fantastic beaches, coast & harbours

Beaches, Coast & Harbours

Beautiful beaches. Unsurpassed, unspoilt coastline and towering rugged cliffs. Cornwall’s coast is amazing...

Sheltered from Atlantic winds and tumultuous seas, the nearby Riviera Coast is the more gentle, relaxing side of Cornwall. Glorious exotic gardens luxuriate in the lush valleys that sweep down through river estuaries to the sea. Take time to explore broad bays, sub-tropical coves and inlets, busy estuaries and time-warped fishing villages. Sailboats abound and beaches made for family fun.

Cornwall’s north coast is something special: rugged and magnificent. Granite cliffs tower over spectacular lengths of golden sand, where the Atlantic Ocean thunders into the coast on which incalculable numbers of storm-stricken ships have been hammered to pieces … awesome. The best surfing in Europe.

The National Martime Museum in Falmouth celebrates the sea, boats and Cornwall. Charlestown has the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre.

South Coast beaches close by:

polkerris beach near st austell in cornwall
  • Polkerris, Near Fowey
    Small attractive west facing cove in the shelter of a harbour wall. Popular with families because of its safe bathing. Access - Short walk to the beach from car park. Toilets. Refreshments. Seasonal dog ban.
  • Charlestown, St Austell
    Large, stoney very safe private harbour beach with Tall ships and childrens playground. Access - disabled access south side. Refreshments and toilets. All year dog ban.
  • Porthpean, St Austell
    Attractive east facing beach. Popular family beach because of its safe bathing. Super rock pools at low tide. Easy access on slight incline from the car park. Seaside Award 2006. Toilets. Refreshments. Seasonal dog ban.
  • Pentewan, St Austell Bay
    Large expanse of sand over half a mile long. The surrounding beach area is occupied by Pentewan caravan park. The beach is private but access is allowed from Pentewan village. Note that the Pentewan village car park is very small. East facing. Flat easy access to the beach. Water sports available. Refreshments and toilets. Seasonal dog ban.
  • Gorran Haven, St Austell Bay
    Attractive east facing sandy beach which connects to Great Perhaver beach at low tide. Popular with families because of its safe bathing. Easily accessed from car park down a slight incline. Toilets. Refreshments. Dog friendly beach. Regarding disabled access we advise that you contact the local Tourist Information Centre 01726 844857.
  • Porthluney Cove (also known as Caerhays),
    An excellent, privately owned, secluded family beach with a large expanse of golden sand. South facing, right in front of Caerhays Castle, which provides a striking backdrop. Plenty of room for beach games. Toilets. Refreshments. Disabled access. Dog friendly beach. Car park.

Some North Coast beaches easily reached:

north coast beach cornwall
  • Trevone Bay, Padstow
    An attractive cove with good areas of golden sand, particularly at low tide. The rocks at adjoining Newtrain Bay offer much in the way of exploring at low tides. Popular with families. Lifeguards in summer. Easily accessible from car park. Toilets. Refreshments. Seasonal dog ban.
  • Harlyn Bay, Padstow
    Large crescent of soft golden sand, even at high tide. Surrounded by small dunes. Very sheltered, protected from Atlantic winds by Trevose head and Catclews Point. North facing. Very popular with families. Lifeguards in summer. Good surf school. Car park with easy access to beach. Toilets. Refreshments. Dog friendly beach.
  • Treyarnon Bay, Padstow
    A lovely clean beach with soft golden sand. North west facing sandy cove surrounded by low cliffs and sand dunes. Expanse of fine sand at low water, plenty of nooks. A very popular beach with families and learning surfers. It is a short walk around the point from Constantine Bay to the north. Lifeguards in summer. Easy access from car park. Toilets. Refreshments. Dog friendly beach.
  • Mawgan Porth, Near Newquay
    Large west facing cove situated between two steep headlands where a river enters the sea. Popular family beach with flat sand at all tides. Lifeguards in summer. Accessible for pushchairs with little effort. Toilets. Refreshments. Easy access from car park. Dog friendly beach.
  • Watergate Bay, Near Newquay
    Two mile expanse of fine golden sand at the foot of steep cliffs. The famous Extreme Academy for all manner of exciting sports activities. Jamie Oliver inspired Fifteen Cornwall restaurant. Lifeguards in summer. Access level paths down from the car park. Toilets. Refreshments. Dog friendly.
  • Holywell Bay, Near Newquay
    Large beach with soft golden sands, very popular with visitors and locals alike. A shallow stream runs down the beach, perfect for paddling. At high tide there is ample room amongst the dunes. Lifeguards in summer. Easy access from car park. Toilets. Refreshments. Seaside Award 2006 Disabled access. Dog friendly.

Picturesque Harbours:

charlestown harbour near st austell
  • Charlestown, St Austell
    One of Cornwall’s most unspoilt fishing villages. Majestic tall ships now berth here. It is a favourite TV and film location; and, you can examine 200 years of fishing, migration and smuggling at the Shipwreck and Heritage Centre.
  • Mevagissey, St Austell
    Mevagissey with its picture-postcard harbour, has tiny streets winding past shops and cob cottages leading down to its distinctive twin harbours. Mevagissey remains a working harbour, and provide the skate, lobster, plaice and sole served in one of the many restaurants. Gorran Haven with its picturesque anchorage for smaller boats is close by.
  • Fowey, St Austell
    Fowey is a gem. It is port, resort and outstanding natural harbour. Narrow streets, fine old cottages and taverns; with Polruan, linked by ferry, on the other bank. Fowey’s captivating mix of old and new sees the meeting of fishing boats with stylish yachts, traditional pubs with trendy restaurants and rich heritage with contemporary lifestyle.

    Fowey Festival of Arts and Music is held every May.

  • Padstow
    Padstow still has plenty of fishing boats and has recently become renowned for being home to Rick Stein’s spectacular restaurants and is often referred to as “Padstein”. Sweeping bays, rugged headlands, crafts, jewellery and clothes shops, and the harbour top of its appeal.  Cycle the Camel Trail from Wadebridge as a great way to visit. May Day each year sees the ‘Obby ‘Oss Festival.
  • Looe, Boscastle and St Mawes are also well worth a visit.