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.
Contacts and Links
Beach Road Porthtowan Cornwall TR4 8AD
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.
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.
Porthtowan has been a holder of the coveted Blue Flag award since 2005, which recognises the quality of its beach, environment, and amenities.
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.
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.View all
- RNLI Lifeguards
Porthtowan is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards from Easter through till the end of October, but not all the time. Please check the RNLI website for more info.
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.
Your weekly dose of Cornish cheer!
When you can’t be in your favourite place all the time, catch up on the latest stories, upcoming events, holiday ideas, and offers with a newsletter straight to your inbox. Terms and Conditions / GDPR compliance: by providing personally identifiable information Visit Cornwall will use it to provide you with ongoing information about their products and services. No one from Visit Cornwall will rent, sell or lease this personally identifiable information to other companies or individuals.
Find us on socials and stay connected with the Cornwall you love.