The Best Beaches In St Austell, Cornwall

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Kirsten Harford
18 May 2024

For many people, including us, the beautiful beaches we’re surrounded by, are one of the many reasons we love living in Cornwall. They’re a place to swim, dream and get together. There’s just something about a good beach that enlivens the senses; the salty sea air, the calming murmur of the waves lapping the shore and the gentle breeze that whips up the sand.

We’re so lucky to have so many sandy spots dotted just minutes from our village and each one is almost crowd-free compared to the famous beaches found on the north Cornish coast. As summer approaches, we thought we’d share our favourite coves we’ll be retreating to for early morning sea swims, lunchtime picnics and barbecues with all the gang.

1. Porthpean Beach

It’s a steep road to reach Porthpean but it’s absolutely worth it. This sheltered inlet is a favourite with locals (and team West Carclaze) which is why we’ve given it our number one spot. The shallow turquoise waters and soft biscuit sand make it loved by families too. It’s a brilliant place to escape to and cool off after a busy day in the office or at school.

Why we love it?

You can rent kayaks from here! Hop-aboard and launch from the sand to explore the surrounding craggy cliffs and coves. The scenery is simply breathtaking. It’s also great for snorkelling, rock pooling and paddle boarding with easy access into the water. On the slipway to beach, you’ll find a really good ice cream van – think large scoops of Cornish clotted ice-cream!

2. Pentewan Beach

A stretch of chalky-white sand that’s idyllic for a sea swim in the turquoise ocean. Often mistaken for a beach in the Med, this really is a stunning beach. Often busy in the peak months – it’s home to a campsite so our advice is to get here early. Privately owned means it is well-maintained with a whole host of facilities. 

Why we love it?

This place is popular for a reason – it’s stunning!

3. Gorran Haven

When we’re in need to escape the humdrum of the daily routine, we run away here. It’s a haven of higgledy-piggledy cottages and shops with a quaint fishing village feel that transports you back to a simpler time. Ease into the slow pace of village-life watching the boats ebb and flow as you stretch out on the golden sand for a snooze in the sun.

Why we love it?

It offers true escapism. From the moment you set foot on the sand, your shoulders drop and worries ease. It’s excellent for swimming so pack a towel. Make the most of drawn-out summer days and stay for fish and chips – just watch out for the greedy gulls who love a chip or two!

4. Caerhays Beach also known as Porthluney Cove

The combination of emerald cliffs, clear waters and powdery soft sand makes Caerhays feel like a far-flug tropical paradise. This sandy cove is a beautiful spot to while-away the day and with a castle as your beach day backdrop, it makes for quite the unique setting.

Why we love it?

It has to be the calm turquoise waters to splash about in and the beach cafe! A shack perched just metres from the shore serving seriously good food – you have to try their stacks and burgers. If the heat of the sun becomes too much, retreat to Caerhays Castle’s gardens to find a shaded tree canopy and an ice cold drink. The beach is dog-friendly all year round but please note, there is no lifeguard cover provided.

5. Carlyon Bay

Quite possibly the most beloved beach within easy reach of St. Austell. Carlyon pairs a luxury hotel and buzzing eateries with a sprawling and white sand beach. It’s a popular place through all the seasons but in the summer months, it really comes into its own. With a chilled out Ibiza vibe, you won’t want for anything here because it has it all. Grab a chilled G&T and we’ll see you on the sand.

Why we love it?

Two words: water-sports! Whether it’s surfing, SUP-ing, wakeboarding, water skiing or swimming, you will find it all here which is why it’s such a hit with families especially when teenagers are in tow. Set up camp here from dusk ‘til dawn.

Don’t forget to share your summer adventures with us – tag @west_carclaze_garden_village