Quite simply, Cornwall has some of the best beaches in the UK. There’s a reason why this county is so popular both with Brits and tourists!

Many of the beaches in Cornwall offer fine white sand and turquoise blue water. Others have the perfect water conditions for various water sports such as surfing, snorkelling, swimming and paddleboarding. And then there are the ones with hidden secrets.

Use this quick Cornwall beach guide to find the best Cornwall beaches ahead of your next trip… enjoy!

The Best Beaches in North Cornwall

1. Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach is one of Newquay’s most well known and popular beaches. A favourite with sun seekers and surfers alike, you’ll be met with a long stretch of sandy beach and decent waves (when weather permits). The infamous Boardmasters festival event is also held here every year.

Fistral Beach Must Knows

Address: Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1HY

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015 – excellent water quality.

2. Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach

St Ives is home to a number of different beaches, with Porthmeor Beach being one of the most popular in the town. It’s situated just a couple of minutes walk from the centre of St Ives and offers a long stretch of sandy beach. The water has perfect conditions for swimming and snorkelling.

Porthmeor Beach Must Knows

Address: Porthmeor, St Ives, Cornwall, UK, TR26 2BN

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban in place from the first Sunday before Easter through to September 30th.

Accolades: Blue Flag Award 2013 and Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015 – excellent water quality.

3. Perranporth Beach

Perranporth Beach

Found just 16 minutes north of Newquay, Perranporth Beach really is outstanding. You’ll find miles and miles of sandy beach, decent waves for bodyboarding and surfing, and large sand dunes that offer magnificent views across Perranporth.

Find out why Perranporth is a fab day trip from Newquay! >>>

Perranporth Beach Must Knows

Address: Perranporth, Cornwall, TR6 0AQ

Dogs allowed? Yes, but they must be kept on leads in July and August from 9am-5pm.

Accolades: Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015 – excellent water quality.

4. Godrevy

Godrevy

If surfing and solitude interest you, then Godrevy is a great option in North Cornwall. It’s owned by the National Trust and is best visited at low tide where more of the beach is accessible. As can be expected, it’s a sandy beach and is very popular with local surfers who are in the know. The nearby headlands offer spectacular coastal views and there are a number of coves along the beachfront that are great for exploring in.

Godrevy Must Knows

Address: Godrevy, Gwithian, near Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 5ED

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban in place from Easter through to September.

Accolades: None at present.

5. Summerleaze Beach

Beach Huts at Summerleaze Beach, Bude

Located in the heart of Bude and offering a huge stretch of sandy beach, Summerleaze Beach is the most popular beach in Bude and one of the top things to do in town. Small waves lap at the shorefront, which makes this a popular beach for swimming and bodyboarding with small children, and rainbow-coloured beach huts offer something pretty to look at when relaxing on the beach. It’s also very popular with dogs!

Summerleaze Beach Must Knows

Address: Summerleaze Beach, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 8HN

Dogs allowed? Yes, but dogs must be kept on leads from May 21st to September 30th between the hours of 10am-6pm.

Accolades: Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommend 2015 – good water quality.

The Best Beaches in South Cornwall

1. Porthcurno Beach

Porthcurno Beach

Found in the shadows of the ever popular open air theatre, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno Beach increases with popularity every year. With a sheltered cove, clean water, sandy beach and known as a filming location for the hit TV drama, Poldark, it’s easy to see why Porthcurno is so popular. Currently, Visit Cornwall are choosing not to promote Porthcurno Beach as it’s caused gridlock traffic in the nearby town and country lanes, so this may be one that is best kept for Summer 2019 or off-peak seasons.

Porthcurno Beach Must Knows

Address: Porthcurno Beach, Porthcurno, Cornwall, TR19 6JX

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban in place from May 1st through to September 30th between the hours of 8am-7pm.

Accolades: Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015

2. Sennen Cove Beach

Sennen Cove

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Found close to Land’s End, Sennen Cove Beach has a sheltered, sandy beach, as well as an active fishing harbour and is very popular with locals and families. The water conditions are perfect for surfing and the beach offers a very relaxed, laid back vibe. Often, I recommend parking at Sennen Cove car park when visiting Land’s End. It’s much cheaper, the walk between the two landmarks is stunning and you can spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach after your Land’s End visit.

Sennen Cove Beach Must Knows

Address: Sennen Cove Beach, Land’s End, Cornwall, TR18 3EL

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban in place from May 1st through to September 30th between the hours of 8am-7pm.

Accolades: None at present.

3. Marazion Beach

Marazion Beach

You’ve likely heard of the popular Cornwall landmark St Michael’s Mount. Well, Marazion Beach is the stretch of sandy beach that overlooks the island castle. Marazion Beach is mostly sandy with a few pebbly patches and is just minutes away on foot from the bustling town of Marazion.

Marazion Beach Must Knows

Address: Marazion Beach, Marazion, Cornwall, TR17 0EN

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban in place from May 1st through to September 30th between the hours of 8am-7pm.

Accolades: None at present.

4. Lantic Bay

Lantic Bay

Owned by the National Trust, Lantic Bay is a shingle beach, but is still quite popular due to being in a sheltered cove and overlooking a stunning bay. Due to the natural shelter from the cliffs, Lantic Bay has great conditions for swimming, snorkelling and paddleboarding. The only downside is a steep climb down to the bay so this may not be a great option for everyone.

Lantic Bay Must Knows

Address: Lantic Bay, Polperro, Cornwall, PL13 2QU

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: None at present.

5. Whitsand Bay

Whitsand Bay

Whitsand Bay has 3 miles of sandy beach on offer and is a haven for rockpooling. Due to the steep paths in order to get down to the beach, it’s best accessed at low tide, but also never seems to be crowded. Some would say this belongs in the category of Cornwall’s best hidden beaches, but we’re getting to that shortly. For now, Whitsand Bay needs to be on your Cornwall bucket list!

Whitsand Bay Must Knows

Address: Whitsand Bay Beach, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 3BY

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015 excellent water quality.

The Best Hidden Beaches in Cornwall

Seeing as Cornwall has been seeing unprecedented levels of tourism this summer, I thought it would be best to compile a list of the best hidden beaches in Cornwall. Consider heading to some of these; you’ll still be met with beauty, but far less people!

1. Upton Beach

Upton Beach

Accessed via a very steep path, it’s safe to say that very few people will ever make it down to Upton Beach near Bude. This is a sheltered beach made of primarily pebble, but it has great rockpooling opportunities. It’s also great for dogs as they can be kept off-lead!

Upton Beach Must Knows

Address: Upton Beach, Upton, Cornwall, EX23 0LY

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: None at present.

2. Porthgwidden Beach

Porthgwidden Beach

I mentioned earlier that St Ives has a number of beaches. Although Porthmeor Beach is the most popular, Porthgwidden Beach is the exact opposite. It seems that only locals and off the beaten path lovers head to this particular St Ives beach, and I can never understand why. The beach is small, but perfectly formed with white sand and bright blue water.

Porthgwidden Beach Must Knows

Address: Porthgwidden Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1PL

Dogs allowed? Yes, but there is a seasonal dog ban from the first Sunday before Easter and 30 September.

Accolades: Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended 2015 – excellent water quality.

3. Pentire Steps Beach

Pentire Steps Beach

Found close by to the famous Bedruthan Steps, the lesser known Pentire Steps offers a small sandy cove overlooking turquoise water. Due to the steep path to get down to the beach, very few make it here but it’s so worth it when you do. Solitude, sand and sun (hopefully!) await…

Pentire Steps Beach Must Knows

Address: Pentire Steps Beach, Saint Eval, Cornwall, PL27 7UU

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: None at present.

4. Portheras Cove Beach

Portheras Cove

Photo Credit: Jim Champion | Flickr

Another St Ives beach has made it on to this list of the best hidden beaches in Cornwall. Matching the other beaches with the fine white sand and stunning blue water that is on offer here, Portheras Cove Beach is tricky to find as it’s hidden behind a valley. There’s even a wreck of an old cargo ship that can be found here… watch out for the ship’s fragments hidden in the sand!

Portheras Cove Beach Must Knows

Address: Portheras Cove Beach, St Ives, Cornwall, TR19 7DN

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: None at present.

5. Crantock Beach

Crantock Beach

Photo Credit: Julianna | The Discoveries Of

I’d like to thank Julianna from The Discoveries Of for recommending Crantock Beach as one of the best hidden beaches in Cornwall. Here’s what she had to say about it:

Crantock Beach is one of my favourite beaches in Cornwall. Although it’s only a half hour’s walk from Newquay, it’s so much quieter than the beaches nearer the city and it’s in a gorgeous location.

Framed by huge sand dunes (walking down them can be a bit of a challenge, I opted to slide instead!), the beach boasts golden fine sand. It is the perfect place to spend some time soaking up the Cornish sun (or looking at the moody skies if the weather’s not playing the game).

At one end of the beach, the Gannel Estuary also makes for a lovely walk (just watch the tide), but no one could blame you if you just flopped and dropped on the beach all day instead!

Psst! It’s also believed that the caves at Crantock Beach hold a secret as well. When the tide goes out, apparently a drawing dedicated to a woman who drowned at sea can be found on the cave walls >>> 

Crantock Beach Must Knows

Address: Crantock Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 5SE

Dogs allowed? Yes, no restrictions.

Accolades: None at present.


I hope this Cornwall beach guide is helpful in your search for Cornwall’s best beaches! Which one do you think you might head to first? And have I missed any other amazing Cornwall beaches off the list? Let me know in the comments below…

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