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South Cornwall is a land of pretty villages and peaceful harbours; an area known for its seafood restaurants and quirky attractions. Its beautiful bays (like Lantic Bay, pictured left), and subtropical gardens are nowhere near as rugged as the landscapes of the North – but that’s the point. it’s a sheltered landscape with gentle waters, home to little towns like Polperro – of smuggling fame – and sites like the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. With a holiday cottage in South Cornwall you’re just minutes away from the incredible South West Coast Path, too, offering peaceful strolls and difficult hikes for walkers of all ages and abilities.
Whether you’re here to watch local fishermen chug away against the sea breeze, or simply sunbathe whilst the British sun makes its short-lived appearance, South Cornwall’s always going to be a great bet for a break. Ready to start booking? Great! But before you do, here’s my guide to South Cornwall’s best beaches.
Top five spots for beach holidays in South Cornwall
Beach holidays in Looe
When in Looe, you need look no further than Whitsand Bay, pictured left – its enormous cliffs and golden sands are enough to amaze any city dweller. That said, you’ll find East Looe, Portwrinkle, Seaton and Hannafore if you do branch out! As for the town itself, Looe is one of Cornwall’s oldest fishing ports, and still going strong today – its 16th-century buildings stand testament to it. Sample this morning’s catch at award-winning restaurants overlooking the harbour, or head out to sea on an organised fishing trip for mackerel.
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Beach holidays in Falmouth
Why is Falmouth one of the most popular destinations for beach holidays? Simply put, there are six spectacular shores in and around the town – and that’s just within walking distance. Tiny Nansidwell and picturesque Helford Passage are two coves surrounded by woods, while Swanpool and Castle Beach are lovely, long stretches. Gyllyngvase Beach was awarded a Blue Flag in 2013, and Maenporth Beach – pictured left – has lovely shallow waters for children. At night, explore the town’s relaxed wine bars.
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Beach holidays in St Austell
An area discovered in the 18th century to be filled with china clay, St Austell soon became an important hub, shipping its product all over the world. Today, it’s a popular holiday spot, filled with cafés and restaurants, shops and holiday homes – and it’s just a short distance from the Eden Project. As for its beaches, there’s no shortage: Pentewan is a popular place for windsurfing, while Par Sands is backed by dunes. If you’re not sampling one of Falmouth’s cosy pubs in the evening, sample the sunset over Porthpean – it’s outstanding.
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Beach holidays in Mevagissey
There’s nothing quite like walking through old Mevagissey, taking in its streets that date back to 1313 – but then there’s nothing like watching its little twin harbour, as lobster and sole are brought in for your meal. Illuminated in the evening and humming with the chatter of friends, Mevagissey has to be one of Cornwall’s loveliest towns – and its beach isn’t bad, either. The privately owned Porthluney Beach offers a long stretch of golden sand, and a backdrop of Caerhays Castle. Gorran Haven, nearby, is also popular with families.
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Other beaches in South Cornwall
South Cornwall’s sheltered position makes it a fantastic spot for those looking to lie back and, well, relax! Polperro is home to three beaches – Lantic Bay, Lansallos Beach and Talland Bay – and all are as quiet as they are secluded. Backed by lush grass and opening to shallow, turquoise waters, they’re joined by the similarly lovely coves found in Fowey: Polkerris, Polridmouth Cove and Readymoney. Not forgetting the entirety of the Lizard peninsula. For more information on the best beaches in Cornwall, simply check out VisitCornwall.
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South East Cornwall Holiday Rentals
Nestled in the heart of the historic fishing village of Polperro along the river Pol and amongst the array of pubs, cafes and restaurants is Watersmeet, a comfortable, homely and well-equipped holiday home perfect for families with the benefit ...
This is a wonderful detached 1700’s period property and superb holiday home that exudes quality, charm and character. Located in an elevated position on Barbican Hill the property is a set in a quieter area of town with ample parking an...
Little Gem is just as it sounds - a snug, contemporary and beautifully presented apartment, which is located in a small development beside the sea. The coastal village of Downderry, an award winning restaurant as well as a lengthy beach are a...
Honeysuckle is a charming cottage retreat with low beams and feature fireplace, yet refurbished to a tasteful and contemporary manner. Situated down a quiet lane in the sleepy hamlet of Tredinnick, a short drive into the countryside from the fi...
As the name implies, Harbour Watch offers the guest unrivalled views of this busy fishing port as well as the harbour entrance and the beautiful coastline. Although areas of the apartment are dated and basically furnished, the rooms are large a...