And that’s no lie! The best beaches in the UK are definitely in Cornwall. In general, the further west you go the more magnificent they are. The rocky coastline gives way to golden sand and crystal clear waters or the roar of the north atlantic surf.
But best for who? Some of the hidden gems have poor access and so are not really an option for a family with young kids at least. So here is a list of family friendly beaches unless otherwise indicated. Directions are from St Ives bay holiday park. Happy holidays!
St Ives bay holiday park - right on the beach!
1. Porthcurnow. Take A30 west past Penzance. Look for left turn on A30. Also signposted Minack Theatre. Big car park at the bottom of the valley is rarely full. This beach is pictured in all the guide books and is the most picturesque in Cornwall. The course golden sandy beach is sheltered from the north by the cliffs. This beach is often sunny when the rest of Cornwall is in cloud.
2. Sennen beach – also gwenver. Take the A30 nearly to Lands end and turn right down the hill at Sennen. Main car park at the bottom of the hill on the right. Smaller car park at the end behind the lifeboat. In peak season fields higher up the hill are opened for car parking. This long west facing beach catches the surf if there is any. The beach café is a beautiful wooden structure right on the beach. The surf shop has all the brands. To walk to Lands end from Sennen is less than an hour along the cliffs which is a great way to get to Lands end.
3. St Ives Bay Holiday park. If you are staying at the bay and it’s a fine day then just fall out of bed onto your own beach! Sand for a mile in either direction and a surf that gets bigger towards Gwithian and smaller towards the Hayle river. But its mostly a sandy beach which small kids love to play on. Many (including me) will remember magical evenings building sand castles and defending them against the tide, and then starting again further up the beach! Sheltered by the dunes from the south.
4. Portminster beach in St Ives. Now here is a little gem. This small beach is well serviced in terms of things like food and deck chairs and the like. There is no car park but the train from Lelant and St Erth comes in to St Ives just above the beach. The Porthminster Beach café is also right on this beach. It’s a treat and has won many awards but I suppose expensive for most people. I enjoy lunch here about once a year. If you pick a fine day you can then transfer to the beach to digest!
5. Marazion. Take the A30 towards Penzance and turn left before Penzance towards St Michael’s mount. This is a hard beach where the tide goes out a long way. Car parking is plentiful and this is one of the only buggy friendly beaches. In a cool northerly breeze you can often tuck yourself under the wall in the sun and enjoy a quiet moment or too!
6. Godrevy. The lighthouse end of St Ives bay. Take the coast road and turn left after the humped back bridge over the red river. Carparking is national trust and there is a short scramble down to the beach unless the steps have been fixed. This beach is great for clambering on rocks and exploring rock pools and the like. At low tide there is plenty of sand. At high tide more limited for sand.
7. Gwithian. Again take the coast road and turn left after Atlantic coast holiday park as soon as you see the light house. Well known surfing beach with several surf schools operating. Walk down to the beach is a good 100 yards. At low tide look for the “sheep dip” to the left of the steps. Kids love this pool. Its where I learned to swim!
Happy 2013 and happy holidays!
This blog is personal. It’s often an opinion. It is designed to inform and therefore advise our clients and potential clients and of course to promote St Ives Bay holiday park and west Cornwall in general. At St Ives bay we offer a huge range of self catering caravans chalets and tents and camping pitches. We have a large indoor pool and direct access to one of the finest beaches in the UK.