Fact: Prussia Cove doesn’t really have a good beach. Sure, there’s a bit of sand and the sea is pretty clear but there are much better stretches out on the wild western reaches of Cornwall. So, umm, why are we recommending it to our readers then? Ah, well, you see a good beach doesn’t have to be about the sun, sea and sand at all. It can be about the stunning scenery and the smugglin’ stories. In that case, then, Prussia Cove is a total gem.
Prussia Cove sits on the east end of Mount’s Bay, which is where the majestic St Michael’s Mount rests. The cove is just round the corner to the mount, though, and to Penzance and Marazion for that matter, so you don’t get to see them. What you do get to see is past the similarly recommended Praa Sands and down the coast past Porthleven and right down to the Lizard peninsula. Those views are glorious on a sunny day.
‘Tis a storied place is Prussia Cove. There’s an intriguing past of smuggling and shipwrecks here. In fact, the whole place seems to jump from the pages of a classic coastal mystery novel. It’s called Prussia Cove after John Carter, known as both the ‘King of Prussia’ and the most notorious smuggler in the Penzance region in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, ran his operation from here, as well as in a couple of neighbouring coves. Stories of hidden treasure, stolen booty and secret passages connected to a house above abound even today at this romantic spot. There was also once a rumour that half of the brandy in Britain arrived through Prussia Cove in the 1780s.
Prussia Cove, which is open to dogs throughout the year, is easy to reach along the A394 between Helston and Penzance. You just come off at the village of Rosudgeon and head along a narrow single-tracked road towards the waves until you get to a small privately owned car park. From there, you can see the estate surrounding the cove, with its little cottages that line the lush green clifftops. This estate is actually privately owned. Then you walk about 10 minutes down to the cove, a small and intimate place with no lifeguard cover so be careful if taking a dip.
No, Prussia Cove is not a great beach to relax on. But it is an incredibly romantic cove, especially if you imagine being here as the Carters and their clan stashed all their booty back when smuggling was quite possibly the coolest job in the kingdom.