Renowned for its beautiful beaches, Cornwall is the perfect coastal destination for avid surfers, sun seekers and walkers alike. We pick 12 of the most spectacular beaches in Cornwall to visit...

1.Bedruthan Steps, Bedruthan

Lying between the harbour towns of Padstow and Newquay, Bedruthen Steps is a stretch of gorgeous coastline owned by the National Trust. Almost hidden by the curve of the rocky coast, jagged structures of ancient rock rise up out of the golden sands.

From the footpath at the top, the sands are easily accessible by the steps leading down, but climbing to the top is also worth the huff and puff just for the stunning views. A day can easily be spent here exploring the coastline or just merely standing in wonder at the spectacular sights before you.

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2.Pendower Beach, near Truro

This south facing beach is an instant hit with families due to its sandy crossing stream which provides a great deal of entertainment for the children to splash about with buckets and spades in the summer. One side of the beach is sandy which is ideal for picnics on the beach in warm weather. The other side of the beach has lots of rock pools to explore and shells to be found.

Pendower is dog-friendly all year round so Fido can accompany you to the beach for a game of fetch or a quick dip in the sea.

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3.Nanjizal Beach, near Porthcurno

Nanjizal Beach can be found a mile from Lands End and it is a noted bird and seal watching spot on the Cornish coast. Marine animals aside, it’s also renowned for its peaceful nature and accessibility for dog walking throughout the year.

A visit to Nanjizal at high tide tells a very different story. The sand is covered by the sea and in its place the beach becomes a picturesque cove. An intriguing and marvellous sight to be seen, the cove can be reached by the South West Coast Path but the route should be avoided by the less sturdy.

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4.Mexico Towans Beach, Gwithian

Resting on three miles of silky sand, Mexico Towans beach is the perfect spot for sun-seekers in the summer where a day can be easily spent just relaxing on the beach - just make sure you pack your bucket and spade. Keep an eye out for St Ives in the distance and Godrevy lighthouse sitting proud on a nearby island.

This beach is one of the best surfing points in Cornwall where the waves are suitable for surfers of all abilities. There are also many scenic cliff walks and stretches of sea dedicated to kayaking.

Godrevy is a National Trust piece of land and there are seasonal restrictions on the entry of dogs so check ahead before arrival.

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5.Carbis Bay, St Ives

Take one look at the deep turquoise colour of the sea and the white sand of Carbis Bay and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean. The water is often quite calm in this protected spot and the beach is great for paddling in the summer.

If you fancy taking some time out from building sand castles to relax and enjoy the view, Carbis Bay Hotel’s Beach Club Restaurant has an extensive wine list and plenty of outdoor seating for al fresco dining with panoramic views of St Ives Bay.

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6.Praa Sands, Penzance

Praa Sands is a mile long beach perched in the bend between Penzance and Helston. It is perhaps best known for its soft white sands, a rarity in Britain. For those who are looking for a family weekend away, Praa has everything you could wish for, from cafes to camp sites. In the summer it is a very popular destination with tourists, and we can see why! Packed with impressive sights, you could spend all day being lulled by the shore slipping away and rolling back in… But don’t relax just yet, as further out is a fantastic surfing point, with surprisingly big waves for advanced surfers.

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7.Porthgwarra Beach, near Porthcurno

Tiny, secluded and almost untouched, Porthgwarra Beach is one of our favourite spots. Despite its appearance in BBC’s Poldark, the beach is still relatively peaceful with few tourists walking its shores.

Porthgwarra consists of a small strip of sandy beach surrounded by the cliffs, through which some caves lead to a slipway. Children can spend hour upon hour discovering what lies within the mysterious caves whilst grown ups can relax close by with a newspaper and their feet in the sand.

After all that exploring, be sure to visit the local café for a scone or two.

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8.Lusty Glaze Beach, Newquay

Lusty Glaze is a privately owned beach, holding all the perks of a beach resort without the mass tourism others may have. Its attractions include a wedding venue, a restaurant and bar, surfing opportunities and frequent events, not to mention the striking beach that draws people in from every corner of the country.

Book yourself in for the weekend and leave the stress of everyday life to Monday. A trip to Lusty Glaze truly is a trip to paradise.

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9.Kynance Cove, The Lizard

Kynance Cove has been named as one of the most painted and photographed beaches on the Cornish Coast by Visit Cornwall, so it must have a lot to offer. The bottom of the cove is well worth the somewhat rocky footpath down, and families frequently make the decline to enjoy the summer sunshine on the beach.

With its bright blue sea and golden sands, once there we don’t think you’ll ever want to move. If you can, drag yourself to the nearby caves which offer an intriguing afternoon of exploration. Afterwards, the beaches’ eco-friendly café is the perfect post-beach spot to indulge in pasties and cake.

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10.Widemouth Bay, Bude

For a weekend of excitement, head down to Widemouth Bay. The conditions prove almost perfect for surfing, as you will be able to guess from the local surf schools providing lessons for tourists. If surfing’s not your thing, there are many rock pools and cliffs that provide an interesting alternative to the sporting activities.

The local shops provide everything you need for a day at the beach, from picnic food to buckets and spades, you’ll be armed for a jam-packed day by the sea. There’s nothing stopping you just lying on the beach, and gazing at the scene before you - a choice we can wholeheartedly recommend.

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11.Constantine Bay Beach, Padstow

Although perhaps most well-known for its prime surfing locations, this west facing beach has many other attributes. Constantine Bay Beach is easily recognised by its soft layers of pale sands and, in the distance, sand dunes.

With dog access all year, it’s a dog walker’s heaven. Its neighbouring beach, Booby Beach, is separated by a small strip of rock, but is easily accessible if you feel like extending your walk. The crowds take to the beach in summer because of the large sandy area, but we should mention that the sea is often unsafe for swimming in!

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12.Marazion Beach, Marazion

Marazion Beach, at first sight, looks dazzling. Its sand stretches way out into the distance and you find yourself strolling, open mouthed along the seashore, the cool water lapping around your feet. However, this beach is more than a walking route. Along with various activities such as windsurfing, jet skiing and sailing, there is also the well known access to St Michaels Mount. At low tide, the mount can be reached by a granite path going out to sea. The beach also has various rock pools and facilities for children such as a play park, completing the list of entertainment for the whole family.

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Written by Lucy Rostant