best beaches in north cornwall

The Best Beaches in North Cornwall

The North Cornwall coast is renowned for its surf, endless sandy beaches, and stunning South West Coast Path stretch. We believe it could be one of the best spots in Cornwall and the UK to spend a holiday at the seaside.  North Cornwall’s beautiful coastline is home to some of the country’s most stunning beaches. There are plenty of great coves and inlets to spend your time, from small, romantic beaches with dramatic cliffs to wide sandy family-friendly locations. Here are the best beaches in North Cornwall – and yes we’ve included if your canine friends are welcome too!

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Best Beaches in North Cornwall

It’s well known that North Cornwall is a popular destination for beach lovers with miles and miles of golden sandy coastline, breathtaking views, and a wealth of other incredible attractions.

The wild and windy north coast of Cornwall is subject to Atlantic storms’ full force and power. This can lead to dangerous currents and dramatic cliffs. Perranporth is one of the most popular beaches along this stretch of coast. It boasts miles of golden sand, making it a popular spot for winter dog walkers and summer sunbathers. Surfers love the north coast. They can choose from the popular but crowded Fistral, near Newquay, or quieter lesser-known spots like Bossiney Cove. Beaches like Daymer Bay or Constantine are great for a family day. Hidden spots, which can only be reached by foot, are also a great reason to explore the incredible South West Coast path.

Here at Cornwall’s Best, come on in and see the top beaches to visit, surf from, sunbathe on, walk the dog on and explore in this beautiful area of Cornwall.

If you need to rent a car in Cornwall, we recommend Discover Cars for car hire.  You can search, compare and save up to 70%, with no hidden fees and free cancellation, what have you got to lose? Get a price for a rental car in Cornwall here.

Bossiney Cove, near Tintagel, North Cornwall

All those who follow the steps down to Bossiney Cove will find tranquil turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches. (unless, of course, it’s blowing a hoolie!) This cove, which is one of the lesser-known and less used beaches of North Cornwall, is a peaceful spot, surrounded by grassy cliffs and rocky inglenooks. Bossiney Cove is a quiet beach and a hidden gem on the Tintagel to Boscastle coast. These waters are prone to strong currents, so swimming is not recommended. Instead, you can just relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

Bossiney Cove beach north cornwall

Bossiney Beach Information

  • What type of beach is Bossiney Cove, North Cornwall? Sandy
  • What’s the postcode of Bossiney Cove, North Cornwall? PL34 0AY
  • Is Bossiney Cove, North Cornwall dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Bossiney Cove, North Cornwall? No, there’s no lifeguard cover
  • Is there a Car Park at Bossiney Cove, North Cornwall? Yes, in a nearby layby.  In the offseason it’s free.  In summer a field opens for parking and you must pay.

Constantine Beach, North Cornwall

Constantine Bay beach is known for its excellent surfing conditions. This beach, which faces west, is also home to numerous rock pools and is famous for paddling and swimming.  Constantine Beach is known for being dog friendly all year round.  It’s not always recommended for swimming as it faces west and does get some dangerous rips.

Constantine beach north cornwall

Constantine Beach Information

  • What type of beach is Constantine Bay Beach? Sandy
  • What’s the postcode at Constantine Bay Beach? PL28 8JJ
  • Is Constantine Bay Beach dog-friendly: Yes – all year round
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Constantine Bay Beach?  Yes – RNLI lifeguards are available every day from 5 May – 30 September, and Easter weekend
  • Is there car parking at Constantine Bay Beach? Yes, but it is limited parking.  A field car park opens in summer Alternatively you can choose to park at Treyarnon Bay and take a 10 minute walk along the coast path.

Crackington Haven Beach, North Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach is located between the imposing cliffs and backs onto the village of Crackington Haven. It is a smaller beach than the nearby Widemouth Beach, so it is ideal for surfers on ‘big wave’ days. It is a gentle shelving beach in an enclosed bay. If you plan to spend a day on the beach, please keep your valuables safe – use a portable travel safe.

Crackington Haven Beach North Cornwall

Crackington Haven Beach Information

  • What type of beach is Crackington Haven Beach? Shingle Beach
  • What is the postcode at Crackington Haven Beach? EX23 0JG
  • Is Crackington Haven Beach Dog-Friendly? There is a seasonal ban on dogs from 15th May to 30th September from 10 am-6 pm
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Crackington Haven Beach: Yes, seasonally.  The RNLI lifeguards are available daily from 2 – 10 May and 7 July – 2 September
  • Is there Car Parking at Crackington Haven Beach? Yes.  At the valley bottom, there’s a car park with a capacity for about 90 cars.  There’s another car park about 300 metres from the beach on the north road into Crackington Haven that has a capacity for more than 100 cars.

Crantock Beach, North Cornwall

Crantock beach is a large expanse of shoreline with beautiful golden sand.  It is located between the Pentire Headlands and the West Pentire Headlands. Families love this beach for its snorkelling, swimming, and surfing opportunities. It is even possible to see dolphins from the shore!

Crantock Beach Information

  • What is type of beach is Crantock Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Crantock Beach? TR8 5RN
  • Is Crantock Beach Dog-Friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Crantock Beach? Yes, this is a seasonal service and RNLI lifeguards are available daily from 19 May to 30 September
  • Is there Car Parking at Crantock Beach? Yes.  There are two car parks towards the north of the village.  They are just a short walk and the National Trust car park is very expensive (or free for members, so it’s worth joining NT for car parking alone!)

Daymer Bay, Rock, North Cornwall

This beach is a beautiful stretch of golden sand and is backed by suntrap dunes, near the village of Rock. It offers stunning views across the Camel Estuary. The gently sloping shores of Daymer Bay Beach, its shallow waters, and gentle waves make it a great place to do bucket and spade trips, family paddling, and swimming. It is often visited by kite surfers and windsurfers.

Daymer Bay Beach North Cornwall

Daymer Bay Beach Information

  • What type of beach is Daymer Bay Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Daymer Bay Beach? PL27 6SA
  • Is Daymer Bay Beach dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Daymer Bay Beach? No
  • Is there Car Parking at Daymer Bay Beach? Yes.  Car Parking here is expensive and privately owned.  Tickets are frequently issued if you don’t pay or overstay your time.

Fistral Beach, Newquay, North Cornwall

Fistral is a famous tourist spot known for its surfing. It has great waves and attracts top pro surfers from all over the world. This beach has all the amenities you could want.

Fistral Beach North Cornwall

Fistral Beach Information

  • What type is Fistral Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Fistral Beach: TR7 1HY
  • Is Fistral Beach dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Fistral Beach? Yes, there is seasonal RNLI Lifeguard cover daily from Easter Bank Holiday to the end of October.
  • Is there Car Parking at Fistral Beach? Yes.  The car park next to the International Surfing Centre has paid for parking during the summer days (8 am to 6:30 pm).  There’s free parking from 6:30 pm to midnight.

Godrevy Beach, North Cornwall

Dramatic coves and high cliffs characterize the North Cornish beach of Godrevy, also sometimes known as Peter’s Point. It also offers stunning views of the waters towards the Godrevy lighthouse.  You will find families, nature watchers, and walkers along this stretch of sand on a summer afternoon.

Godrevy beach north cornwall

Godrevy Beach Information

  • What type is Godrevy Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Godrevy Beach? TR27 5ED
  • Is Godrevy Beach dog-friendly? Kind of – there is a seasonal ban on dogs 1st July – 31st August / 10:00 – 6 pm
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Godrevy Beach? A summer lifeguard service is available on Godrevy/Peter’s Point, from 19 May to 30 September
  • Is there Car Parking at Godrevy Beach? Yes.  Car parking here is run by the National Trust.  The car park by the Godrevy Café is open all year round and then there are two other car parks open in the fields when the ground is dry enough.  It’s pay and display (coins only) and you need exact change or you can use PaybyPhone.  National Trust Members park for free.  (Join.  It’s worth it for the car parking in Cornwall!)

Perranporth Beach, Perranporth, North Cornwall

Perranporth Beach is home, at low tide, to one of the longest stretches of sand on the north coast of Cornwall. It is easily accessible with ample parking and many facilities such as shops and cafes right next to it. This makes Perranporth Beach ideal for families with young children and it’s equipped with all you’ll need for a day on her golden sands.

Perranporth Beach North Cornwall

Perranporth Beach Information

This beach in Cornwall is a great place to surf, snorkel, or sail. There’s something for everyone here!

  • What type is Perranporth Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Perranporth Beach? TR6 OJL
  • Is Perranporth Beach Dog-friendly? Yes!  All-year-round dogs are allowed. In July and August, they must be on a lead between 9 am and 5 pm.
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Perranporth Beach? Yes, there is RNLI Lifeguard Cover: Easter Bank Holiday, Weekends during April, Daily from 5 May-30 Sept, and Weekends during October
  • Is there Car Parking at Perranporth Beach? Yes, there are three car parks here.  They are free during the winter months (1 November to 31 March).  Outside of that parking starts at 80p per hour, coins only or using the JustPark app.

Polzeath Beach, North Cornwall

Polzeath Beach is a perfect surfing beach that is easily accessible. This beautiful gem in North Cornwall is known for its long, slow-breaking waves, making Polzeath a popular choice in an area with many great beaches.

Polzeath Beach North Cornwall

Polzeath Beach Information

  • What type is Polzeath Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Polzeath Beach? PL22 6TB
  • Is Polzeath Beach Dog Friendly?  A little – there is a seasonal ban on dogs. No dogs are allowed on Polzeath beach between 15 May and 30 September, 10 am-6 pm.
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Polzeath Beach? Yes, there is RNLI Lifeguard Cover: Easter Bank Holiday, Weekends during April, Daily from 5 May to 30 September, and Weekends during October
  • Is there Car Parking at Polzeath Beach? Yes, you’ll find several car parks close to the beach.  The car parks are run by the council and two hours will cost £3.20.

Port Isaac Beach, North Cornwall

Port Isaac’s beautiful fishing village is the backdrop for our next beach. Charming cottages and heathered rock top back the sandy shore at Port Isaac Beach. Children love to play in the rock pools at low tide and build dams in the stream that runs down the valley to the sandy, sheltered foreshore.

Port Isaac Beach North Cornwall

Port Isaac Beach Information

  • What type is Port Isaac Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Port Isaac Beach? PL29 3SG
  • Is Port Isaac Beach dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Port Isaac Beach? No
  • Is there Car Parking at Port Isaac Beach? No – you’ll need to park in one of the town car parks (paid).  The car parks at the main road car park and the new road car park. It will cost about £3 for 3 hours. 

Porthminster Beach, St Ives, North Cornwall

The secluded, sheltered beach at Porthminster, St Ives was been awarded a Blue Flag. It is an excellent destination for families with stunning views of Godrevy Lighthouse. The beach is sandy and large. There are also shops, cafes, and even an art gallery nearby.

Porthminster Beach North Cornwall

Porthminster Beach Information

  • What type is Porthminster Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Porthminster Beach? TR26 2BN
  • Is Porthminster Beach dog-friendly? Yes, dogs are allowed on the beach except between 15 May & 30 September (10 – 6 pm).
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Porthminster Beach? Yes
  • Is there Car Parking at Porthminster Beach? Yes, parking here is at the station car park, but it gets quite busy.  There are 106 spaces here and it’s pay and display.

Sandymouth Beach, Near Bude, North Cornwall

Sandymouth is a large beach located about 15 minutes north of Bude. The beach is mostly made up of pebbles when the tide is out, but large areas of sand become visible as the tide recedes. Sandymouth beach, however, retains a wild feel and is a great spot to take a winter walk or see some of the wildlife in the area.

Sandymouth Beach North Cornwall

Sandymouth Beach Information

  • What type is Sandymouth Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Sandymouth Beach? EX23 9HW
  • Is Sandymouth Beach dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Sandymouth Beach? Yes. High season lifeguard service.
  • Is there Car parking at Sandymouth Beach? Yes.  There is parking for Sandymouth Beach at the National Trust car parks of Northcott Mouth, Sandymouth, Duckpool, and Morwenstow.  Parking is free for National Trust members.

Summerleaze Beach, Bude, North Cornwall

Only a short distance from Bude’s vibrant town centre, Summerleaze is Bude’s main beach, which has excellent/good quality water.  Summerleaze Beach is home to the famous Bude Sea Pool, which offers excellent waves for bodyboarding and surfing, safe swimming in the ocean, and paddling. There are also free Swimsafe lessons for children (in summer), and it has everything for everyone. There’s more on the best things to do in Bude here.

Summerleaze Beach North Cornwall

Summerleaze Beach Information

  • What type is Summerleaze Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Summerleaze Beach? EX23 8HN
  • Is Summerleaze Beach Dog Friendly?  Yes – All-year dogs are allowed (must be on a lead from 15 May through 30 September, 10 am-6 pm).
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Summerleaze Beach? Yes. RNLI lifeguards are on duty from 5 May through 30 September. Easter bank holiday coverage is also available.
  • Is there Car Parking at Summerleaze Beach?  Yes.  There are details of the parking in the Bude area here.

Like beaches? Our guide to the best places to stay in Bude has some stunning places to stay with glorious beach views.

Tintagel Beach, Tintagel, North Cornwall

Also known as Merlin’s Cove, Tintagel Beach is a small pebble and sand beach. In good weather, swimming is possible at a rising tide. It is difficult to get to the beach, and it disappears at high tide. There are several places to fish from the rocks, including rock pools at low tide. The cove is suitable for snorkeling if you have the right conditions.

Tintagel Beach North Cornwall

Tintagel Beach Information

  • What type is Tintagel Beach? Shingle and Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Tintagel Beach? PL34 0HE
  • Is Tintagel Beach Dog Friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Tintagel Beach? No
  • Is there Car Parking at Tintagel Beach? You will need to park in the village of Tintagel.  There are a few pay and display car parks here, about 600 metres from the beach.  3 hours parking will cost £3.20.

You’ll want to visit Tintagel Castle while you’re here – it’s one of the best castles in Cornwall!

Trebarwith Strand, North Cornwall

Trebarwith Strand Beach is one of the few beaches that are easily accessible along this stretch of the North Cornwall coast. The beach is almost a mile long at low tide, but as the tide rises, it disappears, leaving only the rocks at the base. You should check the tides before you go to the beach. Every year, several people have to be rescued from here because of the incoming tide. 

Trebarwith Strand North Cornwall

Trebarwith Strand Information

Trebarwith Strand is an excellent beach for families, with its many facilities and seasonal lifeguard service. Be sure only to swim when lifeguards are present

  • What type is Trebarwith Strand Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Trebarwith Strand Beach? PL34 0HB
  • Is Trebarwith Strand Beach dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Trebarwith Strand Beach? Yes, there is RNLI Lifeguard Summer Coverage Daily from 19 May to 31 September
  • Is there Car Parking at Trebarwith Strand Beach? Yes.

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, North Cornwall

Thanks to its sand-shingle mix, Trevaunance Cove is a famous beach for families all year. Trevaunance Cove Beach is also a popular spot for surfers. Additionally, there are amenities on the beach such as a shop, pub, and cafe making it the main beach in St Agnes.

Trevaunance Cove Information

  • What type is Trevaunance Cove Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Trevaunance Cove Beach? TR5 0RT
  • Is Trevaunance Cove Beach Dog-friendly?  Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Trevaunance Cove Beach? RNLI Lifeguard Summer Cover daily from 19 May through 30 September
  • Is there Car Parking at Trevaunance Cove Beach?  Yes, you’ll find one small car park near the beach and a larger one 5 minutes walk away.  They’re run by the council and are pay and display.

Watergate Bay, North Cornwall

Watergate Bay has a long stretch of sandy beach and an active beachside calendar. This North Cornwall beach hosts the main, gnarly stage for the famous Boardmasters Festival.  At Watergate Bay beach you can choose from surfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and wave skiing.

Watergate Bay North Cornwall

Watergate Bay Information

  • What type is Watergate Bay Beach? Sandy
  • What is the postcode at Watergate Bay beach? TR8 4AA
  • Is Watergate Bay beach Dog-friendly? Yes
  • Is there a Lifeguard Service at Watergate Bay beach? Yes, there is RNLI Lifeguard Summer Cover daily from 5 May to 10 September, Easter Bank Holiday
  • Is there Car Parking at Watergate Bay beach? Yes.  There’s a large car park here, its pay and display and 3 hours will cost you £4.90.

Like Cornish Beaches? Then you’ll like our guide to the best beaches of South Cornwall and our guide to West Cornwall’s best beaches.

Travel Tips for Exploring Cornwall

Final Words on the Best Beaches in North Cornwall

You can’t fail to be captivated by the rugged beauty of North Cornwall’s Atlantic coastline and it’s no surprise that many people choose this unrivalled sweep for their holiday.  I really do love this part of Cornwall and the north coast has it all. It’s rugged with dunes, jagged rock cliffs, and stunning beaches. If you are looking for dog-friendly beaches, places to take your family on holiday, or some of the best surfing beaches, then North Cornwall is a great choice.

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