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Surfing in Cornwall is one of the most exciting reasons to travel to the stunning South West region. And if you’re looking for the best surfing beaches in Cornwall, you’ve come to the right place!

Cornwall is one of the most popular surfing spots in England, with an ever-growing number of tourists coming each year to enjoy its high waves and picturesque coastline.

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 best Cornwall surfing beaches below… 

1. Porthminster Beach, St Ives

Porthminster beach

Our first Cornwall surfing recommendation is the beautiful Porthminster Beach, located a short distance from St Ives. This Cornwall surfing beach is ideal for those just starting out as it enjoys gentle waves and a mild climate!

Here, you will find the outstanding St Ives Surf School, promising a memorable experience for those learning how to surf. The team aim to teach you various surfing skills, while also providing extra services such as SUP, coasteering and sea kayaking.

Porthminster Beach has a number of facilities, including an award-winning café, which serves up delicious homemade food.

This Cornwall surfing beach has excellent opportunities for coastal walks, with 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.

Type of beach: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban between 1st October – 14th May (10am – 6pm)
Car Park: Yes, but limited availability during summer
Postcode: TR26 2EB

2. Polzeath BeachPolzeath

polzeath beach

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.

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.

Type of beach: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban between 1st October – 14th May (10am – 6pm)
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: PL27 6SS

3. Perranporth Beach, Perranporth


Next on our guide to Cornwall surfing is the magnificent, Perranporth Beach, boasting three miles of golden sands.

Perranporth Beach is ever-growing in popularity for its opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities, including surfing, snorkelling, sailing and swimming!

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. 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. You can also venture towards the popular Watering Hole, where you will discover a choice of snacks and drinks to quench your appetite.

Type of beach: Sandy
Dog-friendly: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Postcode: TR6 0JN

4. Millook Haven Beach, Bude

Bude, Cornwall

Boasting a cliff-top backdrop and divine turquoise waters, Millook Haven Beach has become a real hidden gem among the Cornwall surfing scene.

The beach is perfectly placed for picking up westerly winds, which add to the thrilling surf, challenging even the most experienced surfers with a rocky ride.

There’s not much sand here, but this pebble and shingle beach is a welcome change from the summertime crowds and is a true haven for wildlife. Furthermore, it is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, so the entire family can enjoy this scenic spot!

Type of beach: Pebble
Dog-friendly: Yes
Car Park: Parking is limited on-road for just a few cars near the beach
Postcode: EX23 0DQ

5. Gwithian Townas Beach, Hayle

Gwithian Beach

A majestic and colourful beach located a few miles north of St Ives. Gwithian is favoured for its stunning coastal views across to St Ives Bay and its steady waves. This makes it the perfect spot for testing your strengths and weaknesses on the surfboard!

Look forward to exploring this long stretch of sand, boasting a number of rock pools and caves, something you and your little ones would delight in!

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

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban from 1st October – 4th May
Car Park: Ample roadside parking available
Postcode: TR27 5BT

6. Sennen Cove Beach, Sennen Cove

Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Sennen Cove is a popular base for Cornwall surfing, as it attracts the Atlantic gales from the west. Surfing here promises 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. Here, you can refine your surfing skills with a friendly team to support you and offer advice, as well as beginner courses.

If you’re feeling brave, try your hand at those turbulent waves, whilst overlooking the stunning granite cliffs.

Sennen Cove is truly one of the best beaches in Cornwall to enjoy all year round!

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban from 1st October – 14th May
Car Park: Ample roadside parking available
Postcode: TR19 7DG

7. Fistral Beach, Newquay

fistral beach

Our guide to surfing in Cornwall would not be complete without the internationally renowned Fistral Beach. Located in the thriving seaside town of Newquay, tourists flock from all over to witness the epic Cornwall surf scene here.

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. This is suitable 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 a fantastic choice for your next surfing holiday.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Dogs allowed all year
Car Park: 250 space car park at Fistral (at a charge)
Postcode: TR7 1HY

8. Godrevy Beach, West Cornwall

Godrevy beach

Next on our guide to Cornwall surfing beaches is the delightful Godrevy Beach, which is one of the more exposed beaches on the north coast.

Given the right conditions, surfing can be superb – offering long walling lefts and rights. If you’d rather stay on land, the high, cliff-top walks around Godrevy afford stunning views out to the sea while there are countless hours of fun to be had on the sandy expanse.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Seasonal dog ban from 1 July – 31 August (10am – 6pm)
Car Park: At a charge (free for National Trust members & Blue Badge holders)
Postcode: TR7 1HY

9. Praa Sands Beach, Praa Sands

Praa Sands beach

Praa Sands Beach is a great Cornwall surfing beach for those with kids to entertain! They’ll love the sands that are great for sandcastles and the shoreline is perfect for splashing.

Keen surfers should be at the ready; every so often Praa produces fast, hollow and heavy waves, which are particularly good at a high tide!

There’s also a pretty stop-off point where you can enjoy a coffee whilst sitting back and soaking up the sun.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly:  Seasonal dog ban from 1 July – 31 August (10am – 6pm)
Car Park: Ample parking in car park
Postcode: TR20 9TQ

10. Widemouth Bay Beach, Bude

Widemouth Bay beach

Despite being just three miles from the seaside resort of Bude, Widemouth Bay has a wild feel to it!

The Cornwall surfing beach boasts a glorious, exposed stretch of sand that faces west, straight into the full force of the Atlantic Breeze. This offers superb conditions to learn surfing or bodyboarding. This is why many of the local surf schools are based here, so it’s a great spot for beginners and those more experienced surfers.

Families can have a great time too, with hundreds of rock pools to explore and some sheltered areas among the sand dunes when it gets a bit chilly.

Type of beach: Sand
Dog-friendly: Dogs are welcome throughout the year on the southern section of the beach (Black Rock)
Car Park: Free parking at the north and south end
Postcode: EX23 0AH

Need more reasons to visit Cornwall? Check out these 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 Beaches Guide for even more seaside inspiration. 

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