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Beaches, Surfing and other Water-based Activities

Getting to the Beach from Your Carriage

In Hayle the most wonderful beach in the world is just twenty minutes walk away, or you can catch the train to St Ives. From the station to Hayle beach, take the first right under the station bridge just after the car park, head right onto the footpath that follows the route of the Hayle Warves railway. Cross the road and follow the harbour until it opens onto the beach.

In St Germans the nearest beaches are four miles away. When we are around, we're usually happy to run guests who have come by train to and fro. However there are public transport options. For the spectacular Whitsand Bay beaches We suggest catching the train to Plymouth and then the bus bus from Plymouth station that runs along the coast road, or catching the Cawsands ferry from Royal William yard in Plymouth or from the Barbican (seasonal). The coast road bus is often a double decker, so the views are spectacular. Alternatively it is a pleasant walk through back lanes to either Portwrinkle, Seaton or Downderry. There are a number of pubs and cafes in Seaton and neighbouring Downderry. There is also a local taxi service that would happily take guests to Portwrinkle and Whitsand bay; Anthony can be contacted on 07788 900222.

Looe has a pleasant beach which is very popular with summer visitors and works well with a ride along the scenic Looe Valley branch line (change at Liskeard). To get away from the beaten track a walk to Talland Bay or Polperro along the coast (about 5/7 miles) is very enjoyable, and regular buses link Polperro with Looe - the 72 run by City Bus, for up to date times please check out our Transport Page. The access to Looe from St Germans is a very pleasant train ride. Simply change at Liskeard for the Looe Valley Line - it's usually only a ten minute wait max before the train leaves.

Alternatively from either Hayle or St Germans you could take a trip to St Ives (change at St Erth) or Falmouth (change at Truro) along the branch lines, both of which have really excellent half hourly services. Train fares in Cornwall are very reasonable, and there are some good rover options - try Great Scenic Railways for more information.

A note for dog owners - We have tried to cover all information about pets, but in our experience sometimes rules on different beaches do change, so for a comprehensive and up to date list of all Cornish beaches accessible to dogs, please visit The Cornish Coast

Holiday makers in St Germans may enjoy a trip to The Adrenalin Quarry Aquapark, reputedly the largest aqua park in Europe; a colossal inflatable playground of extreme trampolines, monkey bars, swings and much more. Also on site are open water swimming, coasteering, zip wire, bucket swing, quad bikes, axe throwing and more, so there will be no excuse for boredom from adrenalin junkies.

Beaches in South East Cornwall

portwrinkle Portwrinkle Our favourite beach for slipping down to with the family. Two sand and shingle beaches with a harbour and slipway. On the edge of Whisand Bay, the sand here is grey rather than golden, but the access is considerably easier than the long steep cliff paths of Whitsands. Between the two beaches are many rock pools to explore, and they are accessible at all but the highest tide. An excellent place to search for shells; seams of cowrie, top-shells, winkles, cockles, whelks and brightly coloured periwinkles can be found.

The first beach has a relatively steep path down from the left of the first car park. To access the second walk beyond the car park to the harbour, where the slope is still steep, but shorter. The harbour is a good place to swim, especially if the outer harbour is exposed at mid tide as this gives a good level of shelter. However always be cautious; in certain conditions when the sea is choppy a current forms in the mouth between the inner and outer harbour.
Facilities: Car parking (cash only as no signal), toilets (not wheelchair accessible), two small cafes, neither offering good value for money but okay for ice creams. There is a limit to the parking space available at Portwrinkle, so either arrive early or late in the summer. We particularly enjoy an evening barbecue in the harbour beach, which has the sun in the evening.
Dogs: There are two beaches in Portwrinkle. The beach on the left welcomes dogs all year whereas the harbour beach (on the right) dogs are banned from Easter Day to October 1st between 10am and 5pm.
Beach Access: Moderate - tarmac paths down to the beach, not too far, but reasonably steep.
Public Transport: By bus from Plymouth railway station. Keen walkers can use the steep country lanes to walk to Downderry, Seaton or Portwrinkle, or catch a taxi.

Seaton beach, Cornwall Seaton - This sand and shingle beach that begins at the base of low cliffs at Downderry broadens into the mouth of the Seaton Valley in the West. The River Seaton winds across the beach and provides a play pool for children. Exceptionally easy beach access, along with the Seaton Valley nature reserve behind with outdoor gym, butterfly garden, basketball court and children’s playpark, makes this a very popular beach. Lifeguards patrol the beaches in the summer months.
Facilities: Car parking, acessible toilets, playpark, cafe, restaurant, lifeguards. shop, pub, wheelchair accessible countryside trail, which leads on to a woodland boardwalk path (not wheelchair accessible) to the village of Hessenford.
Dogs: Welcome all year round.
Beach Access: Easy
Public Transport: By bus from Liskeard rail station, or call Anthony’s taxis on 07788 900222. Keen walkers can use the steep country lanes to walk to Downderry, Seaton or Portwrinkle. The quickest route is about 4 miles.

Downderry beach, Cornwall Downderry - This sand and shingle beach that begins at the base of low cliffs at Downderry broadens into the mouth of the Seaton Valley in the west. To the furthest east, accessible only by low tide or through the steep woodland path that turns off from the coast path at the top of the hill, is a seasonal nudist beach.
Facilities: Council car park, accessible toilet, vegetarian cafe, memorial garden, The Inn on the Shore and Bewshea's by the Beach.
Dogs: Welcome all year round.
Beach Access: Moderate. A bit steep, but not very far. Steps lead down from the Inn on the Shore, or to the right is a slope down to the beach. There is also a boat slipway from the lane before the entrance to the Inn on the Shore.
Public Transport: By bus from Liskeard rail station, or call Anthony’s taxis on 07788 900222. Keen walkers can use the steep country lanes to walk to Downderry, Seaton or Portwrinkle.

Whitsand Bay - A stunning 5 mile stretch of perfect sand bordered by rock pools. The 250 foot high cliffs are dotted with chalets and the bay finishes in the East with the near island that is Rame Head, surmounted by a 14th century chapel.

Essentially Whitsand Bay is a series of beaches. The first is at the firing range at Tregantle Fort, a long beach flanked with porous terra cotta cliffs, which is out of bounds when the red flags are flying. The next is Sharrow Point, also known as Freathy, where there is a council car park. Further again is Tregonhawke, with the excellent Cliff Top cafe, and finally Boiler beach. Be warned, when the tide comes in the bay divides into tiny coves and it is very easy to become stranded. Always stay close to a path. It is also very important to park off the road, as it is efficiently patrolled during the summer and a stream of cars with yellow parking stickers is not an uncommon site. This is to ensure buses and emergency vehicles can always get along the coast road.
Facilities: Car parking, ice cream van, coffee van at Tregantle in the summer. Cafe and toilets most of year available at Cliff Top Cafe above Tregonhawke beach.
Dogs: Allowed all year.
Beach Access: Difficult - steep and mostly unsurfaced paths.
Public Transport: By bus from Plymouth rail station or from the Cremyll Ferry.

bedroom compartment Cawsand and Kingsands Beyond Rame head and the beautiful beaches of Whitsand Bay are the picturesque fishing villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, joining as one very pretty conurbation. Cawsand Bay comprises of four sand and shingle bays, with plenty of facilities. There are rock pools to explore and there is a slipway at Cawsand. Due to the sheltered geography, this is a particularly good location for sea swimming all year, with swimming buoys clearly marking the safe swimming area. A short walk from Kingsand brings you to the country estate of Mount Edgcumbe, a splendid wooded landscape with plenty of opportunities to spot deer.
Facilities: Car parking (we recommend the large council car park in Cawsand, the Kingsand car park is tricky to negotiate), wheelchair accessible toilets in both villages, restaurants, cafes (The Old Bakery is our favourite,) shops, various pubs; The Rising Sun in Kingsand often has live music. The Devonport Inn does excellent chips and seafood with a beach view.
Dogs A seasonal ban between Easter and the end of September in Cawsand but Kingsand is open to dogs all year.
Beach Access: Easy in Cawsand, steps in Kingsand.
Public Transport: By bus from Plymouth rail station or seasonal ferry from Royal William yard or the Barbican to Cawsand.

Millendreath beach, Cornwall Millendreath - This sandy beach between Seaton and Looe has recently undergone something of a transformation, with the addition of the smart Black Rock beach cafe and surf and kayak hire stall. Access is easy and a jetty makes for a fun place to jump into the sea.
Facilities: - toilets, car parking and cafe.
Dogs: There is a seasonal dog ban at Millendreath, but we believe dogs are allowed on the beach in the evenings and early morning. Dogs are welcome on the neighbouring Plaidy beach, as short walk west from Millendreath
Beach Access: Easy.
Public Transport: By bus from Trerulefoot, then a 20 minute walk from Looe Bay Holiday park or call Anthony’s taxis on 07788 900222.

Looe Island, Cornwall Looe - any holiday in South East Cornwall must include a day trip to the working fishing port of Looe. Its old style holiday charm prevails, and it has changed very little in the last thirty years. The sandy beach is popular with families, becoming rockier as it extends to the east. It is a place for crabbing, rockpooling, eating ice creams, fish & chips, finding a charming back street cafe, or for taking time away from the beach to walk in the charming Westnorth Woods. But please don’t feed the seagulls!
Facilities: - toilets, car parking, multiple shops and cafes.
Dogs: There is a year round dog ban on Looe beach.
Beach Access: Easy.
Public Transport: By train. Change at Liskeard for a trip along the beautiful Looe Valley line. Watch out for Little Egrets and herons along the way.

The remainder of this page is currently undergoing maintenance, so please bear with the somewhat chaotic format! Page last updated November 2nd 2023.

Hayle Beaches

Hayle beach There are few facilities in the closest beach to Harvey, but if you walk along the beach you will reach toilets. Three miles of golden sand and some superb surf make this a heavenly place. The closest beach is closed to dogs between 9 and 6pm during the summer, but a stroll over the dunes brings you to dog friendly beaches.
Facilities: Car parking, further along the beach there are cafes and seasonal lifeguards.
Beach Access:
Easy. Public Transport: walkable.

Gwithian Towans - (B2) Part of Hayle Sands, Gwithian offers the excellent Sunset Surf Cafe where surfboards can be hired. Rock pools, caves and gullys are plentiful.
Facilities: Cafe, shop, toilet, parking.
Dogs: Seasonal ban in operation.
Beach Access: Moderate.
Public Transport: Walkable from Harvey, or catch the bus

Beaches by train

Porthmeor - (B2) The most westerly of St. Ives' beaches. Waves crash in from the Atlantic Ocean which make Porthmeor Beach a favourite with surfers and body boarders. The beach is overlooked by the Tate Art Gallery.
Facilities: Car parking, toilets, cafes, shops, seasonal lifeguard.
Dogs: Seasonal ban in operation.
Beach Access: Easy.
Public Transport: Good. Transport links available to and from St Ives.

Carbis Bay - (B2) St. Ives to the west and Lelant to the east, Carbis Bay is little visited in winter, but comes alive in the summer holidays.
Facilities: Car parking, toilets, cafe, shops.
Dogs: Seasonal ban in operation.
Beach Access: Easy.
Public Transport: Train

Par Sands - (E2) An extensive area of firm sand backed by dunes with plenty of beach at all states of the tide.
Facilities: Car parking, toilets, cafe, shop, pub.
Dogs: Allowed all year.
Beach Access: Easy
Public Transport: Rail. Newquay - (E2) Newquay has wonderful beaches, excellent for surfing or bodyboarding, and a good choice of surf schools. You could break your journey for a walk around Luxyllyan, part of the World Heritage Cornish Mining site
Dogs: Allowed all year on certain beaches.
Beach Access: Easy
Public Transport: Rail. Check times carefully as connections are variable.

Falmouth - (E2) Three super sandy beaches compliment this wonderful arty town. Combine with a visit to Falmouth Maritime Museum or a trip to St Mawes.
Beach Access: Easy
Public Transport: Rail.


Only four miles from St Germans, in Menheniot, Adrenalin Quarry offers a wide range of thrilling activities; a giant swing, zip wire, wild swimming, coasteeing and karting (some of the activities are next door).

Near Hayle Kernow Coasteering has excellent reviews.


In South East Cornwall it is possible to dive to the wreck of the Scilla. Boats go from Plymouth; Discovery Divers at Fort Bovisand has two boats with friendly skippers - contact them on 07739567752. Also Aquanauts comes recommended. Tel. 01752 228825


We are currently expanding our surfing links - please send us any sites you would like to see included.

Surfing local to Hayle

Down the Line Surf Shop - Run by surfers for surfers, this top notch surf shop sells everything for your surf needs in the Copperhouse area of Hayle and by mail order. Their informative site includes surf reports.
GAS surf school - Learn the basics of surfing or fine tune your surfing technique with a lesson at the Gwithian Academy of Surfing - one of Cornwall's longest running and most highly regarded surf schools. This is on the Hayle side of the St Ives Bay, within two miles of the St Ives Bay SK2 holiday carriage.
Shore Surf School - Shore Surf is a British Surfing Association Approved Surf School running daily lessons from their Surf Centre of Excellence at the St. Ives Bay Holiday Park and a Surf Camp on the beautiful National Trust beach of Godrevy.
Sunset Surf - at Gwithian, Hayle. "We have everything you need for a great day in or out of the surf. A fun-packed surf lesson with our experienced surf coaches, a fantastic range of surf clothing and surf hardware in our surf shop and online store, and delicious homemade food from our award-winning beachside cafe. Just add waves!"

Surfing local to St Germans

South East Cornwall Surf Club - surf club based at Whitsand bay that also organise the legendary Seaton to Downderry raft race usually during the summer holidays each year.
Adventure Bay Surf School - based at Whitsand Bay, seven miles from St Germans. Adventure Bay Surf School is open for most of the year providing exciting and professional surfing tuition. They offer a range of lessons and courses to suit beginner levels right through to advanced and work with customers to tailor lessons. As well as Surfing, they offer Coasteering at Rame Head and Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Surfing in the rest of Cornwall

Surfing Cornwall - is one of the leading online information resources for surfing in Cornwall, the number one water sport in the Southwest.

Kingsurf Surf School - Fun, professional and safe surf lessons for all abilities at Mawgan Porth, Newquay.

Surf Line - Surf Forecasts - forecasts for the UK and Ireland.

More ideas for holiday planning can be found on The St Germans Local Area Page and The Hayle Local Area Page

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