Portreath is a popular family beach which, like many beaches on the north Cornish coast, attracts surfers and bodyboarders. The beach backs onto the village offering facilities including several shops, toilets and cafés.
Situated at the end of a valley between high cliffs, the village of Portreath straddles a small river that runs down to the long narrow harbour built to export copper and tin in the 19th century.
Portreath is now a popular family destination with a soft sandy beach that is also a favourite of surfers when the conditions are right. There's a wealth of facilities including a carpark right beside the beach, friendly pubs, shops, surf hire and cafe's.
For those who like exploring, see if you can find the five remaining sea baths cut into the rocks by the local landowner in the 1700s.
Portreath was once a busy port shipping copper ore from nearby mines across to Wales for smelting. It was originally known as Basset's Cove after the rich landowner who had the port built. The harbour wall now provides experienced surfers with the Vortex, a surf break that runs along side the wall.
The former tram lines, originally used for transporting the copper ore to the harbour, have now been adapted for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and as the Coast to Coast Path link Portreath with Devoran, a village on one of the creeks inland from Falmouth.
The South West Coast Path
A good walk from Portreath is along the North Cliffs westwards to Hells Mouth, about five miles there and back. Although the walk is strenuous at the start and finish, there are lovely views, lots of wild flowers and a good chance of seeing seals.
The cliffs in the area are made up of slate and are subject to erosion, so don't be tempted to go close to the edge and keep dogs under control.
Heading east from the village, past the harbour and its day markers, takes you up alongside RAF Portreath, a former WWII airfield, still used by the military as an air defence radar station. You can't help but notice the large white 'golf ball' positioned at the end of the runway that houses the main RADAR.
The waves can be truly exceptional during stormy weather, so please do take care.
Plan your trip
Everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to Portreath
Follow the M5 to Exeter, and join the A30 to Redruth. Take the exit for the B3300 sign posted for Portreath.
There is a privately owned car park on the beach front, and limited on-street car parking.
National Express serves Cornwall from destinations throughout the UK. Connecting services to Cornwall are available from Bristol, Birmingham and London. The nearest coach and bus stop is located at Redruth Train station, which is close to the centre of the the town. You can pick up local connections to Portreath here.
Great Western Railways operate high speed services from London Paddington, South Wales and the Cotswolds to Cornwall, including sleeper services from London Paddington. Cross Country Trains (Arriva Trains) operate services into Cornwall from the Midlands, the North and Scotland.
Redruth is the nearest mainline train station and local bus connections for Portreath can be picked up there.
FAQs CopyView all
The large beach has soft fine sand, with shingle below the shore line, that is popular with families.
Please note: Dogs are welcome on this beach except between July 1st and August 31st (10am - 6pm) when a seasonal dog ban is in place (2022).
It's on the north coast, but we wouldn't class it as North Cornwall. We would class it as West Cornwall....
RRH Portreath is an RAF-operated air defence radar station just under a mile from Portreath. The white dome is the radar itself, which provides long-range coverage of the south western approaches to the United Kingdom.
- RNLI Lifeguards
RNLI Lifeguards patrol Portreath Beach from the 13th of May to the 24th of September, between 10am and 6pm (2023).
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