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Known for being one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline anywhere in the British Isles, South Cornwall is home to a vast number of hidden coves, dramatic coastal cliffs and Blue Flag Award-winning beaches.

So, if you’re planning on heading to this wonderful region for your next break and want to find all the best places to soak up the sunshine, then this guide to the best beaches in South Cornwall will be sure to help you out!

Read on to discover the best beaches in South Cornwall…


1. Nanjizal Beach, Land’s End

Nanjizal Beach

Starting on the edge of West Cornwall near the popular tourist attraction of Land’s End, Nanjizal Beach is the first entry on our guide to South Cornwall beaches. A remote hotspot, Nanjizal Beach can be reached on foot via the South West Coastal Path, which passes by the cliffs next to the beach.

Registered as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this South Cornwall beach isn’t just popular with beachgoers, but it’s also a hotspot for birdwatchers too. Not only that, but those of you with a keen eye may even spot a seal or two bobbing around the waters near this beach.

Despite only being a small beach, it’s probably one of the most visited in the area due to the fact that it’s home to the Song of The Sea Cave, a unique natural landmark that’s reminiscent of a cathedral inside that features a long thin gap at one end that resembles a church window.

This is considered one of the best wild swimming locations in Cornwall; perfect for those looking to take a dip. Not only that, but dogs are also welcome here throughout the year without any seasonal bans or restrictions, allowing you to bring your four-legged friend along to explore this exceptional hotspot.

Trust us this beach in South Cornwall is well worth the visit! Plus it lies close to Land’s End, the most westerly point in mainland England, here you can grab a picture in front of the famous sign while admiring spectacular views across the rugged Cornish coast.

Type of Beach: Sand and rock
Parking: Porthgwarra, TR19 6JR
Parking Charge: Pay and display information available in the car park
Dog-Friendly: Yes (All year round)
Postcode: TR19 6JJ

2. Porthcurno Beach, West Cornwall

Porthcurno Beach

A picturesque South Cornwall beach nestled between the coastal cliffs, Porthcurno Beach is best known for its soft white sands and secluded location, making it a great spot to head to if you’re looking to enjoy the sunshine without having to deal with crowds of beachgoers.

Protected by tall coastal cliffs on either side, this South Cornwall beach is well-sheltered from the wind, making it a calm and serene place to relax and unwind. Not only that, but these calm conditions also make it a hotspot for surfers, which you’re likely to spot if you head down here during the summer. For this reason, this wonderful hotspot also features on our list of the best beaches in Cornwall!

Easily reachable via a footpath that leads down from the beach’s main car park, you’ll find a great beach café and the PK Porthcurno Museum overlooking the bay, which makes for a great attraction to explore if you have the time. Built during the late 1800s, it once served as the home to the world’s first international telegraph line.

Also near to this South Cornwall beach, you’ll find the impressive Minack Theatre, one of the most impressive open-air theatres anywhere in the country. Built by local architect Rowena Cade during the 1930s, it still hosts regular performances to this day.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR19 6JU
Parking: Porthcurno Car Park (a 5-minute walk down a steep path and a large set of steps to the beach)
Parking Charge: Pay and Display
Dog-Friendly: Restrictions in place from July to August from 10am to 6pm
Other Facilities: Toilets, café, Museum (PK Porthcurno)

3. Longrock Beach, Longrock

Long Rock Beach

Further east along the South Cornwall coast is Longrock Beach, named for the village of Longrock where the beach is located and overlooks the expansive Mount’s Bay. Popular with both locals and tourists, many are drawn to this beach in South Cornwall because of its exceptional views and crystal-clear waters.

Consisting of a mix of sand and shingle, this beach is popular with both locals and visitors alike and has long been a favourite hotspot for windsurfers and water sports enthusiasts. During the summer, you’re more than likely to find plenty of people riding the shallow waves here.

The water surrounding this South Cornwall beach is shallow for a good distance; making it a wonderful place to go for a swim in the sea, as you’ll also find local lifeguards stationed on this beach during busier periods.

Once you’re finished for the day, why not head up to the beach café to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat? Situated just a 15-minute walk from the beach towards the car park, here you’ll also find a supply shop selling everything you could need for an afternoon on Long Rock Beach!

Type of Beach: Sand & Shingle
Postcode: TR17 0ET
Parking: Longrock Car Park (Less than a minute walk down a ramp to the beach)
Dog-Friendly: No restrictions, but dogs only allowed on Penzance side of the car park. The rest of the beach permits dogs from 18:00 to 10:00 in the summer months.
Parking Charge: Pay and Display

4. Marazion Beach, Marazion

Marazion Beach

On the eastern side of Mount’s Bay and offering impeccable views of St Michael’s Mount, Marazion Beach has long been one of the most popular beaches in South Cornwall and offers visitors both short and long-stay parking options.

Being a beach that’s open to the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find that the infamous “Atlantic swells” are relatively strong here, making it a hotspot for windsurfers who train at the school on the far end of the beach, which is why it’s often touted as one of the top surfing beaches in Cornwall. Lifeguards also monitor this South Cornwall beach, so if you’re planning on heading here to try your hand at some water sports yourself, you’ll be covered here.

If you’re up for exploration whilst here, you can hop onto the causeway that leads to the iconic mount when the tide is out, so keep an eye on the tide times and plan your visit. However, if you do happen to miss the optimal time to cross, don’t panic; you can also take a relaxing boat ride out to this historic island at high tide too.

Type of Beach: Sand & Pebble
Postcode: TR17 0EQ
Parking: Short Stay Marazion Car Park / Folleyfield Long Stay Car Park
Parking Charge: Pay & Display (both)
Dog-Friendly: Seasonal ban between Easter and 1st October
Other Facilities: Toilets, Café, Playground

5. Praa Sands, Praa Sands

Praa Sands

Further along the South Cornwall coast past Prussia Cove you’ll find the popular Praa Sands (commonly pronounced as either ‘pray’ or ‘prah’), nestled within the county’s designated National Landscape.

Situated right next to the popular resort village of the same name, this South Cornwall beach makes for a wonderful place to stop off to enjoy the golden sands and enjoy the sunshine. Backed by grassy sand dunes and a network of coastal paths, you’ll also find plenty of surfers taking advantage of the tall waves that crash ashore here, particularly during the winter.

On the beach itself, keep your eyes out for The Beach Tree, a famous landmark that fell into the sea during the 2013/14 winter storms that landed upright onto the beach below. However, despite its unfortunate fate, it still stands to this day and serves as somewhat of a legendary landmark on this South Cornwall beach.

Not only are there two spacious car parks situated right next to the beach, but there’s also a wonderful pub known as The Welloe that overlooks the beach and makes for a great place to stop off for a few drinks after an afternoon on Praa Sands!

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR20 9TG
Parking: Praa Sands Beach Car Park / Maggie’s Patch Car Park
Parking Charge: Pay & Display (both)
Dog-Friendly: Restrictions in place between 1st July – 31st August between 10am-6pm
Other Facilities: Pub, Surf School, Lifeguard Tower

6. Kynance Cove, Helston

Kynance Cove

Arguably one of the most famous beaches on the South Cornwall coast, Kynance Cove is a big hit with visitors, tourists and locals not only because of its natural beauty but also because this South Cornwall beach was a Poldark filming location, a hit BBC TV series that aired between 2015 and 2019. Not only that, but it also featured on the hit fantasy TV series House of the Dragon more recently in 2022.

Best enjoyed at low tide, this South Cornwall beach features a network of caves and caverns to explore, flanked by weird and wonderful rock formations that are totally unique to this beach. Home to both red and green serpentinite rocks, you won’t find these in many other places in Cornwall, or the rest of the British Isles for that matter!

Owned and protected by the National Trust, this wonderful hotspot is best enjoyed when the tide is out, so be sure to check times before visiting here. With a popular café overlooking the beach to enjoy as well, visiting this iconic bay on the Lizard Peninsula is a must-do.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR12 7PJ
Parking: Kynance Cove Car Park (National Trust)
Parking Charge: Pay & Display (Free for National Trust members)
Dog-Friendly: Restrictions in place between 1st July – 31st August between 10am-6pm
Other Facilities: Beach café, public toilets

7. Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Gyllyngvase Beach

Found on the southern shores of the coastal town of Falmouth, Gyllyngvase Beach is a wonderful golden sandy beach that stretches around the bay, offering stunning views of Pendennis Castle, which also features on this list of the coolest castles in Cornwall.

Known for being one of four beaches in the town, it boasts a fantastic beach café with an outdoor terrace that overlooks this beautiful South Cornwall beach. So, if you fancy stopping off for a bite to eat and a drink whilst taking in the views of the sea, then this is the place to go.

What’s best is that you’ll also find an equipment rental shop here where you can hire kayaks, paddleboards and more. They also offer lessons for beginners, so if having a go at some water sports is on the agenda, this is the perfect spot to consider visiting.

What’s best is that whilst visiting this South Cornwall beach, you’ll only be a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute drive away from Falmouth town centre and all it has to offer. So, whether you’re staying nearby or simply want to get the most out of your day, hopping between the town and the beach is more than doable on an afternoon here.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR11 4PA
Parking: Gyllyngvase Long Stay Car Park (2-minute walk from the beach)
Parking Charge: Pay & Display
Dog-Friendly: Restrictions in place between 15th May – 30th September between 10am-6pm
Other Facilities: Café, Takeaway

8. Towan Beach, Roseland Peninsula

Towan Beach

Found on the eastern edge of the Roseland Peninsula, Towan Beach is much less visited than many of the other beaches in South Cornwall, mainly due to its isolated location along the coast and being surrounded by countryside.

Because of this, Towan Beach remains quiet throughout the year, perfect for those of you hoping to avoid the usual crowds of beachgoers that this region is known for. Perfect if you’re hoping to bring your dog along for the day, this beach doesn’t operate any restrictions, which is also what makes it one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall!

Stretching nearly half a kilometre in length, this golden sandy beach is backed by a network of sand dunes and flanked by steep coastal cliffs, making the water conditions much calmer than many other South Cornwall beaches. For this reason, the beach isn’t overly popular with surfers and water sports enthusiasts, but it is a great place to go for a swim in the sea if you’re feeling brave enough!

What’s best is that Towan Beach also has a brilliant café known as The Thirstea situated at the top of the hill behind the dunes, where you can stop off for a bite to eat and a drink after a busy afternoon enjoying this seaside hotspot.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR2 5EX
Parking: Porth Farm Car Park
Parking Charge: Pay & Display (Free for National Trust members)
Dog-Friendly: Yes (All year round)
Other Facilities: Café

9. Porthcurnick Beach, Roseland Peninsula

Porthcurnick Beach

Tucked between the coastal cliffs away from the tourist crowds is Porthcurnick Beach, a beautiful sandy beach that offers impeccable views of Gerrans Bay.

Found just outside the village of Portscatho, this South Cornwall beach can be accessed via a network of coastal paths, it also has a set of steps at its southern end and a boat ramp at its northern end. So, if a spot of sailing is on the agenda, you’ll have no issues heading out to sea from this South Cornwall beach.

Popular with both locals and visitors, it’s also a haven spot for water-skiing and sailing, providing slipway access directly to the sea. With a café right on the beachfront to stop off at as well, it can also be easily reached from the South West Coastal Path which passes right by it.

Likewise, if you’re visiting Porthcurnick Beach and fancy going for a wander around the headland, this can easily be done from here too.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: TR2 5EW
Parking: Porthcurnick Beach Car Park
Parking Charge: Pay & Display
Dog-Friendly: Yes (All year round)
Other Facilities: Beach café

10. Crinnis Beach (Carlyon Bay), St Austell

Crinnis Beach

Found just outside the town of St Austell, Crinnis Beach is one of three beautifully unique stretches of sand that make up the mile-long Carlyon Bay. Noted for its rocky outcrop known as Crinnis Island, it can be easily reachable via road and features a large car park for visitors on the cliffs backing onto the beach.

Also easily reachable from the South West Coastal Path which passes right by it, this South Cornwall beach doesn’t operate any seasonal bans or restrictions for dog walkers and even has an outdoor activity hut where you can rent a jet ski for the afternoon!

What’s best is that Crinnis Beach is only a 10-minute drive from the town centre, making it convenient for visitors to hop between the coast and the hustle and bustle of St Austell.

Whether you’re staying in the town on your next break or fancy heading somewhere that you can spend a full day exploring, here is a great place to consider visiting. Not only does the town offer plenty for visitors to see and do, but on the outskirts you’ll also find the popular Eden Project that’s well worth checking out whilst here.

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: PL25 3RD
Parking: Carlyon Beach Car Park (2-minute walk from the beach)
Parking Charge: Free
Dog-Friendly: Seasonal ban between Easter and 30th September
Other Facilities: N/A

11. Lantic Bay Beach, Polruan

Lantic Bay

Found just outside the coastal village of Polruan a few miles east of the Fowey Estuary, Lantic Bay is arguably one of the most popular and best-known beaches in South Cornwall.

Famous for its crystal blue waters and fine golden sands, it can be reached by taking a short hike down the rugged cliffs from the car park. Owned and protected by the National Trust, here you’ll find plenty of people surfing the roaring waves, particularly during the winter.

However, when the water is a lot calmer during the summer months of the year, Lantic Bay Beach makes for a great spot to go for a swim in the sea, as this South Cornwall beach is bordered by tall coastal cliffs on either side, protecting it from the wind.

Although the beach itself is about half a kilometre away from the car park, making your way down the cliffs along the path to this wonderful beach will feel well worth your time once you witness just how beautiful it is!

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: PL23 1NP
Parking: National Trust Car Park – Lantic Bay
Parking Charge: Pay & Display (Free for National Trust members)
Dog-Friendly: Yes (All year round)

12. East Looe Beach, Looe

Looe Beach

Rounding off our guide to the best beaches in South Cornwall is East Looe Beach. As the main beach of this historic harbour village, it can be found on the eastern side of the river that splits this town in half and makes for a brilliant place to stop off, especially if you’re spending the day exploring this part of the South Cornwall coast.

With direct access from the town, this South Cornwall beach has a handful of car parks for visitors to use. Despite only being a small beach, it can get very busy with locals and tourists, particularly during the summer, so arriving here early to secure a spot on the sand is a must-do.

With two beach cafés here to enjoy on either end of the beach, you’ll also be just a stone’s throw away from some of the town’s best attractions like the Looe Old Guildhall Museum and Jail that’s well worth visiting whilst here.

On top of that, this South Cornwall beach is also home to the Banjo Pier, the first of its kind to be built anywhere in the world!

Type of Beach: Sandy
Postcode: PL13 1AT
Parking: Looe Harbour Car Park (5–10-minute walk from the beach)
Parking Charge: Pay & Display
Dog-Friendly: No (Permanent ban)
Other Facilities: Two beach cafés


If you’re heading here on your next break and you’re looking for even more things to see and do, have a browse of our comprehensive Cornwall Travel Guide, as well as this collection of all available Cornwall holiday cottages ready to book right now!


Image Credits: Nilfanion – (CC BY SA 4.0)

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