16 of the best beaches near Padstow

Padstow has a wonderful charm and attracts holidaymakers year round but if you want a beach you might be disappointed. Of course, being Cornwall, there’s a great choice of beaches near Padstow that you can explore and discover.

This list contains 2 of my most favourite of beaches that we visit regularly. What I like about this stretch of the coast is that it’s quite quiet and even in high season you can find beaches that aren’t overflowing with people. Oh and that blue sea is something else!

All of the beaches are within around 30 mins drive (although might be more in high season) and most are under 15 mins so perfect if you’re looking for things to do near Padstow.

I wonder if you’ve been to any of these? Would you say that Padstow beaches are the best?

Does Padstow have it’s own beach?

Padstow is a harbour village and doesn’t have it’s own beach. You can get a small passenger ferry across to Rock beach though – you’ll see it from Padstow. Or you can walk the coastal path to some quiet coves nearby.

Other than that you might need to get in the car or take a bus to explore further afield!

Rock beach across from Padstow

Rock beach

Across the River Camel is the small village of Rock and a wonderful expanse of beach and it’s a great place to go especially if you don’t want to get in your car and try and find parking. There is a ferry that takes passengers (and dogs!) across to Rock and it runs a number of times a day too.

Rock has a couple of food establishments but is quite small. It’s actually supposedly where the rich and famous come on holiday so keep your eyes peeled!

How to get there from Padstow:

Ferry – the best way to get to Rock beach from Padstow is the ferry which runs daily except Christmas Day. It takes just 10-15 mins to get across and saves a much longer drive. The ferry runs in the day and from Spring to Autumn there’s a seperate water taxi in the evening.

Car – it’s a 15 mile/30 min drive from Padstow because you have to head out to Wadebridge to cross the River Camel (sometimes longer in busy periods). There’s a car park in Rock which can get busy year round.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

Hawker Cove near Padstow

St George’s Cove, Harbour Cove & Hawker Cove

I’ve grouped these three beaches together because they are all very close to each other and you can walk easily to them from Padstow, providing you have no mobility issues.

Each of the coves are small but the fact that they aren’t easily accessible by car means that you’ll likely find that they are much quieter than some of the bigger beaches around Padstow.

How to get there from Padstow:

Walk: The best way from Padstow is to follow the South West Coastal Path. It’s around 2.2 miles and will take between 50-60 mins to Hawker Cove which is the furthest away.

Car: It’s a little tricky to get there by car but doable. The roads are narrow and single track, proper Cornish Roads! There’s a small amount of parking at Hawker Cove and a privately owned car park before you get there for Harbour Cove.

Dog friendly? Both Harbour Cove and Hawker Cove are dog friendly year round. St George’s cove has a seasonal ban and dogs aren’t allowed in July and August.

Trevone Bay Beach

Trevone Bay

This is a small but perfectly formed beach very close to Padstow. It’s a sheltered cove and perfect for families especially as there’s a dog ban during the day in the summer months.

Head to the left hand side of the beach to find a natural swimming pool that’s formed when the tide is out. It’s been man made with a sea wall to keep some of the water in and perfect for a bit of wild swimming.

Go for a walk along the coastal path to the right and see a large blow hole that was formed when a sea cave collapsed.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – 2.5 miles away in the car and should take you about 10 minutes. I suggest taking the B3276 and turning right at Trevone Road. It’s signposted. This is still a narrow road in places but not as bad as perhaps the sat nav might take you. There are a couple of small car parks by the beach.

Bus – Not so easy by bus – you could take the 56 or Atlantic Coaster to the Trevone Road junction and walk from there. It’s only about a 15 minute walk but you’ll need to be aware of traffic.

Dog friendly? Dogs are banned from 15th May – 30th September between 10 and 6pm.

Harlyn Bay Beach

Harlyn Bay

A large beach that’s popular with surfers and families, Harlyn Bay has everything you need. With lifeguard cover in the summer months, a surf school and food trucks around too it’s a great place for a day out at the beach.

It’s known as quite a safe beach and so is good for beginner surfers too. You’ll find some rock pools when the tide is out for exploring.

How to get there from Padstow:

Bus – The 56 or the Atlantic Coaster will take you to Harlyn Bay so it’s a good beach to get to using Public Transport from Padstow.

Car – It’s about a 10 minute drive from Padstow to Harlyn Bay and it’s signposted from the B3276. There’s a large car park at the beach

Dog friendly? Yes, all year round

Looking down on Mother Ivey’s Bay

Mother Ivey’s Bay

A small but stunning cove, for me, this is one of the best beaches in the Padstow area, perhaps even on the of the best beaches in Cornwall! I really do love it.

It’s really sheltered here and it’s popular with swimmers, kayakers and paddle boarders. There is no lifeguard cover so be aware of that, especially if you have children.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – Car is the best and it takes 4 miles and about 15 minutes to get to the National Trust Car park at Trevose Head. It’s just a short walk from the car park.

Bus – You could also get the 56 or Atlantic Coaster bus to Harlyn Bay and walk the South West Coast Path to get there. It’s just under 2 miles and should take around 30-40 mins of walking.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

Booby’s Bay Beach, just next to Constantine Bay – a haven for surfers

Constantine Bay & Booby’s Bay

A large and popular beach especially with surfers. These are the beaches on the other side of the peninsula to Mother Ivey’s Bay and the difference between them is quite striking. One is calm and sheltered and then these are much more exposed and have surf!

With the sloping slate rocks at the beach there’s a lot of rock pools that are great for kids to explore. There’s lifeguard cover in the summer months too.

How to get there from Padstow:

You can follow the instructions for Mother Ivey’s bay above and park at the National Trust car park if needed and walk to Constantine Bay Beach. This will bring you in at the North end at Booby’s Bay but it’s an easy walk on a footpath

Car – Alternatively there’s a car park at the south end of Constantine Bay. It’s around 4.5 miles from Padstow and about a 15 minute drive.

Bus – The 56 bus takes you in to Constantine Bay (get off at the Constantine Bay Stores) where you can walk the final half mile to the beach in about 10 mins.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

A good area to stay in for these beaches is St Merryn – check out my accommodation guide here

Treyarnon Bay

A small beach that’s perfect for families due to its size. There’s a small shop nearby too in case you need an emergency ice cream.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – Just under 5 miles in the car and about a 15 minute drive. There’s a large car park there but it can get busy.

Bus – It’s possible to follow the bus intructions for Constantine Bay and then walk a further 15 minutes to the beach. It’s a long winding road so be wary of cars.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

Porthcothan Beach

Porthcothan Beach

The beach at Porthcothan is a wonderful and small cove that is very popular with families. There’s some lifeguard cover in the summer months too.

This was actually also a Poldark filming location – the beach and also the cliffs to the north were used in the tv show.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – About 5.5 miles from Padstow, it takes around 15-20 mins by car along the B3276 and there’s a small car park for the beach.

Bus – The 56 and the Atlantic Coaster both stop by the beach.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

Beach at Bedruthan Steps in 2021

Bedruthan / Pentire Steps Beach

2022 update – the steps down to the beach at Bedruthan Steps have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic since they have been unable to repair them after storms. I’ve added it here in the hopes that one day soon it reopens.

This is a stunning beach and since we moved here I’ve only ever seen a handful of people on it at one time. That is because the regular access steps have been closed for some time now.

You can still get down to the beach from a footpath at the north end of the beach but it’s a bit of a scramble and I haven’t personally tried it. Be aware of the incoming tide.

It’s still a wonderful walk even if you can’t get down to the beach itself. The area has a National Trust car park and cafe and it’s a good day out itself.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – It’s about a 20 minute drive to Bedruthan Steps from Padstow and just under 8 miles.

Bus – The 56 or Atlantic Coaster bus takes you directly to the entrance of the National Trust site.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

Mawgan Porth beach on a cloudy day

Mawgan Porth

This is a lovely beach just past Bedruthan Steps and perfect for kids. It does get rather busy in summer but there’s normally lifeguard cover in high season as well if that is factor for you.

As the tide comes in it can feel a bit crowded there but there’s also some other shops and cafe’s/restaurants if you want to escape for a bit and do something different.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – You can drive along the coastal B3276 and although it’s a long windy road you’ll be there in about 25-30 mins. There is a large car park across from the beach.

Bus – Easily reached on public transport by taking the 56 or the Atlantic Coaster. The bus stops directly at the beach. Definitely recommended in high season.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round.

Watergate Bay Beach off season

Watergate Bay

This is my favourite off season beach and a great beach for walking dogs on when the tide is out. I like it because it’s unfussy, there’s a decent sized car park and there’s a lot of space for dogs.

In the summer Watergate Bay beach does get a lot busier so we try and go in the evenings if that coincides with the tide being out.

You can surf here, it’s always busy with surfers, and there’s lessons available and equipment to hire too. It’s got lifeguard cover in high season also.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – The shortest route takes you along the coastal B3276 and it’s only 10 miles away. It does take 30 mins because the road is quite windy and narrow in places. It’s a main road, buses go on it but it winds!

If I was going from Padstow I’d probably head inland towards the A39 and keep to the main road, take the A3059 at the roundabout at St Columb Major and then follow the signs to Watergate Bay. It’ll take the same amount of time, it’s a little longer, but I prefer roads that don’t stress me out!

There are 2 car parks at Watergate Bay. One nearest the beach is a private car park and the council one is a little further back.

Bus – The 56 and Atlantic Coaster go right past Watergate Bay and it takes around 50 minutes. Recommended in high season as you’ll not need to worry about parking

Dog friendly? Yes, year round.

We’re circling back now to the other side of Padstow and across the River Camel. I’ve included these beaches for something a bit different, but they both require a longer drive despite looking close on the map!

Daymer Bay Beach

Daymer Bay

A large beach that’s perfect for dog walking and exploring the dunes. It’s a huge expanse when the tide is out.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – Around 16 miles by car and about 35 mins if the traffic isn’t too bad. There’s a car park by the beach.

Public Transport – Not directly easy to get to by public transport but could be reached by walking from Rock if you’d got the ferry over.

Dog friendly? Yes, year round

A busy Polzeath beach!

Polzeath

Finally we have the very popular Polzeath beach which is enjoyed by families young and old, surfers and bodyboarders. It’s got lifeguard cover in the summer months too and has everything you’ll need in the surrounding village.

How to get there from Padstow:

Car – It’s around 16 miles away by road and takes around about 35 mins to drive there. Perhaps a bit longer if the roads are busy.

Public Transport – Not easily reached on public transport from Padstow

Dog friendly? Seasonal ban from 10am-6pm from the 15th May – 30th September

Leave a Comment