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The county is famous for its surfer-friendly beaches, but other coastal hotspots can provide more tranquil places to sit and relax with your friends and family. While some can be quite busy they are definitely worth it to enjoy these brilliant pieces of paradise.
Here are some of the best beaches in Cornwall that you really need to visit while the weather is hot.
Porthminster, St Ives
For a hint of tropical paradise make a beeline to Porthminster beach, recently voted among the top 10 beaches in Europe, according to TripAdvisor.
This curved bay, fringed by palm trees and with views of Godrevy Lighthouse, is located just in front of St Ives railway station and car park, so it’s extremely easy to access.
It’s the sort of beach that’s hard to leave, but if you can muster the energy, it’s only a short walk into St Ives town centre, or you can pick up a paddleboard or kayak and explore the coastline from the tranquil and crystal clear waters.
Kynance Cove, Helston
Lots of people liken Kynance Cove to the Caribbean, and bar the startling difference in sea temperature, the comparison’s not hyperbole.
It’s why despite the tricky access by way of steep cliff pathways, hordes of people descend on the beach in the summer. So many in fact, that if you don’t get there before 11am, you probably won’t find a spot in the clifftop car park.
Unlike many remote spots, you’ll find a café, lavatories and showers, but when the tide’s in, be prepared to jostle for your spot of sand as space gets tight.
Readymoney Beach, Fowey
This picturesque little cove is a relatively short walk just south of the bustle of popular Fowey, or you can park in the paid car park at the top of the hill and enjoy a 10-minute amble down to the sandy beach.
It’s not a huge beach, which is part of its charm, and tucked away as it is, it’s also beautifully sheltered.
You’ll find lavatories and a beach shop, as well as a bathing platform to swim out to and take in the view, including the 16th century St Catherine’s Castle perched on the rocks.
If you can, approach Watergate Bay heading north along the coastal road because the sweeping view that greets you just before you descend into the valley is breathtaking whatever the weather.
There’s ample parking behind the 1.5-mile-long beach, as well as bars, restaurants and places to hire sports equipment.
Its windswept location makes it popular with surfers and kite surfers, but there are also lots of rock pools to explore if you prefer a less action-packed activity.
Grebe, Helford Passage
This beach, known as Durgan to locals, requires a little effort as you’ll have to leave the car at the top of the hill (parking is free for National Trust members) and wander down via a woodland path.
You can drive down a narrow road to drop people and belongings off, but be warned, there’s not much room to make a turn.
It’s an absolute treat to spy the sparkling Helford estuary through the trees as you approach the cove.
Its seclusion means you won’t have to battle for space, but don’t forget to pack a picnic as there is nowhere to grab a bite when you’re there and it’s all the more charming for it.
Possibly the most famous beach in Cornwall due to its associations with world-class surfing, this Newquay beach is usually swamped with visitors in the summer, so don’t head here in search of seclusion.
It might be a little commercialised these days, but it’s still a beautiful beach and overlooked by the striking Headland hotel.
There’s also a range of restaurants and cafés with plenty of outdoor seating, as well places to hire surfboards, bodyboards and wetsuits if you fancy chancing the swell yourself.
Swanpool used to be overshadowed by the neighbouring Gyllyngvase beach (it’s a very short walk around the coast), but it’s come into its own in recent years, especially for those looking for fewer crowds.
The calm waters here make it a safe swimming spot for families and perfect for paddleboarding.
You’ll find parking next to the nearby lake, as well as crazy golf for the kids if they get sick of sandcastles and a beach café that serves deliciously indulgent ice cream.
On a sunny day, when the clear sea takes on an aquamarine tint in contrast to the white sandy beach, Porthcurno is truly stunning. But to really appreciate this beach’s beauty, you need to get up high.
One of the best spots for photographs is the coastal footpath that leads off to the left of the beach as you look out to sea. It’s arguably more appealing to sit there overlooking the beach than to be sandwiched among the crowds down on the sand.
There’s a car park at the back of the beach where you’ll find toilets, and if you have time, head to The Minack, the famous cliff-top theatre, just up the road.
Polzeath is probably up there with Fistral in terms of popularity, and like its Newquay counterpart, it’s a great spot for surfers and bodyboarders who are kept safely apart by eagle-eyed lifeguards during the warmer months.
Try to get there as early as you can, not only for a parking space on the beach (there is more parking a short drive away) but to enjoy the relative calm before the masses arrive.
But as busy as it gets, there’s still a lovely laid-back vibe about this small seaside town with its beach bars and surf hire shops. Sundown here is particularly magical.
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