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Where to see dolphins in Cornwall holiday cottages

Where to see dolphins in Cornwall

Cornwall is a haven for wildlife watchers, where the diverse landscape of countryside and coast is home to many creatures. If it’s dolphins you’re looking for, they can frequently be seen off the Cornish coast; whether you choose to charter a boat, take a sea tour or simply chance a glimpse at these creatures whilst walking the coast path, our guide should help to maximise your chances of spotting a pod of dolphins.

Dolphins swimming underwater

Best times of year to see dolphins in Cornwall

There is a chance of seeing dolphins off the Cornish coast for the full 12 months of the year if you’re lucky, but generally, the summer is when sightings are most frequent. For those wishing to head out on a wildlife-spotting boat trip, these typically run between March and November due to the sea and weather conditions, so you may wish to schedule your visit accordingly.

Rissos Dolphin

Types of dolphin seen in Cornwall

Bottlenose dolphin

Common dolphin

Risso’s dolphin

Where to see dolphins in Cornwall

Pentire Point

1. Pentire Point, North Cornwall

The National Trust-owned headland of Pentire Point is a fantastic place to watch out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and harbour porpoises can frequently be spotted throughout the year. Head to this location by car, parking at the Old Lead Mine and enjoying a 10 to 15-minute walk to the best spot.

Also watch out for:

  • Grey seals
  • Porpoises
  • Basking sharks
  • Oceanic sunfish

Stay nearby in Wadebridge.

Porthcurno

2. Porthcurno, South Cornwall

The spacious bay and mild climate mean that Penzance is one of the hotspots for seeing sea life in Cornwall and we’d highly recommend Porthcurno as your viewpoint. During the summer months, sightings of pods are common, with a number of them coming close to boats to feed and socialise; a truly magical experience for those on board.

Also watch out for:

  • Harbour porpoises
  • Minke whales
  • Basking sharks
  • Leatherback turtles

Stay nearby in Porthcurno.

Lizard Point

3. Lizard Point, West Cornwall

As the most southerly point of the UK, the tip of the Lizard Peninsula is one of the best places all round for seeing wildlife. Its diverse landscape is home to more than 250 species of national and international conservation importance and offers a spectacular sight for all. Keep your eye out for dolphins frolicking in the water; we’d recommend bringing binoculars to make the most of your visit.

Also watch out for:

  • Grey seals
  • Porpoises
  • Basking sharks
  • Whales

Stay nearby in Lizard.

Land's End

4. Land’s End, West Cornwall

The views at Land’s End are spectacularly beautiful, regardless of whether you manage to catch a sighting. Head to the Wildlife Discover Centre for the best chance, watching the rippling water through powerful optics or take your binoculars to gaze out into the sea for a chance of spotting a dolphin or two.  Alternatively, Marine Discovery offers fantastic tours of the area.

Also watch out for:

  • Harbour porpoise
  • Basking sharks
  • Minke whales
  • Killer whales

Stay nearby in Land’s End.

Looe Island

5. Looe Island, South Cornwall

Just a 20-minute boat ride away from Looe, Looe Island is certainly worth the trip to see the astonishing array of wildlife. Due to its rich marine environment, this is where the most frequent sightings of dolphins and seals occur in Cornwall. Although only accessible via boat for most of the year, during the low spring tides, you may have the rare opportunity to walk across the rocks and over to the island.

Also watch out for:

  • Atlantic grey seals
  • Harbour porpoises

Stay nearby in Looe.

Falmouth Bay

6. Falmouth Bay, West Cornwall

The deep waters of Falmouth create a rich and productive environment for a wide variety of wildlife, and dolphins are no exception. Sighting numbers have greatly increased over the last few years, meaning that here you’ve got a great chance of getting lucky. A few years ago, AK Wildlife Cruises recorded around 190 dolphins frolicking around in the waters over a period of a couple of hours, and pods of between 20 and 30 seen on a regular basis by the team.

Also watch out for:

  • Humpback whales
  • Minke whales
  • Leatherback turtles
  • Basking sharks

Stay nearby in Falmouth.

Porthgwarra

7. Porthgwarra, South Cornwall

A hotspot frequented by The Sea Watch Foundation, Porthgwarra and the nearby location of Gwennap Head provides a great station to sit atop the cliffs and scan the open seas. Although a telescope is not always necessary, bringing one along will certainly improve your chances of seeing movement in the water!

Also watch out for:

  • Basking sharks
  • Grey seals
  • Harbour porpoises

Stay nearby in Porthcurno.

Sennen Cove

8. Sennen Cove, West Cornwall

Dolphins can commonly be seen from Sennen Cove all year round, but sightings are most frequent between April and October. At high tide, the best view is from the car park, while at low tide, the mammals will sometimes come close to the beach to feed, which is a magical experience for all.

Also watch out for:

  • Basking sharks
  • Grey seals
  • Harbour porpoises

Stay nearby in Sennen.

Other places to spot dolphins in Cornwall:

  • Pendeen Watch
  • Cape Cornwall
  • St Ives Island
  • Godrevy Point
  • Trevose Head
  • Penlee Point
  • Padstow
  • Hella Point
  • Gwennap Head
  • Pendennis Point

If you want to learn more about where to see sharks, seals and whales whilst on your holidays in Cornwall, head to our wildlife watching guide, which features a handy map to pinpoint where they’re most commonly seen!

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