The best places to paddleboard in Cornwall

Last year I traded some of my time that I spent surfing to take up a new hobby – paddleboarding. Since moving to Falmouth from the north coast of Cornwall to establish Trewena cottages I’ve spent as much time as possible exploring the area from the water. Whilst it doesn’t offer quite the same rush as surfing, I’ve learned that paddleboarding is a great way to keep fit and also to sightsee. It somewhat similar to hiking, you can take your time, take in your surroundings, and be joined by a friend and have a chat as you go.

The popularity of stand-up paddleboarding or SUPping has boomed over the last few years, offering many a accessible way to get out and about on the water. With over 422 miles of coastline to explore. With all those miles of coastline which includes landscapes that range from long sandy beaches, hidden coves, towering sea cliffs, inlets, islands and estuaries, Cornwall is the perfect destination for paddleboarding. Cornwall also offers very real opportunities to get up close and personal with sea-life such as seals, dolphins and basking sharks.

Please note, even if you’re an experienced paddleboarder, be aware that many areas of the Cornish coast can experience large ways and strong currents so the ocean conditions should always be checked and understood before getting in the water.

Helford Passage
With several places along the banks of the Helford river to launch including Helford Passage Village (£2 launch fee in 2022) and the National Trust managed Durgan village, this stretch of calm water is a brilliant and safe place to paddle. You can cruise amongst the moored yachts and past millionaire mansions that line the river.

Something to note, this is an estuary so be careful of fast-moving water on turning of tides. Wind can also be hard to battle against when there’s a breeze.

Falmouth Bay
On a calm day a paddle across the expanse of Falmouth harbour is a wonderful experience. You can paddle all the way from the Tudor fort at Pendennis point all the way across the wide bay taking in Castle beach and the elevate hotel lined waterfront on Cliff Road down to Gyllyngvase (Gylly) beach and then over to Swanpool beach and Maenporth. The whole trip would be a multi-hour mammoth paddle, but on a hot summer’s day its also a relaxing trip and a great way to take in the activities across Falmouth’s famous waterfront and beaches.

2 people on paddleboards paddle along the coast near falmouth on a summer's day

Penryn and Falmouth Harbours paddle
Care must be taken for this one as the harbours of the twin towns of Falmouth and Penryn are both busy ones, but a paddle along the waterfront and vast variety of moored yachts, cruisers and boats makes for a really great paddle. There’s also some great waterside eateries and pubs to stop off for a bite to eat and make a leisurely day of it.

Marazion and St Michael’s Mount
St Michael’s Mount is one of Cornwall’s most famous landmarks (even more so since its appearance in HBO’s House of the Dragon as the home of Corlys Velayron, also known as the Sea Snake). The magical island sits out in Mounts Bay and there’s a cobbled causeway that can be crossed on foot at low tide. But paddleboarders can circumnavigate the island on clam days and enjoy the expansive bay on the water strtching from Marazion down to Penzance olong the Long Beach waterfront.

The Gannel
The Gannel next to Newquay is a haven for birds, making this spot a great place for spotting wildlife whilst you take to the water and offers some breath-taking scenery along the channel that runs from Newquay to Crantock beach on the west side of Pentire. We’d recommend launching slightly inland from the beach to avoid the often strong currents as river-meets-sea and to take in the marshes and wetlands that provide a haven for all that wildlife.

There’s a National Trust car park at Crantock for parking.

There’s loads to see in this sleepy stretch of river in one of Cornwall’s designated areas of natural beauty. Its recommended to park up opposite Ferryside, Daphne Du Maurier’s former house and head up river towards Lostwithial. Heading seaward will take your to the mouth of the estuary where the views are amazing and you can head out to explore the coves and caves that dot the coastline. This is smuggling country after all!

Porthallow, the Lizard
Facing Falmouth bay on the opposite side of the Helford, right on the upper corner of the Lizard Peninsula sits the remote and sleepy Porthallow. More often than not this quaint former fishing and quarrying village is well sheltered from the worst of even the biggest storms making it a great place to paddle. What’s more, as you venture out from the harbour there’s some really interesting coastline to explore with former quarry works dominating the shoreline. There’s also a large seal population in the area so with any luck you’ll make some friends during your paddle!

If you love exploring Cornwall’s coastline, Trewena holiday cottages near Falmouth are perfect setting for your visit. Just 10 minutes from the centre of Falmouth and some of Cornwall’s best beaches and paddleboarding hotspots, you can choose from ‘Little Avalon’ our 1850s labourers cottage, or ‘The Pigsty’ our converted barn.