Gorran Haven Beach

In Brief

Suitable for: Families, kayakers and dogs
Location: Off Church Street, Gorran Haven, near Mevagissey
Parking: A short walk from the beach is a car park with 500 spaces
Dog friendly?: Yes, all-year-round

Fancy a family-friendly beach day on Cornwall’s serene southern coast? Fancy a stroll around a quaint harbour and timeless fishing village while you’re at it? Well, we fancy you should head to Gorran Haven and its sandy beach. Sitting in an east-facing cove that’s well sheltered by Dodman Point – the highest headland on Cornwall’s south coast that rises to 400ft above sea level and is topped by a huge granite cross – this beach is a firm family favourite that also boasts a quintessentially Cornish flavour. 

Gorran Haven Beach is soft and sandy, plus at low tide it opens up to join Little Perhaver Beach, which is equally sheltered and family-friendly. But the main attraction here is the setting, which feels like a giant step back in time. Framed by a cluster of old fisherman’s cottages and the pretty St Just Church to the rear – and with a small stone pier which acts as a harbour on the western side of the beach – Gorran Haven and its stretch of sand look just like they would have done during the 19th century pilchard industry boom.

Today, the days of mass pilchard fishing have pretty much gone but you can still follow in the wake of the traditional folk by hiring a boat and going on a fishing trip from the harbour or perhaps from nearby Mevagissey. But if that doesn’t float your vessel, then a few hours on this fine beach followed by a stroll around the timeless village that backs right on to it is really the order of the day. There are plenty of amenities in Gorran Haven close to hand too: public toilets just up the slipway, a great beachside café which offers pasties, ice-creams and sandwiches, a decent fish and chip shop opposite the beach and a well-stocked pub. 

It’s worth noting that there’s no lifeguard cover at Gorran Haven Beach but due to it being so sheltered, it’s nevertheless a safe place for swimming. The cove also makes a great base for exploring the nearby coast on a kayak, which can be hired from the beach. Dog owners will be happy to learn that this is an all-year-round dog-friendly beach and with lovely walks along the coast in both directions, there’s plenty for four-legged types here. In fact, there’s something for everyone at Gorran Haven Beach, one of Proper Cornwall’s favourite south coast stretches of sand.