The Cornish coast has different characteristics to the north and south. To the north, the beaches of the Atlantic tend to be broad and sandy; while to the south (and the English Channel) the beaches are smaller, sometimes pebbly or rocky, and separated by coves and headlands.

One thing you can be sure of in a county with 700 kilometres of coastline and several hundred beaches in Cornwall, and with both the north and south coasts easily accessible - a visit is unlikely to leave you disappointed whatever you are searching for in a beach.

Blue-Flag beaches of Cornwall

Several of the Cornwall beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag award for environmental protection, cleanliness, safety, water quality and standards of maintenance. These include:

  • Marazion,
  • Carbis Bay,
  • Gyllyngvase Beach,
  • Polzeath,
  • Porthmeor,
  • Porthminster,
  • Sennen Cove
  • Porthtowan

beach in Cornwall

Cornwall surfing beaches

The beaches of Cornwall (especially the northern coast) are highly reputed by surfers, especially those around Newquay -  Fistral is the best known and most popular surfing beach in the Newquay district. There are many other surfing beaches along the Cornish northern coast, although some are for experienced surfers only.

Among the most popular among all levels of surfer are:

A small selection of recommended beaches

North-east of Newquay

  • Bedruthan Steps
  • Watergate Bay
  • Newquay beaches

South-west of Newquay

  • Saint Agnes
  • Chapel Porth
  • Portreath

Penzance and the west

  • There are several high quality beaches around St Ives
  • Porthcurno (small beach with a theatre built in the cliffs above)

South coast

  • Gorran Haven