Cornwall water sports to try  holiday cottages

Cornwall water sports to try

Sarah P 11 February 2021

With over 300 miles of glorious coastline, and a whole host of rivers, estuaries, lakes and quarries, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of Cornwall water sports on offer in this fantastic county! Locals and holidaymakers alike will love the thrill of catching the early morning surf or stumbling across a secret beach while wild swimming or paddleboarding. Whether you’re a seasoned kite surfer with your own gear, you want to try a water sports course or your just fancy exploring the coast from a different perspective, you will find plenty of adrenaline-pumping, fun-filled water sports in Cornwall to set you on your way.

What Cornwall water sports would you like to try?

Kayaking in Cornwall

Kayaking in Cornwall

Kayaking in Cornwall is the perfect water sport for gentle adventures and thrilling experiences alike! Paddle peacefully along the corridors of Cornwall’s rivers and estuaries or head out to sea and take on the swell of the Atlantic as you spot seals, discover hidden coves and land on secret islands that you cannot reach by foot! A great activity for groups and families, kayaking in Cornwall is one of the most popular outdoor activities for holidaymakers, and we know the best spots from which to launch your own craft, join a tour or hire a kayak for a few hours!  

Where to go kayaking in Cornwall: our top three

The Fal River

The Fal River, Falmouth. Image credit: falriver

Port Gaverne in Cornwall

Port Gaverne, Port Isaac

St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives, West Cornwall.  Image credit: St Ives Surf School

These are just three of our top suggestions on where to go kayaking in Cornwall; check out the full guide for more ideas...

Surfing in Cornwall

Surfing in Cornwall

Whether you’re a hardened pro or a keen beginner, you’ll know that Cornwall is a world-class surfing destination - which is perhaps why it features so high on your ‘must visit’ list. Seasoned surfers, both local and from afar, head to the North Cornwall beaches to make the most of the Atlantic swells that produce those powerful waves experts crave. Meanwhile, beginners head here for the fantastic surf schools and expert tuition on offer from the likes of Big Blue Surf School, Bude, or Fistral Beach Surf School, Newquay. Fistral Beach is also one of the best-known surf beaches in Cornwall having gained a reputation for consistent surf and adrenaline-fuelled days, and water sports in Newquay as a whole are in abundance.

Where to go surfing in Cornwall: our top three

Newquay in Cornwall

Newquay, North Cornwall 

Trevaunance in Cornwall

Trevaunance, St Agnes, North Cornwall 

Gunwalloe in Cornwall

Gunwalloe, The Lizard, North Cornwall 

These are just three of our favourite places to go surfing in Cornwall; check out the full guide for more ideas...

Stand-up paddleboarding in Cornwall

Stand up paddleboarding in Cornwall

Voted in a recent survey that we carried out as the ‘water sport that most people want to try’, paddleboarding has considerably increased in popularity in recent years. The exciting activity, which sees all ages quite literally ‘stand-up’ on a board, is a fantastic way to explore the Cornwall coast and peaceful estuaries. This versatile and relatively simple water sport is a fun activity for families to try together. While the gentle waters of Cornwall’s rivers and estuaries may be a little easier to paddle, the more exposed waters of the sea make for a thrilling experience and offer access to secret coves and sandy islands that you can reach only by boat or paddle!  

The best places to go paddleboarding in Cornwall: our top three

The Camel Estuary in Cornwall

The Camel Estuary, North Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, West Cornwall. Image: ocean_high_cornwall  

Porthcurno in Cornwall

Porthcurno, South Cornwall. Image credit: a_cornish_life 

Kite surfing in Cornwall

kite surfing in Cornwall


If there are two prerequisites of kite surfing, it’s wind and space, two things that the Cornwall coast offers in abundance. The vast open beaches of North and West Cornwall are the perfect spots for seasoned kite surfers, but also beginners who are looking for expert tuition. The Bluff, also known as Hayle, is said to be one of the finest places in the UK for professional kite surfers to launch, while Watergate Bay is one of the most famous kite surfing locations in the UK, playing host to the annual British Kite Sports Association (BKSA). Here you’ll also find several kite surfing schools for those who’d like to try kite surfing in Cornwall for the first time or want to brush up on their skills.

Where to go kite surfing in Cornwall: our top three

Hayle in Cornwall

Hayle, St Ives, South Cornwall

Marazion in Cornwall

Marazion, West Cornwall

Watergate Bay in Cornwall

Watergate Bay, North Cornwall 

These are just three of the best places to go kite surfing in Cornwall; check out the full guide for more ideas...

Wild swimming in Cornwall

wild swimming in Cornwall

Recognised as both a wellbeing trend and a fun-filled activity for adventurers, wild swimming in Cornwall takes you to some of the wildest waters of the sea, rivers, and lakes in the county. Wild swimming in Cornwall takes you off the beaten track to discover remote coves and secret pools, which sometimes require a bit of a hike to reach – but that’s the beauty of wild swimming. We know where to find some fantastic tidal pools that provide safe wild swimming for families and children to build up their confidence too.

The best places to go wild swimming in Cornwall: our top three

Golitha Falls in Cornwall

Golitha Falls, Liskeard, North Cornwall

Kynance Cove in Cornwall

Kynance Cove, West Cornwall

Pedn Vounder in Cornwall

Pedn Vounder, Porthcurno, South Cornwall

These are just three of our top suggestions on wild swimming spots in Cornwall; check out the full guide for more ideas...

Coasteering in Cornwall

coasteering in cornwall

The ultimate adventure for thrill-seekers, coasteering in Cornwall gives you a chance to get up close and personal with Cornish coastline. Explore rugged cliffs, secret caves, and hidden coves as you scramble across rocks, and jump from cliffs. This adventurous activity might not be for everyone, but it certainly allows you to see the coastline from a whole new perspective and get that adrenaline pumping at the same time. Suitable for most, Cornwall’s coasteering providers offer sessions for a range of ages, abilities, and groups, with some welcoming children as young as 8! From Port Quin and St Agnes on the north coast to the Lizard Peninsula and St Austell Bay, coasteering in Cornwall is perfect for adrenaline junkies!

Where to go coasteering in Cornwall

Bude in Cornwall

Bude, North Cornwall. Image credit: Outdoor Adventure

The Lizard, West Cornwall. Image credit: Lizard Adventure 

Port Quin in Cornwall

Port Quinn, North Cornwall. Image credit: j.c.ad 

These are just three of the places you can go coasteering in Cornwall; check out the full guide for more ideas...

Diving in Cornwall

Diving in Cornwall

Home to Cornish Diving, one of the longest established dive centres in the UK, keen divers are sure to be blown away by the diving in Cornwall opportunities. You'll discover a whole underwater world and a huge variety of habitats when you go scuba diving in Cornwall, from fascinating shipwrecks and kelp forests to host of colourful marine life. If you’re lucky, you might even spot seals, dolphins, and porpoises! Some of Cornwall’s highlights include The Manacles’ which have wrecked many ships over the years and the Marine Conservation Zone of the Runnel Stone off of Lands’ End. There are several diving schools in Cornwall where you can book a beginner’s course, brush up on your skills or take a scuba diving boat tour to some of the best dive sites in Cornwall.

Best places to go diving in Cornwall

Manacles, The Lizard

Manacles, The Lizard, West Cornwall

Falmouth in Cornwall

Falmouth Bay, South Cornwall

Land’s End in Cornwall

Land’s End

Sailing in Cornwall

Sailing in cornwall

You only have to stroll around the harbour in Fowey or gaze out to sea from Padstow to see proof that sailing is very much a part of the coastal culture in Cornwall. Whether you live a life of luxury with your own yacht, you’re treating yourself by chartering one for a few days, or you’d like to learn how to sail, Cornwall is a fabulous destination to dip your toe in the water. The county also plays host to many annual sailing regattas, which attract boating enthusiasts from far and wide, such as the Falmouth Week and Fowey Royal Regatta. If you’re keen to give sailing a go, we recommend courses for all ages and abilities from Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School in Falmouth. 

Best places to go sailing

Falmouth in South Cornwall

Falmouth, South West Cornwall

Helford in Cornwall

Helford River, West Cornwall

Polridmouth Cove in Cornwall

Polridmouth Cove, South Cornwall

We hope our guide to water sports in Cornwall has helped you narrow down the activities you’d like to try during your visit. For even more inspiration, we’ve also written about the most extreme sports in Cornwall, the top 20 attractions and the best things to do in Cornwall.

Book a cottage in Cornwall

Next stop: where will you stay? With the whole of the Cornish coast offering a plethora of water sports experiences, you’ll be sure to find a Cornwall cottage that is the perfect base after a day in the water.

Book a Cornwall cottage

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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