Just like the pasty, beaches are synonymous with Cornwall and the Cornish coast is a joy to explore when you start your Cornwall holiday. All the way along the three coastlines of Cornwall, you will find inlets and coves used by smugglers to store their loot many years ago, as well as the many sweeping beaches that Cornwall is famous for. If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches, somewhere to take the family during your holiday or the best surfing beaches in the UK, you will find it with our guide to Cornwall beaches.
The locals won't talk to us for a while, but we're going to start this blog talking about some of the less-mentioned coves, inlets and bays in Cornwall.
With a unique and magical coastline which houses more than 400 beaches, it's unsurprising that some have gone unnoticed, as opposed to the likes of Fistral in Newquay, St Ives or Kynance Cove. But the fact of the matter exists - there are PLENTY of wonderful, untouched and unspoilt beaches that are accessible on foot along the coastline.
We've created an interactive map to showcase 10 of our favourites, including details on location, whether it's dog-friendly or not, its accessibility, the nearest amenities and more. Take a read of our guide to secret beaches in Cornwall here - and thank us later.
North Cornwall has some of the most renowned beaches in the whole of the UK and the world! The popular town of Newquay is located on the north coast of Cornwall and offers beaches suitable for all people, seasons, and holidays. Newquay, England’s surfing Mecca is home to numerous beaches either located in the town itself or within an easy to reach distance including Fistral beach, Mawgan Porth, and Watergate Bay (above). Padstow is a popular harbour town in North Cornwall with strong links to the coast which is evident through the local food here.
There is a fabulous stretch of sand nearby which follows the west bank of the Camel. Perranporth is a popular sandy beach that stretches for around two miles and is extremely popular with surfers. To the north of Perranporth are Holywell Bay, Porth Joke, and the lengthy Crantock beach. Other beaches to note in the north of the county include; Sandymouth near Bude, Bedruthan Steps, Polzeath, and Crackington Haven which is backed by some remarkable cliffs. Browse our coastal holiday cottages in Cornwall or choose your perfect accommodation from our range of hotels, holiday parks and B&Bs.
Working anti-clockwise around the county, West Cornwall is one of the most picturesque and sought after holiday destinations in the UK. Close to the small town of Hayle is the Godrevy Head with its dramatic coastline and lighthouse as well as Gwithian Towans beach and Hayle Sands which are great at all times of the year. An autumn walk around Godrevy Head to see the lighthouse and potentially seals is captivating. Further along the coast of West Cornwall is the chic town of St Ives featuring a bustling harbour backed by designer shops and charming cafes. St Ives is home to two larger beaches, Porthminster (above) and Porthmeor, as well as three smaller ones, Porthgwidden, Bamaluz and Lambeth Walk which are ideal for families and are also dog-friendly but some restrictions do apply.
Close to St Ives is the beautiful sheltered beach of Carbis Bay, a gorgeous white sand beach with facilities within easy reach. Sennen Cove is another fantastic beach that is found in West Cornwall close to Land’s End and also renowned for its surfing. Sennen Cove has good facilities and is also relatively easy to access and at low tide, it is also possible to Gwynver Beach. You can take a scenic walk along the South West Coast Path from Sennen Cove to Land’s End with breath-taking coastal views. Moving along the south coast from Land’s End, you will find four beaches in close proximity, these are; Nanjizal, Porthgwarra, Porth Chapel, and Porthcurno.
The latter of these is the pick of the beaches as it is a perfect sandy beach right next to the unique Minack Theatre. The coastal views and glistening azure waters of Porthcurno mean that on a sunny day you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in the Mediterranean! Other West Cornwall beaches to visit during your holiday in the county include Marazion close to the imposing St Michael’s Mount, as well as Mousehole, Praa Sands, and the beaches around Prussia Cove.
South Cornwall is a great location for a coastal break as there are some small, attractive beaches found here and they are coupled with charming fishing villages. Close to the unspoilt fishing village of Polperro, you will find the beach at Lansallos and Cornwall’s best-kept secret, Lantic Bay (above). Like the beach at Porthcurno, there is a Mediterranean feel here and the white sand here is great for families, however, Lantic Bay is difficult to reach and bathing here can be hazardous. The village of Polperro is also widely regarded as a must visit location!
A little further along the coast from Polperro is the seaside town of Looe which has a popular family beach. Unfortunately, dogs are banned all year from the beach in Looe, but in West Looe, there is a dog-friendly beach at Hannafore. Whitsand Bay is a three-mile stretch of golden sand in the South of the county and thus is extremely popular with surfers and families alike. Other beaches worth a visit during your South Cornwall holiday include; Talland Bay, Samphire Beach, and Portnadler Bay.
If you would like to know more information about some of the safest beaches in the county, take a look at our guide to Lifeguarded Beaches in Cornwall. For everything else Cornwall, be sure to take a look at our guide to Cornwall food and drink, our map of Cornwall, and our extensive things to do guide and top places to visit, including some absolute gems! If you're bringing your pet pooch on holiday with you, be sure to check out the best dog friendly beaches in Cornwall! If you're worried about jellyfish, check out our guide on how to stay safe.