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Imagine sinking your toes into soft, golden sands, with the sun painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, as you discover the hidden gems among the best beaches in North Cornwall.

With its rugged coastline, golden sands, and fantastic surfing conditions, North Cornwall boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the UK, with each sandy stretch offering its own unique charm and allure. Whether you’re seeking thrilling water sports, tranquil sunbathing spots, or scenic coastal walks, North Cornwall’s beaches cater to every taste and preference. North Cornwall’s beaches promise unforgettable experiences for visitors of all ages.

Here is our guide to the best beaches in North Cornwall…

1. Rock Beach

Nestled along Cornwall’s rugged coastline, the Rock beach offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. Carved by the relentless forces of the Atlantic Ocean, Rock Beach offers visitors golden sands, rolling dunes and stunning vistas.

Rock Beach beckons sun-seekers, surfers, and families alike to relax and unwind in its peaceful ambience. Beyond its scenic allure, the beach also serves as a gateway to adventure, with opportunities for coastal walks and a number of different water sports to enjoy.

The beach is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a perfect place for wildlife watchers to spot rare wader birds and much more. Why not try the short trip across to Padstow on the ferry? The ferry runs throughout the year in daylight hours and takes 20 mins to get across, a perfect time to soak up the views.

Head to The Mariners pub, owned by celebrity chef Paul Ainsworth, as the sun sets to create a perfect ending to a day at Rock beach.

Whether seeking tranquil moments of relaxation or adrenaline-fueled escapades, Cornwall’s Rock beach offers an unforgettable experience amidst the untamed beauty of nature. Making it one of the best beaches in North Cornwall.

Places to Stay near Rock Beach: Rock Holiday Cottages

2. Port Isaac Beach

Panoramic view of Port Isaac Beach.

Port Isaac Beach, nestled on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, offers visitors a serene escape into coastal charm and is one of the 15 best things to do in North Cornwall. With its picturesque setting and traditional fishing village atmosphere, this quaint stretch of sand provides a tranquil retreat for beachgoers seeking relaxation and natural beauty.

Framed by dramatic cliffs and dotted with colourful fishing boats, the beach exudes quintessential Cornish charm, inviting visitors to stroll along its sandy shores and soak in the breathtaking scenery. At low tide, expanses of golden sand are revealed, ideal for sandcastle building and leisurely walks.

Of course, people may know the town of Port Isaac being Port Wenn, the fictional name given to it for the ITV series Doc Martin. This has seen many fans of the TV series head down to the town over the years to view the village the Doc calls home.

The crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and paddling, while nearby rock pools teem with fascinating marine life, making it a haven for budding marine biologists and curious explorers.

Whether enjoying a leisurely day by the sea, indulging in fresh seafood at one of the local eateries, or simply admiring the stunning coastal vistas, Port Isaac Beach offers a delightful coastal experience for visitors of all ages.

Places to Stay near Port Isaac Beach: Port Isaac Holiday Cottages

3. Tintagel Beach

tintagel beach looking out to sea

Tintagel Beach, nestled beneath the dramatic ruins of Tintagel Castle on Cornwall’s rugged north coast, is steeped in myth and legend. With its golden sands and clear turquoise waters, this picturesque cove offers a serene escape from the bustle of everyday life.

Visitors can wander along the shoreline, exploring the rock pools and caves that dot the coastline, or simply relax and soak up the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

For those feeling adventurous, the beach provides access to the South West Coast Path, offering spectacular cliff-top walks and panoramic vistas. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and tranquil atmosphere, Tintagel Beach is a true gem of the Cornish coast, drawing visitors from far and wide to its timeless shores.

*Dogs are available on the beach all year around but please be aware that there is no lifeguard cover on this beach.

See our guide on the best North Cornwall Walks.

4. Harbour Cove, Padstow

harbour cove sands

Harbour Cove, situated near Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall, is a hidden gem known for its unspoiled beauty. This secluded cove is accessible only by foot, adding to its charm and sense of seclusion. Visitors can follow the winding coastal path from nearby Treyarnon Bay, passing through lush greenery and rugged cliffs before descending to the sheltered beach below.

With its soft sands and crystal-clear waters, Harbour Cove is the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and rock pooling. The sheltered nature of the cove also makes it ideal for families and those seeking a peaceful retreat. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and offering stunning views out to sea, Harbour Cove is a haven for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts alike, providing a truly unforgettable experience on the Cornish coast.

Even with Harbour Cove being so close to Padstow, it remains relatively quiet throughout the year. This sees the beach as the perfect place to take the family and your dog, with the beach dog-friendly all year round.

*There is no lifeguard cover on this beach.

Places to Stay near Harbour Cove: Padstow Holiday Cottages

5. Great Western Beach, Newquay

Great Western Beach, Newquay.

Great Western Beach, located in Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall, is renowned for its vast expanse of golden sand and excellent surfing conditions.

This popular beach is easily accessible and offers a range of facilities, including lifeguard patrols during the summer months, making it a safe and family-friendly destination. The wide stretch of sand provides ample space for sunbathing and beach games, while the rolling waves attract surfers of all abilities.

Great Western Beach is also flanked by dramatic cliffs, offering stunning views of the coastline and providing shelter from the prevailing winds. Visitors can explore the rock pools at low tide or simply relax and soak up the sunshine on this picturesque stretch of coastline.

With its scenic beauty and abundance of activities, Great Western Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the best beaches in North Cornwall.

*Lifeguards are usually present at this beach from May to September.

6. Treyarnon Bay

sunset along Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon Bay, nestled along the rugged coastline of North Cornwall, is a hidden gem renowned for its pristine sandy beach and clear turquoise waters. Tucked between towering cliffs, this picturesque bay offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Treyarnon Bay is popular among families and surfers alike, thanks to its gently sloping beach and consistent waves, perfect for both swimming and water sports. At low tide, the expansive stretch of sand reveals rock pools teeming with marine life, providing endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Visitors can bask in the sun, take leisurely walks along the shoreline, or simply admire the breathtaking scenery.

With its natural beauty and peaceful ambience, Treyarnon Bay is a true paradise for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking serenity amidst Cornwall’s stunning coastal landscapes.

*Lifeguards are usually present at this beach from May to September.

7. Watergate Bay, Newquay

view of the beach from the cliffs above Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay, situated near Newquay on the rugged north coast of Cornwall, is a haven for beach lovers and adrenaline seekers alike. With its vast stretch of golden sand flanked by dramatic cliffs and backed by rolling green hills, it’s a stunning destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Renowned as one of Cornwall’s premier surfing spots, Watergate Bay attracts wave riders from far and wide, drawn to its consistent swells and excellent conditions. Beyond surfing, the beach offers plenty of other activities, including kite surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and beach volleyball.

For those seeking a more relaxed experience, the beach is perfect for leisurely strolls, picnics, or simply soaking up the sun while admiring the stunning coastal scenery. Watergate Bay is also home to a selection of charming cafes and restaurants, where visitors can refuel with delicious local cuisine while enjoying panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Watergate Bay is perfect for an entire day at the beach for all the family.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Watergate Bay offers an unforgettable coastal experience for all.

*Dogs are available on the beach all year around and lifeguards are usually present at this beach from May to September.

8. Polzeath Beach

Polzeath Beach, nestled on Cornwall’s north coast, is renowned for its stunning scenery, excellent surfing conditions, and vibrant atmosphere. With its expansive stretch of golden sand and rolling Atlantic waves, it’s a magnet for surfers of all levels, drawn by the consistent swells and reliable waves, it is considered one of the best surfing destinations in the UK. The beach is also popular for bodyboarding and stand-up paddleboarding, offering endless opportunities for aquatic adventure.

With surfing being so popular here, there are several surf schools located close to the beach to help teach you how to ride the waves.

Beyond its reputation as a surfers’ paradise, Polzeath Beach boasts stunning coastal walks along the rugged cliffs, providing amazing views of the surrounding landscape and the chance to spot diverse marine wildlife. Families flock to the beach for its safe swimming conditions and ample space for sandcastle building and beach games. After a day of sun and surf, visitors can relax at one of the beachside cafes or restaurants, indulging in delicious local cuisine while soaking up the laid-back coastal vibe.

With its natural beauty and vibrant energy, Polzeath Beach is a real Cornish gem and an idyllic setting for a memorable day by the sea.

*Dogs are not allowed on the beach between the 15th of May to 30th of September from 10am to 6pm.

Places to Stay near Polzeath Beach: Polzeath Holiday Cottages

Ready to turn your beach dreams into reality? Experience the unparalleled beauty of North Cornwall’s best beaches firsthand by booking your holiday cottage today.

Don’t miss out on the chance to create unforgettable memories in one of England’s most stunning coastal destinations.

Images: Paul Hudson – CC BY-SA 2.0; Werner Wilmes – CC BY 2.0; Ian Gratton – CC BY 2.0; Mark – CC BY 2.0;