The best beaches in Cornwall


If Cornwall is known for one thing above all else, it’s its beaches. With nearly 300 miles of coastline in the county, there are literally thousands of golden stretches of sand to choose from. From hidden shingle bays to sleepy coves and from wide expanses of fine sands to some of Europe’s hottest surf spots, Cornwall has it all. And then some. So pack up your bucket and spade and dig through our selection of Cornwall’s best beaches. We’ve taken the plunge and chosen our favourite 14…

Daymer Bay Beach

Suitable for: Families
Location: Near Rock village and opposite Padstow
Parking: Plenty of parking next to the beach

Nestled in the mouth of the Camel estuary, opposite the famous Doom Bar and Padstow, and a short walk around the coast from Polzeath on one side and Rock on the other, Daymer offers a haven of tranquillity for families and walkers on the rugged north coast.

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East Looe Beach

Suitable for: Families
Location: Central seafront in Looe
Parking: Loads of parking around Looe

A quintessential coastal town beach, East Looe is right next to the town’s famous harbour entrance and backs on to Looe’s old meandering streets. Not only is it a safe spot for swimming but it’s also only a hop, skip and jump away from ace Cornish fish ‘n’ chips!

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Fistral Beach

Suitable for: Surfers, from beginner to pro
Location: Newquay, five-minute drive or 20-minute walk from the town centre
Parking: Nearby car park with space for 200 cars, with a fee

Cornish beaches and the name Fistral go together like clotted cream and scones. Fistral has to be on our list, not just because everyone should visit the altar of the UK’s church of surfing but also because its wide sandy expanses, beautiful scenery and cool vibe make for a great day at the seaside, even if surfing isn’t your thing.

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Gwithian Towans

Suitable for: Families
Location: Near Hayle and St Ives 
Parking: Parking at the top of the cliff

Masses of sand, rolling dunes, interesting ecosystems, oh… and views of one of the county’s most picturesque lighthouses. For lovers of wild seascapes and nature, Gwithian Towans is a more natural alternative to the other beaches in the St Ives and Hayle areas.

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Gyllyngvase Beach

Suitable for: Families
Location: Falmouth
Parking: Large council-run car park next to beach

Just 15 minutes’ walk from Falmouth’s town centre, ‘Gylly’ has long been the go-to ocean bolthole for both locals and the town’s student crowd. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in atmosphere, with many barbecues in the evenings and divine vistas across the bay.

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Kynance Cove

Suitable for: Romantics and lovers of stunning seascapes
Location: Near Lizard Point and south of Mullion, Porthleven and Helston on the Lizard peninsula
Parking: Large National Trust car park above the beach

Snuggled close to Cornwall’s most southerly tip at Lizard Point and near Porthleven and Helston is one of Britain’s the world’s most beautiful coves. Clear turquoise waters, white soft sand and ethereal rocky obelisks scattered along the shoreline make for the most dreamy of seaside settings. Paradise.

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Nanjizal Beach

Suitable for: Beauty lovers who like a trek
Location: An hour’s walk from Trevescan, near Porthcurno and Penzance 
Parking: In Trevescan, an hour’s walk away

A beach that you need to walk to but one that is so worth the effort. With scenery that wouldn’t be out of place in a fantasy movie and endless exploration opportunities across its shoreline, Nanjizal will become one of your most memorable beach experiences.

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Pedn Vounder Beach

Suitable for: Nature lovers, stargazers and those who want a taste of paradise
Location: Next to Porthcurno BeachPorthcurno
Parking: In Treen, 10 minutes walk, or walk from Porthcurno at low tide

The eighth wonder of the world. Well, the eighth best beach in the world at least, according to the Big 7 Travel team in 2022. This paradise of crystal clear waters and silky white sands that’s all framed by a sheer, rugged panorama of cliffs, grasses and the horizon is worthy of its place in global lists that put it on a par with beaches in, say, the Philippines and Hawaii. Heading here is like heading to the tropics.

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Penberth Cove

Suitable for: Swimmers, snorkellers and history buffs
Location: Penberth Cove, near Porthcurno
Parking: Limited parking near the beach

Step back in time on this beach that’s surrounded by a historical village. Bathe in this history and then bathe in its waters with your snorkelling gear on. It may be mostly pebbles here but this beach offers something a little different in a gorgeous little fishing cove.

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Perranporth Beach

Suitable for: Surf rats, beach bums and families
Location: Perranporth, south of Newquay
Parking: Plenty of parking in Perranporth town next to the beach

There’s something for everyone here. Trendy bars and coffee shops fill the town end of the beach, so expect happy crowds of holidaymakers and wannabe surfers having a classic Cornish seaside experience here. There are quieter areas away from the crowds too.

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Porth Beach

Suitable for: Families with young kids
Location: Eastern side of Newquay 
Parking: Space for up to 60 cars. There is a fee

Tucked away on Newquay’s eastern flank, Porth Beach has carved out a niche for itself as a family-friendly helping of sand and sea next to Newquay’s surfy hotspots. With its laid-back vibe and short walks, Porth is a great option for when you’re all surfed out!

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Porthcurno Beach

Suitable for: Families and couples
Location: Porthcurno
Parking: Plenty of parking above the beach

The picturesque Minack Theatre looks over Porthcurno Beach from its perch high up on the clifftops. But the drama doesn’t stop there. Down at sea level, the beach plays out an epic scene of golden sands flanked by steep cliffs and crystal clear waters.

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Sennen Cove Beach

Suitable for: Surfers and sunbathers
Location: Next to Sennen village, two miles from Land’s End, near Penzance 
Parking: There are three car parks near the beach

One of Cornwall’s most westerly beaches is also one of its most picturesque. Next to the quaint village of Sennen, with its olde-worlde lifeboat station, Sennen Cove Beach is one of the first to receive waves rolling in from the Atlantic, making it feel as rugged as it does remote.

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Treyarnon Bay Beach

Kids love this beach and so do surfers. We even call it our ‘Proper Cornwall favourite’. Treyarnon Bay Beach, between Newquay and Padstow, is a prime spot to catch those north coast waves. And there’s so much sand and so many rock pools to muck about in that the little ones are entertained all day. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year, the sea is great for swimming and there are ace amenities nearby. This may not be the paradise of Pedn Vounder or the surf capital of Fistral but it’s an amazing Cornish beach that deserves its place on this list!

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