6 secret beaches in West Penwith
West Penwith is one of the quietest parts of Cornwall. It's small villages are connected by narrow and winding lanes and the coastline has high rugged cliffs which tower over the sandy beaches and coves below. Sennen is the largest beach in the area and Porthcurno attracts lots of visitors because of the iconic Minack Theatre. But where can you go to beat the crowds? Here's our guide to some of West Penwith's most secluded beaches and coves.
Thought to get its name from Guinevere, wife of the legendary Cornish King Arthur, the beach is located at the base of steep granite cliffs and accessed by a steep path from above. Gwynver provides some of the best waves in Cornwall so is usually a popular spot with local surfers. The beach itself is sandy and around 150 metres long, at low tide it joins up with its neighbouring beach at Sennen. Join the South West Coast Path to the right of the beach and head towards Cape Cornwall for spectacular views from the cliffs - on clear days you can even see The Isles Of Scilly.
A tricky beach to get to but worth it for the space and beauty. Kenneggy Sands is a sandy beach which can be reached at low tide from Praa Sands; just make sure that you check tide times to avoid being cut off. If you have a keen sense of adventure, this beach is also accessed along a winding clifftop footpath with final descent using chained ladders. This beach is not suitable for disabled people, small children or pushchairs. Dogs are allowed all year round so it's the perfect spot for a dog walk if you plan your visit and check the tides.
If you're a Poldark fan, you may have noticed this beach in some of the shots. One popular scene in series one features Ross taking a swim in the crystal clear water while watched from the cliff tops by Demelza, as well the pilchard fishing scene and many others. Porthgwarra is a small secluded beach just around the corner from Porthcurno, with a small stretch of sand at low tide. Once a thriving fishing cove, the beautiful Porthgwarra sits at the heart of St Aubyn Estates and boasts a peaceful existence surrounded by wildflowers and birdlife. There is a dog ban from Easter to October. Stop in the Porthgwarra Cove Cafe (seasonal) which refueled the Poldark cast and crew during filming.
A popular place for seal spotting, surfing and sun bathing. Situated between Porthcurno and Porthgwarra and about three miles from Land's End, Porthchapel Beach is a secluded and sheltered cove surrounded by weathered granite cliffs. Parking is available in a small field car park next to the church and is about a 5-10 minutes' walk from the beach. Access to Porthcapel Beach is along a narrow cliff path with a rock climb down to the beach and therefore only suitable for the agile and able bodied. A dog ban operates from Easter to October.
Prussia Cove has an olde-world poetic feel, famous as the home of the Carter family, smugglers in the 18th century, one of whom was known as the King of Prussia. Formerly called the King's Cove, Prussia Cove is on the coast of Mount's Bay to the east of Cudden Point. It is a small, quiet and intimate place and does not have any facilities. There is a small privately owned car park which is usually full by mid morning in the school holidays but it can be accessed from the South West Coast Path, if you park at Praa Sands or Perranuthnoe. The views of the beach from the cliff top are breathtaking and this is a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing. Dogs are allowed all year round.
A sandy cove located at the end of a small valley, on the northern edge of West Cornwall between Morvah and Pendeen. Until fairly recently parts of the beach were out of bounds due to razor sharp fragments of an old wreck under the sand, but in 2004 the wreck was finally cleaned up making the beach safe once again. Seals are a common sight here and it is popular with body-boarders due to the occasional quality shorebreak on a high tide. Dogs welcome all year round.
Find out more about the area of West Penwith including places to stay and things to do here. We have also picked eight places to eat in this Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty, you can read about them here.
Laura Easlick, Marketing