Thinking of surfing Cornwall in the UK? Here are 10 of the best Cornwall surfing beaches, for all abilities!
When it comes to the best Cornwall surfing beaches you’re spoilt for choice and the county arguably has the most variety of surfing beaches in the UK!
So I’ve put together 10 of my favourites – and whether you’re looking to learn to surf, or on the hunt for some Cornwall surfing perfection, there’s something for everyone…
PLEASE NOTE: As with all my surf guides, the ability level really does vary depending on the swell and current conditions, so play it safe! Always beware of rips and hazards and listen to lifeguard instructions.
10 Of The Best Cornwall Surfing Beaches
Surf Level: All levels
On the North coast of Cornwall, about half a mile west of Newquay, a long stretch of beach sweeps out from cliffs and rolling sand dunes.
It’s a crowded spot, but it’s popular for a reason.
One of the most well-known surfing beaches in Cornwall, Fistral Beach boasts some very consistent beach breaks and there are plenty of peaks to choose from.
It can handle a huge range of swell and in the winter months pumps pretty regularly. On bigger swells check out the Cribbar, one of the most famous big wave spots in the UK.
Camping: Yes, Trenence Holiday Park
Surf Schools: Fistral Beach Surf School, Quicksilver Surf School, Escape Surf School Newquay
Nearby Accommodation: Esplanade Hotel (.3 miles), The Headland Hotel and Spa (.4 miles), Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa (.4 miles), Oceanside Lifestyle Hotel (.4 miles)
Surf Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Another Cornwall surf spot on the North Cornish coast, the blonde-yellow sands of Gwithian are just a short drive up from Hayle.
Laid out in dramatic cliffs with a quaint view of Godrevy Lighthouse, this less consistent spot is good for its variety and less crowded line-ups. With nearly four miles of sundry beach breaks, Gwithian offers a lot of peaks to choose from.
When there’s a swell, take your pick from waist-high to fairly hollow head to overhead-high waves.
Camping: Yes, TC James and Sons Churchtown Farm Caravan and Camp Site
Surf Schools: Gwithian Academy of Surfing, Shore Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Bryn Blanc (.4 miles), Gwithian Holidays (.3 miles), The Penellen Bed and Breakfast (.1 miles), Sunny Corner Cottage (1 mile)
Surf Level: Intermediate
One mile east of St. Agnes the grassy cliffs of the North Cornish coast bow to pale sands and turquoise waters.
While the conditions at Perranporth Beach tend to be choppy and not super huge, when the winds are right and a nice swell rolls through you can expect some nice chest to head-high sets and its ideal for intermediates.
A little further south there’s a more consistent (albeit smaller) left that, in my opinion, is definitely worth checking out. Plus it’s just a stunnign slice of Cornwall to explore!
Camping: Yes, Perranporth Camping and Touring Park
Surf Schools: Ticket to Ride Surf School, Perranporth Surf School, The Watering Hole Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Ocean’s Edge (.1 miles), 7 Penhale (.1 miles), Dunes View-Atlantic Bay (.1 miles), Liskey Hill Holiday Park (.5 miles)
Surf Level: Beginner
Recognized for its secluded coves and extremely wide beach, Polzeath rests right in the mouth of the River Camel. Definitely a more touristy spot, this is a popular beach for beginners and casual surfers alike and can get pretty crowded in the summer months.
The waves at Polzeath tend to be smaller and less powerful than a lot of other spots in the list, but its popularity alone makes it worth visiting when in Cornwall, especially if you’re learning to surf.
Camping: Yes, Tristram Camping Park
Surf Schools: Surf’s Up Surf School, George’s Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Atlantic House Polzeath (.1 miles), Westward 14 Polzeath (.1 miles), 12 Westward Flats (.3 miles), Cranfield (.1 miles)
Surf Level: Beginner
Right next to St. Ives and less than a mile east of Clodgy Point, Porthmeor Beach sits surrounded by the picturesque granite cottages this part of the world is known for.
Like most of the Cornwall surfing beaches it’s better in the shoulder/winter seasons, this sheltered spot doesn’t offer the biggest waves on the peninsula, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with its traditional beauty and great location.
Because of Porthmeor’s north-facing position, the usual SW winds abet consistently clean conditions.
Camping: Yes, Ayr Holiday Park
Surf Schools: St. Ives Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: The Loft (.1 miles), Little Dolly Sea View Apartment (.1 miles), Pedn-Olva (.2 miles), Primerose House St. Ives (.3 miles)
Surf Level: Intermediate to Advanced
The name of this beach means “Cove of Sand Dunes,” and that’s what you’ll find in this tiny coastal village on the north side of Cornwall.
Like many Cornwall surfing beaches, Porthtowan reclines under gorgeous emerald crowned cliffs, with pastural Cornish countryside dropping dramatically into the sea.
One of my personal favourites, the breaks at Porthtowan beach are the stuff dreams are made of. When a good swell hits, get ready for some really fun, punchy waves.
Even in the summer you can expect some steep, hollow A-frames. It’s not a super crowded spot, but definitely not a secret either. I’d say it’s a happy medium!
Camping: Not really…
Surf Schools: Eskinzo Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Beach View Apartments (.1 miles), Sea Otter (.4 miles), Sunsets In Porthtowan (.1 miles), Driftwood (.2 miles)
Surf Level: Advanced
Finally, a beach on the southern coast of Cornwall! Praa Sands is located between Prussia Cove and Rinsey, where rolling grassy dunes slide into quintessentially Cornish waterfront.
More of a local spot, so interpret that as you will. Praa Sands offers some steep, heavy rights that get pretty hollow. It’s well-known and consistent, so don’t expect an empty line-up—but if you’re willing to fight the crowds get prepared for some solid waves.
Camping: Yes, Praa Sands Holiday Park
Surf Schools: Global Boarders Surf Co. Cornwall
Nearby Accommodation: White Willows (.7 miles), Camellia Chalet (.6 miles), Coth Sol (.2 miles), Ramblers Retreat (1.5 miles)
Surf Level: All Levels
Extended way out on the tip of the Cornish Peninsula, Sennen Beach is located about two miles from Land’s End. It has pale white sands and not a lot to do but surf.
When everywhere else is flat, Sennen saves the day. Right in the heart of the Atlantic, Sennen’s position exposes it to some of the most consistent waves in England.
With a nice range of peaks, the waves at Sennen Beach are seemingly every size at once. Paddle out in the south and expect some fun knee to waist high breaks. Hit the northern end of the beach if you want bigger chest to head-high waves.
Camping: Yes, Sennen Cove Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Surf Schools: Smart Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Wellfield Cottage (.3 miles), Bishop Rock (.3 miles), Sennen Rise (.4 miles), Saddle and Stable Rooms (1 mile)
Surf Level: All Levels
Located near Bude by Sir Thomas’s Pit, this colossal sandy beach is extremely popular with the summer tourist crowd.
Another good spot for variety, Summerleaze features a fun beach break suitable for beginners and advanced surfers alike, but there’s also a few reef and rocky point breaks for anyone looking for a more challenging wave.
It tends to stay cleaner when the surrounding beaches get choppy, so it’s a good spot to fall back on if you’re in the area and the winds aren’t right.
Camping: Yes, Efford Camping
Surf Schools: Big Blue Surf School, MLH Surf Coaching and Surf School, Bude Surfing Experience
Nearby Accommodation: The Beach (.1 miles), The Edgecumbe Hotel (.1 miles), Atlantic House (.1 miles), The Workshop (.2 miles)
Surf Level: All Levels
Watergate Bay is only a mile or two north of Newquay. It’s a great spot for summer when swells are fewer and farther between, but this two-mile stretch of beach breaks gets pretty intense in the wintertime.
The off-season brings fun, smaller rides suitable for beginners. Advanced surfers should visit in the winter; when it really fires off.
Another personal favourite of mine, and an epic spot for some summer longboarding fun. Keep an eye out for professional surfer and Cornish local Ben Skinner in the lineup!
Camping: Yes, The View at Watergate Bay
Surf Schools: Westcountry Surf School, Blue Surf School, Extreme Academy Surf School
Nearby Accommodation: Kernow Trek Apartments (.7 miles), Waves Apartments (.3 miles), Sands Resort (.3 miles), Porth Retreat (.4 miles)
Are you planning a Cornwall surfing trip?
Any spots you’d add to the list?