The South West of England is home to some of the best beaches in the whole of the UK. With it’s own ‘micro climate’ and north/south swells, surfing in Cornwall has never been better. Find out what to expect from our top 10 surf beaches.
When heading for a day out at the beach there can be a lot to remember to take with you. You also may find yourself unsure as to what to take or which beach products are essential! Be sure to check out our Beach Trip Essentials guide so you know what to pack.
In this article we look at;
- Fistral Beach, Newquay
- Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
- Polzeath Beach, Padstow
- Praa Sands, Helston
- Sennen Cove, Penzance
- Gwithian Beach, Hayle
- Porthmeor Beach, St Ives
- Porthtowan Beach, Newquay
- Porthcurno Beach, Penzance
- Watergate Bay, Newquay
Check out our guide to some of the best places to surf in Cornwall
Fistral Beach – Newquay
One of the world’s most popular surfing spots can be found Fistral Beach. Some believe it is the birth place of British surfing. Conditions here are capable of producing powerful and hollow waves – some reaching 6-8ft! Not a place to snubbed if you’re after a good surf. The downside of being this good is that in the summer it can get very busy, so plan your trip and get yourself out there early. The beach has RNLI lifeguards from Easter to October. With a bustling town next to the beach, there is plenty of parking available. If you are heading out in a big swell make sure you have a surfboard or bodyboard that will stand up to the monster waves.
Perranporth Beach – Perranporth
Perranporth is one of the biggest beaches in Cornwall, offering plenty of space to anyone visiting. It is popular for its beach bar on the sand as much as it is for its surfing! The Watering Hole is worth a visit. The surf has good small to medium swells, making it a good surf spot for beginners and intermediates. The length of the beach gives plenty of space to practice meaning no pressure while you find your flow. Rips can sometimes be a problem here so keep an eye on those black and white flags.
Polzeath Beach – Padstow
A good all year round surfing spot in Cornwall, as well as paddle boarders. Polzeath is known for its consistency, with southwest swells. The surf can be pretty mellow with long and gentle waves so a perfect surfing spot to learn. It can get crowded so avoid peak summer holiday time if you have that luxury! Or get yourself out there early or late in the day. Parking here is actually on the beach and the area has good independent shops and café bars to visit.
Praa Sands – Helston
One of the best surfing spots when there is a south coast swell. Praa Sands can produce some good sized, hollow waves but they can be heavy. The waves in the summer time can be flat but you can still have lots of fun here. This part of Cornwall is very popular with its golden sandy beach which is a mile long if you fancy taking a stroll along it! Praa Sands has a lovely village right next to its beach with plenty of car parking around.
Sennen Cove – Penzance
Situated right at the end of Cornwall, Sennen is known as a mecca for surfers all over. The water here is beautiful – clear and clean! It produces high-quality waves all over and is perfect for any surfing ability. Catching the swell from the north and the south, means there are swells to suit all. From a complete beginner to the a daring adventurous riders out there. Sennen is not only a good place for a surf but also bodyboarders, kayakers and paddle boarders. This is fast becoming a UK surfing holiday destination.
Gwithian Beach – Hayle
A top surfing location in Cornwall, Gwithian offers consistent good quality waves. If you are planning to begin your surfing journey here as Gwithian gives you some gentle, sloping waves making it ideal to learn. This beach is also home to Godrevy, which is situated further along the golden sands. You will find the larger waves here so is more suitable for experienced surfers. You may want to work on your ‘duck diving’ for this beach as the waves can break quite a way out! Both Gwithian and Godrevy have good cafes and nearby beach parking available.
Porthmeor Beach – St Ives
A favourite surfing spot in St Ives. The offshore winds create waves that are clean with minimal chop therefore making it a fun place to surf. It is a good spot to learn how to surf as these waves are generally gentle and easy to ride. Porthmeor is not only popular with surfers but also with swimmers. The beach is located in the heart of the town so is a great surfing holiday location.
Porthtowan – Newquay
Porthtowan is a beautiful sandy beach and a low tide it is a long beach. It is a good spot for beginner surfers but it is also famous for its heavy and hollow waves. This making it a popular surf spot for the more advanced surfer, and is loved by locals and visitors. If you’re shortboard surfer you will want to check out the surf here. Parking at Porthtowan is good, with a large car park just near the beach. It has the famous Blue Bar right on the beach front, which has food and drink as well as live music. Also don’t forget to check out the tidal swimming pool on the north side.
Porthcurno – Penzance
A beautiful UK surfing spot in right at the end of Cornwall on the south coast. Some say not the best surfing conditions and it can give you quite a beating but on a good day it can produce some good hollow waves. Porthcurno beach is definitely a spot for the more advanced and experiences surfer, not suitable for beginners. This is definitely a popular spot with bodyboarders, or just for a family looking for a day at the beach. There aren’t many facilities around but with that it doesn’t get too overcrowded in the summer months.
Watergate Bay – Newquay
Watergate Bay is a good surfing spot in Cornwall. Most tides will give great surf conditions, mid or high tide are generally the best times. It’s location is naturally sheltered so it is a good beach to head to if a wind is blowing. Watergate Bay is host to one of the UK’s longest running pro surf competition – The English National Surfing Championships. Facilities are good around here, also home to the popular Watergate Bay Hotel. There is good parking here but the closest beach car park is tight!