Penberth Cove

In Brief

Suitable for: Swimmers, snorkellers and history buffs
Location: Penberth Cove, near Porthcurno
Parking: Limited parking near the beach
Dog friendly?: No

A beach doesn’t have to boast long stretches of fine sand, crystal clear waters and high clifftops all around. If you want that, then don’t go to Penberth Cove. The small pebbly beach here is recommended for altogether different reasons.

Penberth Cove, just up the coast from the stunning Porthcurno Beach and village, is actually the name of the quaint fishing hamlet that surrounds the beach. There’s an idyllic wooded valley above the hamlet and the whole area harkens back to a time when life was easier and Cornwall was a much quieter place. In fact, TV series ‘Poldark’ filmed a few scenes here due to its antique beauty.

The beach itself is really just a small area of pebbles at low tide. It’s just rocks most of the time. But you don’t come to Penberth Cove for an afternoon of lounging. You come for the history, the beauty and to get out there in those clean waters for a dip or perhaps a snorkel. You also get to check out the granite cobblestone slipway at the top of the beach which boasts a massive wooden capstan that once pulled fishing vessels up the slope.

There is no lifeguard cover at this beach so do not swim out too far. But there is a decent car park nearby and some toilets. You probably want to come alone or with a friend or partner and wander around this old-world hamlet before checking out that historic slipway. Or just climb into your trunks, pop a snorkel mask on and explore these fine waters around the particularly rocky beach. Penberth may not attract the beach-lovers but, as a result, it doesn’t get too busy. That means that Penberth Cove, for us, counts as one of Cornwall’s best seaside hidden gems.