The Longest Beaches in Cornwall

The Longest Beaches in Cornwall

Beckoning for magical oceanside moments, the longest beaches in Cornwall have a magnetic appeal. Composed of divine swathes of powder-fine sand backed by marram-tufted dunes and lapped by sapphire seas, they promise salt-kissed sanctuaries, perfect for stretching the legs and soothing the soul.

Whether you are walking hand-in-hand with your favourite person, treading foot and pawprints in the sand with your dog, or settling down for sunset picnics with all your friends and family, there’s something about the lure of empty sands that appeals to us all. Presenting some of the most incredible scenery in the UK and plentiful space to roam and play throughout the year, the longest beaches in Cornwall are impossible to resist. Here are some of the biggest in the county for your wanderlist this year.

Carlyon Bay

Golden hour over Carylon Bay in South Cornwall, one of the longest beaches in Cornwall

In the heart of St Austell Bay in South Cornwall, Carlyon Bay comprises three beautiful beaches: Crinnis, Shorthorn and Polgaver. Joining together at low tide to form a mile-long stretch, the main seafront is a soul-stirring location. Made up of powdered shell and tiny grains of grey quartz and tourmaline from the area’s old mines, it is especially beautiful in the sunshine when the shore glistens with an almost iridescent quality. Head over in the warmer months for summer sojourns, benefitting from the many events taking place and nearby amenities, including shoreside pop-up bistros and a large car park, or venture over in winter for invigorating dog-friendly strolls. There is no lifeguard service at Carlyon, but the sheltered bay is often graced with tranquil conditions that make paddling a dream. For added magic, arrive early for the beach’s spectacular sunrises.  

Gwithian Towans

Pretty pink seathrift on the cliffs above Gwithian beach in Hayle, West Cornwall

One of the biggest beaches in Cornwall, the stunning golden sand stretch of Gwithian Towans runs between the seaside town of Hayle and Godrevy Head in St Ives Bay, West Cornwall. An enormous three-mile sweep of coastal heaven, this sandy hem comprises a number of interconnecting beaches including Godrevy, Gwithian, Upton Towns, Mexico Towans and more, and joins up with neighbouring Hayle Beach at low tide. Adored for its picture-perfect aesthetics and abundance of attractions, this seasonally lifeguarded beach is particularly sought-after in summer, yet thanks to its sheer size, never feels overly crowded. A favourite amongst walkers and wildlife watchers, its exposure to the Atlantic’s rolling swells and prevailing winds also creates a surfer’s paradise, with salt-tousled boarders of all abilities flocking to the shore for exhilarating days in the waves.

Long Rock Beach

A few from Long Rock Beach in Penzance overlooking the town and Mount's Bay

For salty serenity and a dose of town culture, the west coast of Cornwall proposes an unmissable prize. Part of an expansive stretch of coast that runs from Marazion to Penzance, Long Rock Beach is one of the longest beaches in Cornwall and affords exquisite views across Mount’s Bay towards the fairytale St Michael’s Mount. Beloved by locals, this year-round dog-friendly beach is particularly cherished for its easy access, with various places to reach the shoreline along its miles of sand and shingle. Walk along the waterfront or find a perfect spot to settle down, cherishing leisurely hours by the sea under warming sunshine. If you feel like a refreshing dip on a balmy day, the bay’s gently sloping shores and often calm waters lend themselves well to bathing, while the eastern end of the beach is watched over by Marazion’s lifeguards in summer. For more adventures, the seafront prom that runs behind the beach leads you into Penzance and is perfect for walking, cycling and rollerblading.

Perranporth Beach

A view of Perranporth beach from the clifftops with pretty pink seathrift flowers in bloom

A picture of coastal perfection, the majestic Perranporth Beach sits at the foot of the flourishing seaside town of Perranporth in North Cornwall. Nudging the St Agnes Heritage Coast and only a stone’s throw from Newquay, this easily accessible beach attracts thalassophiles from near and far for its soft blanket of sand and rolling Atlantic waves. One of the longest beaches in Cornwall, it encompasses around two miles of golden goodness hugged by impressive cliffs and decorated with rocky formations and pools, including Chapel Rock tidal pool. Backed by the town, it is idyllic for those seeking sun-kissed hours and close proximity to an array of amenities and attractions. Known for its award-winning eateries, this dog-friendly beach is also renowned for The Watering Hole, bestowed with the title of the UK’s only beach bar and restaurant, which hosts a year-round line-up of events.

Sandymouth Bay

A rainbow over Sandymouth Bay near Bude, North Cornwall

Settle down for alfresco feasts and dreamy sundowners at Sandymouth Bay Beach in North Cornwall. The biggest beach in Bude and one of the largest beaches in Cornwall, this two-mile-long beach resides between the headlands of Steeple Point and Menachurch Point (also known more romantically as the Dragons Head) and joins up with neighbouring beaches at low tide. On spring low tides, the honey-hued flank of Sandymouth blends with Northcott Mouth and Crooklets Beach, running all the way to Bude itself. Inviting for drawn-out hours by glistening seas, this National Trust-run beach is served by a car park, seasonal café, surf school and facilities and is RNLI lifeguarded from April until late September. For the best times to explore, visit at low tide when the water drops away from the beach’s pebbly crown and reveals cushiony expanses of sand perfect for picnics and play.

Watergate Bay

A view from the cliffs overlooking the honey-hued sands of Watergate Bay, North Cornwall

Watergate Bay’s gorgeous beach is situated around three miles outside of the vibrant centre of Newquay. Boasting a large expanse of fine, honey-coloured sand, it enjoys an imposing backdrop, tucked at the base of steep, craggy cliffs. At two miles long, it is an awe-inspiring destination for activities, with the shore beckoning for walking, jogging and horse riding and the sea calling for swimming, surfing and kayaking. With no restrictions throughout the year, it is also one of the best beaches in Cornwall for dog-friendly promenades alongside ocean panoramas. Immerse yourself in coastal calmness, before heading to one of the nearby restaurants and treating yourself to a bite of something delicious overlooking the sea. For added intrigue, you can also attend one of the many events hosted at Watergate Bay throughout the year, from surf competitions to music festivals.

Whitsand Bay

A panorama of Whitsand Bay, one of the longest beaches in Cornwall

Home to one of Cornwall’s longest beaches and a real hidden gem, Whitsand Bay extends all the way from Rame Head to Portwrinkle in South East Cornwall. Reaching over three miles in length, the main beach commands glorious views over the coast and has plenty of space for enchanting spells by the sea. While access to the beach is a little tricky due to its steep cliff paths (the easiest way to get down is from the car park near Tregantle’s active military fort), this means the beach is often wonderfully quiet – perfect for relaxing moments in nature overlooking the glimmering waters of the Celtic Sea. Just be aware that access is prohibited when the red flags are flown from the fort and that swimming here is not advised due to strong currents.

Widemouth Bay

A golden section of Widemouth Bay near Bude, North Cornwall

A long, picturesque bay residing three miles south of Bude, Widemouth Bay in North Cornwall promises a wild and remote setting for blissful escapades. Creating a mesmerising scene for beach days, it simply begs to be explored with magnificent vistas and two miles of shoreline that is lifeguarded in the summer season. The kind of beach that always has a peaceful corner available, it is as enticing in summer for sunbathing underneath blue skies as it is in winter for wrapping up in cosy layers and treading footprints along the shore. Treat yourself to a bite to eat in one of the village’s small collection of eateries or pack up a blanket and a hamper of your favourite treats and sink into dreamlike reveries as the sea plays a gentle soundtrack. If you would like to visit with your canine friend, dogs are also welcome at Black Rock at the southern end of Widemouth all year.

To enjoy divine moments by lapping waves while keeping our beaches safe and beautiful, please be kind to the environment and leave only footprints behind you. Checking up-to-date tide times and being aware of uneven terrain and beach conditions will help ensure your beach getaway is as heavenly as can be.

Feeling inspired for a heavenly beach break? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall.

Water reflecting the sky on Gwithian Beach in West Cornwall

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