With more than 400 miles of coastline, you could walk to a different Cornish beach every single day of the year – and you’d still have over a month’s worth to spare! We’ve picked out some of Cornwall’s most famous sandscapes to get things started, including the best surfing beaches, and plenty of dog friendly ones too.
Beaches in Cornwall
Best beaches in Cornwall
As far as beach credentials go, the fact Porthcurno is listed in the top ten most beautiful bays in the world is definitely something to brag about. With its azure-blue seas and fine golden sands, it’s easy to see why this is arguably Cornwall’s most beloved beach. Plus, Porthcurno Bay provides the stunning backdrop for the open-air Minack Theatre which you can reach by a rather steep (but rewarding) walk up the steps from the beach.
Staying down in the south-west of Cornwall, north of Land’s End, you can visit England’s most westerly beach – Sennen. Its location makes it one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall. A word to the wise – the closest car park often fills up fast during the summer months, and it's a steep walk from the next closest one, but it’s worth it as both the sea and sand here are lovely and clean.
St. Ives is blessed with a few beaches, Porthmeor probably being the most popular – it’s got everything you could want from a beach: Blue Flag status, golden sands, steady surf, a clean stretch of the Atlantic, a quality café, rockpools and the Tate St. Ives gallery a stone's throw away. Another Blue Flag beach in St. Ives is Porthminster – protected by the headland it provides calmer seas that steadily roll their way up the long, sandy beach. At low tide, you can actually walk straight from Porthminster to the Harbour beach, which is closest to the town centre.
Dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall
A word of warning if you’re planning on going to the beach with your dog. Here in Cornwall, some of the beaches aren’t dog friendly during the summer months. It’ll be clearly signposted if dogs aren’t allowed, but the general rule is you can take your pooch for a stroll on the sand in the early hours and the evening, but between 8am and 7pm you risk getting a fine.
Don’t worry though, some of the best beaches in Cornwall are completely dog friendly. Newquay’s Fistral Bay and the nearby Crantock Beach are both long, beautiful beaches where you can let your dog off the leash. If they’re still not long enough, then Perranporth is two miles long, with the dog friendly Watering Hole beach bar right on the sand, if you need a liquid refreshment and to rest your legs.
Watergate Bay also allows dogs all year round. The vast beach is a great place for them to run around, but there’s a reason it’s so popular with surfers here, the beach faces directly out to the Atlantic, with ocean swells generating some whopping waves, so watch out if your dog likes to get wet. On the other side of the Cornish coast, facing into the English Channel, Porthluney Beach is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s not as big as the others mentioned, but it’s rather a beautiful setting, with Caerhays Castle in the background.