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Cornwall’s hidden coves and secret beaches
With a coastline of over 400 miles it’s not surprising that Cornwall has many stunning beaches hiding just off the beaten track, waiting to be discovered.
So if you’re looking for that empty stretch of sand to spread out on away from the summer crowds, you’ll need to read through our special guide to the secret beaches in Cornwall!
Porth Joke, Newquay
A lovely family-friendly beach just five miles from the hustle and bustle of Newquay and Fistral beach is Porth (or Polly) Joke. This pretty cove is situated between rocky headlands, with Crantock Beach to the north and Holywell Bay to the south. The beach area is perfect for sunbathing sand castle building and the kids will love exploring the caves and rock pools. Access is via a rough but safe path leading from the Cubert Common National Trust car park a little over half a mile away and good news for dog owners is that it is pet-friendly all year round.
Bosahan Beach, St Anthony-in-Meneage, Helston
Perhaps the most secret beach you can find in Cornwall is at Bosahan, not too far from your Cornwall holiday park. This riverside beach, surrounded by dense woodland, is a good thirty-minute hike from Helford car park, along the coastal path and through woodland. This half pebble, half sand secret beach is lovely and quiet, perfect for swimming and relaxing in peace.
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Nanjizal Cove, St Just, Penzance
If you enjoy a walk then head to Nanjizal Cove near Penzance. It will take you a good hour to reach the cove along the South West Coast Path from the nearest car parking spot (Land’s End is best, approximately three miles away). The beach itself is gorgeous, very quiet with a lovely little swimming hole when the tide is out. It’s also home to the Song of the Sea – a tall, narrow natural arch. This secret beach in Cornwall is dog friendly all year round and makes a perfect picnic spot. Check the tide times as there is only a small area at high tide. This is a pebble/boulder beach so it is worth having adequate footwear.
Housel Bay / Housel Cove, Helston
Not far from Lizard Point you’ll find Housel Bay, a small sandy cove that is one of the most southerly beaches in mainland Britain. This beach is one of the more tricky to get to. You can only reach the beach when the tide is out and there’s a steep approach to the beach from the cliff path, meaning it’s not best suited to families. This beach is only dog friendly out of season (November – April) and you can park at Lizard Point.
Pedn Vounder, St Levan, Penzance
Arguable one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall. This secret beach is tucked away between the Minack Theatre and Logan’s Rock. When the tide is low, a lovely sandy beach is revealed and you can swim in the shallow lagoons in crystal clear water. It’s a tricky walk, climbing up and down cliffs and navigating the narrow paths but worth the effort; it’s a wonderful place to relax. The beach is dog friendly all year round and please note that this is a popular nudist area. But don’t let that put you off – it’s not compulsory to get your kit off!
— KateWhis Photography (@katewhis) July 26, 2018
Pentire Steps St Eval, Wadebridge
You may have heard of Bedruthan Steps on the west coast, just north of Newquay, but Pentire Steps is a lovely little secret beach in Cornwall located just around the corner. A small cove-like beach, with golden sand and shallow waters at low tide. It’s a great area for a spot of quiet sunbathing. You can access this beach via the path down from the South West Coast Path that follows the length of the coast. However, with over two hundred steps which get quite steep, it’s not for the faint hearted! A safer option is to wait for low tide and walk across from Bedruthan Steps.
Lantic Bay Polruan, Fowey
Another candidate for the most picturesque beaches in Cornwall is Lantic Bay near Fowey. This secret beach in Cornwall has almost white sands and crystal clear waters on a fine day. It’s a fairly small beach and the path down to the beach is steep so sensible shoes are recommended! Access is via the National Trust Lantic bay car park and the beach is dog friendly all year.
🏴 📌 Lantic Bay, Cornwall.
Take the creeks and coves walk from Fowey via Bodinnick and Polruan.
You’ll encounter the breathtaking view of Lantic Bay that could double for a beach in the Mediterranean. pic.twitter.com/Tw6dxjrHrQ
— Which? Travel (@WhichTravel) July 15, 2019
This pretty little cove was avoided until fairly recently due to the shipwreck that left sharp metal fragments buried in the sand. However this has recently been cleared to leave a stunning beach that is also home to a resident seal colony. You can park at the Pendeen Lighthouse and then take the short but path down to the beach. It’s dog friendly beach (watch out for the seals) and beautifully picturesque and secluded.
That’s our guide to the some of the best ‘hidden’ beaches and coves in Cornwall. If you are enjoying a caravan holiday in Cornwall, then let us know if you discover any other beaches not included here that you would recommend!