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Beautiful beaches in Cornwall

With a coastline spanning a staggering 250 miles long, Cornwall is home to over 300 beaches - and everyone has their personal favourite. You might fancy miles of golden sands or a hidden cove with only seabirds for company. A watersports mecca with ice cream spots aplenty might tick your holiday prerequisites, or simply a stunning spot to have a swim will be your only whim.

The famous Logan's Rock teetering above the white sands of Pedn Vounder Beach in Cornwall

The north coast is celebrated for its world-renowned surfing spots and jagged cliff-lines, while the southern ‘Cornish Riviera’ offers a more laidback vibe with subtropical gardens spilling onto sheltered shores. Then there’s the edge of the county at the ever-dramatic western fringe of the Land’s End peninsula.

Beauty is – as they say – in the eye of the beholder. But there’s an undeniable host of jaw-dropping beaches that visitors flock to from across the globe for their natural beauty. From the most instagrammable to family and dog friendly, we’ve rounded up a selection of beautiful beaches in Cornwall to inspire your own pilgrimage across the many and plentiful sands of this soul-stirring part of the country...

Kynance Cove, The Lizard

The iconic cliffs and beach at Kynance Cove in Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: Seasonal ban from 1 July - 31 August 10am-6pm
Facilities: National Trust car park, café and toilets
Accessibility: Uneven and rocky coast path

Kynance Cove epitomises Cornwall’s otherworldly appeal. The impossibly beautiful beach boasts crystalline waters lapping white sands, eye-catching islands and serpentine rock faces. Situated near The Lizard Point on the sublime south coast, the cove is one of the most popular in the Duchy. At low tide, it’s perfect for rock pooling and exploring the caves, along with enjoying the ocean with watersports such as wild swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Be aware that it’s easy to be cut off or stranded with the high tide (especially when conditions are rough), when the beach virtually disappears, so time your visit and check the tide times accordingly.

Bedruthan Steps, Newquay

The golden sands and towering rock stacks at Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: Year-round
Facilities: Café and tea garden, National Trust car park, toilets
Accessibility: Via steep steps down the cliff 

Also known as Carnewas and situated between Newquay and Padstow, the photogenic sea stacks and craggy cliff-lines of Bedruthan Steps make this one of the north coast’s most dramatically beautiful beaches. Walk the mile-long stretch of this particularly stunning section of the South West Coast Path, roam the rock formations and pools at low tide, or sit in the cliff-top tea garden and gaze uninterruptedly at the glorious Great Atlantic. 

Pedn Vounder Beach, Porthcurno

Bright white sand and turquoise waters at Pedn Vounder Beach with Logan's Rock in the background

Lifeguards: No (but are present during the summer at neighbouring Porthcurno Beach)
Dog-friendly: Year-round
Facilities: Toilets, car park, café, ice cream van
Accessibility: A 5-10+ minute walk via a rocky path from the car park followed by a scramble down the coast path. Alternatively, access Porthcurno Beach either via steps or a sandy slope – then walk across to Pedn Vounder (tide depending)

The image of this sweeping golden beach and its jaw-dropping headland, Logan’s Rock, appears widely in visual material featuring the words ‘beautiful’, ‘beach’ and ‘Cornwall’ - and rightly so! Located below Treen Cliff near The Minack Theatre in west Cornwall’s coastal village of Porthcurno, Pedn Vounder (from the Cornish ‘pen’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘vounder’ meaning ‘lane’) is as achingly romantic and pretty as it gets. It lies on the eastern end of the bay next to the equally-as-exquisite, Porthcurno Beach, which it joins at low tide. Depending on the conditions, you can surf, swim, sunbathe or rock pool. On a spring low, expect oodles of sand and turquoise waters rivalling the Caribbean, but do keep in mind that this is a tidal (and naturist) beach.

Summerleaze Beach, Bude

The sweeping golden sands and shimmering sea pool at Summerleaze Beach in Bude

Lifeguards: May-September
Dog-friendly: Year-round
Facilities: Toilets, café, shops, parking
Accessibility: Level access from the car park (with disabled toilets). A sand chair is available to hire from the Summerleaze Beach Office

A canal, sea pool, river and gorgeous stretch of sand comprise Bude’s jewel-in-the-crown beach. Conveniently located a mere 5 minutes from Bude town centre, Summerleaze provides families with a safe (and dog-friendly) environment and host of amenities and activities, while couples can find a quiet space to lie back and relax amongst scenic surrounds. With the mouth of Bude Canal and its lock gates to one side and the gorgeous sea pool to the other (submerged by the tide), Summerleaze is packed with interesting sights and experiences. Depending on the conditions and tide, you can swim, walk, rock pool – or try your hand at surfing, paddleboarding or sup yoga with classes and equipment hire from resident Bude Surfing Experience. Take a short stroll north to nearby Crooklets Beach to experience yet another beautiful Cornish beach. 

Carbis Bay Beach, Carbis Bay

Looking out over the emerald waters at Carbis Bay Beach in Cornwall

Lifeguards: May-September
Dog-friendly: Seasonal ban 15 May - 30 September 10am-6pm
Facilities: Café, beach kiosk, watersports hire, toilets, car park
Accessibility: From the car park, a few wide steps will lead you onto the beach. There are other access points via steps from the cliff path

Officially cemented on the world map when it was the venue for the 2021 G7 Summit, Carbis Bay continues to astound visitors with its paradisiacal beauty. The mile-long white sandy beach is tucked into a sheltered cove just round the corner from the bustling resort of St Ives, providing a tranquil haven boasting bay-wide views and gorgeous azure waters. Lounge on the beach, pack a picnic, decamp for a beachside lunch at The Beach Club, walk to St Ives, or adrenalise with on-the-beach activity hub, the Ocean Sports Centre, who offer lessons, kids club, events, hire, and tours alongside speciality clinics and workshops. Head out on the water with a SUP safari, eco tour, foil taster, or kayak or outrigger session. Discover more beaches in St Ives, and visit our live webcam.

Lantic Bay, Fowey

Looking down the green cliffs at the golden sands of Lantic Bay in Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: Year-round
Facilities: None
Accessibility: Steep cliff path

Concealed between Fowey and Polperro on the sleepy south coast, Lantic Bay owns its ‘hidden gem’ title. It’s not the easiest find and is a bit of a scramble to get to, but once you’ve stepped foot onto the powdery sands you’ll be rewarded with a wild sense of beauty and escape. Pack a picnic, keep an eye on the conditions – and relish the intoxicating away-from-it-all feel of this staggeringly beautiful beach. Should you dare to drag yourself away from Lantic Bay beach, this stretch of the South West Coast Path will take you to the jaw-dropping, Pencarrow Head; while a network of other scenic trails will take you to cliffs, woodland, and an array of other beautiful beaches.

Crantock Beach, Newquay

The golden sands and clear waters at Crantock Beach in Newquay

Lifeguards: May-September
Dog-friendly: Year-round
Facilities: National Trust car park, beach kiosk
Accessibility: From the car park via a short path through the dunes

Backed by sand dunes and bordered by the gorgeous Gannel River and headland, the silken golden sands of Crantock spell pure tropical escape. Clear waters and an expanse of space and natural features make this one of the most beautiful beaches in both Newquay and Cornwall. It’s the perfect aquatic playground for those seeking an action-packed day out (Big Green Surf School offers various hire and lesson options including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and bodyboarding); otherwise relax with a sea dip, sunbathe and refreshments at C-Bay Bar & Bistro or Beachcomber Café across the river. Do be mindful of the river’s current and water movements with the tide.

Porthpean Beach, St Austell

The striking rockpools at Pothpean Beach in Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban
Facilities: Toilets, car park and snack bar
Accessibility: A gentle sloping slipway

The diminutive south Cornwall beach is tucked beneath tree-lined cliffs and boasts brilliantly clear water and a fabulously sheltered, suntrap spot. It’s a lovely place for paddling, sunbathing or sailing courtesy of residents, Porthpean Sailing Club. It’s also worth walking along the coast path to the nearby Georgian port of Charlestown for its swoon-worthy film-location harbour and pretty pebbly beach.

Perranporth Beach, Perranporth

The reaching golden sands at Perranporth Beach in Cornwall

Lifeguards: Easter break, May-September, weekends in April and October
Dog-friendly: Year-round (to be kept on leads July and August 9am-5pm)
Facilities: Parking, beach bar/café, shops
Accessibility: Easy access, disabled toilets, sand chair for hire

One of the largest sweeps of sand in north Cornwall, Perranporth’s appeal as a family favourite is matched by its natural, windswept beauty and host of amenities. The beach town offers an array of cafés, bars and shops, things to do, alongside an expanse of space to enjoy. It’s also a renowned surf and watersports destination, with Perranporth Surf School and Stoked Surf School offering a range of aquatic adventures. Walk this rugged stretch of the South West Coast Path, have a drink at the UK’s only live music bar on the beach, The Watering Hole, explore the rock pools and Chapel Rock tidal pool, or simply kick back and admire the beauty of it all.

Read our guide to beach safety in Cornwall for more information.

We have a huge range of holiday cottages for your beach holiday in Cornwall, whether you’re dreaming of sea views, a hot tub or family bolthole near the coast.

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