Best beaches in Cornwall

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Cornwall's coastline boasts a virtually unrivaled array of beautiful sandy beaches, each with their own unique charm. From expansive sweeps of golden sand on the Atlantic surf coast to secluded coves with crystal-clear turquoise waters on the South coast. Join us on as we take you on a tour of the top beaches that make Cornwall the number one beach-lover's destination in the UK.

Whether you are looking for a great family beach, somewhere dog friendly or the best surfing spots Cornwall has something for you. In fact the choice can be a little overwhelming so we have used our local knowledge and user ratings to put together a selection of the very best beaches in Cornwall.

  • 1. Kynance Cove

    Kynance Cove © Mr Moss | BY-SA

    Kynance Cove is a picturesque sandy beach two miles north of Lizard Point. A ten minute walk from the National Trust car park, Kynance is reached via a set of steep steps. 

     Look out for the distinctive serpentine rock formations, unique to the area.

  • 2. Porthcurno Beach

    Porthcurno © Cornwall Beaches

    Porthcurno beach is a stunning spot that joins up with two others beaches at low tide to create an expanse of golden sand that runs all the way from the Minack Theatre to the Logan Rock. The clear turquoise water can be good for both swimming and surfing, although conditions are changeable and…

  • 3. Pedn Vounder Beach

    Pedn Vounder © Sarah Charlesworth | BY-SA

    One of Cornwall's finest beaches with stunning cliffs of Treryn Dinas, crystal clear turquoise water and a beautiful white sand beach. Take the path from Treen and make sure you have a good pair of walking boots on as the last part down onto the beach is quite steep. On a spring low tide it's…

  • 4. Sennen Cove

    Sennen Cove © Cornwall Beaches

    Sennen Cove is the nearest village to Land's End. Home to the long sweeping sands of Whitesand Bay which extends for a mile, becoming wilder and more dangerous at the northern end.

    Sennen beach is very popular with surfers as it picks up any Atlantic swells going. It is also a great family beach…

  • 5. Polzeath Beach

    Polzeath © Andy F | BY-SA

    Polzeath is a small seaside resort on the north coast of Cornwall, with a sandy beach that's mostly covered at high tide. Six miles north of Wadebridge, Polzeath beach is popular with both surfers and holidaymakers and can get crowded in summer. Plenty of pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants in the village.

  • 6. Watergate Bay

    Watergate Bay © Roy Hughes | BY-SA

    Watergate Bay is a large open sandy beach located about 3 miles from Newquay. This beach absolutely radiates space but it still tends to get reasonably busy around the main car park in front of the Watergate Hotel.

    Being north-westerly facing means Watergate picks up most Atlantic swells going which makes it popular with surfers. It…

  • 7. Perranporth Beach

    Perranporth © Steve Daniels | BY-SA

    Perranporth Beach is one of Cornwall's best known and most popular beaches. Boasting an enormous expanse of golden sand, great surf and all the offerings you would expect from a seaside resort - including a pub literally on the beach - the Watering Hole.

    The beach backs right onto the village and there is…

  • 8. Widemouth Bay

    Widemouth Bay © Tony Atkin | BY-SA

    Located a few miles south of the popular resort town of Bude, Widemouth Bay is wide open bay popular with both families and surfers. As a winner of the Blue Flag award there are all the facilities you would expect; toilets, cafe and a seasonal lifeguard service. 

    The beach at Widemouth has something of…

  • 9. Holywell Bay

    Holywell Bay © Robin Baker | BY-SA

    A mile-long sandy beach six miles west of Newquay, yet retaining an unspoilt rural backdrop. Whilst never as busy as the main Newquay beaches Holywell Bay gets pretty busy in summer. Plenty of parking and amenities in the village.

  • 10. Harlyn Bay

    Harlyn Bay © Steve Daniels | BY-SA

    Harlyn Bay is a reasonable-sized stretch of golden sand not far from the popular harbour town of Padstow. Backed by sand dunes and low cliffs Harlyn is a firm family favourite.

    Rated as one of the best spots in Cornwall to learn to surf, the beach has a seasonal lifeguard service. Harlyn…

  • 11. Godrevy Beach

    Godrevy © Chris Leather (

    Godrevy is an exposed, sandy beach at the very northern end of Hayle's "Three miles of golden sand". It is not clear where Godrevy beach starts and Gwithian ends but I have been reliably informed it is at Gillick Rock. Other people say it is to the north of where the Red River runs into…

  • 12. Porthminster Beach (St Ives)

    Porthminster © Rod Allday | BY-SA

    Porthminster is the easternmost and second-largest of St Ives' four beaches. Sheltered and sandy, with generally calm waters and excellent views across St Ives Bay to Godrevy lighthouse.

    A short walk from the town centre, Porthminster sits just below the St Ives railway terminus.

    There is an award-winning seafood restaurant overlooking the beach.

  • 13. Porthmeor Beach (St Ives)

    Porthmeor © Chris Downer | BY-SA

    Porthmeor is the most exposed beach in St Ives, sandy and very popular with surfers due to rare protection from south-westerly gales. A stone's throw from the Tate Gallery, there is a small car park right above the beach and an excellent cafe.

  • 14. Fistral Beach (Newquay)

    Fistral ©

    Half a mile west of Newquay, Fistral Beach is considered to be the UK's leading surfing beach. Commonly split into two halves, North Fistral and South Fistral, the beach is long, straight and sandy, backed by steep sand dunes and overlooked by the iconic Headland Hotel. 

    The Cribbar, a reef at the northern end,…

  • 15. Marazion Beach

    Marazion © David Dixon | BY-SA

    A sand and pebble beach opposite the iconic St Michael's Mount, which can be reached via a causeway at low tide. 

    Safe and sheltered, with plenty of shops and cafes in the village. There is a good children's playground adjacent to the large grassy car park.

  • 16. Carbis Bay Beach

    Carbis Bay Beach © Tony Atkin | BY-SA

    One mile east of St Ives, Carbis Bay is the most sheltered of a line of sandy beaches that hug the coast all the way from St Ives to Godrevy. Carbis Bay offers safe swimming and is served by the picturesque St Ives branch line.