Close Icon
Poldhu Cove

The Cornwall surf scene is one of the best reasons to visit this spectacular South West region. If you’re looking to find the best surfing beaches in Cornwall, look no further.

Cornwall is one of the largest areas for surfing in the whole of England, with an ever-growing number of tourists visiting each year to experience high waves and the picturesque coastal scenery of its beaches.

The region also plays host to one of the largest pro-surf competitions and festivals in Europe, Boardmasters, which only strengthens its position as one of the leading surfing authorities.

Discover the 7 top surfing beaches in Cornwall below…


1. St Ives

St Ives, Cornwall

The St Ives Surf School promises a memorable experience for those learning how to surf or brushing up on those forgotten skills. Aiming to teach you new surfing skills, while also providing extra services such as SUP, coasteering and sea kayaking.

Discover the soft, golden sands of Porthminster Beach, the second largest St Ives beach, and benefits from the mildest climate for those looking to start their surfing practice with gentler waves. Porthminster also serves up some delicious homemade food from the local, award-winning café.

For more dining out opportunities, discover 5 of the best restaurants in St Ives.

St Ives is an excellent opportunity for some coastal walks with your four-legged friend, offering intimate sheltered coves nearby if you’d like a quieter spot to enjoy a family picnic or sunbathe. For more ideas on how to spend your holiday in St Ives, browse through our St Ives Travel Guide.


2. Polzeath

Polzeath, Cornwall

Often referred to as the home of British surfing, Cornwall’s list of popular surfing beaches grows with every new year, with Polzeath nearing the top of the list. Here, beginners will have ample opportunities to gain experience, whilst those seasoned professionals have the opportunity to challenge themselves.

Park your car on the beach and spend the afternoon relaxing against the sands or cruising those high end waves, where you can spot the occasional dolphin or seal swimming beside you. If the competitiveness of Polzeath surf discourages you, then try your hand at the sister beach of New Polzeath, favoured among the community as being a quieter spot where you can learn these new skills in your own time.

From your Polzeath cottage, enjoy a range of quaint pubs, restaurants and cafés serving excellent Cornish food and real ale for you to sample once those rolling waves tire you out.


3. Perranporth

Perranporth, Cornwall

Ever-growing in popularity with the Cornish community for its excellent opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities, including surfing, snorkelling, sailing and swimming, Perranporth Beach is recognised as an exceptional base for those of you who enjoy the outdoors, offering three miles of golden sands.

Due to its large size, Perranporth gives the impression of a quiet and secluded beach, where parents can teach their little ones the fundamentals of surfing without being overlooked. The surrounding area is bursting with wildlife, with butterflies and lizards often being found nearby.

After an active day of surfing, take advantage of your quiet spot and enjoy a relaxing afternoon sunbathing, or venture towards the popular Watering Hole, where you will discover a choice of snacks and drinks to your quench your appetite.


4. Bude

Bude, Cornwall

Discover one of Cornwall’s most picturesque sandy beaches, popular for its cliff-top backdrop and divine turquoise waters, attracting the locals and tourists for a number of watersporting activities.

Each of Bude’s local beaches are perfectly placed for picking up westerly winds which add to the thrilling surf, challenging even the most experienced to a rocky ride.

Summerleaze Beach benefits from its easy walk from the centre of Bude, with the salt-water pool resting at the foot of the majestic cliffs, a real hidden gem for those who enjoy exploring.

Find more fascinating things to do in Bude by browsing our Bude Travel Guide.


5. Gwithian

Gwithian, Cornwall

A majestic and colourful beach resting a few miles north of St Ives, Gwithian is favoured for its simply outstanding coastal views across to St Ives Bay and its steady waves, making it the perfect spot for testing your strengths and weaknesses on the surfing board.

You are ideally positioned for exploring this long stretch, boasting a number of rock pools and caves, something you and your little ones would delight in exploring.

There is also an on-site café open all-year-round, boasting locally sourced ingredients for a superior lunching experience.


6. Sennen Cove

Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Sennen Cove is a popular base for Cornwall surfers, as it attracts the Atlantic gales from the west, proving to be one of the most challenging adventures and would be more suited to those with more training in the art of surfing.

Having said that, if you’re a promising student, then take advantage of the Sennen Surfing School where you can refine those rusty surf skills with a friendly team to support you and offer advice, as well as beginners courses. If you’re feeling brave, try your hand at those turbulent waves, whilst overlooking the stunning granite cliffs.

Sennen Cove combines its beach with the small harbour; there is also a working fishing port for those keen fishers among you.


7. Newquay

Newquay, Cornwall

As one of Cornwall’s most thriving seaside towns, Newquay benefits from the internationally renowned Fistral Beach, recognised as being one of the best surfing destinations.

Surfers from all over the world are attracted to Newquay for its divine sands and rolling waves, not forgetting the local surf school mere minutes’ away, perfect for those looking to learn the basics.

This is the ideal spot for you to show off your surfing skills, where the waves can reach impossible heights of up to 8 feet. Whether you are a keen beginner, a thrill-seeking expert or simply someone who likes to watch the crowds, Fistral Beach is the best choice for your next surfing holiday.

For more things to do in Newquay, read our guide to Newquay beaches and have a browse through our Newquay Travel Guide.


Need more reasons to visit Cornwall? Browse through our wide-range of beach cottages in Cornwall and treat yourself to a coastal holiday. If you’re unsure what else you can get up to in the area, then visit our Cornwall Travel Guide for more inspiration. 

Share with us your pictures of your favourite Cornwall surfing beaches by tagging our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages!


Image Credits: JackPeasePhotography – (CC BY 2.0)David Merrett(CC BY 2.0); Andrew Bone – (CC BY 2.0); Darren Flinders(CC BY-ND 2.0); Giuseppe Milo(CC BY 2.0); Andrew Travers(CC BY 2.0); Kathryn(CC BY-ND 2.0); Thomas Tolkien(CC BY 2.0), NilfanionCC BY-SA 4.0

Get involved in the Discussion

Sign up to receive discounts, exclusive offers, travel tips and guides.