10 Best Secret Beaches in Cornwall

Beautiful Hidden Beaches of Cornwall

Cornwall is well known for its beautiful beaches and amazing coastline. It is pretty hard to find anywhere in Cornwall where you are more than a few miles from one of these lovely beaches and thankfully most of them are easily accessible. However, there are still a surprising number of beaches and coves that remain a virtual secret, even to those who have lived here all their lives.

Here we pick some of the best secret beaches in Cornwall, those hidden gems you will often hear about. These range from barely accessible smugglers coves up to wide sandy beaches where you may not see another soul. Many of these secluded beaches will require a pair of stout walking shoes and some a good set of nerves to get down the cliff. None have lifeguard cover but all are beautiful places to explore.

  • The Strangles

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    The Strangles Beach
    The Strangles Beach

    The appealingly named Strangles beach is located on a quiet stretch of the North Cornwall coast. The cliffs are high, the rocks jagged and the currents treacherous which possibly help explain why this beach doesn't make it into most travel guides. But the Strangles is a beautiful wide sandy beach with some fantastic rock formations, including a large rock arch at the northern end. This end of the beach is also frequented by naturists.
  • Pentire Steps

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    Pentire Steps beach
    Pentire Steps beach

    At the far end of one of Cornwall's best known beaches is this little known sandy cove - Pentire Steps is the next cove around from the famous Bedruthan Steps. Unlike Bedruthan you won't find a car park full of cars, a cafe and scores of people dotted around the expanse of beach. What you will find is a beautiful, secluded golden sand cove backed by high cliffs. Now there is a path down, and you can probably just make it out in the photo - I didn't fancy it myself!
  • Portherras Cove

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    Portherras Cove glimpse
    Portherras Cove glimpse

    Portherras Cove is situated on a stretch of coast more well known for its mining heritage than its beaches. Tucked in around the corner from Pendeen Watch lighthouse this lovely stretch of sand has been popular with locals for years. There are a couple of reasons Portheras has remained quiet for so many years; firstly it is tucked away with no particularly easy access. The other reason is the wreck of a cargo ship here many years ago has left sharp metal fragments buried in the sand.
  • Leggan Cove

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    Leggan Cove
    Leggan Cove

    The Lizard Peninsula is home to more than its share of hidden beaches and many of them are quite stunning. Of all these I chose Leggan Cove, not because it is the most beautiful or the hardest to get to but because it is a great, practical beach that non one seems to know about. It is sandy, sheltered and you don't have to climb down anything to get here. The only draw back is it is a fair walk back to some non-existent parking spots in the nearby village of Rosenithon.
  • Porth Joke

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    Porth Joke beach - low tide
    Porth Joke beach - low tide

    Also known as Polly Joke this beach is within a stone's throw of Newquay yet rarely busy. The name apparently comes from the Cornish pol lejouack meaning jackdaw cove. Porth Joke is every bit as lovely as any of its better known neighbours; a deep narrow inlet with golden sand, a stream and caves to explore. The only reason this beach remains a 'secret' is the fact there is no car park, there is however, a small campsite a little way up the valley, but book early...
  • Rinsey Cove

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    Rinsey Cove
    Rinsey Cove

    If you have ever wondered what is around the corner from the far end of Praa Sands beach, now you know! Rinsey Cove sits at the bottom of cliffs overlooked by the old engine house of Wheal Prosper mine. At low tide there isn't much of a beach here but as the tide drops it reveals a stretch of lovely golden sand with little lagoons forming between the rocks. Why is Rinsey Cove a secret? Who knows but it's a bit of a climb down.
  • Nanjizal Cove


    Just south of Land's End lies the sandy little cove of Nanjizal. Also known as Mill Bay this was once the site of a watermill of which there are still some ruins. The stream that once powered the mill now cascades down the rocks and across the beach emptying into the sea in front of the "Song of the sea". This is a tall, narrow natural rock arch through which the late afternoon sun glows. Beautiful as it is, Najizal is often deserted. The reason is simple, it is over a mile to the nearest parking spot and who would bother walking that far to see one of West Cornwall's loveliest beaches?!
  • Bosahan Cove

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    Bosahan Cove Driftwood
    Bosahan Cove Driftwood

    Bosahan is not like your usual Cornish beach. For a start it is surrounded by dense woodland. And there is very little in the way of surf here, but then it is on the banks of a river. This lovely little beach is on the southern shore of the Helford river and is over a mile's walk from the nearest parking spot. As well as making for an enchanting woodland walk to get to the cove, this also ensures the beach is quiet at all times.
  • Tregardock Beach

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    Steps down to Tregardock Beach
    Steps down to Tregardock Beach

    Despite being located halfway between the popular villages of Port Isaac and Tintagel, the beach at Tregardock feels about as remote as nearby Bodmin Moor. Tregardock beach is both beautiful and foreboding with its tall dark cliffs and rocky shoreline. At high tide there is barely any beach but as it drops away it reveals a fine stretch of golden sand. Towards the northern end of the beach a waterfall falls from the cliffs in front of a wide cave.
  • Lantic Bay

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    Lantic Bay glimpse
    Lantic Bay glimpse

    I had known about Lantic Bay for several years before I actually found it on my third attempt. The effort is definitely worth it though as this is one of the most picturesque beaches in Cornwall. This sweeping crescent of light coloured sand sheltered by high green cliffs could easily be mistaken for more exotic climes on a summer's day when there are yachts moored in the crystal clear waters off the beach. In fact a good number of visitors to the beach will probably have arrived by boat. However, even on the busiest day there are unlikely to be more than a handful of people here, and if you want a little more privacy, scrabble over the rocks to the next little beach, or the next...