Best Coves In Cornwall. Secret Bays & Best Snorkelling

We can’t get enough of Cornwall & we hope you can’t either. If you’ve come looking for the best coves in Cornwall, secret bays and awesome snorkelling, look no further as we’ve listed our top 12 coves in Cornwall.

Cornish Coves

Housel Bay Cornwall. Coves In Cornwall.

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove is owned by the National Trust as it’s a site of archaeological importance surrounded by dunes, beaches, a medieval church and a reedbed rich in wildlife. It is situated on the Lizard peninsula approximately two miles north of Lizard Point.

Famous for its white-sand beach, glistening, calm turquoise waters and being surrounded by red and green stone rocks. The contrast between the cove’s white sand beach and the dark red and green serpentine rock will take your breath away. It’s a unique place with islands, sea stacks and caves.

Between July and September 1st, the beach here is not dog friendly. Situated just above the beach is the Kynance Cove Beach Cafe which has operated there for nearly 100 years. It’s an off-grid café but they do sell a cream tea!

If you’re looking for a hike around this most southerly point in Britain, download the iwalkCornwall app and follow this circular walk that leaves from Lizard.

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Cornwall cottage. Coves in cornwall

Stay in this beautiful cottage and visit the Coves in Cornwall

Kynance Cove

Kynance Cove. Coves in Cornwall.

Chapel Porth Beach

At high tide, this tight little cove can be pretty wild as it braces the full force of the Atlantic. Surrounded by high cliffs, the beach is short and pebbly when the water is in but at low tide, the sand seems to stretch for miles and you can even walk all the way round to Porthtowan.

Getting cut off by the incoming tide is a real danger here so make sure to check the tide times fully. This is another beach owned by The National Trust and there’s a summer holiday ban on dogs. 

When the tide’s out there are rock pools and caves to explore and when conditions are right the sea is full of surfers. The cliffs loom high above and perched overlooking you are the ruins of the old Wheal Coates tin mine.

The linear walk from Chapel Porth around the coast to the village of St Agnes gives stunning ocean views.

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The best coves in Cornwall

Chapel Porth Beach Cornwall

Chapel Porth Beach Cornwall

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Piskies Cove

This beach is quite isolated and requires a 20-30 minute trek to reach. Due to that, it’s overlooked by most holidaymakers to Cornwall.

Tucked away behind the imposing headland of Cudden Point, it is one of the three coves that make up the Prussia Cove collective. Its relatively sheltered location meant that it was once used by John Carter, “King of Prussia”, to smuggle contraband onto land.

At high tide, there is no beach here (at low tide there are two smaller sandy beaches) but the rocks are amazing for soaking up that Cornish sun, sunbathing, cliff jumping and swimming in the gullies.

This is a very remote cove and as such no lifeguards or help nearby.

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coves in cornwall

Piskies Cove, Coves in Cornwall

Piskies Cove, Coves in Cornwall

Godrevy Beach

With three miles of golden sand, what is not to like about Godrevy Beach?!

It’s another beach owned by The National Trust and dogs are banned between July and September 1st.

At low tide, the beach at Godrevy is connected to Gwithian beach which gives you three miles of impressive golden sands. However, at low tide, hundreds of metres of sand disappear so be careful to check tide times.

Godrevy Beach sits at the far north of the bay and terminates with a low rocky headland and the Godrevy lighthouse.  The waves along this stretch of coastline can be enormous, up to eight feet high, and best at low tide.

Seals are regular visitors to this area so keep an eye out for them in the water and basking on the rocks.

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Godrevy Beach

Godrevy Beach

Perranporth Beach

Perranporth is another beach that is enormous (two miles long) and at low tide, it joins Penhale Point to form one of the largest stretches of unbroken sand in Cornwall. It’s a very popular beach and for good reason.

At one end of the beach is the town leading towards Penhale Point, where there’s an extensive network of sand dunes. This is also home to a buried church and is the quietest area of the beach.

Perranporth has rock pools, caves, a stream and Chapel Rock in the centre of the beach, with a small bathing pool. A little further along is the ‘Watering Hole’, a pub not just overlooking the beach, but actually right on the beach.

Dogs are allowed on the beach all year but must be kept on a lead between July and August.

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Bassets Cove

Access to this little cove is challenging. The path is steep & winding and requires some scrambling to get down there. It is definitely not pushchair friendly.

At low tide there’s a small section of sand and some rock pools that you can explore.  From here you can also reach Porthcadjack Cove and Mirrose Well Cove, as well as Deadman’s Cove and Greenbank Cove. At high tide, the cove becomes inaccessible so do check the tide times.

The cove is named after John Francis Basset, a 19th Century mine owner who built the nearby Tehidy House. Seals are spotted regularly, with seasonal breeding grounds in many of the coves nearby.

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Housel Bay Beach

Breathtaking but challenging to reach would be the way we’d describe this idyllic cove. The high cliffs provide plenty of cover from the wind but hiking down the granite steps, past the waterfall will test your thigh muscles.

However, if you make the effort, you will be rewarded with a tiny stretch of near-perfect, white sand with the clearest turquoise water almost imaginable. The beach only becomes accessible when the tide is out.

If you’re looking a hike in this area, download the iwalkcornwall app and choose this circular walk from the pretty fishing hamlet of Cadgwith Cove, past the Devil’s Frying Pan.

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Housel Bay Cornwall

Housel Bay Cornwall

Porthgwidden Beach

Located near St Ives, Porthgwidden is the smallest beach in its area and due to its sheltered, protected and sun trap facing benefits is popular with families.

Infamous for its white beach huts with small colourful doors, you can rent the two-story huts and deck chairs. There is a dog ban here between July and September 1st.

A short walk up onto The Island and you can have vistas across St Ives Bay and to Godrevy lighthouse. On the beachside is Porthgwidden Beach Café and Take Away & Bar where you can eat overlooking this lush bay.

Check out the webcam from Portgwidden Beach. 

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Coves in Cornwall

Porthgwidden Beach. Best Coves In Cornwall.

Porthtowan Beach

Porthtowan is a Blue Flag beach and also one of Cornwall’s most popular surfing beaches. It is bordered by soft golden sand that sits in a valley and a backdrop of large sandy dunes and dramatic granite cliffs.

At low tide, the beach stretches for nearly two miles and you can walk to the neighbouring beach at Chapel Porth.  Situated on the shore is the popular Blue Bar, a relaxed beachside café where you can grab a drink and watch the sun go down.

This beach is popular and busy but has a friendly atmosphere. A summer seasonal dog ban exists on this beach.

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Porthtowan Bay

Porthtowan Bay

Portreath Beach

A popular bodyboarding beach, it is very close to the town, shops, an arcade and restaurants/pubs. There are three pubs within walking distance of the beach which also has a harbour wall.

A seasonal dog ban exists on this family-friendly part sand, part single beach. There is a well equipped recently built surf life-saving club right on the beach which adds to the surfie feel this beach has.

To the western end of the beach are high cliffs and a small cove that is cut off at high tide. At low tide, you can walk round and explore it.

Once a busy port, importing coal and exporting copper, the small harbour is now only home to a few fishing boats. Some of the old tram-roads have been made into cycle paths and it possible to cycle from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south coast.

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coves in cornwall

The best coves in Cornwall

Cornish Coves

Portreath Bay, Cornwall

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Carbis Bay Beach

Another one of Cornwalls Blue Flag beaches, Carbis Bay is 25-acres of very calm sea with virtually no surf, definitely making it family-friendly. It’s actually privately owned but open to the public.

Flanked by luscious green cliffs, this sheltered bay is around a mile long and a short walk on the east side of the beach at low tide brings you to Porth Kidney sands where you’ll find an RSPB bird sanctuary.

The South West Coast Path passes above the beach so if you’re looking for a circular walk, download the iwalkCornwall app and follow this walk from St Ives to Carbis Bay.

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Cottages in Cornwall

Best Coves In Cornwall. Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay

Poly Joke Beach

Access to Porth Joke is fairly limited with a small, National Trust car park being at least a 15-minute walk away. Due to this, this secluded beach is not as popular as others and often overlooked.

With a sandy, narrow beach, tucked into a deep cove, you’ll find rock pools and caves at low tide and the beach is also suitable for swimming, bodyboarding and surfing.

Dogs are welcome on a lead as sheep graze locally.

If you’re looking for a circular walk, download the iwalkcornwall app for a circular walk from West Pentire to Polly Joke through poppy fields.

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coves in cornwall

Poly Joke Bay Cornwall

Poly Joke Bay

Where To Find These Secret Coves In Cornwall

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Other Accommodation In Cornwall

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Best Coves In Cornwall. Secret Bays & Best Snorkelling

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As a small child my favourite book was 'People of the World' which featured Inuits from Alaska, children from China and farmers from Peru. It was a glimpse into another world that would inspire me to wander the globe in search of something special.


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