Off-the-beaten-track Cornish beaches & coves
Wish you were here? Despite the recent hype of ‘overcrowding’ in Cornwall, there are plenty of secret beaches, tranquil bays and untouched coves that are picture-perfect all-year-round. And with over 300 to choose from, it was tricky to whittle our hit-list down, but here are The Greenbank’s top fifteen favourite beauty spots…
📷: Adjejnewquay | Reichealexander | Suandtony
The jewel in the crown of the Roseland peninsula and one of the prettiest villages in Cornwall, Portloe’s name develops from the Cornish Porth Logh meaning ‘cove pool.’ Smuggling has played a part in Portloe’s history and many of its buildings differ little from when they were built.
📷: Beachretreats | Tarathewhippetgrey | Nancybramblewood
Sheltered and romantic, the charming Prussia Cove has an old-world poetic feel. It is famous as the home of the Carters – a family of smugglers in the 18th century, one of whom was known as the King of Prussia. On the coast of Mount’s Bay, access to the beach depends on the tide (you can’t get much more secluded than that!)
Constantine Bay beach
📷: Peter_Hodges_Photography | Paulwalder_photography | Pheebirkbeck
With a reputation as one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall, Constantine Bay beach offers a sweeping arc of gently shelving soft pale sands. Skirted by an array of magnificent rock pools at the top, dip your toe in its clear waters and head out for a swim.
📷: Sonionionia | Christine_sweetman | Lorensimone
This small quiet spot, situated at the foot of Trebah Garden, is ideal for boating and exploring the Helford River. There are still reminders of Polgwidden’s role during World War II in the form of concrete structures. It was from here that boats were launched to attack Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day.
📷: Alexjchilton | Gutschigutschi | Cjthompson27
Located on the Lizard peninsula, Kennack Sands is located in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ Rich in shipwreck stories, the remains of old vessels can be often be seen at low tide.
📷: Rojwhitelockagain | Rojwhitelockagain | Cornwall_lover
With the old harbour and a labyrinth of caves to explore, there’s plenty to keep you busy at this secluded spot in St Agnes. We recommend walking to the neighbouring northerly beach of Trevellas Porth at low tide.
📷: Badwolfhorizon | Pippywiggle | Georgesmall353
Access to Flushing Cove isn’t particularly easy, hence the lack of crowds. Fringed by the mature woodland of the Helford, this tiny river beach offers wonderful views out towards the sea beyond (and just across the water from The Greenbank.)
Loe Bar beach
📷: Runawayunicorn | Tomyoungphotography | Alexdavey07
This shingle bank separates Loe Pool, the largest natural fresh water lake in Cornwall, from the sea. The beach itself is often untouched and from there you can walk to Porthleven or through Penrose’s idyllic woodland tracks.
📷: Carlaregler | Kelvbatt | Lilybattershill
Deep in the heart of mining country, with its engine house at the top of the cliffs high above the cove, Rinsey offers postcard-worthy views. Walking down the footpath and through the cut in the cliff brings you down to this secluded beach.
📷: The_way_out_west | Suandtony | Markboucherphotography
A stone’s throw south of Land’s End hides the remote cove of Nanjizal. Waterfalls can be found at the base of the cliff, as well as many caves for exploring. Marvel at the ‘Song of the Sea,’ a stunning eyelet arch that cuts through the granite to the wild waters of the Atlantic.
📷: Abbitpittphotography | Emmasixton | Samsd
Cadgwith is one of those Cornish fishing villages that time seems to have passed by. The beach is still very much the centre of the village with a small fleet of crabbing boats winched up in front of the boat houses. There is some good diving to be had, with several well-known shipwrecks located nearby.
📷: Av_morris | Alessio_gaggioli | Del_bond
Just outside the ancient maritime harbour of Fowey on Cornwall’s south coast, Readymoney Cove is bounded on one side by the medieval town and on the other by St Catherine’s Castle. A magical sheltered spot and safe to swim in.
📷: Jaseag | Beccabeccy | Rphitchens
Mexico Towans forms part of a glorious four miles of sand that starts from the mouth of the Hayle estuary and reaches out to the lighthouse at Godrevy Point. Backed by magnificent sand dunes, known as ‘towans,’ you’ll always find space for your picnic blanket. Perfect for surfing and dog walking!
📷: Steve_parke | Stuartsco | Andrewwinter7
If you’re up for a bit of a hike then Lantic Bay will reward you with one of the most stunning locations in Cornwall. Uncover this shingle beach cut into towering cliffs smothered with gorse and windswept hawthorns, and be sure to take a dip in its crystal waters.
📷: Johnstonldn | Joshuatobiasbarrett | keikorose
Down on the banks on the Helford River hides the picturesque hamlet of Durgan and its rocky beach. The hamlet has a permanent population of just ten, and the beach is at the foot of the subtropical Glendurgan Gardens. Enjoy panoramic vistas over the river and across the wilder southern banks of the Helford.
All of the above images can be found on Instagram.