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Cornwall England Most Beautiful Beaches you can’t miss in 2022

Cornwall is often hailed as the best destination in the UK for a beach holiday. If you’re planing your trip to Cornwall in 2022 , you can’t miss Cornwall England Most Beautiful Beaches as this post mentioned. The 250 mile Cornish Coast boasts over 300 beaches. Far beyond the sheer number of beaches, it’s the incredible scenic variety along the Cornish Coastline that thrills and dazzles.

From pristine stretches of sand to secluded coves studded with granite stacks, Cornwall has it all. There are beaches for surfers, swimmers, dog owners, families, photographers, and foodies.

The best beaches in Cornwall are concentrated in the North and West. The South of Cornwall has many merits, but, if we’re being honest (which we are), its beaches pale in comparison.

Cinematic and grand, North Cornwall is dominated by sweeping stretches of golden sand, towering granite cliffs, and windswept dunes. The West (Penwith Peninsula and the Lizard Peninsula) boasts picturesque coves defined by sculpturesque cliffs and lapping turquoise waters.

In this round-up of our favorite beaches in Cornwall, we’ve included pertinent info on parking, nearby places to eat, and seasonal dog restrictions.

Tips for Visiting Cornish Beaches

Beach Parking. Most car parks in Cornwall are pay-and-display. Payment methods vary. Sometimes you can pay for parking using a mobile app (e.g. PayByPhone,  Justpark). Other times, you can only pay using pound coins (exact change). Always have coins on hand, as these parking machines do not accept notes and do not issue change. Dogs. Beaches in Cornwall are generally dog-friendly. However, there are seasonal dog bans on certain beaches.Tide Times. Some beaches like Kynance Cove Beach and Pedn Vounder Beach completely disappear in high tide. It’s important to research tide times in advance and plan your visit accordingly. Lifeguard Service. Many beaches provide a seasonal lifeguard service, usually starting in mid-May and ending in late September. Flags indicate where the lifeguard patrolled area is. If there’s no flag, there’s no lifeguard service. Call 999 in an emergency.

See more A 2-week Cornwall road trip itinerary here !

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Let’s see Cornwall England Most Beautiful Beaches you can’t miss in 2022

Cornwall Beach Map

1. Mawgan Porth Beach

Mawgan Porth Beach, North Cornwall, England

Mawgan Porth Beach is a picturesque sandy beach in North Cornwall, located about halfway between Watergate Bay and the Bedruthan Steps.

It’s one of the few beaches in Cornwall that can be admired from the road.

Divided by the River Menalhyl and flanked by sand dunes and cliffs, the intimate cove of Mawgan Porth completely disappears in high tide.

There are a cluster of eateries and restaurants across the road from the beach, including:

If you’re craving a short walk, follow the coastal trail north to the Bedruthan Steps, a stretch of coastline studded with massive granite stacks. The trail initially climbs a set of stairs and then gracefully flattens out.

Follow the trail to the various viewpoints overlooking Bedruthan Steps. And, if you visit during the day, you can treat yourself to a delicious cream treat at the Carnewas Tea Room. Open: 11 am – 5 pm daily (weather dependent).

It takes about 40 minutes (1.7 km) to walk from Mawgan Porth to the Carnewas Tea Room. You can extend the walk to Porthcothan Beach and beyond.

Watergate Bay, Cornwall, England

Parking | Merrymoor Inn Parking

Exact Location: Google MapsFee: During the day, they charge a flat fee of 5 GBP (cash only). When we visited twice in the evening, no one was collecting a fee.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Mawgan Porth Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Bedruthan Hotel & Spa (midrange)

2. Watergate Bay Beach

Watergate Bay Beach, South West Coast Path, Cornwall, England

Watergate Bay Beach, the crème de la crème of Cornish beaches,  is a vast golden sandy beach backed by towering cliffs, located 3 miles north of Newquay. It’s regarded as one of the finest surfing destinations in Cornwall.

It’s also a stunning destination for walking, dog-walking, and photography. To appreciate the sheer size of Watergate Bay, walk the beach, or follow the coastal path north in the direction of Mawgan Porth and south in the direction of Newquay.

To access Watergate Bay Beach, follow the path between the No.1 Cubs Coffee Shop and the Watergate Bay Hotel down to the beach.

There are several restaurants and cafés at Watergate Bay including The Beach Hut (casual, dog friendly), The Living Space (dog friendly), Zacry’s Restaurant (dinner only), and Emily Scott Food (fine dining). In high season, reservations are essential.

Parking | There are three parking lots at Watergate Bay.

Watergate Top Field

The entrance to this car park is along the B3276 coast road, south of the beach access point. This is the cheapest place to park if you’re spending several hours at Watergate Bay (surfing, walking, eating, etc…). From the grassy, clifftop car park, follow the scenic gravel path to Watergate Bay Hotel and down to the beach.

Exact Location: Google Maps Fee: 4.50 GBP daily rate.Payment: Pay for parking at the Hangout coffee shop, located at the car park.

Watergate Bay Car Park (Cornwall Council) 

This parking lot is free after 4 pm.

Exact Location: Google Maps Fee: April 1st – October 31st, 9 am – 4 pm, Monday – Sunday Up to 1 hour: 1.70 Up to 2 hours: 3.402 to 3  hours: 4.903 – 4 hours: 6.60Up to 24 hours: 8.70 Payment: JustPark app or pay-and-display coin-operated parking machine. There isn’t a strong signal here, so make sure you have pound coins just in case.

Watergate Bay Beach Car Park (ParkingEye – UK)

This is the closest car park to the beach.

Exact Location: Google Maps Fee: 6 am – 9 amFee: 9 am – 6 amUp to 1 hour: 1.50 GBPUp to 2 hours: 3 GBP Up to 3 hours: 4.50 GBPUp to 21 hours: 7 GBPPayment: PayByPhone app or parking machine (credit cards and cash)

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Watergate Bay Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Trevarrian Lodge (midrange), Trewassick Barn (midrange), Bedruthan Hotel & Spa (midrange), or Porth Veor Manor Hotel

3. Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, England

Fistral Beach is a gorgeous sandy beach backed by sand dunes in North Cornwall. Newquay’s most famous beach is bookended by two headlands, one crowned by the stately Headland Hotel and the other by Lewinnick Lodge.

Widely regarded as the best surfing beach in Cornwall, Fistral is iconic. This is the place to learn how to surf, or hone your skills.

Beyond surfing, Fistral Beach is an ideal place to hang out, grab a drink, eat brunch, or simply watch the sunset. On the southend, the beachside Sea Spray Fistral is a popular eatery for breakfast. On the other end, the sunny deck of Fistral Beach Bar beckons you to grab a drink and enjoy the view. Just above Fistral Beach Bar, Stable offers delicious pizzas and pies overlooking the Atlantic.

Insider Tip: If you’re visiting Fistral Beach on a Sunday, make a reservation at Lewinnick Lodge for Sunday Roast. This was one of the most enjoyable meals we had during our time in Cornwall.

Parking | There’s free street parking along the Esplanade Road in Newquay.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Fistral Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Studio 2 (budget), Surf View House (midrange), Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa – Adults Only (luxury), or Lewinnick Lodge (luxury)

4. Crantock Beach

Crantock Beach, Gannel, North Cornwall, England

Crantock Beach is a broad sandy beach, located between the twin headlands of Pentire Point West and Pentire Point East in North Cornwall. The sand-dune backed beach is set alongside the Gannel, an estuary that separates the village of Crantock from the town of Newquay.

During low-tide, Crantock is a very popular family-friendly beach. Most families with small children gather along the river. Kids play and float atop inflatables in the shallow waters of the Gannel, close to the Fern Pit Café pedestrian footbridge.

Far fewer people venture to the sea. It’s advised only to swim in the sea, when lifeguards are present, due to the strong currents of the Gannel.

The closest place for refreshments is the beachside Scoop kiosk which offers take-away coffee and ice cream.

There are a few ways to get to Crantock Beach. You can approach the beach from the village of Crantock and park at the National Trust Crantock Beach car park. In high season, you must arrive early to secure a parking place. You can also park at the Beachcomber Café, but they charge an exorbitant flat rate fee of 12 GBP.

Alternatively, you can access the beach from Newquay. Head to the Fern Pit Café on Riverside Crescent. A private stairway connects the café to the Gannel.

During high tide, you can cross the river via a ferry for a small fee. During low tide, you can cross the river via a pedestrian footbridge (no fee). The Fern Pit Café stairway is only open seasonally, usually starting in late May.

If the Fern Pit Café stairway and bridge are closed, you can also get to Crantock Beach by following Rubble Lane down to the Gannel.

Parking | National Trust Crantock Beach Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsFee:Up to 1 hour: 2 GBPUp to 4 hours: 4 GBPAll Day: 8 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change) or PayByPhone mobile app.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Crantock Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Chy-an-Lowena (5-bedroom house at Crantock Beach), 43 annexe apartment (budget), or Mawgan Pads Trevella Crantock (budget)

5. Holywell Bay

Holywell Bay Beach, Cornwall, England

Backed by rolling grass tufted sand dunes, Holywell Beach is a splendid expanse of sand in North Cornwall, south of Newquay. This large spacious beach is popular for surfing and bodyboarding because of the Atlantic swells.

Holywell Bay is further defined by the Gull Rocks, which are triangle-shaped twin islets, situated just offshore.

Park at the National Trust Holywell Bay Car Park in Holywell and follow the path to the coast, passing the Gull Rocks Bar & Coffee House. It’s a good 10 minute walk to reach the beach.

Before, or after your visit, head to The Treguth Inn in Holywell for a bite to eat. This white-washed thatched-roof pub dates back to the 13th century.

Parking | National Trust Holywell Bay Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsHigh Season Fee: March 1 – October 312 GBP up to 1 hour4 GBP up to 4 hours8 GBP all day Low Season Fee: November 1 – February 281 GBP up to 1 hour2 GBP up to 4 hours4 GBP all day Payment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change) or PayByPhone mobile app. When we visited, there was no signal, so we had to pay with coins.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Holywell Bay Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Holywell Bay Bed and Breakfast (budget), or Atlantic View (luxury)

6. Polly Joke Beach

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall, England

Polly Joke Beach is a secluded beach set in a deep cove between headlands, north of Holywell Bay and south of Crantock Beach in North Cornwall.

The appeal of this narrow cove is that it’s harder to get to and hence not as busy as nearby beaches.

There are a few ways to reach Polly Joke (also spelled Porth Joke), all of which require some amount of walking.

We highly recommend parking at the National Trust Holywell Bay Car Park and following the coastal path to Kelsey Head and then onwards to Polly Joke. The path first traverses the Holywell sand dunes and then continues across a vast grazing pasture along the cliffs.

In early May, during lambing season, this field is teeming with playful and curious lambs. With the ocean waves forming the backdrop, watching these newborns prance is nothing short of cinematic.

If you’re walking with your dog, ensure that your dog is leashed and keep a respectful distance from the animals.

Parking | We parked at the National Trust Holywell Bay Car Park (see info above) and walked to Polly Joke. However, there are also closer car parks at West Pentire.

Lifeguards | None.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Polly Joke Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | 43 annexe apartment (budget), Mawgan Pads Trevella Crantock (budget), Holywell Bay Bed and Breakfast (budget), or Atlantic View (luxury)

7. Perranporth Beach

Perranporth Beach, Cornwall, England

Perranporth Beach is a large sandy beach bordered by dunes in North Cornwall. It’s located south of Newquay and north of Portreath.

Perranporth Beach bleeds into Perran Sands Beach, together creating a one mile stretch of sand.

It’s also home to the popular Watering Hole beach bar which doubles as a music venue.

A compelling reason to visit Perranporth Beach is easy access to the St. Agnes Heritage Coast, a dramatic stretch of coastline defined by colorful, rugged cliffs.

One of our favorite walks in Cornwall hugs the coast from Perranporth to Trevellas Cove. You can also extend the hike to St. Agnes Head, Wheal Coates engine house, and Chapel Porth Beach.

Parking | Wheal Leisure Car Park

There’s no charge to park here between 5 pm and 9 am.

Exact Location: Google MapsCharging Period: April 1 – October 31, 9 am – 5 pm daily. Fee: Up to 1 hour: 0.90 GBP1 to 2 hours: 2.80 GBP 2 to 3 hours: 4.20 GBP3 to 4 hours: 5.20 GBP24 hours: 6.90 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change) or JustPark mobile app.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Perranporth Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Flat Rocks (budget), Garden Room (budget), Little Fernleigh (midrange), or St George’s Country House (luxury)

8. Hayle Beach

Hayle Beach is a vast stretch of sand, along St. Ives Bay in West Cornwall. This massive beach stretches between the Hayle Estuary and Godrevy Point, measuring 3 miles in length.

This is an excellent beach to visit in high summer, as there’s plenty of space for everyone.

Hayle Beach is divided into various sections:

Upton Towans BeachBeach ViewMexico TowansRiviere Towans Hayle Towans

Before/after visiting Hayle, pop by the Bucket of Blood for an atmospheric drink or bite to eat.

ParkingRiviere Towans Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsFee: 6 am – Midnight Up to 1 hour: 1 GBPUpt to 3 hours: 3 GBPUp to 6 hours: 4 GBPAll day: 6 GBP Payment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change) or JustPark app.

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service in certain areas.

Dogs | There are seasonal dog restrictions on Hayle Beach. Dogs are banned on this beach from July 1 – August 31, 10 am – 6 pm.

Where to Stay | The Penellen Bed and Breakfast (budget), Pensilva Three Bedrom Chalet (budget), or Primero Apartments – Wharf Houses (luxury)

9. Portheras Cove

Portheras Beach, Cornwall, England

Portheras Cove is a hidden sandy beach framed by granite cliffs in Penwith Peninsula, between Pendeen and Morvah.

Portheras Cove’s appeal lies in its isolated and quiet location. It is often proclaimed one of Cornwall’s last local beaches. There are no cafés or facilities nearby.

It’s possible to spot seals just offshore, usually bobbing in the surf.

We parked at the Pendeen Lighthouse and followed the coastal path north for 15 minutes to reach the cove.

Parking | To reach the cove, you can either park at the Pendeen Lighthouse or at the Portheras Cove Car Park, (“farm car park”) located close to the Chypraze Farm at the end of Rose Valley.

Pendeen Lighthouse 

Portheras Cove Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsFee: 3 GBP via honesty box

Lifeguards | None.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Portheras Cove beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Bojewyan Cottage (midrange), The Stables @ The Old Vicarage (midrange), or Tinners Rest (luxury)

10. Porthcurno Beach

Porthcurno Beach, Cornwall, England

Porthcurno Beach is located in Penwith Peninsula in southwest Cornwall.

Set in a cove flanked by otherworldly Granite cliffs, Porthcurno beach is often hailed as the most beautiful beach in Cornwall. This is an ideal destination for swimming, dipping, and sunbathing.

From the Porthcurno Long Stay car park, it’s a mere 5 minute walk to the beach.

Porthcurno Beach is also very close to the famous outdoor Minack Theatre, which was conceived and created by Rowena Cade in the 20th century.

Rowena Cade and her team carved this cliffside theater by hand, creating a sloping terraced seating area and stage overlooking the Porthcurno Bay and Logan Rock. You can tour the theater at certain times, or come to a show. Each season, the Minack Theatre stages Shakespeare plays, musicals, music ensembles, storytelling shows, and more.

Advance bookings are essential for both theater & garden visits as well as shows. Ticket prices are very reasonable. Find out what’s on and book in advance. When we visited in late May, we booked an afternoon performance of 12th Night the day before.

You can visit the theater all year round. However the show season generally runs from the Easter Holiday (March/April) until the end of October.

Parking | Porthcurno Long Stay Car Park

This car park is free between 6 pm and 8 am, Mon-Sun. Note: motorhomes and campers are prohibited between 23:00 – 8:00 hrs.

Exact Location: Google MapsCharging Period: April 1 – October 31, 8 am – 6 pm, Mon – Sun (including bank holidays)Fee: Up to 2 hours: 2.30 GBP2 to 4 hours: 5 GBPUp to 24 hours: 6.90 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change).

Lifeguards | Seasonal lifeguard service.

Dogs | There are seasonal dog restrictions on Porthcurno Beach. Dogs are banned from July 1 – August 31st, 10 am – 6 pm.

Where to Stay | Tregiffian Farm (budget), Mossley Cottage (midrange), The Upper Deck (midrange), or Spacious barn conversion (luxury)

11. Pedn Vounder Beach

Pedn Vounder Beach, Cornwall, England

Pedn Vounder Beach is a gorgeous sandy beach, rimmed by sculpturesque granite cliffs in Penwith Peninsula. In terms of scenic wonder, Pedn Voundner is the number one beach in Cornwall.

It’s very close to Porthcurno Beach, so you can visit both beaches during a single visit.

Pedn Vounder completely disappears during high tide, so it’s best to plan your visit within 60 minutes of low tide.

It’s a 20 minute walk from the Porthcurno Long Stay car park to the beach. Sturdy shoes are essential in safely navigating to this beach.

From the car park, follow the gravel path in the direction of Porthcurno Beach. At the first trail intersection (only 85 meters from the car park), turn left and follow this footpath east.

The trail gently ascends, cutting through thick vegetation. After a few minutes, there’s a trail junction. Continue straight, ignoring the right path, signed Green Bay.

Walk two minutes to another trail junction. Turn right here. Follow this coastal path for 260 meters. Looking west, there are views of Porthcurno Beach and the Minack Theatre.

When the trail splits again, follow the descending path to Pedn Vounder Beach.

A few meters after starting the descent, you’ll see the official Pedn Vounder Beach sign and a cautionary sign: “Getting to Pedn Vounder beach includes very steep and sudden unguarded drops with a near vertical climb down a rock face. Please consider this before you scramble on.”

Most of the descent is easily managed in dry conditions, albeit steep and rocky.

The final five meters to the beach are very steep. The path seems to disappear completely.

To find the route down, look more left. The “trail” leads down to the upper reaches of the beach. There are steps carved into the granite cliff. But, it’s not obvious at first.

Make sure both your hands are free, so that you can scramble safely down the granite cliff to the beach. Also, it’s a good idea to face the cliff/rock face while you descend.

Before, or after your visit, you can extend your coastal walk to Logan Rock and further to Penberth Cove.

Good to Know: Pedn Vounder is a nudist-friendly beach.

Parking | Porthcurno Long Stay Car Park 

This car park is free between 6 pm and 8 am, Mon-Sun. Note: motorhomes and campers are prohibited between 23:00 – 8:00 hrs.

Exact Location: Google MapsCharging Period: April 1 – October 31, 8 am – 6 pm, Mon – Sun (including bank holidays)Fee: Up to 2 hours: 2.30 GBP2 to 4 hours: 5 GBPUp to 24 hours: 6.90 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change).

Lifeguards | None.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Pedn Vounder Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | Tregiffian Farm (budget), Mossley Cottage (midrange), The Upper Deck (midrange), or Spacious barn conversion (luxury)

12. Kynance Cove Beach

Kynance Cove Beach, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, England

Kynance Cove Beach is perhaps the most whimsical of Cornish beaches. This tidal beach is dramatically punctuated by bizarre rock formations. During low tide, Kynance Cove Beach connects the turtle-shaped Asparagus Island to the mainland.

Kynance Cove is located on the remote west coast of Lizard Peninsula, between Lizard Point and Mullion Cove.

The fastest way to reach Kynance Cove is to park at the Kynance Cove National Trust Car Park and walk 10 minutes to the beach. There are free public toilets at the car park.

Alternatively, you can park near Lizard Point and walk to Kynance Cove.

The Kynance Cove Beach Café is located just above the beach and offers a selection of snacks and hot and cold drinks. This café is open daily from the beginning of March until November. During the low season, they open only on weekends, weather permitting.

Parking | National Trust – Kynance Cove Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsFee:Up to 1 hour: 1 GBPUp to 2 hours: 2 GBPMax: 4 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change) or PayByPhone app.

Lifeguards | None.

Dogs | There are seasonal dog restrictions on Kynance Cove beach. Dogs are banned from July 1st  – August 31st, 10am to 6pm.

Where to Stay | The Top House Inn (budget), Haelarcher Farmhouse (midrange), or Housel Bay Hotel (luxury) in Lizard

13. Porthcurnick Beach

The Hidden Hut, Cornwall, England

\The Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick Beach, Cornwall

Porthcurnick is a sandy beach on the Roseland Peninsula near Portscatho.

Porthcurnick harbors one of the best beachside cafés in Cornwall: the Hidden Hut. This inconspicuous outdoor café offers a mouthwatering selection of soups, stews, and cornish pasties, from 12 pm to 3 pm. Starting at 11 am, you can purchase drinks and cakes. The food is sensational!

The Hidden Hut is a well-known establishment with a loyal following. We visited on a moody day in the middle of May and we were in good company.

Parking | Gerrans Parish Council Car Park

Exact Location: Google MapsFee: Up to 1 hour: 1 GBP1- 3 hours: 3 GBPAll day (9 am – 6 pm): 4 GBP6 pm – 9 am: 1 GBPPayment: Coin-operated pay-and-display parking machine (exact change)

Lifeguards | None.

Dogs | Dogs are allowed on Porthcurnick Beach all-year-round.

Where to Stay | The Rosevine Hotel (luxury), or Driftwood Hotel (Luxury) near Porthscatho

Source: moonhoneytravel blog

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