Summer time, beach time – Cherished’s favourite hidden gems

With months of wet weather behind us and summer just around the corner, now is definitely the time to venture out and explore what beautiful Cornwall has to offer with the great outdoors with nowhere better to start then with arguably Cornwall’s best assets, its fabulous sandy beaches and hidden coves. Cornwall has well over 300 beaches, from secluded coves to wide expanse of sandy beaches, from Prussia cove to Porthcurno and Perrnaporth to Polzeath, we are all literally spoiled for choice in this fabulous coastal county .

St Ives one of the best beachy destinations has some of the county’s flagship beaches all within a few minutes’ walk from one another, from the stunning surfing Porthmeor beach, to pretty Porthmister, tiny all year round dog friendly Bamaluz beach to the secluded very family friendly Porthgwidden beach, there’s so much choice, plus St Ives has its iconic harbour beach to explore which dominates the landscape of this pretty seaside town with ever changing views of a working harbour too.

In peak season when the summer holidays are in full swing and for some the St Ives crowds might become overwhelming,  we’ve put together a small list of our favourite beaches/coves that you can escape to and enjoy a more civilised seaside day out, some real hidden gems to explore!  Well worth jumping into the car with a picnic, beach towels, 4 legged friends and the family , all within 90 minutes of St Ives and off you go!

Lamorna Cove

Just a half hours drive from St Ives the picturesque hidden gem of little Lamorna cove sits at the foot of a pretty wooded valley on the south coast of Cornwall between Mousehole and Porthcurno. To one side of the cove is a small quay and slipway and the other a small sandy beach with a peppering of quaint granite cottages, which could be from a scene straight out of Poldark! The cove and beach are protected by harbour walls and rugged cliffs and a lovely quiet spot to enjoy a refreshing swim or sunbathe without the crowds.

30 mins drive from St Ives – Seasonal small café- Parking by the quay – seasonal dog ban Easter day to October 1st and a pub close by up the valley – TR19 6HX

Mousehole Beach

Mousehole is not only one of Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages, but it also has two small sandy beaches hidden inside its sheltered harbour walls which are mostly only accessible at low tide and a long pebbly beach heading back towards Newlyn side. For keen swimmers there’s the Mousehole Rock Pool, a natural tidal pool and the perfect spot for a wild sea swim and even a chance to spot seals in the bay while looking out across to the stunning St Michaels Mount, one of the finest views in West Cornwall. Families are best off sticking to the harbour beaches which can be a real sheltered sun trap on any sunny day, perfect spot to rockpool and explore the beach within the harbour walls. Theres an assortment of small independent shops, cafes, and restaurants within Mousehole and the Ship Public house overlooks the pretty harbour too.

20 mins drive from St Ives – Plenty of car parking in and around Mousehole – Dogs not permitted on the harbour beach in summer – TR19 6PL – Good hopper bus service to Penzance/Newlyn

Praa Sands Beach

Praa sands beach is a beautiful one-mile-long expanse of fine white sand on the southwest coast that lies within an area of outstanding natural beauty, just off the main road from Penzance to Helston around a 30 mins drive from St Ives. The beach is close to the car park with plenty of facilities nearby. An ideal perfectly formed sandy beach, perfect for families for swimming and splashing about on the shoreline. Theres often a very good sea swell too, making it a very popular spot for keen surfers.  We recommend trying the Sandbar, a lovely open bar by the beach, perfect place for lunch or dinner or just your favourite tipple overlooking the sea.

30 mins drive from St Ives – Facilities close by – Car park at the western end of the beach – Seasonal dog ban – dogs not allowed on the beach 1st July – 31 August / 10am-6pm – TR20 9TQ

Prussia Cove

One of our favourites tucked away beaches, and caught on the right day and weather, can look and feel like a beach and setting straight from the Mediterranean, absolutely stunning set among rugged cliffs leading down to beautiful seclude coves. Prussia cove consists of a small and secluded series of rocky coves with small sandy beaches, the perfect spot for swimming and cooling off on a warm summer’s day. The sheltered cove is a great place to explore with rock pools , a cave and tumbledown granite fishing huts bult into the side of the cliffs along the coastal path depicting lovely scenes from a bygone era. To one side of the beach is a good-sized patch of shingle beach when the tide is low and out the other end a long deep gulley, forming a kind of natural harbour. A super spot for swimming and snorkelling on calmer days. As the tide comes in the beach disappears, leaving you to sit on the rocks and picnic, sunbathe and relax between swims.

30 min drive from St Ives – no facilities nearby – dog friendly all year round- parking in a small private field about a 5 mins walk down to the cove – TR20 9BA

Porthcurnick Beach (Roseland Peninsula)

Well worth the hours’ drive to explore the more remote but equally stunning Roseland Peninsula and discover the secluded and quiet Porthcurnick Beach tucked away below high cliffs, the isolated but beautiful sandy cove lies just a stone’s throw from Portscatho. As well as a fabulous beach to enjoy, especially for paddleboarding and kayaking, there’s a lovely coastal path walk to Portscatho around St Anthonys headland to the west, or over to Carne and Pendower beaches in the opposite direction . This is a renowned area to spot visiting Basking Sharks swim by. You must also visit the nearby foodie haven of The Hidden Hut. Literally a small wooden hut perched above the remote cove near the fishing village of Portscatho, the Hidden Hut is a special destination to enjoy freshly cooked food out in the sea air! By day they serve a small daily menu of fresh seasonal lunches from the outdoor beach kitchen and by night the hut opens on selected summer evenings to host open aired wood-fired feast nights, well worth a visit on your day out from St Ives.

80 mins drive (including King Harry ferry) from St Ives – Dogs allowed all year- limited free parking – TR2 5EW

Porthgwarra Beach

Another beautiful secluded beach in West Cornwall, largely owned by Lord St Levan (Of St Michaels Mount) located just 3 miles southeast of Lands’ End around a 45 minutes’ drive from St Ives but well worth the journey as you can also combine it with a visit to Sennen cove, way more popular and far busier but on the way back to St Ives along one of the most stunning stretch of coastal road anywhere in the country  . At low tide there’s a small beach with plenty of rock pools and caves to explore with many reminders of the tiny old fishing ports past heritage .  Good swimming to be had within the cove and one of the nicest featured here is the cave running through part of the cliff and if you are extremely lucky of an evening you can spot bats flying in and out. The Southwest coast path passes through Porthgwarra, so it’s always a welcome stop off place for a dip on a hot summer day for hardy walkers! Recommend a picnic for this beach visit or grab a pasty on the way through Penzance, alternatively there’s a small seaside shop selling a few souvenirs and snacks and some benches to sit on and enjoy the great outdoors and secluded remoteness of this pretty spot.

45 mins drive from St Ives – Seasonal dog ban in summer between 10am/6pm – Toilets / facilities – Parking in a field next to the tiny hamlet – TR19 6JR

Hope this has got the juices flowing for a fine summer ahead of visiting this very special part of the world and enjoying the stunning’ less crowded’ hidden gem beaches that beautiful Cornwall has offer, and if you are looking for very special places to stay this summer then check out our beautiful cosy fisherman’s cottages, large family houses, romantic studios for two and sea view apartments at and don’t forget to bring your very welcome four legged friends too as we have 22 pet friendly properties too!

Author: Tim Petersen

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