This year the UK saw a surprisingly consistent and blazing hot summer; this is far from the norm – as usually the weather is infamously erratic. This meant that more tourists than ever thought to travel to the UK, what’s more, many of the locals saw no reason to leave either. With popularity accelerating there is more demand than ever for an in-depth look at Cornwall’s best beaches. So, on my part (as a local), I have put together this series of recommendations based on my own experiences. Before we begin I would like to emphasise that each of my choices are more effective at catering to certain sensibilities than others, it is all down to preference – so instead of ranking the beaches I will let you come to your own conclusions. All these beaches come highly recommended. We begin this list with a look at the coast of St Ives…
Porthmeor beach is one of the more ideally situated destinations on this list; the sandy shoreline itself is host to a lovely little café (the Porthmeor beach café) that also doubles up as a surf school, it is also only a stone’s throw away from the centre of town.
St. Ives is imbued with character and zest, it is wholly refreshing. As one of the most characterful and appealing locations in Cornwall and as St. Ives’ premier beach, Porthmeor has more than earned its position on this list. It is also a ‘Blue Flag’ beach which means it is extremely family friendly – when you combine that with the great swells of tide, it is perfect for teaching kids how to learn to surf without concern. The beach itself is not the only attraction that St. Ives has to offer, it is also host to the famous Tate Gallery which displays British and contemporary modern art.
My only problem with the beach itself is actually that it is very popular which means it also gets very crowded and so may not be the best choice for those that are looking for a calm stretch of shore to unwind on.
If you enjoy sand dunes then Perranporth is for you, it is one of the most extensive systems of sand in Cornwall, stretching for an impressive 3 miles. The length alone makes it highly recommended for those that want to go running or walking their dog – it is very steep and so perfect for those that were looking to get some exercise. Of course, like most beaches in Cornwall there are facilities that allow you to rent wetsuits and boards. It is a very friendly location that attracts a diverse set of tourists. Of course, no visit to Perranporth is complete without checking out the Watering Hole, the UK’s only bar on the beach – it is fairly pricey and due to signal issues, takes a while to pay by card, but it should not be missed nonetheless. BBQ lovers should also prioritise this beach as the dunes act as fantastic wind breaks and offer up beautiful views simultaneously.
Praa Sands (Near Helston)
Praa Sands differentiates itself from the other beaches by offering up (in my opinion) unrivalled coastal paths and views. I normally begin my journey in the small harbour of Porthleven, staying in a lovely cottage courtesy of Porthleven Holiday Cottages, and walk the coastal path to the beach – this walk offers up spectacular views of seas, cliffs and rocky clothes. Praa Sands is widely regarded as beaches for expert surfers, beginners may be better off venturing to other beaches that produce less powerful waves and boast less rocky terrain. As a family beach it underperforms as it is more orientated towards experts than newcomers, the tides are often very powerful and the beach fairly rocky.
Talland Bay Beach (Looe)
This is a peaceful little beach, perfect for families with children looking to explore rock pools. There is a relatively large car park nearby so you don’t have to worry about enduring a long trek. Those that go will also get the opportunity to swim amongst natural coves and tidal pools in a sheltered area that – unlike many beaches, is not overwhelmingly busy. The Talland bay café also makes for a worthwhile visit; they are not too costly and provide a very friendly welcome.
Coverack Beach (Lizard Peninsula)
This beach isn’t a sandy haven like the other beaches, it is actually quite rocky, but what it does do is offer something different. This beach is fairly off the beaten track, sitting ten miles away from the closest significant town. This area is generally regarded as a fantastic place to fish, for those angling enthusiasts amongst you. It is also fairly quiet and peaceful, less crowded than many of the other beaches. For diving enthusiasts, there are The Manacles, these rocks are said to have caused many shipwrecks, and as a result it is a popular diving spot.
So those are my suggestions, beaches that specialise in everything from fishing and sunbathing to family holidays and surfing. There should be enough here to cater to every kind of individual, but if you know of a beach that deserves its place in this list then please let me know in the comments section below!