Saturday, 16 February 2013

Favourite Beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall boasts over 200 miles of coastline forming a narrow peninsula which juts into the Atlantic Ocean. As you can imagine this result in a fantastic assortment of coves, bays and beaches. There are in the region of 150 beaches dotted around this stretch of coast, each with its own distinct character. Whilst it is no easy task to choose favourites from such a selection, knowing where to go can really help to make your holiday in Cornwall.

Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula

Most scenic beach

Two candidates spring to mind for the title of most scenic beach in Cornwall. The first is Porthcurno beach in the far west of the county, however, just beating it is Kynance Cove on the Lizard Peninsula.

Kynance is carved out of the unusual serpentine geology of the Lizard and consists of islands, sea-stacks and caves. The water here is a deep turquoise due to the fine sand made from millions of crushed sea shells. Over the centuries the cove has been the muse of many an artist and the tradition continues with it providing a lure to photographers of all abilities.

Best surfing beach

Whilst nearly every beach in Cornwall picks up some of the Atlantic surf it is the north coast where the waves are biggest and most consistent. To some extent the best surfing beach can be different from one day to the next so based on consistency and how good it can get I am going to opt for a popular choice; Fistral beach in Newquay. This is where surfing began in the UK and is still the best known surf spot in the UK, but it is still a great beach. There are nearly always waves here and when it gets big it is still surfable. Probably the worst thing about Fistral is its popularity.
Surfing at Fistral Beach
Sam Smart on a good sized Fistral beach wave

Most family friendly beach

In general, any beach that has been awarded the Blue Flag will meet this criteria. The award is based on facilities, accessibility and water cleanliness. Out of all these beaches I would suggest Sennen Cove for the sheer ease of parking and overall appeal of the beach. Situated just around the UK's most westerly point, Land's End, Sennen is a picturesque stretch of sandy beach with everything you could need from a la carte dining to surf hire. The village itself is a quaint assortment of cottages around a small harbour which is worth a visit.
Best beach in Cornwall
Sennen beach - a great family beach

Best beach to be seen at

Again this is a difficult call between two very close contenders, fortunately they are within a couple of miles of each other so it is possible to cruise both. Whilst Polzeath is great for being seen post-surf I'm going to go with Cornwall's very own 'Chelsea-on-Sea', Rock. This small village across the water from Padstow is home to a disproportionate number of millionaires, a yacht club and a highly regarded golf course. It also has a very nice sandy beach running along the mouth of the Camel Estuary. So if you fancy rubbing shoulders with the rich and occasionally famous then Rock may be just the beach for you!
Rock Beach in Cornwall
Rock Beach - aka Chelsea-on-Sea!

Best town beach

There are few beaches that are overlooked by world class art galleries, offer fine dining on the beach front and are known for their surf. Porthmeor beach in St Ives has all of this and more. Within minutes of St Ives' town centre, Porthmeor is clean, family friendly beach on the very doorstep of the Tate St Ives art gallery. The Porthemeor cafe on the beach-front offers a great line in food too.
Porthmeor Beach St Ives
Porthmeor Beach in St Ives

Whilst this guide is in no way exhaustive and is highly subjective it should give you an idea of some of the fantastic beaches Cornwall has to offer. For a comprehensive guide to all the beaches in Cornwall have a look at the Cornwall Beach Guide website. If in doubt just head north, south or west and you will arrive at one of our great beaches in no time at all.


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