Cornwall is one of the UK’s top beach holiday destinations thanks to its miles of golden sand, hidden coves, and seaside resorts. In this list of the best beaches in Cornwall, you’ll be sure to find the perfect place to enjoy this pristine stretch of coastline.
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Beaches in Cornwall
- 1. Kynance Cove, Lizard
- 2. Fistral Beach, Newquay
- 3. Polzeath (One of the Best Beaches in Cornwall for Families)
- 4. Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
- 5. Porthcurno Beach, Penzance
- 6. Vault Beach, St Austell
- 7. East Looe Beach, Looe
- 8. Watergate Bay, Newquay
- 9. Bossiney Cove, Tintagel
- 10. Par Sands, St Austell
- 11. Daymer Bay, Padstow
- 12. Summerleaze Beach, Bude
- 13. Porthminster Beach (Best Beach in St Ives)
- 14. Sennan Cove, Penzance
- 15. Portreath Beach, Redruth
- Beaches in Cornwall: FAQs
- In Conclusion
I’ve been visiting Cornwall and its beaches for over 30 years and I’ll let you into a few little secrets about the best places to swim, surf, and generally relax in some of the country’s most idyllic scenery. The Blue Flag Awards are given to the cleanest beaches with the best water quality, and you’ll find these below.
15 Best Beaches in Cornwall
Within this guide, you’ll find a great selection of Cornwall beaches from popular resorts such as Newquay to picturesque stretches of sand such as the highly “Instagrammable” Kyrance Cove. The best beaches in Cornwall include places to surf, swim, paddleboard, windsurf, and much more.
Most Beautiful Beach in Cornwall Overall: Kynance Cove
Best Beach in Newquay: Fistral Beach
Best Dog-Friendly Beach: Daymer Bay
Top Beach for Surfing: Fistral Beach
Best For Families: Polzeath
Safest Beach for Swimming: Bude Sea Pool
Best Beach for Walking: Sennan Beach
1. Kynance Cove, Lizard
- Location: 📍Kynance Cove, Lizard
- Best for: White sand, picturesque views, photography
- Amenities: Cafe, beach shop, car park
Kynance Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in the UK. This is thanks to its gorgeous white sand beach tucked into a small cove that’s surrounded by rocks.
The crystal clear waters of Kynance are perfect for paddling and swimming, but this small beach can get quite crowded because of its popularity so be sure to arrive early.
This is definitely one of the best beaches in Cornwall.
Accommodation Near Kynance Cove
The Forge: This cute one-bedroom cottage in Lizard, three miles from Kynance Cove, is the perfect place to stay for couples and solo travelers.
Pentire Studio: This self-contained one-bed studio apartment sleeps two and comes with its own garden.
Penarvor Cottage: This gorgeous three-bedroom coastguard cottage sleeps up to six people and is perfect for families as it’s just 500 meters from the beach.
Restaurants Near Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove Cafe: This charming cafe in an old cottage offers a selection of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, pasties, and burgers.
The Witchball: The Witchball is the most southerly pub in mainland Britain and offers traditional pub meals at a reasonable price.
Fallowfields: This restaurant located in the Housel Bay Hotel offers the freshest, local ingredients with a side of stunning sea views.
2. Fistral Beach, Newquay
- Location: 📍Fistral, Newquay
- Best for: Surfing, swimming, kids, bars, partying
- Amenities: Restaurants, surf hire, surf schools, toilets
Fistral is one of the best beaches in North Cornwall and is known around the world for its great surf. The beach is a short walk from the town of Newquay and boasts over two miles of soft sand backed by cliffs.
Newquay is the UK’s prime surf spot and has 11 beaches around the town, so if Fistral is too crowded for your liking, you can head to Towan, Tolcarne, Great Western, Lusty Glaze, or any other beach a short walk away.
Fistral is of my favorite places to surf in Cornwall – if you love the sport as much as me, this is a must-visit.
Accommodation Near Fistral Beach
Fistral Apartment: This two-bedroom apartment sleeps four people and comes with stunning views over Fistral Bay, perfect for those wanting quick access to the best beach in Newquay.
Fistral Sands Flat: This cozy two-bedroom apartment sleeps two and offers panoramic views of Fistral. Perfect for couples wanting to be close to the beach.
Fisherman’s Cottage: This gorgeous one-bedroom old fisherman’s cottage is located next to Newquay harbor, just a short walk from Fistral. Perfect for the beach and all the convenience of the town.
Restaurants Near Fistral Beach
Rick Stein Fistral: Rick Stein is a celebrity chef with restaurants across Cornwall (Padstow in particular) and his newest seafood restaurant is located just steps from Fistral beach.
Sea Spray: An excellent cafe on Fistral beach that serves up the best brunches in Newquay (try their blueberry bacon pancakes).
The Fish House Fistral: This great eatery on Fistral beach serves classic seafood dishes, fish curries, and more (try the Cornish crab and prawn linguine).
3. Polzeath (One of the Best Beaches in Cornwall for Families)
- Location: 📍Polzeath, Wadebridge
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, surfing, swimming, walking
- Amenities: Cafes, surf hire, car park
The wide stretch of golden sand at Polzeath is my favorite place in Cornwall and I’ve been holidaying here since childhood. This is a great Blue Flag family destination and has lifeguards posted from May to September.
The beach is flanked by high cliffs, and a small village with lots of surf shops, bars, and restaurants. The southwest coast path passes right across the beach on the section between Port Isaac and Padstow.
Polzeath is one of the top beaches in Cornwall in a perfectly idyllic setting.
Accommodation Near Polzeath
New Polzeath Luxury Apartment This stunning three-bedroom apartment overlooking Polzeath beach and the headland is the perfect place for families.
Polzeath Eco House: This private room with an en-suite is a great option for couples and features a private access path straight to the beach.
Polzeath Condo: This spacious and modern two-bedroom home is just a five-minute walk from the beach and is great for couples and families as it sleeps four.
Restaurants Near Polzeath
The Cracking Crab: An excellent pub and restaurant overlooking the beach, and my favorite place for dinner in Polzeath.
The Waterfront: This bar and grill is in a great spot that overlooks the sea and is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Surfside Polzeath: Surfside is the best place for cocktails and local beers in Polzeath, plus they do a great Sunday roast.
4. Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
- Location: 📍Gyllyngvase, Falmouth
- Best for: Soft sand, swimming, paddleboarding
- Amenities: Cafes, toilets, rental shops, car park
Falmouth’s Gyllyngvase is one of the best sandy beaches in Cornwall and is a great place for families. Being on the south coast, the beach is less exposed than the north so it’s a great place for paddleboarding.
This Blue Flag beach has plenty of amenities nearby such as shops, cafes, and equipment hire where you can rent paddleboards, snorkeling gear, kayaks, and more.
Accommodation Near Gyllyngvase
Falmouth Bay View: This stunning two-bedroom apartment sleeps four and has fantastic views of Falmouth Bay and Gyllyngvase, which is just 50 meters from the apartment.
Ground Floor Apartment: A two-bedroom self-contained apartment that has a private courtyard with views of the bay.
Accommodation Name: This self-contained studio apartment is just an eight-minute walk from Gyllyngvase beach and is a great option for couples and solo travelers.
Restaurants Near Gyllngvase
The Gylly Beach Cafe: A wonderful little cafe just meters from the beach that serves a selection of locally sourced dishes.
Brasserie on the Bay: A stylish brasserie with bay views specializing in local seafood such as crab, scallops, and Newlyn hake. They have a great vegetarian menu too.
The Shed: A charming family-run restaurant at Falmouth harbor that serves the best of British cuisine.
5. Porthcurno Beach, Penzance
- Location: 📍Porthcurno, Penzance
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, swimming, paddling, rock pools, walking
- Amenities: Cafes, car park, theater
This award-winning stretch of white sand and turquoise waters is one of the best beaches near Penzance and one of the most picturesque in Cornwall – it could easily be mistaken for somewhere in the Mediterranean.
The beach is 10 miles south of Penzance on a stunning stretch of coastline close to the clifftop Minack Theatre (one of my favorite things to do in Cornwall).
Accommodation Near Porthcurno
Atlantic View: A gorgeous two-bedroom penthouse a short walk from Porthcurno beach.
Porthcurno Beach House: This three-bedroom Scandinavian-inspired beach house sleeps up to five people and is dog-friendly.
The Beachhouse: A beautiful one-bedroom beach house with a private garden overlooking the beach. Perfect for couples.
Restaurants Near Porthcurno
Minack Theatre Cafe: The cafe at the Minack Theatre above Porthcurno sells a selection of Cornish pasties and light snacks.
Porthcurno Beach Cafe: A charming cafe close to the beach with indoor and outdoor seating that sells light snacks and meals.
The Logan Rock Inn: A great pub overlooking the ocean serving Cornish ales and ciders, and traditional pub grub.
6. Vault Beach, St Austell
- Location: 📍Vault Beach, St Austell
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, paddleboarding
- Amenities: Car park
Vault beach is a little-known stretch of sheltered coastline 11 miles south of St Austell. This a great family beach with soft sand and calm, clear waters. Vault beach is also another beach that allows dogs year-round.
The waters around Vault are usually quite calm thanks to its sheltered location, however, be aware that this secluded spot doesn’t have lifeguard cover.
Accommodation Near Vault Beach
Maen Lay: This beautiful three-bedroom home in the village of Gorran Haven has stunning views of the ocean and coastline.
Portheast Home: A beautiful one-bedroom fisherman’s cottage with sea views that’s close to Vault beach.
Roseland Cottage: This beautiful two-bedroom cottage is a grade II listed building that sleeps up to four people.
Restaurants Near Vault Beach
Coast Path Cafe: A small cafe on the cliffs that serves a selection of refreshments and light snacks.
The Haven Fish and Chips: A traditional fish and chip shop selling a selection of classic dishes and locally caught fish.
The Barley Sheaf at Gorran: A stylish restaurant in Gorran Haven with a menu including both British and Italian classics.
7. East Looe Beach, Looe
- Location: 📍East Looe, Looe
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, paddleboarding
- Amenities: Restaurants, pubs, cafes, car park
This sublime expanse of golden sands on the serene south coast of Cornwall is the perfect family destination and one of the nicest beaches in Cornwall.
Perfect for sand castles, exploring rock pools, paddling, and swimming, East Looe beach is a short walk from this small fishing town. East Looe is definitely one of the best beaches in south Cornwall.
Accommodation Near East Looe Beach
Quayside Cottage: This charming cottage a few minutes walk from East Looe beach has two bedrooms and sleeps four people.
Little Pudding Cottage: This one-bedroom cottage has stunning harbor views and is a short walk from the beach. Perfect for couples.
Enys View: This luxury one-bedroom penthouse above Looe harbor has views across the bay and is a short walk from the beach and town center.
Restaurants Near East Looe Beach
The Beach Cafe: A quaint cafe on the seafront selling hot drinks and light snacks.
The Old Sail Loft: This restaurant is inside a 450-year-old building on the quayside and serves a selection of modern and classic British dishes.
The Smugglers Cott: This charming carvery restaurant specializes in seafood and steaks.
8. Watergate Bay, Newquay
- Location: 📍Watergate Bay, Newquay
- Best for: Surfing, windsurfing, swimming, families
- Amenities: Cafe, toilets, car park
Watergate Bay is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall as, unlike most popular beaches, it allows dogs all year round. This two-mile stretch of golden sand is a popular destination for families, (dogs), surfers, and windsurfers.
Watergate Bay is a 15-minute drive from Newquay or can be accessed via the southwest coast path which is a 45-minute walk. This is a place I love to visit when in north Cornwall.
Accommodation Watergate Bay
The Waves at Watergate: This one-bedroom beachside apartment sleeps up to four people and is just a couple of minutes from the beach at Watergate.
The Hayloft: This gorgeous two-bedroom home is in an old stone barn conversion with stunning countryside views. It’s a great option for families.
Number Seven: This luxury one-bedroom en-suite sleeps four and is a stone’s throw from the beach. Perfect for couples.
Restaurants Watergate Bay
The Beach Hut: This laid-back beachside diner is a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with an exciting menu of classic and contemporary dishes (the Cornish crab bisque is delicious).
Emily Scott Food: This stylish fish and seafood restaurant right by the beach is the perfect place for a romantic evening in wonderful beachside surroundings.
Wax Watergate: This bar and kitchen overlooking the bay serves a range of dishes from pizza and burgers to fish and chips and other British classics.
9. Bossiney Cove, Tintagel
- Location: 📍Bossiney Cove, Tintagel
- Best for: Soft sand, views, swimming, walking
- Amenities: Toilets, car park
Bossiney is one of the best coves in Cornwall thanks to its secluded and picturesque location near Tintagel (be sure to check out some of the great Tintagel things to do, one of my most loved places in Cornwall).
Although Bossiney was recently voted the best beach in England, it is one of the more quiet beaches in Cornwall and becomes completely covered at high tide.
Accommodation Near Bossiney Cove
Dragonfly Cabin: This one-bedroom cabin is situated in a beautiful forest a short walk from Tintagel. It’s perfect for a romantic retreat.
The Granary: A beautiful 17th-Century cottage between Tintagel and Boscastle a short walk from Bossiney.
Carpenter’s Cottage: This charming two-bedroom cottage sleeps four people and is perfect for families. A few minute’s walk from the cove.
Restaurants Near Bossiney Cove
Irina’s Restaurant at Camelot: This upmarket restaurant is located close to Tintagel Castle on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.
The Olive Garden: A great little Italian serving the best pizza and pasta in Tintagel.
Vega: Tintagel’s very own vegan restaurant has an exciting selection of meat-free dishes such as tapas, curries, and more. Their falafel is fantastic.
10. Par Sands, St Austell
- Location: 📍Par Sands, St Austell
- Best for: Soft sand, kids
- Amenities: Car park
This small sandy stretch of coast is the nearest beach to Bodmin and is one of the best beaches near St Austell (home of my favorite Cornish beer, Tribute).
As the beach at Par Sands is south-facing it is not as exposed as other Cornwall beaches and is perfect for families. It also doesn’t get too crowded compared to other south coast beaches.
Accommodation Near Par Sands
Mandara Apartment: This open-plan one-bedroom apartment in the village of Par is close to the beach and a great option for couples.
Lakeside Cabin: This stunning lakeside cabin at Par Sands has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It can sleep up to six people.
The ModBox: This one-bedroom self-contained studio is a great budget option and is just a five-minute walk from the village of Par.
Restaurants Near Par Sands
Par Beach Cafe: This homely cafe just back from the beach offers hot and cold meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is a great place for a traditional Cornish cream tea.
The Ship Inn: This dog-friendly ale house in Par serves a selection of classic pub dishes, seafood, and vegetarian meals.
Snowy’s Diner: A great little diner in Par village selling British classics from roast chicken to sandwiches, salads, and more.
11. Daymer Bay, Padstow
- Location: 📍Daymer Bay, Padstow
- Best for: Paddleboarding, swimming, walking
- Amenities: Beach shop, car park, bed and breakfast, ferry
Daymer Bay is a long stretch of golden sand at the mouth of the Camel Estuary near Padstow. This is another of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall as you can bring your four-legged friend all year round.
This is one of my favorite stretches of coastline in Cornwall with miles of sand dunes flowing down to the beach. Daymer is located halfway between Padstow and Polzeath on the southwest coast path.
Accommodation Near Daymer Bay
Sail Loft: This charming loft conversion in Trebetherick sleeps two people and is just a few minute’s walk from Daymer Bay.
Coastal House: This dog-friendly two-bedroom home overlooks Daymer Bay and has gorgeous country views to the rear.
Daymer Bay House: This massive five-bedroom house a ten-minute walk from Daymer Bay is a great option for large families.
Restaurants Near Daymer Bay
The Rock Inn: A great little bistro and bar that overlooks the beach. It’s just a short walk from Daymer Bay – you must try their fillet of hake!
The Dining Room: This fine-dining restaurant in Rock has a menu that’s constantly updated and based around what can be sourced, and caught locally.
The Oystercatcher: This wonderful pub and restaurant in nearby Polzeath serves up contemporary British meals, pub classics, and more (their fish and chips are some of the best in Cornwall).
12. Summerleaze Beach, Bude
- Location: 📍Summerleaze Beach, Bude
- Best for: Soft sand, beach bars, paddleboarding, surfing, entertainment
- Amenities: Restaurants, bars, cafes, surf hire, toilets
This sandy beach right next to Bude town center is one of the best beaches in Cornwall for swimming, surfing, and enjoying a day by the water. It’s somewhere I love to visit to hit the waves.
There’s a large “sea pool” towards the back of the beach that gets cut off from the sea at low tide and is a great natural paddling pool – perfect for families.
Accommodation Near Summerleaze Beach
Central Beach House: This one-bedroom townhouse sleeps up to three people and is a short walk from Summerleaze beach and central Bude.
Private Loft Room: This wonderful loft conversion with an en-suite bathroom is the perfect place for couples and solo travelers in the heart of Bude.
Bude Townhouse: This four-bedroom Bude townhouse is a great option for larger families and is a short walk to Summerleaze beach.
Restaurants Near Summerleaze Beach
Life’s A Beach: A charming cafe bistro on Summerleaze beach specializing in the freshest, locally caught seafood.
The Barge: This quirky restaurant is located inside a converted barge on the Bude Canal. It offers a great selection of contemporary and classic British dishes.
The Brendon Arms: This is one of my favorite pubs in Bude as they have a great selection of pub classics at a reasonable price.
13. Porthminster Beach (Best Beach in St Ives)
- Location: 📍Porthminster, St Ives
- Best for: Soft sand, swimming, kids, beach bars
- Amenities: Restaurant, cafe, car park
Another holder of the coveted Blue Flag award, Porthminister beach is ideally situated in the heart of St Ives a few minutes walk from all the shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries of this popular seaside resort town.
This crescent of golden sand is more sheltered than nearby Porthmeor, one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall, so is great for families. Beautiful views over the bay to Godrevy Lighthouse can be found here.
Accommodation Near Porthminster Beach
The Music Room: This charming two-bedroom house is just a five-minute walk from Porthminster beach and sleeps up to four people.
Little Haven: A dog-friendly one-bedroom apartment 300 meters from the beach and close to the restaurants, bars, and amenities of St Ives.
Edwardian Terrace: This one-bedroom apartment has space for up to five guests and is just a five-minute walk from the beach.
Restaurants Near Porthminster Beach
Porthminster Beach Cafe: This great seafood restaurant has an outside terrace with stunning views over Porthminster and St Ives Bay.
Harbour Kitchen Bar and Terrace: Another great seafood place with a backdrop of Porthminster and the fishermen supplying the restaurant.
The Mex: If you fancy a change from seafood and Cornish pasties, this fun Mexican restaurant is a great option with fantastic fajitas, tacos, and burritos.
14. Sennan Cove, Penzance
- Location: 📍Sennan Cove, Penzance
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, paddleboarding, surfing
- Amenities: Restaurants, cafes, toilets, car park
Sennan Cove is a small village in the southwest of Cornwall with a picture-perfect sandy beach that’s great for both surfing and family days at the beach (there’s lifeguard cover throughout the summer months).
This beautiful cove is perfectly situated a few miles from the most westerly point of the mainland British Isles, Land’s End, and can be hiked from Sennan along the stunning southwest coast path.
Accommodation Near Sennan Cove
Capstan Cottage: This gorgeous two-bedroom fisherman’s cottage is 450 years old but comes with all the mod cons you could need for your stay in Sennan.
Mayon Cliff Studio: This one-bedroom studio apartment on the cliffs above Sennan has incredible views and is a great option for couples and solo travelers.
Little Rock’s Surf Cottage: This wonderful cozy cabin up on the cliffs has expansive views of the coastline and beach.
Restaurants Near Sennan Cove
Sennan Cove Cafe: A charming little cafe in the heart of Sennan Cove selling a selection of sandwiches, pasties, salads, and soups.
Blue Lagoon: This small restaurant is the best place to eat fish and chips by the sea in Sennan.
The Old Success Inn: This gorgeous old pub in the center of town has a great menu with classic British pub dishes and locally sourced seafood.
15. Portreath Beach, Redruth
- Location: 📍Portreath, Redruth
- Best for: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, paddleboarding, surfing
- Amenities: Restaurant, cafe, pub, surf shops, toilets, car park
Portreath is a beautiful stretch of soft sand near Redruth in north Cornwall. The beach is popular with both surfers and families and there are lots of nearby eateries and cafes to try out.
The beach is patrolled by lifeguards from May to September and is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall thanks to its village backdrop and nearby harbor.
Accommodation Near Portreath Beach
Maisonette: This stylish one-bedroom maisonette comes with stunning sea views and is the perfect spot for a romantic break.
Cozy Home: This two-bedroom stylish home sleeps up to four guests and offers fantastic views of the beach.
The Annex: This one-bedroom apartment has spectacular views of the coastline and bay and is just a short walk from the beach.
Restaurants Near Portreath Beach
The Basset Arms: A charming pub close to the beach serving a great selection of Cornish beers, ciders, and locally sourced dishes.
The Atlantic Cafe Bar: A beachfront cafe and bar serving a selection of drinks and hot and cold snacks.
Portreath Tandoori: If you fancy a change from seafood then head to the Portreath tandoori for the best Indian and South Asian cuisine in the area.
Beaches in Cornwall: FAQs
Trenance is the best beach in Cornwall thanks to its soft, white sand, turquoise waters, and stunning location.
Fistral and Towan in Newquay and Summerleaze beach in Bude are the best beaches for partying with lots of bars and clubs close to the water.
Polzeath is the best beach for families as it has a lot of space, lots of rock pools, lifeguards, and plenty of options for drinks and dining.
Kynance Cove is one of the most romantic spots in Cornwall and the best beach for couples thanks to its beautiful backdrop.
Vault Beach is the best off-track beach in Cornwall and a real hidden gem.
Summer (June to August) is the best time to visit Cornwall as the weather is perfect for swimming and surfing.
North Cornwall has the best beaches and a more dramatic coastline than the sheltered south.
Sennan Cove has some of the clearest water in Cornwall.
Yes, some of the beaches in Cornwall have soft, white sand such as Kynance Cove and the beaches around St Ives.
Kynance Cove has the whitest sand in Cornwall.
The beaches around the southwest peninsula such as Sennan Cove have some of the bluest waters in Cornwall.
Cornwall’s waters are safe for swimming and many beaches are patrolled by lifeguards from May to September.
Any beach with lifeguards is going to be the safest place to swim in Cornwall.
There are basking sharks in the water around Cornwall (I’ve seen one myself) but the waters are too cold for maneaters such as great whites, bull, or tiger sharks.
Cornwall has the best beaches thanks to its wild coast that juts out into the north Atlantic.
Now you know about the best beaches in Cornwall; the best spots to enjoy the finest British weather surrounded by turquoise waters, golden sands, and stunning coastal views.
Whether you decide to go to the wild and dramatic north coast with its sublime sunsets and surfing schools, the mild and pleasant south with its sheltered beaches or the westernmost point of the British Isles for its huge waves, you’re sure to be blown away (not literally, although it is possible).
The only question on your mind now should be “which of these fantastic Cornwall beaches should I visit first?”.