Everyone who visits Cornwall wants to go to the beach. And that’s not surprising. It is the area of the UK with the most dramatic and eclectic beaches suitable for all tastes. Some beaches are remote and can only be accessed on foot or boat; others are located in towns and can be enjoyed from the comfort of a beachside restaurant or hotel. But whatever people want from their visit to the beach, one thing unites them. Everyone agrees that Cornwall’s beaches are exceptionally beautiful. Here is our list of the top holiday resorts in Cornwall for access to the best beaches.
Situated on the north coast of Cornwall, Newquay is a popular surfing location with a lot of beaches to choose from. The most famous of them all is Fistral Beach which is a surfing haven thanks to its exposed location attracting consistent swell. In fact, Europe’s largest surfing festival – Boardmasters – is held every August at Fistral Beach.
If the crowds get too much, it’s only as short hop six miles west of Newquay to Holywell Bay. Its big Atlantic swells make it a popular option among surfers and bodyboarders. But the tall sand dunes and rocky scenery make it popular with visitors of all ages and tastes.
Go about three miles north of Newquay and you’ll get to Watergate Bay Beach. With two miles of golden sand backed by high cliffs, Watergate Bay is an impressive sight and can be reached from Newquay in a 15-minute drive or a 45-minute walk. Although it is a very strenuous walk up and down the coast trail
Only a little further along the coast lies Mawgan Porth Beach. Surrounded by cliffs and rocks on both sides, this expansive sandy beach provides a laid back village vibe to those fed up with the Newquay crowds. It’s quite popular among families. This sheltered beach is almost midway between Newquay and Padstow.
Fowey is a cosmopolitan resort offering a plethora of shops, restaurants and galleries for everyone to enjoy. People flock here on holiday to hang-out and visit the trendy stores. For sailors its a popular harbour for mooring ships and boats and exploring the delights available on dry land. For holidaymakers, there are loads of great places to stay including Falmouth cottages, hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation.
Falmouth itself does not have a central beach. Many people enjoy the small stretches of sand that are exposed as the estuary tide ebbs out. But those looking for a better beach experience head for Gyllanvase Beach, with its golden sand and inviting sea. Gylly Beach, as it is otherwise known, is also backed by the excellent cafe and restaurant which servers great coffee, cakes and evening meals.
Exploring further afield, beach lovers will enjoy the peace and simplicity of Swanpool Beach and Maenporth Beaches. Both of these are small sand covers perfect for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking or just relaxing and admiring the views.
3. St Ives
Picture perfect St Ives is a fantastic destination for a beach holiday. Voted as the top UK beach resort and among the best European beach locations, St Ives is the home of several lovely beaches.
The greatest beach in the area is Porthmeor Beach dealing with the Tate St Ives on its shores. The tiniest beach is Porthgwidden which is just a short walk from the town centre. The Harbour Beach includes a soft sandy beach quickly accessible and best for working on your tan while still being close to the restaurants and stores long St Ives’ busy cobbled streets.
Frequently mistaken for St Ives, Carbis Bay Beach showcases a mile long stretch of white sand. With its turquoise sea and palm trees, it looks almost Caribbean. No wonder it is renowned as one of the most spectacular bays in the world.
Across the sea in St Ives Bay, you’ll find a three-mile long sandy beach referred to as Hayle Sands Beach which encompasses Gwithian Towans, one of the very best surfing beaches in the whole of Cornwall.
Along the North Cornwall coastline is the captivating fishing port town of Padstow. Many people base themselves in self-catering accommodation in Padstow to enjoy the fantastic restaurants and to explore many of the fine beaches nearby.
Venture west of Padstow towards Trevose Head and you’ll find Harlyn Bay, a roomy and wide sandy beach with a credibility of being among the safer beaches in the UK. It’s no wonder why it’s hailed as one of the very best family beaches in Cornwall. Its coastline is an interesting mix of sand, rock and dunes. The bay is popular with beginner web surfers and is an excellent location to go kayaking, swimming or just for a stroll along the golden sand.
Thought to be among the best hidden gems in North Cornwall, the stunning Daymer Bay Beach is situated right across the Camel estuary from Padstow. It is possible to take the ferry boat across from Padstow and then walk along to this sheltered little bay. Although not great for surfing, it’s an exceptional spot for swimming especially for households with young kids. Other popular activities there include windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. This beach is also backed by sand dunes which children love to climb and jump down.
5. Sennen Cove
Located just a few miles north of the famous landmark of Land’s End is Sennen Cove. A prominent surfing beach, Sennen Cove is the most westerly beach in the British mainland.
Land’s End itself is rugged with steep rocky cliffs but with excellent views. Nevertheless, walk a mile north and you’ll get to a big sandy beach that is Sennen. This crescent-shaped beach stretches about a mile long.
The remotest part of Cornwall, the west mainly have cliffs and a rocky coast. There are a few great beaches, however, like the Porthcurno Beach. In between Porthcurno and Land’s Ends lies numerous smaller sized beach at Porthchapel, Porthgwarra and Nanjizal.