When looking at the top 5 beaches in Cornwall, any one of them could also be considered as a contender for the best beach in Britain. The county of Cornwall (or Kernow to the locals) is blessed with a wide range of contrasting coastal destinations throughout its extensive north and south coast. For many the attraction is quite simply the stunning beauty of the beaches, whilst for others the allure is born out of cherished childhood memories of summer holidays in England’s beautiful south west. There is a Mediterranean quality to beaches here, crystal clear azure water laps onto golden expanses of sand. The climate in Cornwall is noticeably different to the rest of the UK, with many areas benefiting from a microclimate created by the benevolent Gulf Stream. The flora and fauna is subtly different as a result and the region is able to support sub-tropical species! We are going to take a look at just a few of our favourite Cornish beaches.
Just three short miles to south of Land’s End, the rocky outcrops at Porthcurno frame a beautiful beach which really has the feel of Portugal’s Algarve. The unspoilt ‘Bay of Cornwall’ is the epitome of a tranquil paradise and plays host to both delighted holidaymakers and also fascinating marine visitors such as basking sharks, seals and even dolphins. Steeped in history, Porthcurno was pivotal in Europe’s first trans-Atlantic telegraph links and today is over-looked by the impressive open air Minack Theatre. The beach itself is life guarded during the summer months and is sheltered by rising cliffs on either side. The view looking towards Logan’s Rock across the lagoon-like bay simply has to be one of the most stunning and evocative coastal vistas in Britain.
2. Sennen Cove
Like its nearby cousin at Porthcurno, the beach at Sennen Cove is illuminated by Cornwall’s signature aqua-marine. The beach arches majestically towards Cape Cornwall which was once considered the most westerly point in Britain until this was corrected in 1801 when Land’s End rightly assumed this mantel. Highly regarded by surfers, Sennen benefits from a wide expanse of soft golden sand and is life guarded from spring to October. This is a quintessential Cornish fishing cove which takes your breath away as you drop into the village for the first time. This part of Cornwall is relatively remote which really adds to its appeal, a little bit of extra travelling effort is rewarded by what is a picture perfect beach.
Perranporth is one of the featured locations in the popular BBC television series ‘Seaside Rescue’. This vast beach extends 3 miles to the north and the expanse of golden sand is simply awe inspiring and really shows off the north Cornish coast at its best. Again, a magnet for surfers the beach is a firm favourite with holidaymakers and boasts Britain’s only true beach bar which nestles between the rising dunes and the sea. Despite the large numbers of visitors in the summer, the size of this beach means there is plenty of room to secure a tranquil spot away from the crowds. The tide travels a long way in at high tide and then retreats into the distance beyond the prominent Chapel Rock and its natural swimming pool. Perhaps one of the most spectacular ways to take in this beautiful part of Cornwall is to book a horse ride at dawn and trail across the beach and surrounding cliff top trails.
The beach at Daymer is located to the south of Polzeath , very close to Rock and was a favourite of John Betjeman who cherished Cornwall and its bewitching landscape. Daymer is an interesting contrast to the numerous beaches that lie just a short distance to the north and south on Cornwall’s enigmatic north coast. Situated towards the western edge of the Camel estuary, Daymer is surrounded by rolling hills and fields creating an emerald patchwork vista. The beach is sheltered by the estuary and is highly prized by determined crab hunting children who pursue their targets with holiday zeal. Just another day for weary crabs who must (almost like clockwork) find themselves in and out of buckets throughout the school holidays. There is a timeless feel to the surroundings which exude tranquillity in and amongst a charming Cornish retreat that captivated one of our most renowned poets.
5. Kynance Cove
Just a short distance from Britain’s most southerly point at The Lizard, the volcanic serpentine rock (home to Cornwall’s emblematic but shy Choughs) creates a breath-taking backdrop for the beach at Kynance Cove. The jagged outcrops fill the seascape creating a transfixing view that was prized by Victorian visitors including Lord Tennyson. Kynance is exposed to the ravages of the Atlantic elements which have carved out a coastline feared by sailors throughout the ages. Managed by the National Trust, Kynance is reached by a winding path that will challenge heavily laden beach goers. Beware also that the beach at Kynance becomes completely consumed by the sea at high tide so it is important to plan your visit in advance in tandem with the tide times but the effort is worthwhile. Reclining whilst taking in the view, perhaps with a ubiquitous Cornish cream tea, is a highlight for any holiday in Kernow, home to some of Britain’s finest beaches