15 of the Best Beaches in Cornwall

Perranporth Best Beaches In Cornwall

If you want to visit one of the best beaches in Cornwall, you’ll be spoilt for choice; the county has over 300 beaches to choose from along 400 miles of rugged seashore, 158 miles of which are designated as Heritage Coast.

With 4 million visitors each year and better transport links than ever, Cornwall is the number one holiday destination in the UK.

Perranporth Best Beaches In Cornwall
Perranporth, Cornwall

Read on as we reveal the 15 best beaches in Cornwall!

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Cornish Coves

Wild, mysterious, and steeped in history and legend, many of the coves in Cornwall had networks of tunnels that smugglers used to bring in brandy, tobacco, and tea. Many remain unspoilt and are used daily by local fishermen, landing their catch. 

Visitors who come in search of tranquillity and to explore will not be disappointed.

1. Readymoney Cove

Address: Fowey, Cornwall PL23 1EB
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban


Readymoney Cove lies below medieval Fowey on one side and is overlooked by the ruins of St Catherine’s Castle. Behind a pretty, secluded sandy beach with crystal green waters is an old coach house belonging to Daphne du Maurier, one of the greatest romantic novelists and author of Jamaica Inn.

2. Cadgwith Cove

Address: Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7JX
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Cadgwith Cove
Cadgwith Cove

Cadgwith Cove, further along the Lizard Peninsula, you’ll come to a charming traditional Cornish fishing village where time seems to have stood still. 

This sheltered cove lies at the end of a steep valley with whitewashed fishermen’s cottages huddled on the hillsides. It’s so pretty and well worth a visit.

There are two small shingle beaches. The Fishing Beach is used by local fishermen and boats bringing shellfish and wet fish to shore. Walk down the steps to Swimming Beach for snorkelling and swimming. Deep sea diving is also popular here, with fascinating wrecks to explore off the coast.

3. Kynance Cove

Address: The Lizard, Nr. Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7PJ
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove, on the opposite side of the Lizard, draws artists and painters to its beautiful white sandy beach, turquoise sea and rock stacks. 

An incredibly romantic cove, you can imagine the whispering voices of the smugglers in times gone by. At low tide, you can look for mermaids and dragons in the caves, known curiously as the Parlour and the Drawing room, and there’s an idyllic path from Kynance to Lizard Point, making it a must for walkers.

4. Gwenver

Address: Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7BB
Dog Friendly: All-year-round


Gwenver Beach, along the coastal path, lies at the tip of the peninsula near Land’s End in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.

There are breathtaking cliff views, and you can see the Scilly Isles on a clear day.

Gwenver is thought to be named after Guinevere, wife of the legendary Cornish King Arthur. 

Located at the base of steep granite cliffs, the sandy beach is accessed by a hair-raising path. The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful.  

Gwenver also provides some of the best surfing conditions in Cornwall.

Surfing and Water Sports

Famous for its world-class surfing beaches, surfing is a way of life in Cornwall, attracting visitors from all over the world. 

You can’t go down the street in Newquay without seeing a walking wetsuit with a board under their arm – and you haven’t had the full Cornish experience until you’ve ridden the waves, or at least tried to.  

It’s exciting to watch, too. There are many surf schools to choose from. In theory, you can surf from any beach in Cornwall, but here are some of the best. 

5. Fistral Beach

Address: Headland Road, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1HY
Dog Friendly: All-year-round

Fistral Beach Newquay
Fistral Beach, Newquay

Fistral Beach in Newquay is the best-known surfing beach in the UK. Home to the British Surfing Association, all the major surfing competitions occur here, attracting visitors worldwide. 

Steep sand dunes slope down to more than 2,000 feet of glorious sandy beach. 

Facing west onto the Atlantic, Fistral sees swells of up to 8 feet, guaranteeing an exhilarating experience for surfers, bodyboarders, and spectators who don’t like getting wet.

6. Perranporth Beach

Address: Perranporth, Cornwall TR6 0AQ
Dog Friendly: All-year-round, required to be on lead in July and August

Perranporth Beach near Perr, Best Beaches in Cornwall
Perranporth Beach

Perranporth, six miles down the coastal path from Newquay, this vast, sandy beach is rated among the best in the world. It’s also near Perran Sands Holiday Park.

The sand dunes, mighty waves and the sheer size of the beach make you feel like you have everything to yourself. 

The Atlantic sea breeze is exhilarating, perhaps a little boisterous in winter. Quieter than Fistral, the best waves can be found towards the Penhale end, and surfers describe Perranporth as one of the best surfing beaches on the Cornish coast.

7. Porthtowan Beach

Address: Beach Road, Porthtowan, Cornwall TR4 8AD
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Porthtowan Beach
Porthtowan Beach

Porthtowan’s beautiful, blue flag award-winning beach has so much to delight visitors. You might glimpse dolphins, seals, or basking sharks.    

You could go paragliding, snorkelling, or diving. You can surf, bodyboard or paddle. 

Its exposure to the Atlantic Ocean makes Porthtowan a fabulous surfing beach, producing powerful hollow waves, though perhaps not for a beginner.

8. Sennen Beach

Address: Sennen, St Just, Cornwall, TR19 7DG
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Sennen Beach
Sennen Beach

Sennen Beach is 1.5 miles from Land’s End; the next stop is New York!

The beautiful, crescent-shaped beach at Sennen Cove is known as Whitesands Bay, and there’s over a mile of fine sand facing the full force of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular destination for surfers and dreamers who come to gaze in wonder at the spectacular views.

The beach is lifeguard-protected and family-friendly, with rock pools to explore and a lifeboat station to visit.

9. Praa Sands Beach

Address: Penzance, Cornwall TR20 9TQ
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Praa Sands Beach
Praa Sands Beach

Praa Sands is a popular family holiday destination situated halfway between Penzance and Helston. 

Sand dunes shelter the mile-long expanse of the beach and are perfect for beach games, collecting seashells, and splashing in the sea. There’s a history of smuggling, too; you might dig up some treasure.   

10. Porthpean Beach

Address: St Austell, Cornwall PL25 3RD
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Porthpean Beach
Porthpean Beach

Porthpean Beach, further north along the coast, you’ll come to possibly one of St Austell’s best beaches. 

Steep cliffs shelter the small sandy beach, and the water is clear Mediterranean blue. 

Porthpean is extremely popular with families and considered safe for swimming with a café and a shop on the beach.

The calm, clear water makes the beach ideal for activities such as snorkelling, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. It is also perfect for relaxing. 

A slipway to the sea gives Porthpean Sailing Club easy access, but no jet skiing, please. 

11. East Looe Beach

Address: Looe, Cornwall PL13 1HL
Dog Friendly: Dog Ban all year round

East Looe Beach
East Looe Beach

Continuing our journey north along the Cornish Riviera, East Looe Beach is made for childhood memories of a happy summer holiday. 

At low tide, a sloping expanse of pristine sand leads down to the sea, which is generally considered safe for swimming.

The beach lies directly in front of the pretty resort town, protected by the famous Banjo Pier, where you can watch the waves crash against the harbour wall as the fishing boats come and go. 

Why is it called Banjo Pier? Because it’s shaped like one!

12. Pentewan Sands Beach

Address: Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6DE
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Pentewan Sands Beach
Pentewan Sands Beach

Pentewan Sands is a heavenly stretch of almost white sandy beach between St Austell and the picturesque fishing village of Mevagissey.

The beach is privately owned, looked after with many facilities, and, best of all, open to the public.

A sheltered, family beach, St Pentewan is ideal for swimming and water sports. Dinghies and canoes can be hired from the Holiday Park, allowing public access to its facilities.

Myths and Legends

13. Tintagel Beach

Address: Atlantic Road, Tintagel PL34 0DS
Dog Friendly: All-year-round

Tintagel Haven Beach, Best Beaches in Cornwall
Tintagel Haven Beach

Tintagel, steeped in Arthurian legend, is an enchanting must for romantics. 

Walk carefully down the steps from Tintagel Castle to the tiny beach at mystical Tintagel Haven, also known as Merlin’s Cove. 

North of the beach is a waterfall tumbling down into the valley, and to the south lies Merlin’s Cave, which comprises a 300ft tunnel under Tintagel Island and the castle. 

This is an explorer’s beach, which disappears at high tide, and the atmosphere is incredible.

14. Lamorna Cove Beach

Address: Penzance, Cornwall TR19 6XH
Dog Friendly: Seasonal Dog Ban

Lamorna Cove
Lamorna Cove Beach

Lamorna Cove is where a beautiful mermaid sits on a rock, combing her hair and singing while luring local fishermen to a watery grave. Seeing her foretells a storm, but if you hear her sing, there will be a shipwreck in precisely seven days. 

But don’t let her stop you from visiting this quiet, pretty, rocky beach. Lamorna Cove is 9 miles from Land’s End and is a popular film location.

15. Mother Ivey’s Bay

Address: Trevose Head, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8SL
Dog Friendly: All year round as long as kept on lead

Mother Ivey's Bay
Mother Ivey’s Bay

Mother Ivey’s Bay is named after the legendary Mother Ivy, a white witch who cursed a local family of pilchard farmers who had refused food to a starving family, throwing their surplus fish back into the sea. Mother Ivey was so angry that she cursed the farm, bringing great misfortune. 

The sheltered, soft, sandy beach lies behind Trevose Head in a stunning location. The beach is ideal for picnics and games in the sand or romantic winter walks. 

You can feel Mother Ivey’s magic in the air, and she’s watching, so don’t throw your leftovers into the sea.

Final Thoughts on the Best Beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall is a beach lover’s paradise with its shimmering coastlines and golden sands. The harmonious blend of the Atlantic’s wild waves and the tranquillity of its coastal hamlets makes Cornwall’s beaches stand out.

It’s also fun during the rain!

If you decide to stay in one of the many holiday parks in Cornwall or even buy a caravan in this remarkable location, there are so many beaches to discover you’ll never run out.

Which is your favourite beach in Cornwall?

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