Kynance Cove, Lizard
Located on the west side of the Lizard and probably the most photographed and painted location in Cornwall, the contrast between the cove’s white sandy beach and the green serpentine rock is a breathtaking sight.
There’s a steep 10 to15-minute walk down to the cove but that doesn’t stop visitors who head to the beach for a family day out, a romantic stroll along the sand or to photograph the moment when in the sunlight on the sea turns a brilliant turquoise colour.
At low tide you can explore the towering rocks stacks and the caves with names such as The Parlour and The Drawing Room and located just above the beach is an eco-friendly café selling Cornish pasties, fresh sandwiches, baguettes, homemade cakes and cream teas along with beach goods. From Kynance there is a fantastic two-mile scenic walk around the coast to Lizard Point, mainland UK’s most southerly point.
Fistral beach, Newquay
Say the word Fistral to any avid surfer and you can guarantee their eyes will widen in awe. As one of the world’s top surfing destinations, backed by high cliffs and sand dunes, Fistral is the playground for hundreds of enthusiasts who flock to the beach to get a fix of the big waves.
All the big UK surf competitions take place here including Boardmasters, the Quicksilver Skins, the UK Pro Surf Tour and the BUSA Championships so if you’re a gung-ho pro or a just a timid beginner, this is the ideal place for you to show off or take your first tentative dip in the ocean.
Overlooked by the imposing grandeur of the Headland Hotel, the beach is bookended by two headlands that funnel in powerful, hollow waves which regularly reach heights of between six and eight feet. On shore there are plenty of opportunities to book surf lessons or hire gear and a complex of cafés, takeaways and shops is located on the beach.
Porthminster beach, St Ives
This crescent of golden sand, framed by a glittering bay, has glorious views across to Godrevy Lighthouse, inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s famous novel ‘To the Lighthouse’. With the benefit of the mildest climate in the UK along with waving palm trees and translucent waters, there is a definite tropical feel to the place.
Located just a short walk from the centre of St Ives, the award-winning Blue Flag beach at Porthminster is a family favourite for safe swimming while onshore you can simply relax in a deck chair or try your skill at the mini 18-hole golf course where you can also order up freshly made juices and smoothies.
Gyllyngvase beach, Falmouth
Gylly beach, with its arc of golden sand, boasts sweeping views from Pendennis Castle to the beautiful Lizard Peninsula. The gently sloping white sand also has plenty of rock pools perfect for families.
Porthcurno beach, Porthcurno
Porthcurno, located in the far west of Cornwall, has won many awards and it’s easy to see why. With gorgeous fine soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and high cliffs on both sides providing shelter, it’s an oasis of stunning natural beauty.
The large beach, popular with families, has a stream that flows down one side which is great for kids to paddle in, and up on the cliffs is the internationally renowned Minack Theatre, built in the 1920s by theatrical visionary Rowena Wade and her faithful gardener, which you can visit all year round.
Logan Rock, famous for its 80-ton granite rocking stone, is a 30-minute walk away round the bay to the left and the fascinating Porthcurno Telegraph Museum that tells the story of Cornwall’s role in the pioneering days of global communications is located just before you get to the main car park.
Watergate Bay, Watergate
Watergate Bay beach, about three miles from Newquay on the North Cornwall coast, is a large beach. Two miles of golden sand at low tide stretch towards Newquay and out to sea enormous waves come in from the Atlantic providing a spectacular sight and a popular surfing and kitesurfing spot.
It is a large, open bay and frequently picks up swell from the Atlantic and is popular with families and surfers. Watergate Bay is a 15-minute drive from Newquay or a 45-minute walk, however this is a strenuous walk with many hills and valleys. The beach is a European Designated beach and has achieved the highest standard for UK bathing water.
Summerleaze beach, Bude
Summerleaze has a unique appeal, not least because it is less than five minutes’ walk from the centre of Bude and the large car park leads directly to the sand dunes. The river, with its bobbing fishing boats, flanks the wide, sandy beach that is sheltered by the impressive breakwater, making the beach particularly popular with families and surfers.
Pentewan beach, St Austell Bay
Perfectly positioned on the South West Coast Path, Pentewan beach is excellent for swimming and water sports including surfing, windsurfing, sea canoeing, water skiing, kayaking and sailing.
Harlyn Bay, Padstow
Considered one of the best family beaches in Cornwall, Harlyn Bay is a wide and spacious beach of yellow sand and pebbles with plenty of interesting rock pools backed by dunes and situated on the eastern side of Trevose Head, just west of Padstow.
With its reputation as one of the safer beaches in the county, the crescent shaped bay is popular with novice surfers who can learn to master the waves with surf schools who run sessions from the beach. There’s a fascinating combination of rocky shoreline, sand, dune and tide pools to explore and the beautiful bay is also an unbeatable location to have a go at sea kayaking. For walkers there are delightful routes from the beach to Mother Ivey’s Bay and Trevose Head.
The south east corner of Harlyn village provides the access to the beach next to a stream that flows on to the beach. The remains of an old iron age cemetery were discovered behind the beach below the sand. The cliffs at Trevose Head give superb views towards Pentire Head and Newquay.
East Looe beach, Looe
A lovely bucket and spade style beach located on south east Cornwall’s tranquil coast. A long-time favourite with holidaymakers, East Looe beach is a perfect location for swimming as the beach gently shelves providing easy access especially for the little ones. The sand is great for castle building and you can promenade along the sea front enjoying an ice cream.
Backed by substantial sea defences where you can sit and watch the world go by, behind the beach is the vibrant main town home to cafés, restaurants and shops.
From the unusually shaped Banjo Pier next to the beach you can watch the many fishing boats come and go while crabbing is the favoured pastime for kids along the nearby harbour walls. Many boat trips leave from the town to explore the beautiful coastline and Looe Island, a wildlife sanctuary just off Hannafore Point, and there’s even a glass bottom boat from which you can observe the marvels of local marine life.
For more ideas visit www.visitcornwall.com