Porthtowan Beach

    A soft, sandy beach, surrounded by sheer cliffs and offering fantastic surf, Porthtowan is well-regarded as one of the North Coast's best family-friendly beaches.


    Experience Porthtowan

    With a vast expanse of sand at low tide, perfect for a game of rounders or cricket, Porthtowan Beach is a firm family favourite. The beach is flanked by some fascinating caves, cliffs, and rock pools to explore, or alternatively there’s a children’s play park at the top end of the beach. Porthtowan's greatest claim to fame, however, arguably comes from its fantastic, curling break, and with lifeguard cover nearby in the peak season, it's a great place to experience your first surf.

    Explore Porthtowan

    The Porthtowan area makes for an exceptionally beautiful stretch of Cornwall's iconic South West Coast Path, and additionally features numerous relics from Cornwall's history. The walk along the cliffs to the east rises and falls over grassy hills adjacent to spectacularly sheer cliffs, and eventually wanders past the remains of the engine house at Wheal Charlotte. The western cliff path has equally stunning views as it takes you past RAF Portreath before dropping down into Portreath itself and another fine beach.

    Blue Flag Recipient

    Porthtowan has been a holder of the coveted Blue Flag award since 2005, which recognises the quality of its beach, environment, and amenities.

    A Wealthy Past

    The History of Porthtowan

    Like so many other Cornish towns, much of Porthtowan's history is dominated by mining. From the 18th century, Porthtowan thrived as a mining town, with copper dominating the exports of the mines. The most exemplary mine at the time was the Wheal Towan mine, which supposedly generated enormous amounts of wealth for its owner. Indeed, the mine was rumoured to make in excess of ten thousand pounds a week—nearly a million pounds in today's money.

    Despite their early success, the mining industry in Porthtowan was not to last, and gradually Porthtowan transformed from an industrial mining town into the holiday destination it is today. In these early days Porthtowan's tourist population was mostly locals from nearby towns and villages, though eventually Porthtowan began to make a much bigger name for itself.

    Nowadays, Porthtowan enjoys high regard as one of Cornwall's very best beaches, and its excellent surf conditions have turned it into a surfing destination of choice.

    With a scattering of shops nearby, stunningly rugged surroundings, and a family-friendly beach with a decent swell, Porthtowan really is the beach for everyone.

    Plan your trip

    Everything you need to know about getting to Porthtowan Beach.

    • Beach Road



      TR4 8AD

    • The best option for parking is Porthtowan Beach Car Park, a large pay and display car park located just off Beach Road. Note that the pay and display machine only takes cash.

    • Buses that stop in Porthtowan include the 304, between Truro and Porthtowan, and the 315 between Redruth and Goonbell.


    Everything else you might need to know about Porthtowan Beach.

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    • Porthtowan Beach is an RNLI lifeguarded beach, and is patrolled from the 4th of May to the 29th of September between 10am and 6pm. The beach is additionally patrolled in the Easter school holidays and October half-term. As well as weekends between 20th April - 28th April and 5th October and 20th October. (2024)

      RNLI Lifeguards
    • There is a seasonal dog ban in place at Porthtowan Beach from the 15th of May to the 30th of September, between 10am and 6pm. Dogs are welcome at all other times.

    • West-facing Porthtowan Beach is well regarded for its Atlantic swell, with perfect curling waves when the conditions are right. On these days the surf might be a bit too much to handle for a beginner, but when the wind isn't so strong Porthtowan is a fantastic place to learn to surf.

    • Recognising the quality of the beach and amenities, Porthtowan Beach has been a Blue Flag beach since 2005.

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