Perranporth: history, heritage, boards and beach

Perranporth beach, Visit Cornwall,

A lively bustling village with a strong sense of community, fascinating history, and truly exceptional beach, we recommend a visit to Perranporth to experience a quintessentially Cornish seaside resort. 

Situated on the rugged north Cornish coast, Perranporth is approximately eight miles west of Truro and eight miles south of Newquay, located within easy reach of the A30 and all Cornwall’s attractions. Spectacular walks along the South West Coast Path from Perranporth head south to St Agnes and Chapel Porth, or north to Holywell Bay and on towards Newquay.

Perranporth has a rich and fascinating history: according to legend, St Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall, was cast into the sea from Ireland tied to a millstone and washed up on these sandy shores. He built a Christian oratory in the dunes and the story goes that his first disciples were a badger, a fox and a bear! The ruins of this oratory, or the ‘lost church’, dating from the 6th century are still preserved in the sand dunes to this day.  

It is also said that St Piran discovered tin, which went on to become the backbone of Cornish industry (in the 19th century Perranporth had two working mines), and St Piran’s Day is celebrated every 5th March when hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to Perranporth.

Known for its waves, Perranporth attracts surfers from far and wide, but it is a little known fact that the UK’s first surfboards originated here. Soon after the end of World War 1, soldiers returning home from the Western front told of South African surfers they had met and swapped stories with. Perranporth’s local undertaker and builder, Tom Tremewan, was inspired, and designed and made the UK’s first bellyboards/surfboards, made out of coffin lids!  

The Perranzabuloe museum, just off Perranporth’s high street, has a wealth of information on the village’s social and industrial heritage, with displays on mining, fishing, costume, farming and surfing. 

The Beach
Perranporth is best known for its glorious beach, and rightly so. Three miles of soft golden sand provide more than enough space to accommodate dog walkers, kite flyers and picnicking families. Dogs are allowed all year round, although some restrictions apply during the peak summer weeks, and children love the rockpools and seawater swimming pool built into the back of iconic Chapel Rock. 

For those who love the water, Perranporth is renowned for good waves, with a number of surf schools and surf hire shops, including Perran Sands Surf School. The beach is monitored by lifeguards during the main school holidays, and daily from May to September. 

Click here for a story of Perranporth Beach told by Dawn French and Kneehigh Theatre Co.

In the immediate area visitors can enjoy horse riding at Reen Manor, parachuting from the local airfield, and Perranporth’s championship golf course. Within the village itself are grass and hard-court tennis courts (with the original Edwardian club house), a boating lake, children’s play park, and of course the opportunity to surf, body board and kite surf when conditions are favourable! 

Shops and Cafes
It wouldn’t be a Cornish seaside holiday without fish and chips or a pasty, followed by an ice cream on the beach, and Perranporth has a great selection of traditional coastal treats! In addition, there’s also a wide variety of cafes for coffee or a Cornish cream tea, restaurants, takeaways and pubs, including some great beachside bars. Just outside the village you will find Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, popular with both adults and children (for different reasons). Perranporth’s also hosts a couple of music festivals during the year, Tunes in the Dunes and The Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival.


Duchy Holidays, Visit Cornwall, Perranporth

With over 150 properties in their portfolio, Duchy Holidays offer a great range of self-catering accommodation in Perranporth and the surrounding areas. From cosy Cornish cottages to cool beachside apartments, and romantic retreats for two to large family homes sleeping 12, there are properties to suit all tastes and types.
Perranporth also has good selection of B&B’s and self-catering properties spread around the village which you can find here.