’t have any trouble spending a day here with some lovely facilities close by.
Nominated by Zena’s Suitcase
Rock Beach near Padstow
Rock Beach, on the north Cornwall coast, is a beautiful stretch of sand on the Camel Estuary, adjacent to the more well known harbour town of Padstow The sand stretches for miles, right around to Daymer Bay, further along the coastline. Rock is a perfect ‘bucket and spade’ type beach. Take a picnic, deckchairs and beach toys, and spend the day. Golden sand, great for sandcastles, and a calm sea, for splashing about in, make it a perfect beach for children. The beach never gets crowded due to it’s vast expanse and the relatively small carpark that is available. There is always plenty of space for a game of cricket or football.
For the more adventurous there is a popular watersports centre, offering sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Behind the beach sand dunes stretch for miles, perfect for a walk or some sand boarding (usually on a piece of cardboard!).
This is our favourite beach in the UK, one which we’ve visited many times.
Nominated by Go Live Young
St Ives Porthmeor Beach – a beautiful beach in West Cornwall
While we were camping in October in Cornwall, of course we had to go to St Ives. The town is famous for its artistic connections including Barbara Hepworth and the Tate. For us, it was also a lovely place to find treasures in little galleries and markets off-season.
Porthmeor beach is the long North-facing beach overlooked by the Tate. We went there to build sandcastles because it was the closest one to our campsite, but it was a great find. It had clean sand, a calm sea (for us – although it is listed as one of the top ten surfing beaches in Cornwall) and beautiful misty views. The beach is accessible. It has toilets and showers, and there is a great little restaurant built into the sea wall.
Right next to the beach, the Tate Gallery was quirkily designed to echo the silhouette of a gas tank which once stood on its site. The only downside of this beach is its reputation for cheeky gulls who steal sandwiches from those out for the sunshine. In our misty autumn break, there was little sunshine, and the gulls were behaving themselves.
Nominated by the Travelling Twins
Whilst Cornwall is not short of beautiful beaches, Tintagel offers something a little different. Most people visit Tintagel because of the legends of King Arthur and the mythical Camelot castle. However, there is also a very cool beach sat in a protected cove surrounded by high cliffs, just below the castle ruins.
When the tide’s out you can enjoy the sandy beach, or alternatively explore Tintagel’s caves, including the 100m passage that is ‘Merlin’s Cave’.
Tintagel is located on Cornwall’s rugged northern coastline. The beach is quite a walk from the car parks and village, but if you’re going to Tintagel then chances are you’ll be visiting the historic castle anyway. From the castle, the path up the hill leads back to the village, with a shuttle option available to save your legs.
Reaching the beach however is not so straightforward, as the only access is via a stone staircase leading down to the sand. Once at the bottom there is plenty to see between the caves, rock pools, waterfall or even swimming out to the headland.
Tintagel is all about stories and adventure, so what better way to experience it than by exploring the caves below King Arthur’s castle.
Nominated by Stuart Fahy
South Cornwall Best Beaches
Gyllyngvase Beach a beautiful beach near Falmouth
We go to Falmouth on the South Coast of Cornwall every year and our all-time favourite beach is Blue Flag status winner, Gyllyngvase Beach.
Well, it’s less than ten minutes stroll from Falmouth town centre and it has a huge stretch of well-kept flat, golden sand with super easy access into the sea. It’s perfect for everyone: families (including buggies and wheelchairs), water sports enthusiasts (my daughter loves body boarding here, even in rubbish weather) and with great amenities too.
Public toilets and a large car park are literally yards away and between May and September, Gylly Beach has RNLI Lifeguard cover too. If you tire of being on the beach (really?) then you can stroll along the South West Coast Path to Swanpool Beach and Nature Reserve for a break. Just make sure you come back to Gylly Beach Café for lunch because their fresh crab wraps are the stuff of dreams!
Nominated by Lisa’s Notebook
Located on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, Kynance Cove is one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever visited. The hidden cove is renowned for its white sands, turquoise waters and stunning sea views and sea stacks and arches reside in the crystal clear waters. We loved the dramatic scenery and the energising coastal walk. We made it as far as the old lifeboat station, a 1-hour hike, and spotted some seals hanging out!
As Kynance is a tidal beach, it’s important to check the tide times and visit during low tide when the beach is sandy.
The beach is small and gets extremely busy on weekends in summer so we’d recommend arriving early in the day when it’s quieter. Arriving early gives a better chance of securing a car space in the closest car park which is a 10-minute walk. Access to the cove is via an often steep and uneven park so wear appropriate shoes and mind your step.
Facilities at Kynance Cove include a café with lovely outdoor seating and toilets in both the car park and in the cove.
Nominated by Show them the globe!
Marazion Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall
My favourite beach in Cornwall has to be Marazion Beach, located near Penzance in West Cornwall, which holds a very special place in my heart. The main attraction is the imposing St Michael’s Mount, a small tidal island under the protection of the National Trust, which is accessible on foot at low tide by a granite causeway.
It was here, after a stroll along the long, sandy beach, that my now husband asked me to marry him. We celebrated at Godolphin Arms, a beachside restaurant and hotel serving locally sourced Cornish food overlooking over the bay. It’s a perfect spot whatever the occasion. We had plenty of other options we could have gone to, including Ben’s Cornish Kitchen and The Cutty Stark Restaurant, both highly rated spots.
Marazion beach is a perfect place for families, very safe with lifeguard cover throughout the peak summer months and a popular children’s play park located just above the beach.
Aside from the obvious memories, I love this beach because despite its beautiful sand dunes, ample parking and water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing, it doesn’t seem to get too busy.
Nominated by Jessica Pascoe
Porthcurno Beach – a beautiful beach near Penzance
Porthcurno Beach is one of my favourite in the whole of Cornwall not just the South! Located a short 20 minute drive away from central Penzance, the beach at Porthcurno is my favourite place to go for a beach day near Penzance! There is ample parking at the beach, however if going in summer I would recommend going early to ensure you get a space as this place gets busy!
The cove at Porthcurno is beautiful and is overlooked by the beautiful Minnack Theatre – another must see when in Cornwall!
And if the weather turns while you are at the beach, there is the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum adjacent to the beach which is another great thing to do in Cornwall on a rainy day!
Portheras Cove – a Cornwall hidden gem
Portheras Cove is one of the best Cornwall hidden gems but this takes some perseverance to get to!
This is definitely more a locals beach rather a tourist beach and the walk to get down to it is strenuous but rewarding. You park in the top car park next to the farm (please respect the honesty box) and then take a walk down through the fields to get into this isolated cove! The walk on the way down is quite easy but more challenging on the way back up! It is worth it to be rewarded with one of the most isolated and uncrowded beaches in the whole of Cornwall!
If you are looking for a Cornwall hidden gem beach then this is it – just don’t tell too many people please!
This beach is only ten minutes away from central Penzance and is one of the easiest to visit with kids! There is a large car park which is literally steps from the beach at Praa Sands! There are also plenty of amenities for families at Praa Sands including a cafe and small shop selling all the usual beach fun toys!
One of the reasons I love Praa Sands is that is has a long stretch of white sands which means that even on busy days you can find a good patch of sand to make your own! While we were there we found the sea to be quite calm and good to visit with children and for added safety there is a lifeguard in attendance on weekends in summer!
For more things to do in Penzance check out this post!
Located on the southwest coast of England, a 20 minute drive from lands end, is the beautiful white sand beach, Sennen cove. This beach is popular among surfers and holiday makers, meaning it can be very busy during peak summer seasons.
There are 3 car parks, one on the beach, one a 5 minute walk along the beach and one a 15 minute walk up the hill. The bottom car parks fill up very quickly, so if you need to park up the hill, make sure you have comfortable shoes to walk down in. All car parks are pay and display.
There is food and accommodation available by the beach, meaning you can spend a few days down there watching the surfers and the waves all day.
Walk around the rugged rocky coastline from Sennen Beach to Lands End with a Cornish ice cream and take in the beautiful sea views. It is the perfect way to enjoy the warm, southern weather!
Sennen Cove is one of my favourite places to relax on holiday and is well worth a visit if you are in Cornwall.
Nominated by Highlands 2 Hammocks
What is your favourite Cornwall Beach? We would love you to tell us in the comment what your favourite beach in Cornwall is!