Just over the hill from Mevagissey (a 15-minute walk around the headland) is the charming village of Portmellon. Its sandy beach nestles between craggy rocks which rise up on either side — if you’re staying in Mevagissey, this is your closest swimming and sandcastle-building spot. It’s a nice little stretch of sand, which disappears almost entirely when the tide rolls in. Facing east, it makes a sheltered swimming spot, although there’s a fair amount of seaweed when the tide goes out. Still, it makes a great spot for a dip if you’re staying locally. And the fabulous Shack at Portmellon has fresh, local and organic goodies and coffee for sale.
Two miles north of Mevagissey you’ll find this beauty of a beach in Cornwall’s sheltered south coast — an expanse of pristine white sand and calm waters set against a backdrop of rolling green hills. Visit at low tide and kids will love exploring the rockpools and, given its sheltered spot, it’s perfect for swimming too. There’s watersports hire right on the beach — choose from paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks, surfboards or a self-drive boat and explore the coastline with a fishing rod. They also have free wooden bellyboards for hire (first come, first served).
Porthpean is a narrow golden beach 15 minutes away by car from Mevagissey. It’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling due to the clear waters and abundance of sea life around the rocky perimeters. Although Porthpean is popular with local sailing clubs and the nearby outdoor centre, it’s perhaps the least busy of the beaches in the area. With the carpark a short walk away rather than being right on the beachfront, it’s a lovely spot to sit and read. In the summer months, there’s a cafe and loo available too.
This beach is a thick crescent of sand right in front of the village of Gorran Haven, just around the corner from Mevagissey. The fishing trade here has mostly been relocated, meaning the safe waters of the harbour are great for swimming without the fear of commercial vessels. The pier is a popular spot for local kids to jump off at high tide, and you’ll catch a few people fishing there too. Being right in front of the village, there are lots of options for refreshments including pub grub and pasties, not to mention stacks of local ice cream. If you’re a keen artist, bring your easel as the colours of the little boats reflected in the water really are something else on a bright day.
Slightly off the beaten track, just a 15-minute drive from Mevagissey, this kilometre-long stretch of sand and shale beach has yet to be discovered by the masses — access can be quite tricky from the carpark, but it’s well worth the scramble, and only adds to the sense of blissful isolation. Stick to the north end of the beach unless you want to bare all — the other side is frequented by naturists (unless you were looking for a skinny dip, of course). With no facilities to speak of, you’ll need to bring supplies with you. It’s a great spot for swimming and snorkelling, especially towards Penveor Point where you’ll find lots of rookpools.