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14 of the best Cornish beaches to visit

Cornwall is an incredible region in the south of England to discover! With stunning coastal towns, some incredible castles, and the most beautiful hotels, it’s a place that is as charming as it is beautiful. The same goes for the scenic coastline, home to some of Cornwall’s best beaches to visit.

Over the years we’ve gone to Cornwall many times and always find a new little cove, beach, or coast too idyllic to miss. With over 400 miles of coastline, you are spoiled for choice!

To make it a little easier, we wanted to introduce you to our favorite places in Cornwall where you can find a great beach. From tiny little bays to more lively and popular spots, I guarantee there will be some gems that you will love.

Check out the best Cornish beaches to visit below. Have fun exploring the Cornish coast!

1.) Lantic Bay

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Maintained by the National Trust, Lantic Bay is a beautiful area to visit while exploring the south Cornwall coast. About an hour’s drive from Plymouth, it’s one of the best Cornish beaches to visit for a little day trip away from the city streets.

Even though it’s pebbly (very fine stones, not big ones) it still has loads of charm and a coastline to match any sandy beach in Cornwall.

Trust me, the beach itself is breathtaking and while it can be a steep meander down to the shore it is definitely worth it. As with all cliff trails, be careful when hiking down and do not stray from the trails. After all, nobody wants a carefree wanderer.

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Are you done lapping the waves? Head to Polruan and join the small boats that go over to Fowey. It’s the other side of the estuary and both are picturesque.

Read more: The best things to do in Plymouth

2.) Pedn Vounder beach

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Located in the larger Porthcurno Cove area, Pedn Vounder Beach is a stunning place to explore the South West Coastal Path. Not only that, but you also have nearby Porthcurno Beach which is just a stones throw away. In fact, you can easily do both in one day and stop at Logan Rock for sunset views.

It’s beautiful and well worth exploring as long as you put on that SPF! To be honest, the wind is deceptive here and you can burn really quickly!

Read more: Best places to visit in Cornwall

3.) Perranporth

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

There are a few reasons Perranporth is one of the best Cornish beaches to enjoy! Not only does it have some incredible surfing opportunities, but it also has a huge stretch of golden sandy beaches that make a visit absolutely idyllic.

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Right on the Newquay coastline, it’s really easy to visit (and a little quieter at times) than the town itself.

After a day in the surf, grab a giant sundae from Perran Dairy Ice Cream Parlor. It is so good!

Read more: Best castles to visit in Cornwall

4.) Pentire Steps Beach

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Just up the coast from Mawgan Porth, Pentire Steps Beach is a more secluded and sometimes forgotten little gem that’s well worth a visit. While harder to get to than some of the most popular and best beaches in Cornwall, it’s definitely worth a look if you’ve already been hiking the coastal route from Porthcothan.

It’s totally blissful and stays relatively quiet for most of the year … even in high season! Just take all of your beach supplies (it’s a hike down) and watch out for the tides. The tidal range can be quite large here and it is best to leave it before the tide comes back.

Then drive to Padstow and enjoy delicious fish and chips at Rick Stein’s Seafood Bar.

Read more: The best places to visit in the South of England

5.) Harlyn Bay Beach

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall, a great place for the whole family! Filled with tons of space and sandy beaches, it’s the kind of place that is big and beautiful.

Depending on the wind, it’s also a great beach for surfing that is so much fun! Best of all, there are also lifeguards to watch over the banks during the summer months.

And if you’re in the mood to stay in the area, check into the Pig at Harlyn Bay. It’s really beautiful and has such a wonderful atmosphere.

6.) Padstow Beaches

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

There are tons of Cornwall’s best beaches around Padstow! This makes it a great place to visit if you want to test out the water and see which one you like the most.

Some of our favorites are; St George’s Cove, Hawker’s Cove, and Butterhole Beach, which are relatively close to the town itself. When you’re on the other side of the bay, head to Rock Beach which is better for a walk (even with your dog).

If you’re looking for a slightly larger beach (with facilities) check out Polzeath Beach which is not too far away.

Read more: The best spots on the Cornwall coast

7.) Kynance Bay

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Possibly one of the best beaches in Cornwall, Kynance Cove is photographed in that regard.

The coast has some pretty epic blue-green waters that are so beautiful on a calm and calm day. In addition, the colorful heather and covered stacks are absolutely impressive when taking a walk.

All of these gems mean that Kynance Cove can get relatively crowded. So if you want to avoid most of the crowds, visit on weekdays and early in the morning (especially since the parking lots fill up quickly).

For a longer walk, follow the coastal paths to Lizard Point. Along the way you will get some amazing views of the Cornish coast that are second to none!

Read more: Best seaside vacation in the UK

8.) Gwithian Beach

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Known as a surfers hangout, Gwithian Beach is one of the best beaches in Cornwall for wild sand dunes.

Located right on Godrevy Beach, it’s an absolutely gorgeous coastline that you can easily explore along Towans Beach and a stay in beautiful St. Ives.

To be honest, it’s the type of beach that ticks all the boxes. Surfing, families, dogs, dunes … whatever, it’s perfect for that!

Best beaches to visit in Cornwall

Then head to the unpretentious Rum & Crab Shack on the banks of St Ives which serves some of the tastiest crabs on this side of Cornwall.

9.) Porthmeor Beach

Sandy beaches in England

If the beaches of Gwithian and Towans are not enough for you, then be sure to jump across St. Ives to Porthmeor Beach.

It is the largest beach in the city and is also considered the prettiest of the best beaches in Cornwall. I thought[‘ll leave you to decide on that one!

Awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, it’s a stunner of a spot to visit with kids, or alone for a little chill and paddle on the shore.

Afterwards, head to ‘the island’ and ramble across St Ives Head around dusk. The views are lovely on a sunny day. 

Read more: Best seaside holidays in the UK 

10.) Watergate Bay

This Is Easily The UK's Best Beach Holiday Destination - The Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, UK (12) This Is Easily The UK's Best Beach Holiday Destination - The Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, UK (3)

One of our favourite bays in all of Cornwall, Watergate Bay is a total gem to explore and just a stone’s throw from nearby Newquay and the airport. 

This Is Easily The UK's Best Beach Holiday Destination - The Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, UK (12)

With its decent waves and golden sand, it’s one of the best beaches in Cornwall for surfers and swimmers. In fact, this is where we first learned to surf – at the surfing school right by the Watergate Bay Hotel.

Fancy staying over? Check into the Watergate Bay Hotel. We stayed here for a long weekend and totally fell in love with it. It has a real seaside and chilled vibe; plus their rooms are gorgeous. 

Read more: Our stay at the Watergate Bay Hotel

11.) Porthcurno Beach

12 Amazing Things To See In Cornwall, England (12)

Some people say that Porthcurno is directly competing against Perranporth to be one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Though, I don’t think there needs to be any competition at all; they’re both totally idyllic. 

Nestled against towering cliffs which makes it extraordinary and gorgeous to explore. Plus, the turquoise waters are beautiful on a calm day.

Afterwards, take some time to see the totally iconic The Minack Theatre. It’s so incredible and you might even get to watch a show there! 

Read more: Best places in Cornwall to visit

12.) Fistral Beach

beaches in England Fistral Beach

Right on the shores of Newquay, Fistral Beach is probably one of the more famous beaches in Cornwall that’s within easy reach of the town. This means it’s a pretty accessible beach for most which make it great for all the family. 

Not only that, Fistral Beach is also the beating heart of the UK’s surfing scene. It’s well worth giving it a shot whilst you’re here. 

Yes, you can expect this place to be crowded at times but it’s got a great vibe and lots of amenities within easy reach of the surf.

13.) Treyarnon Bay

Best Beaches in Cornwall To Visit

A perfect spot to watch the sunset, Treyarnon Bay will never disappoint on a sunny day. With amenities and a small coffee spot, it’s the kind of place that’s well worth a few hours soaking up the rays. 

Though, as with most beaches, be cautious of riptides and undercurrents which can be dangerous. Lifeguards are present in the summer months but you should take extreme care nonetheless. 

14.) Sennen Cove

Best Beaches in Cornwall To Visit

Considered one of the most scenic spots in Cornwall, Sennen Cove is great to visit for its impressive waves and picturesque fishing village.

While you are here, you can also hop over to Land’s End which isn’t too far at all. The whole coastline around here is stunning, especially for a ramble to see Enys Dodnan Arch.

Plus, you can easily partner up a trip to Sennen Cove with a visit to Gwynver Beach, too. 

Read more: Best places in Cornwall to visit

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