Is Cornwall the Florida of the UK? Weird shape – tick. Takes ages to get there – tick. Prime retirement location – tick. But most of all, beaches – massive tick. After living in Cornwall for a grand total of nine months during my degree at Falmouth, I think I’m well qualified to give you my verdict on Cornwall’s best 4 beaches.
#1 – Perranporth Beach, Cornwall
At 5km long, the beach at Perranporth is a hefter, and amazing fun at literally any time of year. I’ve been in a bikini and I’ve been in a coat and wellies and had fab days in both.
The immediate benefit of its sheer size is that you never feel crowded by other visitors, especially if you’re willing to walk a bit.
It’s really easy to access by car, with a few different car parks. The one immediately by the sand is always packed, but there’s another one on top of the cliff called Droskyn Car Park that is more likely to have space and gives you amazing views as an added bonus.
There are rock pools to explore and sand dunes to wander over. In the summer there are life guards. If you’ve got kids and want to stay by the town, the tide often creates a little pool in the sand halfway down the beach which is perfect for paddling in.
And if you’re a group of students on a day trip, the highlight has to be the pub. On the beach. Yes, you heard that right.
The Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is the UK’s only bar on a beach. It’s open through the holidays at all times of the year, with picnic tables sprawling out over the sand in the summer.
The bar serves beers from Cornwall’s St Austell Brewery, as well as the all important staple for any British beach trip – tea. Plus, considering it’s on sand, the toilets are actually decent.
Get a closer look at the Watering Hole and Perranporth beach from the live webcam on the pub’s balcony!
#2 – Kynance Cove, Cornwall
A rocky little beach on the Lizard peninsula, Kynance Cove is renowned as one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the South West. In fact, it’s right in the official Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Owned and managed by the National Trust, it’s a great place to explore if you like walking along cliffs and peering into rock pools and caves.
Nestled in the grass above the cove is Kynance Cafe, which does an absolutely slamming Cornish cream tea, ideal for enjoying on a picnic bench overlooking the bay.
It’s also famous for fresh Kynance crab sandwiches, Cornish pasties and Callestick Cornish Ice Cream.
The cafe itself is very eco-conscious, getting its electricity from Photo voltaic solar roof tiles, and using rain water for its toilets.
Obviously the cream tea is the main highlight (rather than the toilets) – do not miss the opportunity to stop if you’re in the area.
#3 – Porthmeor Beach, St Ives
You’ve probably seen photos of the St Ives Harbour and the little beach protected by the wharf, but the real sand to head for in St Ives is just on the other side of the town by the Tate art gallery.
Porthmeor Beach curves between the two headlands – the Island and Clodgy Point, creating a safe sandy spot for families, swimmers and surfers. In fact, it’s one of only eight beaches in Cornwall that hold the Blue Flag Award for water quality, safety, and environmental management.
My top tip for anyone visiting St Ives is to beware of seagulls. They seem to have evolved instincts and diving skills surpassing any other gull you may have encountered, and can swipe anything from an unwitting hand. Guard your pasties.
#4 – Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
Gylly beach in Falmouth holds a special place in my heart. Only 10 minutes from our student house, it was a sweet study spot for a warm day, a great view for an early morning jog, and one of the best sights to show visitors.
Gylly Beach Cafe
Possibly my favourite place in Falmouth, Gylly Beach Cafe is a must-visit. Looking for a quick bite to eat after a walk along the coast? Or a nice spot for an evening meal? Breakfast after a night out? Just a cup of tea? Live music?
Cosy in winter, open to the sun in summer, Gylly Beach Cafe really does have it all. And I was always very impressed by the customised server uniforms from Soul California.
If you’re up for a stroll there’s a lovely walk round to Swanpool Beach, where you can grab ice cream made from Cornish clotted cream.
You can’t go to Cornwall without including a beach on your itinerary, so if you’re anywhere near these, go check them out. Oh, and don’t miss the Eden Project.
If you’ve got a favourite Cornish beach, let me know in the comments!