Best Places to Surf in Cornwall

Cornwall is a stunning southern region that attracts tourists each year. There are plenty of things to do and see here and with its dramatic coastline and picturesque towns, this is the perfect place to meet a range of holiday itineraries

Whether you’re looking to lounge on pristine sandy shores, make the most of the watersports on offer or perhaps hike for miles along coastal paths, there is something for everyone in Cornwall. From rolling hillsides to soft golden sands, this is one place that does have it all. 

Surfing is something that attracts many people to Cornwall throughout the year. The impressive waves and secluded coves create the ideal place for all types of surfers. The number of beaches in Cornwall also means that visitors get to pick from a variety of spots to enjoy surfing, all of which have something different to offer. 

If you’re planning a trip to Cornwall and want to hit the waves during your stay, keep reading to find out more about the best places to surf here.  

Fistral Beach

One of the most popular places to surf in Cornwall is undoubtedly Newquay. This is where you will find plenty of avid surfers gathering to ride the waves or compete against one another. Fistral Beach is a particularly popular spot for anyone looking to make the most of the swells here, as the waters are unrivalled. 

Waves at Fistral have been known to reach an impressive height of up to 8ft! This makes it very appealing to more experienced surfers or those looking to challenge themselves. The hip vibe and lively atmosphere surrounding Newquay also make Fistral a busy spot, so might be one to avoid if you’re hoping to surf somewhere a little quieter. 

For those looking for a vibrant town, with lots to do and plenty to see, alongside one of the best surfing beaches in the UK, Fistral is the place to go. Many tourists also go here just to relax on the lovely sandy shores as they sit and watch the keen surfers ride the waves.

Crantock Beach 

If you’re seeking somewhere brimming with natural beauty and a peaceful atmosphere, Crantock is the place to go. Here you will find a stunning beach owned by the National Trust, encompassed by rocky cliffs and lovely coastal views. 

Not only does Crantock Beach provide a beautiful location, but the surf here is also consistent throughout the year, making it ideal for those visiting at various times. The area is also much quieter than its neighbouring Fistral Beach, making it perfect for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of Newquay.   

Porthleven Beach

Porthleven Beach is situated in lovely Helston, Cornwall. Here you will find 3 miles of stunning sandy shores and incredible coastal views. Made up of rugged, rocky edges and golden sands, this is one beach certainly worth visiting in the region. 

The beach tends to be quieter than some of the other popular spots in Cornwall, mainly because bathing isn’t advised here due to the strong undercurrents. It is also recommended that only experienced surfers attempt to ride the waves at Porthleven as they are known to be wild at times! 

Porthtowan Beach

Porthtowan is a beautiful beach made up of rolling dunes and stunning rugged cliffs. The scenery here is utterly breathtaking as the sea meets the Cornish countryside and rolling green hills, making it somewhere worth visiting even if you don’t plan to surf. 

The surfing levels at Porthtowan are recommended for intermediate to advanced-level surfers. With some powerful waves and steep swells, experience is needed to surf here safely. This also provides a great place to meet other like-minded water sports enthusiasts, as it is a well-known surfing spot. 

One of the best things about Porthtowan is that the beach is known for surfing, but never seems to get too crowded, providing the best of both worlds!  

Seaton Beach

If you happen to be visiting Looe during your trip to Cornwall, Seaton Beach is certainly worth checking out. Here you will discover a small cove that offers a true sense of seclusion and tranquillity. 

Its remote nature makes Seaton the ideal place for those looking to escape the crowds. What’s more, is that the surfing here is also exceptional! It’s worth noting that there can be some powerful swells here, so it isn’t somewhere we would recommend for beginners. 

Perranporth Beach

Perranporth Beach is located in a stunning area of outstanding beauty, making it somewhere worth checking out in Cornwall. The surf here is famous due to the strong swells and huge beach. 

With three miles of sandy shore to explore, visitors can spend their time here relaxing as they watch the surfers tackle the tides, or simply sitting back and unwinding. The waves at Perranporth aren’t known for being overly big, but they certainly pack a punch! With this in mind, it is recommended that intermediate and advanced surfers attempt to surf here. 

Constantine Beach

Constantine Bay is the perfect place to go for those looking to spend a full day at the beach, as here you get three different beaches in one spot. You will find the main stretch of sandy shores, alongside Booby’s Bay and the Slab. 

This is the perfect place to make the most of the surf as the number of beaches allows for something different at Constantine. It is worth noting that there are some hazards when surfing here, with reefs, rips and heavy shore breaks being something to look out for. If you plan to surf here, experience is needed to ensure you do so safely. 

Sennen Beach

Sennen Beach is situated near Lands End, meaning that the winds here are particularly strong, creating excellent surfing conditions. Visitors are also able to hire boards from Sennen, making it an ideal spot for beginners and experienced surfers alike. 

For intermediate and advanced surfers, it’s best to head to the northern end of the beach where you will find bigger waves. Not only does Sennen provide excellent surfing, but the crescent-shaped cove also allows for a beautiful setting for those looking to sit back and relax on the sandy shores. 

Polzeath Beach

Polzeath is another of Cornwall’s popular beaches for experienced surfers. However, people tend to go here for the atmosphere and the chance to socialise with other surfing enthusiasts, as the waves are known for being much calmer than some of the others in the region. 

Being sheltered from high winds, Polzeath provides an excellent opportunity for beginners to try out surfing. The waves aren’t as powerful here as in some of the other popular spots, making it ideal for anyone looking to dip their toe in the water! 

Gwithian Beach

Situated on the stunning North Cornish coast is Gwithian. Here you will find a beach brimming with lovely golden sands and excellent waves. This is perfect for beginner to intermediate surfers as the swells are known for being calmer. 

Once you have tried out the surfing at Gwithian be sure to check out the stunning landscapes surrounding the beach, alongside Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance. There are also four miles of beach breaks to try out here, making it ideal for a range of surfers. Whether you’re seeking shallow waters or high waves, you can find it all at Gwithian. 

Porthmeor Beach

Porthmeor Beach is situated in the stunning and popular town of St Ives. The waves here are known for being a little hit-and-miss, but if you visit on a good day you will find some robust waves to try out. 

This is a great spot for beginners to try out surfing, with winter known for being the best time for catching impressive swells. You may not find the biggest waves at Porthmeor, but you will certainly find somewhere brimming with stunning landscapes and picturesque scenery. 

Towan Beach 

Another of Newquay’s favoured beaches is Towan. The huge stretch of sand provides plenty of space for all to enjoy, making it an ideal spot for a family day out. With milder swells and calmer winds, this is a great place for beginners looking to try out surfing. 

There are also some other great activities to do around Newquay, making Towan Beach a great place for those looking to explore the area after trying out the surf. Families can play on the beach or take a dip in the water, before heading into town to discover the many shops, bars and restaurants. 

Praa Sands Beach

Praa Sands is known for being one of the best spots for advanced surfers. Its position on the southern coast of Cornwall means that the swells here are particularly impressive. Here you will find some steep waves, alongside a beautiful place to sit and take in the stunning coastal vistas. 

It is known for being very popular among locals and can get very busy during peak season, so it’s best to plan your trip here ahead of time. Not only will you find some of the best surfing that Cornwall has to offer, but the stunning grassy dunes and idyllic scenery make it a picturesque setting for all. 

The Vortex 

For anyone visiting Portreath, be sure to check out the swells at the Vortex. Here you will find many surfers and bodyboarders riding the waves, alongside a great spot to stroll along the sandy shores. 

The tides at the Vortex are known for providing a short and intense ride, meaning that it isn’t as popular among stand-up surfers. With this in mind, the waves here are better suited for experienced surfers. 

Porthcurno Beach

Porthcurno is a stunning beach with picturesque surroundings, and when the waves hit here, they are no exception. It isn’t as well known for providing impressive waves and is best during low tide. 

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy the water all whilst taking in the incredible coastal views, Porthcurno is the place to be. Here visitors get a true sense of the Cornish coast, alongside a place brimming with incredible natural beauty.

Widemouth Bay

Located in the Cornish town of Bude is Widemouth Bay. Here you will find one of Cornwall’s best northern spots for surfing. The sandy shores are very long, providing enough space for all to enjoy their time here. 

The sloping sandbanks and low swell make this an excellent place for beginners, as the surfing here is much calmer than some of the other favoured beaches. With its lovely grassy headland and rugged cliff edges, Widemouth Bay provides the ideal location for the whole family to enjoy a day at the beach.  


We hope that after reading this article you can now visit Cornwall with all the best surfing spots in mind. No matter where you choose to go, you will find a county brimming with stunning beaches and exceptional scenery. Whether you’re looking to ride the waves, or simply lounge on the sandy shores, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of the UK. 

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