Although Mousehole isn’t renowned for its beaches, there is a small sandy beach at either end of the harbour, accessible at low tide. Whilst those seeking a good swimming spot would be better off heading to nearby Marazion and Long Rock, if you’re staying in Mousehole, these little stretches of sand are a convenient spot for sandcastle-making and fish and chip munching — grab something to eat from the excellent Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, which has a brilliant takeaway menu. Head along the coastal path for a few minutes and you’ll come to the beautiful tidal pool which, although not particularly deep, is a great spot for a calm swim at low tide and only a short scramble from the path.
This rugged beauty, in the far west of Cornwall, has fine white sand and clear waters that turn turquoise in summer. Often compared to beaches in the Caribbean, it’s flanked on either side by high cliffs (Porthcurno means ‘cove of horns’, referring to its protruding cliffs). Follow the path up the cliffs to the clifftop Minack Theatre and amazing views over Porthcurno and the other coves that stretch into the distance. At low tide you can walk along the sand to Pedn Vounder, another show-stopper (but keep an eye on the tides as there’s no direct access to this beach). The wonderful Porthcurno Beach Cafe with sun terrace is a good place for lunch or signature Cornish G&T at the end of the day — they also have a beach shop selling bodyboards, hats, suncream etc.
Just north of Land’s End, this is Cornwall’s most westerly surf spot, a broad band of golden sand with masses of space, the southern promontory protecting the beach from westerly winds so it’s perfect for surfing, swimming, rockpooling and a game of rounders or cricket when the tide’s out. There are two car parks — one on the beach (arrive early in summer!), and another a little walk up the hill. There are several places to eat on the beach, including the wonderful Sennen Cove and the Surf Beach Bar. The small harbour with its lifeboat station and art galleries at the far end is great for those days when the sun’s hiding.
Marazion and Long Rock
Marazion and Long Rock beach all make up the stretch of the coast from St Michael’s Mount to Penzance. A safe beach, when the tide is out the waters are particularly shallow and great for paddling. When the wind picks up, this is a great spot for kitesurfers — watch them soar above the waves from the cafe above the beach with an ice cream. Marazion has lifeguard cover from mid-July until early September and dogs are allowed on the beach all year except July and August (10am-6pm).