If Cornwall is good at one thing it’s beaches. With over 300 miles of beautiful coastline you’re spoiled for choice wherever you go, but we reckon that if you’re heading to Falmouth you’re in for a beach-tastic time on some of the Cornwall’s very best bays! There’s a variety of beaches to choose from close to Falmouth that there’s something for everyone, from dog friendly beaches to surf hot spots and from historical coves to family favourites. To help you wade through the choices here’s our list of the Cornwall’s top 12 beaches within a 10 mile radius of Cornish Vistas Cornish holiday cottages.
Remember there’s tons more lovely beaches nearby (including some secret ones), so please ask us for further recommendations during your stay with us!
Known locally as Gylly, this lovely little spot is the beating heart of Falmouth’s funky beach scene. A short hop from the town centre, Gylly has long been the go-to sandy spot for Falmouth’s student crowd. Serviced with some great cafes, and offering changing facilities, surf & standup paddle board hire, as well as a beach volleyball court, it’s no wonder that there’s always a buzz of activity here. Come here to sun yourself during the day and join in the atmosphere of music and BBQs as the evening draws in.
A family favourite. Castle beach becomes mostly submerged at high tide, but offers loads of shoreline rock pools to explore when the tide is out. The beach sits below Cliff Road offering fantastic views out into Falmouth bay with Pendennis Castle and headland to the east and St Antony headland to the west. Castle beach is usually quieter than the other town beaches and is a great place for swimming and paddle boarding. It’s also great for smaller kids who will be lost in the rockpools for hours! For those that don’t want to get their feet sandy, there’s a wall that runs alongside the back of the beach where you can sit, soak up the views, and enjoy an ice-cream from the beach shack.
Sitting to the west of Falmouth, Swanpool offers a dose of tranquility on the doorstep of Falmouth. The environment here is uniquely special, allowing you to feed the ducks and swans on Swanpool lake which backs directly onto the beach one minute, and then diving into tranquil seawater the next! The beach is served by a large carpark, crazy golf course, cafe and watersports equipment hire.
Also known as Polgwidden cove, this lovely spot sits at the foot of Trebah gardens. The beach is privately owned by the gardens and is only open to their visitors. This does mean however that it’s usually quiet and if you’re visiting to the gardens we’d recommend you to plan a to spend an hour or two at this beautiful secluded cove, especially if you have small children.
Helford passage beach
This sand and shingle beach isn’t for those looking for wide golden sands, but it is a great place to have some seaside fun in the bustling setting of Helford passage’s waterfront. You’ll be sharing the beach with small boats and can enjoy the coming and goings of watersport enthusiasts, and with plenty of hire opportunities can even dabble at kayayking of paddle boarding yourself. We think the best part about coming here however is enjoying some grub at the 300 year old Ferry Boat Inn which backs onto the beach. There’s a great vibe here during the summer afternoons and evenings when patrons from the pub spill onto the beach.
Spanning some 3 miles eastwards from Porthleven’s historic harbour. Beach fun is concentrated in the part of the beach that sits below the village by the harbour which is within a stones throw of facilities and some lovely eateries. Swimming is safe by the lifeguarded sea wall area in the summer. Away from the main section, due to its size, Porthleven beach offers huge expanses of sand for those looking for a seaside walk, or for those who like a day at the beach in relative seclusion. Bathing is not recommended anywhere else along this stretch due to the strong rip currents. Porthleven harbour itself if popular with surfers, but please note this is not a place for beginners.
Loe bar beach actually connects with Porthleven beach but is worth a mention on its own. A National Trust site, Loe Bar dog friendly all year round and offers a truly special natural environment. The bar itself separates the sea from the Loe, a large freshwater lake, to the rear. There’s all sorts of interesting fauna to be found amongst the beach grasses on the Loe. Swimming is banned on the beach due to the extremely dangerous currents, and it’s a 10 minute walk from the nearest carpark so probably not the best place for a family day at the beach. But for those who enjoy some coastal walking, or want a slice of tranquility in a unique environment, then this place will be right up your street!
Kennack Sands offers an uncomplicated, quintessential seaside day out. Separated into Kennack sands east and Kennack sands west (Kennack sands east is dog friendly all year round), if you’re looking for golden sands and safe, clear waters then this is a great choice. There’s a large car park that offers reasonable all day parking plus a couple of cafes next to the west beach. To the rear of the beach the dunes and seagrasses are a protected area and are a great place to have a stroll to break up your day at the beach. Please note that entry is via a single track road so time your entry and exit well to avoid getting caught in a jam!
Sitting in the St Agnes area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), Porthtowan beach has it all. From golden sands, rolling dunes, dramatic cliffs, and great surf, it’s no wonder this north coast hotspot is a family favourite. There’s plenty around the beach to ensure that all your needs will be catered for, including cafes a-plenty, a decent surf shop, and even a kids park to keep little ones happy. At low tide the beach grows into a massive expanse of sand and also reveals a nice walk to Porth Chapel beach to the east.
Another north coast family favourite, Portreath beach is nestled at the end of the village of Portreath in a dramatic valley setting with cliffs surrounding the bay on both sides which both offer nice short walks and vistas along the coast. Edging the sand are a couple of decent eateries, a small amusement arcade and some surf shops. On the left hand side of the beach is Gull Rock which is a popular bird nesting site. In recent years Portreath has harnessed it surf appeal with the appearance a surf life saving club. For surfers the harbour wall offers a challenging wave (not for beginners), whilst the beach has a decent beach break.
Carne and Pendower
Heading into the Roseland, Carne and Pendower beaches which adjoin at low tide to form a 1.5 mile stretch of beautiful golden sand. Both managed by the National Trust so you can expect an emphasis on beautiful natural landscapes. There’s parking at both ends and are popular start off points for walks on the Southwest Coast path, as well as for beach days filled with rock pooling, swimming and picknicking. At the Pendower end of the beach there’s a small stream that flows across the sand which acts as a honeypot for smaller children who will enjoy making dams. Dog owners will be pleased to know that Carne is dog friendly all year round.
This beach is located within the grounds of the National Trust Trelissick estate and the short walk over the parkland to the beach offers jaw dropping views over the the River Fal looking down towards to Falmouth. The beach itself is a mix of sand and shingle but it’s tranquil waters are matched by its peaceful atmosphere and family friendly vibe.