TRURO Cornwall TR3 6LQ
Cornwall’s picture-perfect beaches attract hordes of tourists every year, which means that all the popular spots can fill up pretty quickly, especially during the summer. But, if you want to escape the crowds or just enjoy a more private beach experience, there are plenty of secluded coves and shores to while away the hours.
Here are some of our favourite secret beaches, perfect for exploring when you’re staying in one of our luxury Cornish cottages.
If you visit some of these hidden gems at just the right time, you might find you have the whole beach to yourself.
With quintessential Cornish views, golden sands and turquoise waters, it’s well worth visiting at least one of these secluded treasures when embarking on your adventure. You’ll find the spots mentioned here on both the north and south coast, giving you plenty of options.
Lantic Bay by Nilfanion. CC BY-SA 4.0
If you’re not purposely seeking out this secret spot, there’s little chance you’d stumble upon it! Nestled along the coastline between Fowey and Polperro, this remote bay boasts sand and shingle shores and inviting crystal waters.
Set against an impressive backdrop of plunging cliffs, the beach here actually includes two coves – at high tide, Great Lantic and Little Lantic are both accessible. The walk down is quite steep, but it is well worth it once you reach the tranquil haven below. The crescent beach here is a great place to stop for a picnic if you’re meandering along the coast path.
Be mindful that Lantic Bay really is remote, so there are no facilities in the immediate area, and the beach is not covered by lifeguards.
Cape Cornwall from Porth Nanven by Tom Corser www.tomcorser.com. CC BY-SA 3.0
Hidden at the base of Cot Valley is Porth Nanven, a cove of unique geology. While there is some sand on the beach, it is mainly framed by sculptural boulders and pebbles. It’s sometimes called ‘Dinosaur Egg Beach’ in reference to the many smooth round stones scattered across the bay and surrounding cliffs.
The valley here has its own microclimate, making it a great place for plant and wildlife enthusiasts. Porth Nanven also has connections to the area’s rich mining history – it definitely is the place to be if you want to escape the hustle of busy modern life!
The currents here can get quite strong, so it’s not ideal for a dip, and due to its remote location, there are no lifeguards. The nearest amenities can be found in the neighbouring town of St Just.
Porth Joke beach by Steve Daniels. CC BY-SA 2.0
Porth Joke, or Polly Joke, is surrounded by a number of extremely popular beaches, so is often overlooked. Located in between the headlines at Crantock Beach and Holywell Bay, this small secluded cove of sandy beach and inviting blue waters is a great spot for escaping the crowds at nearby Perranporth and Fistral.
Depending on the time of year, the surrounding headlines will be teaming with wildflowers, making for some spectacular views. Not to mention that the shallow waters and trickling stream are lovely for a cooling dip in the summer!
The beach is around five miles outside of Newquay, making for a great place to visit when heading to the north coast. The car park is a little walk away, and there aren’t any facilities in the immediate vicinity, so you might want to bring a picnic along.
Pedn Vounder beach from the east by Sarah Charlesworth. CC BY-SA 2.0
East of Porthcurno, you’ll find perhaps one of Cornwall’s loveliest beaches (although there are certainly many contenders). Made all the lovelier for being so remote and a haven all to itself, Pedn Vounder Beach boasts golden sands and the clearest blue waters around.
The steep cliff path down to the beach isn’t for the faint of heart – which is why you won’t find too many beachgoers here despite its unbeatable beauty. The bay is surrounded by the Treryn Dinas cliffs, with the famous Logan Rock also gracing the view.
You’ll find Porthcurno Beach and the Minack Theatre along the coast path, but be warned, there aren’t any facilities in the immediate vicinity.
Nanjizal Beach by Andrew Bone. CC BY 2.0
If you really want seclusion, look no further than Nanjizal Beach along Cornwall’s southerly coast. Unspoilt and untouched, the beach near Land’s End boasts clear waters and a boulder-strewn cove.
Look out for the natural rock arch known as Zawn Pyg or ‘the Song of the Sea’ and the formation known as the Diamond Horse, which has a quartz vein running through it that glistens in the sun. This stunning beach really does offer a magical experience.
Nanjizal is about an hour’s walk from the nearest car park, so getting there will take a bit of planning. Take a look at our location guide to make it part of your itinerary.
Mylor Slate platform at Rinsey Cove by Richard Law. CC BY-SA 2.0
Nestled between Porthleven and Praa Sands, you’ll find the remote Rinsey Cove, also known as Porthcew beach. Overlooked by the remains of the Wheal Prosper Mine Engine House, the sloping cliffs and shelter provided by rugged Rinsey Head offer a striking backdrop.
You probably won’t come across too many other people at the beach here as visitors have to journey through a man-made cut in the middle of the cliff to gain entry to the beach! Helston is the nearest hub of activity and is the perfect place to retire to after exploring the cove.
The small sandy beach is only really accessible at low tide, so take care when organising a trip. The swell can also be quite strong – it might not be the best spot for swimming.
Portheras Cove 2 Morvah Cornwall by Tom Corser www.tomcorser.com. CC BY-SA 3.0
To experience one of the quietest beaches in Cornwall, head to Portheras Cove along the wildest, most undisturbed stretch of the Land’s End Peninsula. Located between Pendeen and Morvah, the sands here were once home to the Alacrity shipwreck (which has since been cleared away).
Portheras is an oasis of calm, but swimming isn’t recommended as the rip currents can be powerful. There are some rock pools to explore, and remember to keep your eyes out for seals here, as they’ve been known to visit the cove!
It probably comes as no surprise that there aren’t nearby facilities – you really will be secluded on what will likely be your private beach for the day. The surrounding towns include Porthleven and Helston for when you’re ready to get back to civilisation.
Pentire steps beach by Geertivp. CC BY-SA 4.0
Just metres away from Bedruthan Steps, a landmark that is generally regarded as one of the most iconic that Cornwall has to offer, Pentire Steps beach is located between Padstow and Newquay.
Complete with golden sands and high cliffs, this is another quiet spot that doesn’t attract too many visitors due to the slightly trickier access. Here you’ll see the landmark Diggory’s Island, which includes a small arch that’ll make for some fantastic photos!
Swimming here isn’t recommended as you can come across some strong rip currents.
Bessy’s Cove by Philip Halling. CC BY-SA 2.0
Prussia Cove on the Lizard Peninsula is made up of three little coves; Piskies Cove, Bessy’s Cove and King’s Cove, offering plenty to explore. The series of secluded, rocky coves provide a sheltered spot that’s great for investigating rock pools and enjoying a peaceful swim on the calmer days.
The sweeping landscape provides plenty of fuel for the imagination, with the unspoiled nature of the beach creating a sense of stepping into the past. The coves have an interesting history, as they were once home to a family of 18th-century smugglers.
There is a nearby car park, which makes the beach slightly more accessible than some of the others on the list here.
Hawker’s Cove by Maurice D Budden. CC BY-SA 2.0
At the mouth of the River Camel and just a stone’s throw away from Padstow sits Hawkers Cove. The shifting golden sands create shallow waters and the infamous Doom Bar sandbank. Visible from the cove, the Doom Bar itself is steeped in Cornish folklore – legend states that the Mermaid of Padstow created it after she was shot, cursing ships to wreck on the perilous sands.
Aside from the golden sands, you’ll also be greeted by views of old coastguard cottages that overlook the beach. The buildings here provide a real window into the past, further adding to the sense of escape this secluded spot encourages.
While Hawkers Cove is very much off the beaten track, there is a small tea shop nearby where you can recharge!
It’s worth mentioning that due to the remote nature of the beaches on this list, they are not covered by lifeguards and are often quite out of the way. Be careful when venturing to these secret coves and bays, and always keep a keen eye on the tide.
There are plenty more quiet, secluded beaches along Cornwall’s coast that we haven’t touched on – not to mention all the more well-known ones!
If you’re dreaming of spectacular shores and crystalline waves, why not book your Cornwall break today? At The Valley, we’re in a great central spot between Truro and Falmouth – you’re never too far from any number of stunning beaches.