The best beaches in Cornwall give you a taste of Mediterranean beach life without even needing to leave England! Easily my favourite places to visit, I can’t wait to share the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall in this Cornwall Beaches Guide.
Whether you are looking for dog-friendly beaches or secluded spots to unwind on the Cornish coast, you’ll find the best beaches in Cornwall to plan your own perfect Cornwall beach break.
Cornwall Beaches Guide – Plan Your Beach Holiday in Cornwall
The best sandy beaches in Cornwall are generally located in North Cornwall, along the South West coastal path. But wherever you choose to stay in Cornwall, a beautiful beach will not be far away.
In this Cornwall Beaches Guide, I’m sharing the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall from my own trips, as well as included the best beaches in Cornwall map to enable you to plan your own adventures and Cornwall beach holidays.
Famous Beaches in Cornwall
Let’s start with the famous beaches in Cornwall, the hotspots that are popular with both tourists and locals in Cornwall. These must visit beaches are famous beaches in Cornwall for a reason!
Porthcurno Beach – Penzance
Porthcurno is a beach in Cornwall that really does transport you to paradise and I really could not believe my eyes when I saw it for the first time. The dramatic cliff views and turquoise waters make this one of my absolute favourite beaches in Cornwall.
Tucked along the cliffside, it is possible to walk down the coastal path from The Minack Theatre, which is a Cornwall must-see in itself. The cliff walk down isn’t too difficult to reach in comparison to some of the others in this Cornwall beach guide, but you can also park at Porthcurno beach car park.
The sand is pure white and with gorgeous turquoise waters to match, you don’t want to miss Porthcurno Beach.
But, you also don’t want to miss the iconic Minack Theatre either – click through to read more on my Perfect Cornwall Road Trip for 3 days in Cornwall.
Kynance Cove – The Lizard Peninsula
Kynance Cove became immensely popular when its location was shared on social media a couple of years ago. Whilst locals were understandably miffed to have this once secluded spot revealed to the hordes of tourists that descend on Cornwall every summer, both locals and tourists can agree it’s one of Cornwall’s famous beaches for a reason. It is also believed to be a favourite of the late British poet Alfred Tennyson, who famously wrote ‘The Lady of Godiva’.
Last September, I was lucky enough to enjoy my birthday at Kynance Cove, enjoying the sunshine and lapping up the waves; therefore I can fully appreciate the enthralling appeal of Kynance Cove.
Kynance Cove is a dog-friendly beach (more on that below) and a National Trust site. Parking at Kynance Cove is around £2 all day or you can sign up for a National Trust card while you’re there (or at any National Trust site) for as little as £5 to enjoy free parking at all the National Trust sites in Cornwall and, around the UK.
Handy if you want to explore more National Trust sites in Cornwall. The National Trust also maintains a variety of historic houses, castles and gardens in the UK and the National Trust membership gives you free access to these sites.
You can walk along the coastal path to another National Trust site, Lizards Point or you can drive there in around ten minutes and use your new membership to park there for free too.
Sennen Cove – Land’s End
Sennen Cove is equally one of the best coves in Cornwall thanks to the picture-perfect coastal views of Sennen Beach from the cliffside. With wildflowers blowing in the wind, I could have stayed in this pretty spot all day long.
Sennen Beach is ideal for those looking to visit Lands End without paying extortionate parking fees. Simply, park at Sennen Cove and take the coastal path to Lands End in under fifteen minutes.
With views like this on a sunny day; you won’t regret it!
St Ives Beaches
As one of the most popular seaside towns in Cornwall, we can’t talk about famous beaches in Cornwall without a nod towards the many beautiful beaches in St Ives. When you find out how many beaches there are in St Ives, you can really appreciate why St Ives is so popular with tourists!
Porthminster Beach – St Ives
The second-largest St Ives beach is Porthminster Beach, which has a long stretch of golden sand to enjoy. This is the best beach in St Ives for amenities with an award-winning Porthminster Cafe seafood restaurant, outdoor gin bar, crazy golf and ample facilities. Porthminster Beach has a tropical feel, with palm trees, an array of colourful flowers and grassland lining its sandy shores. It is also overlooked by the picturesque St Erth to St Ives train line route.
Porthmeor Beach – St Ives
Porthmeor Beach was awarded a Blue Flag Award in 2019 and has a lifeguard on hand during the busy summer season. Tate St Ives overlooks Porthmeor Beach and is a great option for those looking to combine activities.
However, don’t miss out on one of the most scenic views over Porthmeor Beach – head along the coastal path, for a beautiful overhead view of Porthmeor Beach.
Porthgwidden Beach – St Ives
The best St Ives beach in my opinion, Porthgwidden Beach is a small beach with an intimate feel. Positioned between St Ives Harbour and Porthmeor Beach, it’s not only one of the best hidden beaches in Cornwall, it’s a sun trap too!
Be sure to stop for a bite to eat at Porthgwidden Beach Cafe – my smoked salmon with creme fraiche bagel was so delicious that I want to return for this alone!
St Ives Harbour Beach
St Ives Harbour is still a busy working port, but unbelievably, is a great place to spot seals! So why not enjoy a spot of seal spotting in Cornwall before heading to the famous pub The Sloop in St Ives for a well-needed beverage.
The Best Beaches for Sunset in Cornwall
Carbis Bay Beach – St Ives
Another St Ives beach, I stayed in Carbis Bay at Little Headland on my most recent trip to Cornwall. It really is the perfect location to walk into St Ives (takes around 15 minutes), as well as witness the most beautiful sunset.
During our trip, Adam and I spent many evenings watching the sunset on Carbis Bay with cocktails (of course!)
| Read about my stay at The Cornwall Hotel St Austell |
Hayle Beach is positioned further round from Carbis Bay and has even better sunset views than Carbis Bay as the cliffs are not blocking the view as the sun goes down to the sea.
After thoroughly enjoying my adventure weekend in The Lake District with Where’s Mollie Global Travellers, I was so sad to miss the WMGT Cornwall trip. Particularly, for those epic sunset shots of Treyarnon Bay.
Gwithian Towans Beach
I have long been admiring my Cornwall friend Frankie’s pictures of Gwithian Towans Beach and knew I had to visit on my next trip to Cornwall. Sadly, I didn’t stay until sunset, but there’s no denying how beautiful the beach is nonetheless.
Park at Godrevy National Trust car park (free for National Trust members) and walk to Gwithian Beach. Or head up the coastal path overlooking Godrevy Lighthouse, grab a picnic blanket and watch the paddle-boarders and rock-climbers below.
Gwithian Towans Beach is without a doubt, the largest beach I have visited in Cornwall, but the different colours and ripples in the sand make for a perfect beach photo too.
Believe me, after seeing Frankie’s Instagram pictures, you need to see Gwithian Towans Beach at sunset.
Fistral Beach – Newquay
A firm feature on any surfers’ Cornwall itinerary, Fistral Beach is a great spot to enjoy a sunset in Cornwall. But, whether you are an avid surfer or not, Fistral Beach is a great place to learn with local surf schools on hand to help you catch your first wave. Fistral Beach is one of the best family beaches in Cornwall to learn to surf, build sandcastles and watch the sunset.
Best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall
Whilst I’m a bunny Mumma and don’t have any doggies of my own, I know that the allure for many visiting Cornwall is that there are a number of dog-friendly beaches to take your pooches with you. It’s worth noting that whilst there are many dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, many impose seasonal dog bans or have restricted times in which you can take dogs to the beach during the summer months.
Therefore, it’s best to check this Cornwall Dogs on Beaches Guide before your visit to avoid any fines.
Here are a some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall:
Porthkidney Beach is one of few beaches in Cornwall that doesn’t impose a seasonal dog ban and, with over a mile of sand to walk on it is a great choice for dog-lovers.
It’s certainly a beach your dog will thank you for, with lots of space to roam, play and swim.
Looking for a dog-friendly beach in Cornwall with views of St Michael’s Mount, look no further than Marazion Beach.
You can even walk along the causeway to St Michael’s Mount when the tide is out.
As I mentioned, I don’t have a pet dog, but that didn’t stop me enjoying a drink at The Godolphin Arms and people watching from the window as others played with their dogs on the sand.
And with views like this, who wouldn’t want to visit!
Plus, National Trust members get free entry for St Michael’s Mount.
Further round from Marazion Beach is Longrock Beach, which also has views of St Michael’s Mount.
For those looking for a quiet dog-friendly, who don’t want to miss out on some great views then Longrock Beach is a perfect choice. Dogs are permitted from the car park to Penzance, though there are no dog bins available.
Crantock Beach sits along the mouth of the Gannel Estuary and has a long stretch of golden sand to walk your canine companions. The dunes are a beautiful place to stop for a bbq or picnic – just be sure to leave only footprints and take all your rubbish with you.
Located South of Newquay, expect to see skilled and and not-so-skilled surfers riding the waves during your visit.
Kynance Cove – The Lizard
A must for dog-lovers and a famous Cornwall beach in its own right, visiting Kynance Cove is a must for any Cornwall itinerary.
It takes around 15 minutes to walk down the fairly steep path to Kynance Cove, but once there you can truly appreciate the dramatic coastline and cove rock-pool formations.
One of the best things about visiting Kynance Cove is that there are a variety of coves to enjoy your own slice of paradise. The ocean winds round the different coves so not everyone is packed on one area of the beach. These cove areas create wonderful rock pools to swim in too. Once visiting, you can really appreciate that Kynance Cove is one of the best coves in Cornwall.
Why not take the coastal path from Kynance Cove to Lizards Point to give your dog a scenic walk of the Cornish Coast?
Where to find the best beaches in Cornwall
As I mentioned, the best sandy beaches in Cornwall are located in North Cornwall, dotted around the South West coastal path. There are many hidden beaches in Cornwall known by Cornish locals.
Driving along the Cornish Coast and checking Google Maps (I’ve shared my own map at the bottom of this post) before embarking on a long walk along the South West coastal path will be a sure way for you to find some secluded beaches in Cornwall of your own!
Visit Cornwall Beaches Guide has some great options that I am yet to visit.
Secret and Secluded Beaches in Cornwall
Pedn Vounder Beach
If I had to choose my favourite beach in Cornwall, Pedn Vounder Beach would be it. Closely followed by Porthcurno Beach, which coincidently, you can walk to from Pedn Vounder beach when the tide is out. It really is the most beautiful beach in Cornwall and you will see some sights (it’s a nudist beach too!)
Though, climbing down to this beautiful beach is not for the faint hearted, that’s for sure.
Pedn Vounder is a must if you enjoy beach holidays in Cornwall as much as I do! But, don’t forget to bring your sensible shoes for the cliffside climb down!
The climb down is worth it to enjoy Cornwall’s secluded beach Pedn Vounder, which has its own paradise island in the sea. It’s the last leg of the climb that’s the most testing, but do what I did and skid down on your bum. Unless you have walking difficulties, you will be fine!
The cliffside climb must be attributed to the reason why it is one of the quietest beaches in Cornwall.
To find Pedn Vounder Beach, take the turn into Treen, where you will see the Logan Rock Inn on your right. Follow the road all the way to the top car park and park all day for £2.
Be sure to call in Logan Rock Inn for some food and drinks afterwards.
The Most Beautiful Beaches in Cornwall
I hope you enjoyed reading about the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall in my Best Beaches in Cornwall Guide. Which Cornwall beaches do you plan to see first on your own Cornwall itinerary?
Save my best beaches in Cornwall map
If you love beach holidays in Cornwall as much as I do, then you’ll want to visit as many beaches as possible during your time in Cornwall. This is why I’ve put together the best beaches in Cornwall map, which you can click on and save to your own places on Google Maps.
Cornwall Beaches Guide
Cornwall is home to over 400 beaches – I intend on visiting all of them and updating this post! If you liked this post, please share this Cornwall Beaches Guide on social media or pin this post on the pinnable image below to save to Pinterest for a later date!