Escape the Summer Crowds at These Quieter Beaches in Cornwall
Summer is always busy in Cornwall. But this year will be particularly busy as many people are desperate to get away for a beach holiday but can’t or won’t travel abroad due to covid. This means space will be tight at the most popular beaches in Cornwall. Fortunately, there are lesser-known beaches where you can escape the crowds and experience the quieter side of Cornwall. So if you’re looking for peace and tranquility for your holiday in Cornwall this summer, skip the popular choices and head to these quieter beaches instead.
This is a special spot on Cornwall’s north coast, not far from Tintagel. The road down to Trebarwith Strand beach is framed by the steep rocky sides of the valley opening up into a smattering of cottages with a small shop selling ice creams on one side and the Port William pub on the other. At first glance, there only appears to be a small area of rocks leading down to the sea but at low tide the beach opens out to a large expanse below the cliffs. This is a lovely place to hide out for a few hours and rock pool but beware of the advancing tide!
This small, sandy cove is located just a few miles south of Padstow. With its fine golden sand, stunning views and lifeguarded bathing area, Trevone is the ideal spot for family days at the beach. Heading south over the rocks, there’s a tidal pool for swimming, jumping and playing. When you’re feeling peckish nip up to the beach café for some well earned pasties and cake.
No matter how busy it is elsewhere on the coast, it’s always easy to find a quiet spot along this beach as it runs for miles between Gwithian and Hayle. Limited parking and scarce facilities help to keep the crowds at bay. It’s sandwiched between the sea and high dunes so you may feel like you’re on your own desert island. The beach café at Sandy Acres campsite has wide-reaching views out across the Atlantic and is the perfect spot to refuel after a session in the water.
Just north of Bude, on the border with Devon, this beautiful place is accessed via a small car park down to a dark sand beach with interesting rock formations running like spines into to the sea. As well as surfing and swimming, you can splash under the waterfall or grab your net and go hunting for crabs and blennies hiding out in the rockpools. Although there’s a pub in the village of Welcombe, there’s no café nearby so make a day of it and take a picnic with you.
When Praa Sands is overrun, this stretch of golden sand is a quiet alternative. This south coast beach is popular with surfers when there’s a swell running, but is generally calm with small waves during the summer. Perranuthnoe is a lovely place to relax while the tide is out. Grab a coffee from The Cabin Beach Café located at the top of the cliff and while away the hours swimming or surfing.
Porthtowan is a dramatic beach positioned below large cliffs at the end of a steep valley. At low tide, the beach opens up to connect with neighbouring Chapel Porth. When the waves are good, the beach is a magnet for local surfers otherwise it’s a beautiful spot for a dip. There’s also a small tidal pool nestled into the rocks for saltwater bathing. The famous Blue Bar overlooks the bay and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down with a cold beer.
As you head down into the Lizard Peninsula, Poldhu is a great little surf spot with a café and shop to keep you fed and watered for a day on the beach. The back of the beach is a haven for wildlife with reed beds and low lying dunes. It’s a great beach for families whether there is a wave or not. Swimming and snorkelling here are just as good if there are no waves to be had.
Picture-perfect Porthcurno is popular but never gets overrun because there is limited parking available. If you arrive early enough, you can enjoy some quiet time at this idyllic white sand beach that looks more like the Caribbean than Cornwall when the sun’s out. Large granite boulders emerge from the turquoise sea like fingers and lead your eye down southwards along the curve of the bay to Logan’s Rock. Grab a sandwich from the café near the car park and spend an afternoon in the sun enjoying the waves lapping at the shore.
Although it’s close to the bustling town of Falmouth, Maenporth Beach is relatively quiet and peaceful. The sloping sand beach takes you to shallow water making it an ideal spot for swimming with kids. At low tide, the wreck of the Ben Asdale can be glimpsed above the water. With a restaurant and café nearby you have no excuse to leave until the sun goes down.
One of the gems of the Roseland peninsula, Porthcurnick is a small sandy beach that is generally sheltered from the wind and swell so is a great place for swimming, snorkelling or stand-up paddleboarding. You can get even more peace and quiet if you walk further along the coast path to smaller coves and bays. Fantastic food is available at the Hidden Hut above the beach and in nearby Portscatho.
Situated in the sleepy fishing village of Portwrinkle, the beach is actually known as Finnygook. As you strike out east of the harbour, rock pools abound making it a great spot for children looking for starfish and crabs. As the tide comes in, snorkellers will be delighted with the treasure trove of sea life beneath them. If you just want to relax, you can chill out on the sand-swept beach with a crab sandwich from the local café.
Porthluney is one of the few beaches where you have a stunning castle and landscaped grounds as a backdrop. Located on the estate of Caerhays Castle, it’s a beautiful, sandy bay that is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. A short walk up the precipitous coast path provides some outstanding views of the south coast scenery. There’s also a fantastic café here for great food for your day on the beach.
You’ll find Talland Bay between Looe and Polperro on the south coast. This secluded spot is a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty and Heritage Coast. It’s easy to see why. The light, golden sand leads down to some fantastic rock pools with safe swimming spots. The beach is split into two by some rocky outcrops with Talland Sands being the more popular and the place to grab a bite to eat before heading to the quieter bay to the east.
Book a Stay in Cornwall
We don’t have much availability left in Cornwall for this summer but you can already book ahead for next year. Alternatively, visit in the autumn or winter when the beaches are at their quietest and there is a much wider range of accommodation to choose from. Book a stay in Cornwall >