Find the nearest Blue Flag in Cornwall
Blue Flag beaches in Cornwall, the Blue Flag award is a prestigious, international award scheme that aims to provide an assurance to tourists that a beach has met a minimum standard. To collect a Blue Flag any UK and Ireland beach must achieve the highest quality of water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.
Below we list the current Cornwall beaches holding the Blue Flag award.
- Portreath beach is a gently shelving sandy beach on Cornwall’s north coast. The bay has high cliffs on either side along with a small working harbour. The name Portreath means “sandy cove” and Portreath harbour is steeped in history as it exported copper and imported coal to support the Cornish copper mines and also some shipbuilding. At low tide, this is a large flat sandy beach but when the tide comes in the beach is split into two with a small cove to the west and the main area in front of the car park. You will not see so many surfers as on some other beaches on this stretch of coast but you can get a powerful wave alongside the harbour wall. What it is is a great safe family beach very popular for bodyboarding and at low tide you can get some good rock pools to explore by harbour wall. Facilities at the beach include car parking, toilets, ramp access, seasonal lifeguards, beach cafe, pubs, shops including surf hire and the Portreath Surf Life Saving Club.
- Carbis Bay is a sandy beach about a mile east of St Ives and a resort in its own right. Very safe bathing due to sheltered aspect and calm sea. Also ideal for windsurfing and water-skiing. All facilities close to the beach, although a small car park and lifeguards during the summer.
- Gyllyngvase beach, locally known as Gylly beach, is a very popular gently shelving sandy beach with rock pools to explore. This is the largest of the Falmouth beaches overlooked by Pendennis Castle and is a great location, just a 10-15 minute walk away from Falmouth centre. The beach has gentle rollers making it a popular swimming, surfing and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) beach. Facilities include toilets, shop, Gylly beach cafe, lifeguards in the summer, car park and road parking, disabled access (beach chair for hire). Gyllyngvase in Cornish means ‘the shallow inlet’.
- Polzeath beach is sand/shingle and is also one of the worlds most renowned surfing destinations. On the beach you also have rock pools and a nature reserve but at high tide much of the beach disappears. The surf can cater for all standards from kids learning to experienced surfers. In the summer it can get very busy in the water. Facilities include car park, lifeguards in the summer months, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
- Porthmeor beach is perfect for families, as the beach sits in the town of St Ives and is overlooked by the Tate St Ives. The beach has good sand at the top and then a slope at high water mark takes you to a large expanse of flat compact sand. Surf school is located on the beach. This beach has a cafe and restaurant, toilets, seasonal lifeguards and access to St. Ives town. In the summer it can be very hard to park in St. Ives.
- Newquay’s Great Western beach is a popular family beach, comprising of several west facing sandy coves, backed by towering cliffs, sheltering it and providing early morning natural shade. The beach is popular with both families and surfers and despite its close proximity to Newquay town centre, is quieter than some of the other Newquay beaches. It is also possible to walk to neighbouring beaches at low tide. There is good disabled access and a private lift which descends through the cliffs from the Great Western Hotel. The beach caters for all levels of surfing ability but is particular good for beginners as it is slightly more sheltered than other Newquay surfing beaches. Toilets, cafes, showers, deck chair and windbreak rental, surfboard hire, surf schools and seasonal lifeguard cover (May – end of September). Parking is in Newquay Town centre some 5-10min walk away.
- Crooklets Beach is a popular family sandy beach with plenty of facilities, although a small beach at Crooklets it adjoins Summerleaze and Northcott Mouth at low tide forming a larger bay. Crooklets beach is a popular surf spot suiting all levels of surfer but due to its location and size can get very busy. Facilities at the beach include shops, toilets, cafe, outdoor swimming pool, lifeguard service in summer months.
- Porthtowan beach is a large sandy beach popular with both surfers (good for beginners) and families. The beach is also backed by a small dune area and as the tide goes out you have some rockpools top explore. At low tide you can take a 15-minute walk along the beach to neighbouring Chapel Porth, alternatively, lots of cliff top walks. This walk takes you below the Towanroath engine house at Wheal Coates which is one of the iconic locations of this tin and copper mining county. Facilities at the beach include a large car park, shop, wetsuits and board hire, cafe, pub, toilets and lifeguards in summer. The name “Porthtowan” comes from the Cornish words “porth” meaning port or harbour and ‘tewyn” meaning dune.