Beaches in West Cornwall

The white, sandy beaches found in West Cornwall are both beautiful and dramatic. Being the westernmost tip of the mainland, the Atlantic Ocean breaks against the shores here with a great ferocity that makes them popular spots for surfing. Meanwhile, Kynance Cove delivers beauty and romance in spades, with its dazzlingly clear waters and pure white sand.

Highlights: popular beaches in West Cornwall

  • St Ives Harbour Beach: St Ives is a hotspot for tourists, making this soft-sanded beach, which is revealed at low tide, exceptionally popular. It can get quite crowded when the weather is fine – particularly as the tide comes in. It’s an operational harbour, and being in St Ives means there are a number of fine places to eat, drink and stay the night
  • Portreath: A favourite of many, this large, fine-sanded beach is great for families and has a smattering of pleasant cafes, pubs and restaurants nearby. Surfing and bodyboarding is popular here, and there’s a good surf school to help the uninitiated
  • Kennack Sands: The two beaches at Kennack are popular with families and surfers. They are near the village of Kuggar, on the Lizard Peninsula, and have decent amenities nearby, including a car park, café and toilets. Out at sea there are shipwrecks, the hulls of which can, at low tide, sometimes be easily seen from Carn Kennack, the hill that divides the two beaches
  • Porthmeor Beach: This beautiful beach at St Ives, is regarded by many as one of Cornwall’s best. It has beautiful golden sand, is a safe haven for swimming, and is surrounded by first-class facilities, including hotels, restaurants, shops and the renowned Tate gallery
  • Praa Sands Beach: This beautiful, white-sand beach is great for families, and being a mile-long means those without children can still find a quiet spot. Also known as Hendra beach, the nearest town is Helston, and there is decent parking and café facilities close by
  • Gwenver Beach: Despite being only 150 metres wide, this beach is rarely crowded, due to the somewhat tricky access from the clifftops. It’s popular with experienced surfers, and at low tide it joins with the neighbouring Sennen Beach. On a clear day, the Scilly Isles can be seen on the horizon about 30 miles away
  • Kenneggy Sands: This sandy beach is rather exclusive thanks to the effort required in getting to and from it. At low tide it can be reached from neighbouring Praa Sands, but if you’re stranded when the tide comes in, you’ll have to climb the chain ladders up to the steep and winding cliff path
  • Coverack: Coverack is a traditional Cornish fishing village, and the small beach here, though rocky in places, is a lovely spot to relax. At low tide, the Manacles can be seen out at sea; these treacherous rocks are responsible for the many sunken ships dotted around the coastline here, which attract a number of divers
  • Godrevy Cove: Godrevy, with its Atlantic-facing prospect is hit with the ocean’s full force, making it rather dramatic a great place for surfing – if you’re feeling brave. The golden sands stretch for three miles and end at a rocky outcrop with nearby lighthouse – the very lighthouse that was never visited in the Virginia Woolf’s novel that is set here
  • Kynance Cove: One of the most beautiful views in Cornwall can be experienced on Kynance Cove, when, at the right time of day, the sunlight turns the water turquoise as it laps against the white sand that contrast vividly against the beautiful rocky cliffs of red. This beach is often painted and photographed, but seeing it for yourself is a sight to behold, making the 15 minute walk from the car park well worth the effort

At a glance

Visit the picturesque Kynance Cove, with it's beautiful serpentine rocks and crystal-clear waters

Watch the powerful waves break at Godrevy Cove, and the skilled surfers harnessing the ocean's power

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