When going to the beach in the UK, Cornwall is the place to be. It has some of the world’s finest beaches, making it a perfect beach destination for families and avid surfers. From the long and exposed stretches of sand along the north coast to the more sheltered coves in the south, here are the best beaches to visit in Cornwall.
Best beaches in Cornwall
- Polzeath Beach, Polzeath
- Carbis Bay, St Ives
- East Looe Beach, Looe
- Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
- Fistral Beach, Newquay
Polzeath Beach, Polzeath
Polzeath is one of the best beaches to catch a wave in Cornwall, making it a popular option for avid surfers. Novices and professional surfers will find it a wonderful place to hone their surfing skills since the bay’s unique shape produces big waves.
There’s also a submerged sandbar during high tide and a lifeguard service during the summer months.
If you’re taking the kids to Cornwall, Polzeath is a perfect choice. With several acres of sand, there are plenty of spaces for adults to lounge around and sunbathe while the kids play in the sand.
Both young and old will enjoy clambering amongst the rock pools to admire what the high tide has left behind.
Polzeath is also home to several great restaurants where you can dine out after spending the entire day at the beach. You will find everything you crave – from fish and chips to burgers and pizza.
You’ll also find plenty of great attractions to check out in the town, such as the St Enodoc Church, a lovely church in the village of Trebetherick and overlooks the stunning views of Daymer Bay.
Carbis Bay, St Ives
Siting north of St Ives on Cornwall’s west coast, Carbis Bay is a stunning sandy beach and one of the best beaches in Cornwall. It’s a 25-acre privately owned Blue Flag beach, one of the finest in Cornwall and ideally suited to families.
In addition, you will find Cornwall’s best holiday home rentals in St Ives, a perfect option for families going on a holiday to Cornwall.
While you might want to spend your entire day at the beach, take the time to stroll around Carbis Bay. For families with kids, take them to Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary, which conducts conservation work on native species in the UK, including red squirrels, Cornish chough, and endangered and rare parrots.
You will also find the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden nearby. It features different stone and bronze works aside from drawings, paintings, and other materials.
For those who love water sports, you will find plenty to enjoy in Carbis Bay, from canoeing to paddle boarding, kayaking, and hydrofoils. Like most of the beaches in Cornwall, Carbis Bay is also a spot for surfing. You’ll find many companies offering surfing lessons.
East Looe Beach, Looe
A long-time favourite among holidaymakers in Cornwall, East Looe beach is an ideal destination for swimming, especially for families with little kids, since the beach has gentle waves and is safe enough for the little ones to paddle in.
The sand is also wide enough for the kids to build sandcastles. Backed by sea defences where you can relax and admire the stunning views, East Looe beach is one of the best beaches in Cornwall.
Behind East Looe beach is a vibrant town home to several cafes, restaurants, and shops. You can also visit the uniquely shaped Banjo Pier right beside the beach and watch many fishing boats come and go.
The place is also a popular spot for crabbing, especially along the nearby harbour walls.
Take one of the many boat trips that leave the town to explore the stunning coastline. Some trips will take you to Looe Island, a wildlife sanctuary in Hannafore Point.
There’s also an option to ride a glass-bottomed boat allowing you to observe the local marine life without diving into the water. It’s worth noting that dogs are prohibited in East Looe beach. There’s also no lifeguard service, although you can rest assured that the waters here are safe for swimming.
Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
Lying on the north coast of Cornwall, about a few miles from Newquay, Perranporth beach features a stunning expanse of golden sand, one of the largest in Cornwall. It stretches for over three miles during low tide when Perran Sands links with the nearby Penhale Sands.
Perranporth is the perfect place to unwind away from the hustle and bustle. Aside from the beach, which is well-suited for relaxation, you’ll find many Cornwall yoga retreats in the area.
Walk towards the end of the beach, and you’ll find some interesting rock formations, including caves, an arch, and the magnificent Chapel Rock with a flying Cornish flag. There is also a small bathing pool at the far side of the rock, easily accessible during low tide.
Perranporth Beach is perfect for all travellers, including families with kids. It has a lifeguard service and other facilities that families will love. The vast open space makes it a great place to play in the sand.
What’s more, it’s one of the few dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, making it a great spot to walk your furry friends.
Fistral Beach, Newquay
Featuring a golden stretch of sand enveloping the North Cornish coastline, Fistral Beach is a true delight for beach lovers, especially avid surfers.
Thanks to the presence of headlands on both sides of the beach, regular waves often funnel in, sometimes reaching a whopping eight feet! In fact, it has hosted some of the UK’s biggest surfing competitions.
But even if you’re not into surfing, there’s plenty to love about Fistral Beach.
If you come to Cornwall to learn how to surf, Fistral beach is the place to be. The area has plenty of surfing schools and surfboard rental shops. You will find the beach a great place for relaxing. It has a 750-metre stretch of sandy beach, offering lots of space to lounge around and watch the world go by!
If you’re more into hiking, you should hike the Southwest Coast Path, a scenic trail with stunning coastal views that will take you to the clifftops of Huer’s Hut. You are guaranteed incredible views from here as you hike towards Newquay town and back to the beach.
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Which of these best beaches in Cornwall will you visit first?
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About the author
Alexa is a talented photographer, writer, and world traveller who speaks four languages. She is equally comfortable walking around a city and exploring museums as she is out in the wilderness discovering nature and photographing wildlife. She is an avid coffee drinker, and can often be spotted in local cafes when she needs a break.