Top Cornish Beaches: distant shores…
7th August 2021
We’ve looked at the beaches close to St Ives: what about places further afield? If you’re happy to drive a little way, there are plenty of other beaches within easy reach.
With over 300 beaches in Cornwall, it’s not easy to narrow it down. However, we’ve chosen a few of our favourite Cornish beaches, which are worth going the extra mile (or so) for.
(We’ve given approximate travelling times, but please allow longer during busy periods.)
Beaches less than an hour from St Ives
12 miles, approx. 30 minutes
This sandy beach is great for swimmers and surfers, and its facilities (shops, cafes and loos) make it perfect for families. After a day on the beach, carry on up the road to Porthleven and its great range of eateries.
25 miles, approx. 40 minutes
The two-mile-long beach has a natural swimming pool and is a popular spot for surfers. Head for the quieter Penhale end in the busier season, as it’s a popular spot. Perranporth itself is a busy village with a choice of places to eat and shop.
30 miles, approx. 50 minutes
If you watched BBC1’s recent Poldark, you’ll recognise Holywell Bay from Gull Rocks, the twin formations 500m from the shore. This long, sandy beach is only six miles from Newquay but feels far more remote, especially in the quieter season. There’s a car park, and it’s not too far to a pub.
29 miles, approx. 55 minutes
Gylly Beach is a town beach in Falmouth, so is super-close to all sorts of useful places. Families love this buzzing beach, and it’s a good spot for watersports. It’s even buggy-friendly. Make a day of it by exploring Falmouth itself, too.
31 miles, approx. 55 minutes
This National Trust-managed beach is a great all-round beach. Backed by sheltering dunes, it’s good for swimming, surfing and snorkelling, and you can hire boards and kayaks. There are car parks, cafes and shops nearby. Look out for dolphins who occasionally visit the Gannel Estuary.
Beaches less than an hour and a half from St Ives
32 miles, approx. 1 hour
Global surfing destination and home of the Boardmasters festival, Fistral near Newquay is one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches. Experienced surfers won’t want to miss a trip to Fistral, and it’s also a great place to catch your first wave.
47 miles, approx. 1 hour 10 minutes
The golden sands of Harlyn Bay are much-loved by families, not least because four-footed friends are welcome there all year. It’s close to Padstow with its fabulous restaurants, bars and shops, and is often regarded as one of the best rookie surfers beaches.
40 miles, approx. 1 hour 15 minutes
On the beautiful Roseland peninsula. Porthcurnick is a sandy cover owned by the National Trust. It’s a great place for rockpooling, and is probably best-known these days for the Hidden Hut for fantastic beachside food. There’s a car park a shirt walk away from the beach.
Constantine Bay Beach
46 miles, approx. 1 hour 20 minutes
This is another one of Cornwall’s much-loved surfing beaches. With its golden shore and sand dunes,
It’s a beautiful spot to hang out, even if you’re not a surfer. It’s not the best for swimming (rip tides); however it is great for rock pools, and at low tide you can walk to the beach next door, Booby’s Bay. Park at Treyarnon and walk along the coast path to reach Constantine.
A bit further from St Ives
Port Quin and Port Gaverne
52 miles, approx. 1 hour 40 minutes
These are two small coves near Port Isaac (of ITV’s Doc Martin fame). Port Quin is a peaceful rocky cove owned by the National Trust, and a popular spot for kayaking and snorkelling. Port Gaverne is a small shingly beach, where dogs are welcome all year. Visit these as a pair, with a spot of lunch in Port Isaac.
Ready Money Cove
54 miles, approx. I hour 40 minutes
If you’re heading up to Fowey for the day, take a break from the shops, galleries and bars for a paddle and a rest on the shore. There are plenty of appealing little coves to choose from around the Fowey Estuary, and this sheltered sandy cove is a real favourite. The former coach house above the beach used to belong to Daphne Du Maurier.
70 miles, approx. 1 hour 50 minutes
This is quite a trek, but this 2-mile long sandy beach near Bude is spectacular. It has plenty of facilities, great rockpools, lifeguarded swimming, and free (yes, you read that right) parking areas at both ends. There are plenty of other good beaches near Bude, including Summerleaze and Crackington Haven.
You’re never far from a beach in Cornwall, and some of the Duchy’s best beaches are close to St Ives. However, if you fancy exploring further, we hope this has given you a few ideas! As ever, if you want to know more, speak to the local experts at Reception.