The Beach Guide

South West England secret beaches

You may have thought that secluded beaches with fine sand, crystal clear water and just the cry of the gulls for company were long gone, but they're not. Tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the South West England coast are any number of unspoilt hidden gems where you can enjoy a little peace and quiet.

Here at the Beach Guide we have compiled a list of your favourite hidden beaches in South West England that are just far enough off the beaten track to never get too busy.

Of course escaping the crowds may not be your only reason for visiting these little known spots. Not only are they a little tricky to find and get to, they are also some of the loveliest beaches in South West England.

  • Lannacombe Beach

    1. Lannacombe Beach

    East Prawle, Devon

    Lannacombe beach is one of South Devon's true hidden gems. Nestled away between Prawle Point and Start Point this is a spot to avoid the summer crowds which flood the South Hams other beaches. It is roughly…

  • Gammons Head Beach

    2. Gammons Head Beach

    Salcombe, Devon

    A small, sandy cove, sheltered by high cliffs, that disappears at high tide. Accessible on foot only, via the South West Coast Path and a steepish climb down. There are no facilities. The nearest parking…

  • Woody Bay

    3. Woody Bay

    Lynton, Devon

    Woody Bay, on the rugged Exmoor Coast, certainly lives up to its name. The rocky cove is backed by steep, heavily wooded cliffs. The walk down to the beach is as much of a delight as the cove itself;…

  • Portheras Cove

    4. Portheras Cove

    St Just, Cornwall

    Portheras is a sandy beach on the South West Coast Path, located a little to the east of Pendeen lighthouse. Only accessible on foot, the beach is unspoilt and exposed, with occasional good, though dangerous,…

  • Barricane Bay (Woolacombe)

    5. Barricane Bay (Woolacombe)

    Woolacombe, Devon

    Barricane is a secluded beach located at the far northern-end of Woolacombe. Often referred to as Combesgate Beach, Barricane gets its name from the range of shells found on its sands. Exotic shells here…

  • Mouthmill Beach

    6. Mouthmill Beach

    Clovelly, Devon

    This remote beach is situated on the harsh stretch of coast towards Hartland Point in North Devon. For centuries the fearsome looking jagged rocks along this coastline have been the scourge of seafarers.…

  • Pedn Vounder Beach

    7. Pedn Vounder Beach

    Penzance, Cornwall

    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…

  • Landcombe Cove

    8. Landcombe Cove

    Dartmouth, Devon

    This isolated cove set between Slapton and Blackpool Sands is a great escape from the summer crowds, but also well hidden. Not only that, unless you have your own boat the climb down is fairly challenging.…

  • Church Ope Cove

    9. Church Ope Cove

    Weymouth, Dorset

    Church Ope Cove is located on the Isle of Portland near Weymouth. The beach consists of soft limestone pebbles and is surrounded by cliffs on three sideswhich provide shelter from the often strong breeze…

  • Wonwell Sands Beach

    10. Wonwell Sands Beach

    Plymouth, Devon

    A sandy beach within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Situated on the east bank of the river Erme and the Erme estuary, the beach joins up with Meadowsfoot (Mothecombe) at low tide.…

  • Grunta Beach

    11. Grunta Beach

    Woolacombe, Devon

    The sandy little cove of Grunta is situated below the cliffs in front of the village of Morthoe. A stone's throw from Woolacombe it is a very different place and you may even get it to yourself. As pretty…

  • Lankidden Cove

    12. Lankidden Cove

    St Keverne, Cornwall

    This is one of Cornwall's hidden gems, set just around the corner from the Lizard Point - mainland Britain's most southerly point. With turquoise water and fine white sand backing onto the high cliffs…

  • Porthmeor Cove

    13. Porthmeor Cove

    St Ives, Cornwall

    Porthmeor Cove is a small, sheltered cove halfway between Morvah and Zennor on the South West Coast Path. One of Cornwall's most important geological destinations, the cove is a combination of sand, pebbles…

  • Ringstead Bay

    14. Ringstead Bay

    Weymouth, Dorset

    700 yards of shingle beach, once used by smugglers, and overlooked by unspoilt farmland and cliffs. The beach is quite a walk down hill from a National Trust car park.

  • Nanjizal Beach

    15. Nanjizal Beach

    Sennen Cove, Cornwall

    Nanjizal is a remote, dangerous and hard to access beach in West Cornwall. Usually rocky but with some sand from time to time. The lack of facilities and very long walk down make this a bad choice for…

  • Elbury Cove

    16. Elbury Cove

    Torbay, Devon

    Elbury (Elberry) Cove is a steeply-shelving pebble beach surrounded by woodland. The calm, sheltered waters are great for sea fishing and waterskiing. Only accessible on foot, via the coast path from…

  • Welcombe Mouth Beach

    17. Welcombe Mouth Beach

    Bude, Devon

    Welcombe Mouth is a secluded and serene spot which sits on Devon's north coast although it is often grouped together with the beaches of Bude over the border in Cornwall. The beach is designated as a…

  • Vault Beach

    18. Vault Beach

    Mevagissey, Cornwall

    A long stretch of fine shingle and sand which sites hidden to the east of Dodman Point. Although just around the corner from the popular village of Gorran Haven the beach here has a very secluded feel.…

  • Rinsey Head Beach

    19. Rinsey Head Beach

    Helston, Cornwall

    There isn't much in the way of beach at Rinsey, which is dominated by the ruined engine house of Wheal Prosper. Popular with anglers, and sometimes surfers, but dangerous for swimmers. Good walks along…

  • Seacombe Sand / Rickham Sand Beach

    20. Seacombe Sand / Rickham Sand Beach

    Salcombe, Devon

    This lovely little secluded beach is tucked away on a section of National Trust owned coast across the waters from Salcombe. There are actually two beaches separated by a small headland; the larger Seacombe…

Please note: we would have preferred it if these beaches could have remained secret forever and would like to make it clear that the Beach Guide would never be the first to publish the details of any hidden beach.