Let’s be real, Cornwall is full of absolutely stunning places to visit, but I wanted to share my own (very subjective!) list…
There are also obviously so many places that I am still yet to explore in this county I call home (in particular around North Cornwall!), so my list will be very biased I’m sure – don’t be offended if your fave spot is missed out 😉
I’ve also decided I’m not going to write down precise beach names / locations, but more broad areas that are worth researching and exploring yourself. I have LOADS of articles here on The Cornish Life about all the wonderful beaches and coast path segments I’ve explored so feel free to have a browse through those too – but hopefully this post will give you some inspiration.
The Lizard Peninsula
I feel like when people come to visit Cornwall, they often forget about the Lizard peninsula (or don’t realise what a beauty it is!) but it really is one of my favourite places here. It’s so wild and there are so many spots I’m still yet to explore, but I’m sure you’ve seen many a photo of some of the Lizard’s most iconic spots and coastal landmarks!
I couldn’t write this list and not include Mount’s Bay… where else in the UK do you get this incredible view of a castle on its own island out to sea? As well at St. Michael’s Mount itself, the coastline around here is well worth an explore if you like rugged cliffs and hidden coves. The harbour towns that line this bay are quintessentially Cornish with plenty of local independent cafes, shops and galleries to browse.
Some of my favourite places in the whole of Cornwall are dotted along the edges of Helford river, and it’s an amazing place to explore from the water too, either by boat or by kayaks! Some of the beaches and coast path sections look like something you’d find in Croatia, and you can pretty much always count on the water being flat enough to swim in.
Penwith Heritage Coast
From Shipwrecks and old engine houses, to mermaids and outdoor stone theatres, the Penwith coastline is possibly the most dramatic in Cornwall. It’s also home to beaches that will blow your mind with how beautiful they are – I’ve written about them here on the blog before, but it’s sadly it’s controversial for me to share specific locations all the time. There is one particular beach that is very remote and dangerous to access… not only have there been fatalities from people trying to access it, the local area is also struggling with the capacity of visitors on its tiny narrow roads.
You can read more about my thoughts on this in my ‘Promotion vs. Preservation: A Cornish Blogger’s Dilemma’ post.
St. Ives Bay & Godrevy Heritage Coast
St. Ives itself is obviously a gorgeous little town bursting with charm and hosting several incredibly beautiful beaches, but the whole bay is one I’d recommend exploring too. It curves all the way around to Gwithian and Godrevy (our local surfing and BBQ-ing favourite!) and then the coastline from Godrevy to Portreath is completely breathtaking too. To walk that part takes around 3 – 4 hours, and I’d highly recommend it!
Fal & Truro Rivers
Whether exploring on foot, or lucky enough to meander around its creeks and inlets by boat or kayak, River Fal (which then become Truro River) is a seemingly endless maze of adventure that constantly surprises me with new beautiful places on each trip I make. Again, due to the (usually) calm waters, this whole area is great for wild swimming,
St. Agnes Heritage Coast
This is really where I grew up and spent a lot of my time as a child, but have fostered a new appreciation for the area as an adult (trust me, grumpy 13 year old me used to HATE going for coast walks with the family…). On a still day, the colour of the water here is unbelievable, and there are some real gems in terms of cafes and snack stops along the way.
Trevose Heritage Coast
From the famous Bedruthan Steps, all the way along to the quaint yet buzzing fishing port of Padstow, this stretch of coastline is also pretty epic. I’ve not explored all of it yet but I’ve done the first part, and can’t wait to find the perfect day to adventure here this summer. Any pit stop recommendations along the way would be much appreciated!
Where would you add to the list of most beautiful places in Cornwall? Leave a comment below!