Nanjizal beach is an iconic cove that you’ve probably seen in many a Cornish coast walk guidebook!
This little cove (also known as Mill Bay) is on the most southerly tip of Cornwall, a mile’s walk along the coast path from Land’s End. It has no direct road access and it’s so remote that it’s taken me a ridiculous number of years to finally dedicate time to going to find it! But Niki and I ventured down to West Cornwall and the Penwith coast and did it a few weekends ago, and I’m so glad we did.
One of the main draws of this beach is its famous ‘Song of the Sea’; it’s part cave, part archway, naturally cut into the side of the cliffs on the east side. You may have seen photos of it, as it looks particularly magical due to the incredibly clear, blue water all around it. It truly looks like a mermaid lagoon!
Apparently it was featured as a location in a 1960s episode of Doctor Who, if you like your obscure facts!
How to get to Nanjizal and where to park
This beach is pretty remote as there’s no easy way to get there by car or anywhere to park nearby. I’ve outlined a few different options for visiting below, depending on how much time you want to be walking for and what you want to see!
If you want to go straight to Nanjizal and back (what we did)…
Park on the roadside at the village of Trevescan, and walk into the village. Opposite the bus stop here there is a public footpath sign (it looks like it takes you through someone’s front garden but there is a stone style at the back to climb over!); follow this footpath through some fields and through Trevilley farm and you eventually reach the coast path! From here there are steps down to a bridge, and a staircase down to the beach itself. Follow your steps to go directly back.
Approx. 40 minute walk each way.
Nanjizal and Land’s End circular walk
If you want to extend your walk with more sightseeing, instead of going straight back, you can walk north on the south west coast path towards Land’s End. Once you get to Land’s End you can follow the road out of there and turn right so you’re heading back towards Trevescan.
Approx. 90 minute walk in total.
Park at Land’s End and walk to Nanjizal and back
If you want to take in the coastal sights without the countryside / farm path, you can park at Land’s End car park and just walk south towards Nanjizal and back again.
Approx. 40 minute walk each way.
Park at Porthgwarra and walk to Nanjizal and back
We cheated and drove to Porthgwarra for lunch after we got back to the car at Trevescan! But you could always park in the car park at Porthgwarra and walk north on the coast path to Nanjizal, and back again.
Approx. 50 minute walk each way.
Park at Sennen cove for a longer, circular walk via Land’s End and Nanjizal
For a longer hike, iWalkCornwall has a route mapped for a circular walk from Sennen cove! Apparently it’s just under 10km, and looks like it would take around 2 – 2 and a half hours in total.
Tips for Visiting Nanjizal Beach
There are no facilities so bring ‘supplies’ with you!
Because it’s so remote, there are no toilets and no cafe here. So ladies, bring whatever you may need for a nature wee! And if you’re not stopping off anywhere else for lunch (Trevescan has a cute little cafe in the village that’s open in season, and we went to Porthgwarra cafe, as shown below) definitely bring a picnic with you to enjoy the view.
It is dog friendly, but the rocks and steps might not be suitable for older dogs
The beach is dog friendly all year around, but the wooden staircase down to the beach is quite steep, but all the dogs I saw managed it okay. Our older dog struggled a bit with the rocks and boulders at the bottom though, which make up a large part of the beach.
Check the tide times before you go
We visited at mid-tide, and there was a bit of sandy beach, which apparently disappears at high tide. I think the Song of the Sea arch might still be accessible at high tide via the rocks but I’m not sure, and I’d probably suggest going at mid or low tide just in case.
Stay safe when swimming
There are no lifeguards on this beach and the tides and currents around this bit of coastline can be unpredictable, especially at low tide. Unless you know what you’re doing, I’d suggest only swimming at high tide here, and do so at your own risk.
Lunch at Porthgwarra
Once we got back to the car at Trevescan, we drove down the road to the tiny fishing hamlet of Porthgwarra to see the cove and see if the cafe was open. It was a Sunday at the end of Easter holidays, and we were very thankful when we discovered it was!
We both ordered some well deserved sandwiches and walked across to the beach to admire the clear blue water and amazing cliff formations here, with spectacular granite tunnels and balancing boulders!