Whenever we think of the nicest places to go on holiday in the UK, Cornwall always features highly on the list. There are many reasons for this including picturesque seaside towns like Fowey and celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein, but probably the number one reason everybody heads to the south-west every year is for the thousands of miles of clean, golden sandy beaches. Here’s a selection of some of the best Cornwall beaches that you may or may not have heard of.
1) Pedn Vounder (Treen)
Pedn Vounder Beach is an absolute gem situated just to the east of Land’s End. Thanks to an explosion in numbers of ‘travel bloggers’ in the last 10 years it can hardly be called a secret anymore, but remains one of the most picturesque beaches in Cornwall, if not the World. Getting to Pedn Vounder can be a little tricky as there is no parking so you have to walk from Treen, and the final descent to the beach is quite steep. However, during periods of low tide it is possible to walk across from Porthcurno beach but anyone doing this is advised to keep an eye on the tide times in order to make it safely back. There are no lifeguards here so be extra careful!
Located just 15 minutes walk from Falmouth, Gyllyngvase ranks highly amongst the best Cornwall beaches as it recently achieved blue flag status, one of only 7 Cornish beaches to do so in 2019. Again, this beach is not particularly unheard of as it is very popular, especially with families as it has flat access and is buggy-friendly. The beach is clean, the water quality is of the highest grade and the area is well-managed and safe. There is lifeguard cover from May to September and dogs are not allowed during this period.
Perranuthnoe Beach has fine views over to the famous St Michael’s Mount as it is positioned near to Penzance in south-west Cornwall. The name of this beach can cause some confusion as the locals call it ‘Perran Sands’ which is also the name of a beach near to Perranporth on Cornwall’s north coast. Popular with surfers, Perranuthnoe is a very safe beach with lifeguards patrolling from July through to September. Visitors are minded to be careful as when the tide comes in the beach can completely disappear, but low tide reveals a fine sandy beach with some shingle. There are no dogs allowed between July and August.
Head over to the wild west coast of Cornwall and near Sennen Cove you will find Gwenver which is thought to have acquired its name from King Arthur’s wife Guinevere. This beach is hardly ever over-crowded due to its remote location at the base of steep granite cliffs and accessed by a steep path from above, although it is possible to nip across from Sennen at very low tide. This beach provides excellent surfing conditions and has lifeguard cover in the summer months. Dogs are also allowed without restrictions so this beach has a great all-round appeal.
A great beach for swimming and snorkelling due to its sheltered crescent shaped curves, Vault Beach was once a relatively unknown bay on Cornwall’s south coast near Mevagissey but these days the secret is out! Despite its relatively sparse location and zero facilities, Vault Beach can get crammed in the summer months when the tourists arrive in their thousands. Maybe its popularity has exploded due to the west side of the beach being a renowned naturist area... who knows? The beach itself is a mix of shingle and fine sand overlooked by the 110m tall Dodman Point providing a very secluded feel despite its popularity. Dogs are allowed but there are no lifeguards on patrol at any time.
For a truly secluded and remote experience look no further than Najizal Beach situated a mile to the south-east of Land’s End. Having no direct road access this beach can only be reached by walking along the South West Coast Path from Land's End in the north, or from Porthgwarra to the south. Once there, visitors can observe fascinating natural stone sculptures and a fine narrow arch in the cliffs alongside plenty of rockpools and caves. In the summer months there is plenty of golden sand however during the stormy months this can get washed away. There are no lifeguards to be found here but you can bring your dog all year round.
Situated on the ‘Cornish Riviera’ in the heart of the Roseland Peninsula this is another popular beach with families and dogs are allowed all year round although must be on a leash May to September. Access is straightforward with a car park situated just 100m up the road and as this is National Trust-owned members of this organisation can park for free. There are coffee / tea facilities available from local hotels at each end of the beach however there are no lifeguards on duty at any time of the year. There is plenty to do at Pendower beach including swimming, scuba diving, surfing, sea canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, fishing and snorkeling.
Another hidden Gem on Cornwall’s south coast, Polkerris is an idyllic sandy stretch perfect for families. There is plenty to do here including paddleboarding, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, or simply building sandcastles and exploring rockpools - with the added bonus that there’s a pub right at the top of the beach! The car park is a handy 200m walk and such is the popularity of the area that there is also an overflow carpark for use in the busier months. Dogs are not allowed between May and September and, interestingly, neither are barbeques or metal detectors. There is no lifeguard cover here so take extra care.
East-facing overlooking the Helford river, the sheltered beach at Durgan is set at the foot of a valley containing the sub-tropical gardens of Glendurgan. A mix of grey sand and shingle with rock pools at each end, this is a popular and safe place for families to enjoy. There are no facilities or lifeguard services and it’s a 15-minute walk to get here from the car park. There is a strong boating tradition at Durgan and visitors will observe many boats moored offshore, and there is also a slipway down to the beach. For boat-lovers, there’s an annual regatta which is usually held on the last weekend of August each year. Dogs are allowed without limitations.
10) Booby's Bay
We couldn’t do a blog about the best Cornwall beaches without mentioning one of the closest beaches to our offices here at Home and Bay, and also one with such an unusual name! Part of a golden stretch of beaches that run from Padstow all the way down to the popular surfing town of Newquay, Boobys Bay is situated on Cornwall’s spectacular north west rugged coast, exposed to the ferocious winter storms and huge waves. There are plenty of rock pools here and a huge golden sandy beach accessed by two car parks Treyarnon or Constantine at either end of the bay. Although popular with families and surfers, visitors are warned that swimming can be dangerous here during high tides due to strong currents and large breaking waves. Lifeguards are present in summer and dogs are allowed all year.
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