Green Bay beach, next to Porthcurno in south Cornwall beaches, England, UK
Best Cornwall Beaches
The best British county for beaches after Dorset is probably Cornwall, the far south-west wedge of UK territory thriving on relatively good weather (though a tendency towards warm but wet), excellent walks (especially impressive is the South West Coast Path) if clouds gather and relaxed locals. Cornwall embraces two differing coastlines:
-North Cornwall is a rugged, weather-beaten coast, supposed home to King Arthur in Tintagel, along with smugglers and wreckers originally, but now the province of surfers and other adrenalin freaks taking advantage of lengthy beaches, good winds and consistent Atlantic surf, while in the summertime young party people wreck themselves in the pubs and bars while locals smuggle their rage home.
– South Cornwall tends to be more suited to families with toddlers, with its charming little fishing villages, many characterful coves, soft sand, and generally shallow, protected waters though surf happens there too in a more limited way.
Kynance Cove, south Cornwall.
More fine sands can be found at Cornwall’s Kynance Cove on the right tip of the Lizard Peninsula, though the spectacular rock formations somewhat impede beach-goers from spreading out on the sand when the tide is in.
Access to Kynance beach involves a 10 minute walk down steps from the car park or an eon depending on how many shrieking rug rats you are dragging, but once there it’s a beach of good kid interest with caves, cliff walks, tiny flowers, strange rock shapes and comfortable grass to mellow out on, instead of the grey-white sand that tends to get into every crevice. An excellent little café looks after lunches; no dogs allowed. Head for Lizard village and you’ll see Kynance signs pointing right just before the village appears.
Marazion beach and town seen from St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
Marazion, within shouting distance of St Michael’s Mount, is a lovely little town lined with a massive flat beach of sand/pebbles depending on what the tide brought in, with magnificent views of the sometimes island of Michael. Marazion is just 10 minutes drive from Penzance and en route for Kynance Cove.
Walking across Marazion beach to St Michael’s Mount at low tide.
Fistral beach, Newquay, north Cornwall.
North Cornwall’sbest known town is Newquay, conveniently close to the UK’s best accessible surf, especially the rollers found at Fistral – where surf competitions regularly take place and currents run strong – or Watergate Bay a couple of miles north, both windy locations and much loved by adrenalin junkies pursuing varied mad activities, though both areas also sport some fine restaurants with spectacular views and outdoor seating.
Newquay has recently become notorious for young-blood nightlife that has a habit of getting waaaay out of control and comprehensively turning the town centre into a rampant, raucous, vomit-stained rubbish dump between the hours of 10pm and whatever.
Another excellent surf spot on the north coast is Polzeath, enjoyed by seals and dolphins too on a good day. Adjacent to great hiking trials too, Polzeath is on the point opposite Padstow (home to Rick Stein property empire and many second homes of rich city folk, off the B3314 road.
Porthmeor, St Ives‘ surfing beach, north Cornwall. But it’s not all about surf! About halfway along the beach on the left you can just see a branch of London’s Tate Gallery.
St Ives, North Cornwall, is a much more sedate town than Newquay though still offers good surf on Porthmeor beach, great views from many locations, attractive flower displays (the town is a frequent Britain in Bloom winner), great sea food and broad cultural interest including the Tate St. Ives museum – part of the London Tate Gallery – the Barbara Hepworth sculpture museum and the two-week September Arts Festival that hosts music, poetry, literature and fine art.