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The ultimate guide to Kynance Cove


Holidays in Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove. The words alone sound otherworldly exotic. But picture this. Crystalline waters hugging dramatic cliffscapes and giant stacks of rock surrounded by softly sweeping white sands. This is holidaymaking heaven.

Taking its name from the Cornish kownans, meaning ‘ravine’ after the stream that weaves through the valley and across the beach, Kynance’s striking mix of rock stacks, tidal islands and sea caves presents visitors with a waterside idyll that’s unrivalled anywhere else in the world.

One of Cornwall’s most popular, raved about and Instagrammed beaches (not to mention another locale in which scenes from Game of Thrones and Poldark were filmed), such is its ethereal charm that is has even drawn the poet Alfred Tennyson along with royalty to its shores. Queen Victoria was rumoured to be a devotee, while one of the rocks is named after Prince Albert who visited with his children in 1846.

Quick links

About Kynance Cove

Where is Kynance Cove?

How to get to Kynance Cove

Access - Getting down to the cove

Is Kynance Cove dog friendly?

Is Kynance Cove lifeguarded?

When is the best time to visit?

What is there to do at Kynance Cove?

Facilities at Kynance Cove

Staying safe

Did you know...

Kynance Cove is one of the most popular beaches in Cornwall!

About Kynance Cove

The largest rock is called Asparagus Island after the indigenous plant that grows wildly there and is just one example of the wealth of rare botanicals, birds and wildlife that inhabit the rugged heathland and craggy coastline of Kynance Cove, which is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve.

Those with an eye for flora will be able to spy the springtime species of Early Meadow Grass, Land Quillwort and Three-lobed Water-crowfoot, while summer is a rainbow of blooms including orchids, Pale Heath Violet and Cornish Heath. And the gorgeously golden, coconut scented gorse is as beautifully prevalent here as it is elsewhere in the Duchy. 

If you’re really lucky you might just spot a chough, which features on Cornwall’s coat of arms and is a distinctive red-billed, red-legged member of the crow family that is seeing a modern resurgence on the Cornish coast.

One of Kynance Cove’s many redeeming features is its mild climate, which makes it one of the warmest places year-round that can be visited during any season. Its southwest facing position means that it receives the majority of the day’s sunlight, while the cliffs and rocks provide shelter from the wind and sun if needed.


Where is Kynance Cove?

Located just west of Britain’s most southerly point on the Lizard peninsula, Kynance Cove redefines the term picturesque and is one of the most bedazzling jewels in Cornwall’s crown. 

Gaze across this breath-taking bay on the subtropical south coast at the gorgeous dark green and red serpentine that has been polished by the sea into a shiny snakeskin rock face to experience a jaw-dropping vision of natural beauty.



How to get to Kynance Cove

By car: From Helston take the A3083 and follow directions to The Lizard. Post code TR12 7PJ or OS grid ref sw 9605 1296

There is a national Trust Car park - which is free if you are a member. £3 for 2 hours, £5 for 4 hours, £8 for the day (9am-11pm).

By foot: From Lizard point or from Mullion Cove along the South West Coast Path

By public transport: Bus route 34

Access - getting down to the cove

The low tide route is rocky and runs down onto the sands via steps and rocks, while the flatter, high tide route is more wheelchair and pushchair friendly and will take you to the beach cafe. There are signs that will help to direct you in the National Trust car park.


Is Kynance Cove dog-friendly?

There is a seasonal dog ban on the beach from 1st July to 31st August (10am-6pm), though the myriad of footpaths and walking trails in and around the area are prime dog walking territory (who are best kept on leads for their own safety).


Is Kynance Cove lifeguarded?

Kynance Cove is not patrolled by lifeguards.


When is the best time to visit?

Remember that it’s always best to arrive early in the day to avoid disappointment and to check tide times as the low tide exposes the rock formations and beach in all their sprawling glory.

Another striking feature of Kynance that’s revealed by the low tide is its sea caves such as the fabulously named likes of The Parlour and The Drawing Room, as well as a host of rock pools that provide the perfect playground for little ones. 

Then there’s the spectacular Mermaid Pool, which can be reached on a half tide on calm days and rewards swimmers (and anyone brave enough to dive) with a suntrap plunge pool flanked by green granite walls and a bed of undersea gardens.

Due to its popularity, Kynance Cove can get very busy during the summer season, so we'd recommend visiting in the quieter months to explore it in more tranquil environment.


What is there to do at Kynance Cove?

There’s plenty of things to see to do at Kynance Cove. Swimming, sunbathing and exploring the landscape are the most popular pastimes, while the azure waters also provide a picture postcard opportunity for stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling. 

Boasting some of the county’s best walking routes, whether you wish to roam the South West Coast Path or explore the hinterland with a cross-country or circular route, you can amble short distances or hike for miles while enjoying uninterrupted views of the area.

The South West Coast Path runs south from Kynance for about two-and-a-half miles to the Lizard Point, or venture north for the pretty village of Mullion, where you’ll find a working harbour, beach, shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants.


Facilities at Kynance Cove

Owned and managed by the National Trust, there’s a large car park (free to members) that’s open all year and located on the cliff-top about a 10-15 minute stroll down to the cove.

The eco beach cafe nestled just above the sands is run by a couple from Lizard village and opens from Easter to the end of October. Sustainability is one of their main priorities. As well as being able to generate enough electricity to make over forty five thousand cups of tea with their photovoltaic solar roof tiles, they also source their food and drink suppliers locally whenever possible, recycle, compost all of their vegetable matter, and conduct regular beach cleans.

Meanwhile, their extensive menu offers everything from freshly prepared sandwiches and baguettes to salads, pasties, burgers, smoothies, coffee and a lip-smacking variety of homemade scones and cakes. They also have an alcohol license, should you wish to round off your day on the beach with a local beer or cider.

Customers (and their dogs) can sit on the benches and tables outside, and can also make use of the cafe’s toilets.


Staying safe

As magical as Kynance Cove is, do factor in the issue of safety during your trip. The paths leading down to the cove can be steep and uneven underfoot, so for children and anyone with mobility issues or physical disabilities, access could prove tricky. And though low tide is the best time to explore the full expanse of the spaces exposed, it is also one of the most treacherous times to take a dip (especially since there is no lifeguard cover), and the advice is always to exercise caution or if you are unsure, not to enter the water at all. Remember that as the tide comes in, you run the risk of being cut off – so observe tidal movements at all times.

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