As promised here is our continuation of the best beaches Northern Cornwall has to offer (if you haven’t read part one yet be sure to do so!) This time we are looking at the best swimming spots and a few hidden gems!
Best for Swimming!
1. Porthcurno Beach
Located just around the corner from the stunning Minack Theatre, Porthcurno is an equally as visually impressive stretch of beach. With sheer cliff flanking either side of Porthcurno it is well protected from the elements and is a great sun trap in summer months.
With gentle lapping waves swimming here is a breeze and in the right conditions, you can even paddle around the corner to other neighbouring beaches.
After a dip in the sea, you can explore the coastal path or visit the Minack theatre located on top of the adjacent cliff, where there are toilet facilities, extensive gardens and a lovely cafe. Car parking is directly behind the beach or at the Minack theatre.
2. Porthminster Beach
Visiting St. Ives you could easily miss Porthminster Beach, located in front of the town’s incredible scenic coastline railway, away from the busy town centre.
This beach is a popular spot in the summer months, sheltered from the elements it is great for sunbathing on clear days. The art-deco nature of the surrounding buildings will make you wonder if you’ve arrived in the 1930’s.
St. Ives itself is famed for being Cornwall’s art capital, the unique surroundings and seemingly ‘high-contrast’ light makes it incredibly photogenic, visually it is a fantastic place to spend the day. The town itself is one of the jewels of North Cornwall so there is also no shortage of things to do or eat!
3. Port Gaverne
Just round the corner from Port Isaac, home of Doc Martin, Port Gaverne is a small section of beach that is protected from the Atlantic by the protruding peninsula.
With a small inlet that creates an ideal area for young children, several rockpools, caves and ledges that enable safe points to jump into the sea there is plenty to do. Strong swimmers can explore the larger caves at the entrance of the port. As ever be sure to adhere to local warnings when swimming or diving into the sea.
Once you’ve fully exhausted the beach why not take a short walk across to Port Isaac and explore the filming locations from Doc Martin. Even if you aren’t a fan of the show the Port is still well worth a visit, with great food on offer and a quirky range of shops it is a great place to look around.
While no means completely unknown, these are a few lesser-visited spots.
1. Harlyn Bay
Located West of popular tourist hotspot Padstow, Harlyn Bay is a large expanse of sandy beach perfect for both keen surfers and families. The small river creates an ideal play area for young children, while older adventurers can explore the nearby rockpools.
While it is a popular spot in the summer it isn’t nearly as busy as other beaches on our list making it easy to secure your perfect spot. Parking is available on top of the cliff in one of the most scenic car parks going.
A great place to catch the sunset at the end of the day, there is also a nearby pub that often hosts live music events during the summer. The beach also has a dune area and numerous walks around the headland.
2. Porth Joke
Despite being only a short drive from Newquay, Porth Joke is often overlooked in favour of Crantock or Holywell Bay. With plenty of rock pools, sand dunes and scenic cliffs encompassing the beach it is a great spot for photographers and surfers alike.
A great alternative on busy summer days there is no onsite parking, access is through a mile long path from West Pentire. Be sure to bring a days supplies if you are visiting!
3. Mawgan Porth
Bit of a disclaimer Mawgan Porth probably shouldn’t be counted as a ‘Hidden Gem’ but it is incredibly overlooked (being in the same stretch of ocean as Fistral Beach and Watergate Bay probably doesn’t help!).
With great surf conditions all year round, fantastic walking trails, well-equipped village hub and having no shortage of rock pools, caves and other fascinating areas, it is genuinely a great place to spend the day.
The main village is also just metres from the beach and has had a lot of investment in recent years, the convenient store, Fish and Chip Take-Away and local pub are all worth a visit.
With a holiday park and campsite in the valley, it is the perfect base for a holiday in Cornwall!