Six of the best family beaches in Cornwall

Porthmeor Beach Cornwall

Cornwall beaches offer rich pickings for families. With over 300 options, from quiet, secluded coves to wide open surfer’s beaches, there are plenty to choose from. Here are some of the best family beaches in Cornwall. Which ones would you add to the list?

Kynance Cove, the Lizard

The Lizard Peninsula is England’s most southerly point, and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its own microclimate and sub-tropical vegetation. Thatched cottages cluster around the Lizard’s small coves. Kynance is one of the best beaches in Cornwall if you’re looking for breathtaking beauty and dramatic, otherworldly charm. It’s a steep 15-minute walk down to Kynance Cove, but once you’re there, low tide offers families the chance to explore the towering stacks of rock, and caves with names like The Parlour and The Drawing Room. The narrow roads around Kynance Cove can get very busy in peak season, though, so it’s worth setting off as early as possible if you have to drive.

Address and postcode: Kynance Cove, The Lizard, Cornwall TR12 7PJ

Newquay Beach: Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach Cornwall

Half a mile west of Newquay lies Fistral Beach. It’s one of the world’s top surfing destinations, overlooked by dramatic cliffs and rolling sand dunes. Fistral hosts some major UK surf competitions,  including Boardmasters, the UK Pro Surf Tour and the BUCS Championships. Waves can reach six to eight feet, but local surf schools offer lessons for families where children as young as five can learn to ride the Newquay surf. A lifeguard is on hand over the summer.

Address and postcode: Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 1HY

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Gyllyngvase Beach has Blue Flag status and is a 10-minute walk from Falmouth town centre. There is RNLI Lifeguard cover from late Spring to early Autumn. Gyllyngvase Beach is a buggy-friendly crescent of sand, which is raked every morning during the summer months. The first dedicated SUP Board centre in Cornwall offers lessons to families, and a terraced cafe sits on the beach. Near the beach the historic formal Queen Mary Gardens, opened in 1910, are a haven for sub-tropical plants.

Address and postcode: Gyllyngvase Beach, Cliff Road, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4NA

Perranporth Beach

perranporth beach

Perranporth is eight miles from Newquay, and is one of the most spectacular UK beaches, with miles of golden sand, dunes and excellent surf. The long beach begins at Perranporth village, so it’s easy to access with kids. But it’s large enough to feel relatively quiet in places, except on days when the world seems to flock to Cornwall. At low tide, visitors can walk to Ligger Point Headland, passing Penhale Sands at the northern end of the beach. Horseriding is popular on Perranporth Beach, with half-hour sessions available even for the youngest tots. The beach cafe, The Watering Hole, serves snacks and drinks during the main holiday seasons.

Address and postcode: Perranporth Beach, Beach Road, Perranporth, Cornwall TR6 0JL

Polkerris Beach, Fowey

The pretty harbour town of Fowey has narrow, winding streets and white fisherman’s cottages. It’s home to the Du Maurier Literary Centre, where fans of writer Daphne Du Maurier can find out more about the person who created the haunting tales My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman’s Creek. Du Maurier lived in Fowey, and no doubt visited Polkerris Beach, a sheltered harbour two miles from the town. It’s popular with families and in 2015 Polkerris was recommended in the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide, for its excellent water quality. Families can hire watersport equipment, and water sports tuition is available.

Address and postcode: Polkerris Beach, Polkerris, Fowey, Cornwall PL24 2TL

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Porthmeor Beach Cornwall

Porthmeor is one of the seven beaches in Cornwall to hold the Blue Flag Award 2019, for water quality, safety, environmental management and education. A lifeguard is present from the end of March until the end of October, and a dog ban runs during the high season. Porthmeor’s golden sands are home to Tate St Ives, where families can visit displays of modern and local art. The Barbara Hepworth Museum is also nearby. A relatively small beach, Porthmeor is safe and extremely popular with families.

Address and postcode: Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2BN

Best family beaches in Cornwall: what to look for

Cornwall holidays on the beach can be delightful, but if you’re planning on travelling with the family, it might be worth considering:

  • Does the beach have a lifeguard? Many popular Cornish beaches have lifeguards from late spring to early Autumn, but it’s worth checking on the Visit Cornwall website to see if you’ll be near a lifeguarded beach. Of course, your beach doesn’t need a lifeguard for you to be able to enjoy it as a family, but they can add extra peace of mind, especially when the beach is crowded.
  • Is the beach dog-friendly? If you have a canine member of your family, you might want to check to see which Cornwall beaches allow dogs all year round. Some do, but a lot of beaches ban dogs during the summer months. Again, Visit Cornwall has detailed information on each beach.
  • The best places to stay in Cornwall, by the sea or inland, often get booked up months in advance. It’s worth beginning your hunt for accommodation early, if you want to bag the best holiday cottages. If you’re booking last minute, though, don’t despair. Cornwall’s well set up for visitors, with plenty of accommodation.
  • The roads around the beautiful sandy beaches in Cornwall can become very congested with visitors over peak season. Tourists are advised to plan journeys well in advance; consider car sharing; avoid travelling at peak times; use park and ride facilities if possible; and always park in dedicated car parking spaces.
  • If you’re spending your family holidays in Cornwall, there are plenty of things to do besides visiting some of the best beaches in England. Here are some Cornwall attractions to add to your bucket list. St Michael’s Mount, a fortressed hill set along a causeway near Marazion, and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, are among the many places in Cornwall to inspire fairytales and legends. And the Cornish castles of Tintagel, Pendennis and St Mawes are worth a visit.

This is a collaborative feature. All views are my own. All images are from Pixabay.

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The best family beaches in Cornwall

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  1. June 25, 2019 / 11:11 am

    Beautiful. I love Cornwall’s beaches, especially out of season when they’re not too busy. Newquay is always a winner isn’t it? It’s years since I’ve been down there to have a go at surfing, must do it again soon.

  2. July 1, 2019 / 8:27 pm

    So many lovely beaches in Cornwall, I’ve only (to my knowledge) been to Kynance on this list. I’d love to return and try a few more.

    • Nell
      July 9, 2019 / 12:07 pm

      I’m dying to go back, too.

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