The 5 Best Beaches In Cornwall For Families
Cornwall has over 400 miles of coastline – that’s a lot of beaches. But which are the best beaches in Cornwall for families? With pretty little fishing towns, epic stretches of sand and hidden rocky coves, it’s difficult to choose where to base yourself for the perfect Cornwall family holiday.
So, here’s a collection of some of the best Cornish beaches which families will love.
Kynance Cove, Lizard Peninsula
Best beach in Cornwall for: rock pools and pirates
A visit to Kynance Cove is without doubt one of the best things to do on the Lizard Peninsula. This beach in southern Cornwall features caves, great rock stacks rising from the sea and, at low tide, some fantastic rock pools.
The beach can be spotted in several episodes of the BBC’s Poldark – it is not hard to imagine shipwrecks and smugglers on this part of the rugged Cornish coast.
Visitors need to time their trip to Kynance Cove carefully – when the tide comes in, much of the beach disappears and sections become cut off. The beach can also get extremely busy during the summer months, so it is worth arriving early in the morning or in the evening when some of the crowds have departed.
Kynance Cove is managed by the National Trust who operate the car park above the beach. It is a steep walk down to the beach with a café tucked away on the hillside halfway down.
Fistral Beach, Newquay
Best beach in Cornwall for: surfing
Fistral beach is a long sandy beach on Cornwall’s north coast at the western edge of Newquay and is one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall. Surfers come from all over the world to enjoy some of England’s best waves.
However, the beach is also very popular with families and there are surf schools and lessons suitable for all ages. Surf boards and body boards can be rented or bought at the many shops in Newquay.
It can get incredibly busy in summertime in Newquay with young people enjoying themselves so families might prefer to be based at one of the quieter resorts or even stay inland at the amazingly family-friendly Glynn Barton Cottages near Bodmin and take a day trip to Fistral Beach.
The beach is backed by sand dunes but there’s parking close by and plenty of great family-friendly restaurants and cafes in Newquay as well as a few spots at the beach to grab a bite to eat.
Great Bay, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly
Best beach in Cornwall for: getting away from it all
If you are looking for quiet beaches in Cornwall, – even in the height of summer – they can be found. However, you do have to travel a little bit further to find it. Set some 28 miles off the Cornish coast are the Isles of Scilly.
Of the many islands in this archipelago, the island famed for the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall is St Martin’s. On the far side of St Martin’s from the ferry harbour is Great Bay, a wide crescent of sand which is often deserted due to its remote location.
Great Bay has rocks at either end and is backed by heathland. The sea is crystal clear and the views are sublime. There are no facilities of any kind and it is a half hour walk along a sandy track to civilisation on the other side of the island – so come prepared.
Buggies will struggle to reach the beach. There is also no shade so if you visit on a hot day, don’t forget your sun cream. Those who do make the journey are rewarded with a deserted beach of Caribbean quality.
An Isles of Scilly family holiday is perfect for anyone looking for an old fashioned summer experience – no crowds, no chain shops and more beaches than you could possibly visit in one trip.
Best beach in Cornwall for: mixing beach with culture
Porthcurno is incredibly beautiful and one of the best beaches in the UK. A perfect arc of sand with cliffs on either side and the sea a particularly vivid shade of turquoise. There is a little stream which runs down onto the beach which children love to dam and reroute.
However, Porthcurno has a rather special neighbour which makes it a unique place to visit in Cornwall. Carved by hand into the cliffs is an open air theatre – the Minack – one of the best hidden gems in Cornwall.
Begun in the 1930s, the Minack Theatre was improved upon each winter by its owner Rowena Cade. Today, it is a wonderful place to watch a production – be that opera, Shakespeare, or a fun show for children. Performers are often upstaged by pods of dolphins leaping through the ocean waves below. The audience sit on stone seats with the names of previous shows carved into the sides.
The theatre is reached from Porthcurno beach via a narrow rocky cliff path. From the theatre, there is a marvellous view of the beach below. Porthcurno has a little café behind the beach and there are toilets and a car park too.
Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
Best beach in Cornwall for: everything you need in one place
If you are looking for an easy beach holiday destination in Cornwall, it’s hard to beat Gyllyngvase. It’s one of the best beaches in Cornwall for small children because everything you need is close at hand. Gyllyngvase Beach is buggy friendly, has parking close by and it is within walking distance of the historic town of Falmouth should you wish to have some time away from the sand.
If you have forgotten your bucket and spade, there is a little kiosk selling everything you need, and the sand is perfect for digging. At either end of the beach are rockpools so families have the best of both worlds.
Gyllyngvase Beach is home to the famous Gylly Beach Café which serves up excellent seafood as well as delicious breakfasts and meals for kids.
There is a large car park and toilets close to the beach.
Best beaches in Cornwall map
Annabel Kirk, owner of Smudged Postcard
After 10 years working in the travel industry selling and marketing holidays across the globe, Annabel decided to set up the Smudged Postcard blog to share her knowledge of family travel. The blog features adventure and cultural travel ideas with a focus on road trips and sustainable accommodation. Based in the UK, Annabel writes about where to travel in the British Isles with kids along with plenty of ideas for European holidays, with Italy being a particular focus.