Cornwall is a country surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides, with caves, coves, bays and headland all waiting for you to explore, a county of unspoiled natural beauty, especially when it comes to its beaches.
Inspired by Watergate Bay’s listing as one of the top 10 English beaches in The Telegraph, we wanted to compile a list of the top 10 beaches in Cornwall, but it proved to be a bit of a challenge for just one person to pick. So instead we set about asking as many employees and friends of Watergate Bay Hotel for their favourites. It’s fair to say we were inundated with suggestions and reasons as to why their choice should feature in the list, however there were some clear, stand-out choices, and here they are, in no particular order…
Perranporth beach stretches out for three miles on the north Cornwall coast, when the tide is out, perfect for walking your dog or finding a quiet spot to enjoy a spot of sun bathing. Because the beach is so long it can feel like you have the whole place to yourself.
The beach is flanked on one side by rolling sand dunes which make for an enjoyable walk or, for those of you who are into your fitness, a challenging run. Local riding stables also take rides along the beach and kitesurfers can often be seen towards the north end.
On top of this the beach bar/café, The Watering Hole, which is only accessable via the beach it serves food and drink throughout the seasons and plays host to some great live bands.
Whitsands is a beach largely over looked by visitors and tourists but the people of Plymouth and Cornwall have long cherished this beautiful stretch of coast line on the south coast.
Whitsands is accessible by a long set of stairs that passes the very popular Cliff Top Café, or by a series of cliff paths that seem as if they have been forged into the cliff over the years by eager visitors. It is a steep decline down onto the beach but well worth it – sometimes the best beaches are the most difficult to get to!
3. Constantine Bay
This west facing beach on the north coast is very popular with surfers and swimmers due to the great surf and because the water quality is frequently tested and approved by DEFRA. However, it is advised that only experienced surfers take to the waters at Constantine Bay due to the hidden rocks and strong rip currents.
For those of you who aren’t feeling a dip in the Antlantic but love to explore, Constantine Bay offers a multitude of rock pools abundant with sea life at low tide. Come rain or shine, rock pooling is a great family activity!
4. Watergate Bay
It would be impossible not to mention our beautiful beach, Watergate Bay; two miles of fine sandy beach on the north coast of Cornwall.
We are a great beach for water sports attracting world class kite surfers and surfers a like. For those of you who aren’t necessarily ‘world class’, Watergate Bay is home to the Extreme Academy Surf School who provide lessons to all standards of water sports enthusiasts The bay is so popular in the water sports world that it hosts national competitions such as English Nationals Surfing Championships and European Long Board Championships. Other events that take place on our beach are Polo on The Beach returning this May, the Ultra Trail SW and its own festival, Electric Beach.
Watergate Bay also boasts some great places to eat, namely The Beach Hut and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall.
Recently Watergate Bay has been included in England’s Top Ten Beaches compiled by The Telegraph and been awarded ‘Excellent Bathing Quality’ by the Marine Conservation Society.
5. Lusty Glaze
Just south of Watergate the privately owned Lusty Glaze beach has a reputation for beach entertainment second to none; with a great beach-side restaurant, live music, surfing, a zip-wire, adventure centre and traditional beach huts. This Summer see’s Seth Lakeman and The Proclaimers perform on the beach plus the return of Beach Dodgeball and Beach Tag Rugby.
Lusty Glaze beach is situated just outside Newquay accessible by 133 steps or from Newquay towncentre.
6. Crantock Beach
Crantock is a National Trust site offering a large expanse of golden sands sheltered by sand dunes. Popular for swimming, snorkelling, surfing and wind-surfing with board and canoe hire on the beach. Crantock gets the odd visit from a few dolphins too! Walking from Crantock the path leads to a sandy cove called Porth Joke known locally as Polly Joke.
7. Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps
Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps is also a National Trust site and an absolute must-see beach; the landscape is synonymous with shipwrecks and smugglers and spectacular clifftop views. A few miles north of Watergate Bay, it offers especially beautiful coastal walks between the two.
The National Trust have recently updated the cliff steps leading down to the beach, but visitors need to be aware of the risk of being cut off by the tide..
Porthcurno, located in the far west of Cornwall, has been described by many as a ‘paradise’. The beach has won several awards for its fine, white sand and turquiose sea loved by families. Probably the most spectacular part of Porthcurno is the open air Minack Theatre perched on top of the cliff, built in 1920s; open all year round fo you to visit.
The cliffs provide excellent shelter making the beach a real sun trap. There is a stream running down one side of the beach which is perfect for toddlers to paddle in.
There is nothing quite like watching the sun set from Porthcurno.
9. Gwithian Towans
Gwithian Towans, at low tide, is a vast expanse of beach just north of St. Ives, usually awash with kite and wind surfers due to the constant swell. Seals and sea birds are a common sight at Gwithian, as for many this is their breeding ground. Sea life is also present in the many large rock pools that are left behind at low tide, a firm family favourite.
The Sunset Surf café, open all year round, looks over the beach serving locally sourced food, where possible with great views of the Godrevy lighthouse.
The beach is accessible via a path through the sand dunes.
10. Sennen Cove
Sennen Cove is known for being Cornwall’s most westerly surfing hub with top rated surfing conditions. Not only is it popular with water sports enthusiasts, but climbers are often drawn to Sennen Cove due to its protection form westerly Atlantic winds.
The beach lies beside Sennen village, a small, working fishing harbour only a few miles from Penzance. The parish of Sennen boasts a beautiful selection of sea-front galleries, cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops. Whilst the beach itself is very relaxed making it extremely popular with both tourists and locals.
So there you have it, our top 10 beaches in Cornwall. If you have any other beaches to add, which we are sure you will, leave us a comment below.
Photo’s sourced via Pinterest.