Devon and Cornwall's top ten beach locations … other extreme threads

So we know things are bad – there has been enough press about the depth and extent of the recession that at least the paper industry should be doing well (its not actually, so times are really bad) – you’ve probably lost your job, your bonus and the potential to make any serious money for the next thirty years – its therefore probably time to start cutting your cloth to your budget.

Well if thats you it may mean cancelling the five bedroomed villa in secluded countryside with large pool and guest house in the South of France to something closer to home. We therefore thought you might be interested to read Dorling Kindersley’s recommendations which they have recently published and which we picked up in The Times On Line for where to go in Devon or Cornwall.

Of course should you decide on this drastic action you must remember that the ‘Beam me up Scottie’ machine has still not been invented ( now there’s an opportunity, but we will not be volunteering ourselves as the test pilot – that would be one extreme too far!) and so you will have to face the wonderful A30, or even worse the A38 as you meander your way into Cornwall’s green and pleasant land.

Of course on that day the sun will be shining without remorse but, because you couldn’t afford to have the car serviced (thanks Flash Gordon) the godarned air conditioner has packed up and the temperature in the car has risen to over 90 degrees F. The two elder children are shouting, pinching and yelling at each other whilst the baby has just expunged itself of waste from both ends – the smell rises and forces you to crease your nostrils – desperately you look down to turn the fan on flat out – BANG – the mother in front of you has stopped and now you have caused the mother of an accident.

Three hours later you are on your way again in a replacement vehicle arriving at your destination to find your room has been filled by another traveller…..

We paint a grim picture – thanks Gordon – but in reality the Devon and Cornish beaches are some of the finest in the world, with great surf, huge expanses of white and golden sand and a vast and bracing ocean. Fun can be had for all the family – from the little ‘uns who can spend hours in harmony building castles in the sand or hunting for crabs in the endless rock pools, to the next generation who can surf, waterski, paraglide, mountain bike, kite surf and wind surf, to the less extreme activities for perhaps Mom and Pop who can go fishing, golfing, walking and sailing.

It is a magical, wonderful place – just two things – the getting there thing…….oh and the weather has broken when you do arrive – make your own fun!


One of the finest bays of the Penwith Peninsula, Porthcurno, with its wedge of white sand mixed with tiny shells, is squeezed between granite cliffs. The rock-hewn Minack Theatre is located to one side and there is a museum of telegraphy at the back of the beach. Pubs and cafés can be found close by.

Porthcurno beach, Cornwall

Par Beach, Isles of Scilly

Majestic, bare and wild, the beaches on St Martin’s are considered to be the best on the Isles of Scilly. Par Beach on the island’s southern shore is probably the most impressive – a long, empty strand looking out onto rocks that make up the Eastern Isles. Be prepared for chilly water though.

Whitesand Bay

This expanse of fine sand close to Land’s End is a favourite with surfers and families alike. It has a good beachside café and at Sennen Cove, the more popular southern end of the beach, is the Old Success Inn. Surfing equipment is available for hire and courses are also provided.

Kynance Cove

This is one of the best options on the Lizard Peninsula, where beaches are few and far between. The 10-minute walk from the car park is well worth the trudge for its fine white sands, rocky spires and surrounding grassy areas. Swimming is limited by the tides but other attractions include caves and cliffs with serpentine seams of sand.

Woolacombe Bay

Surf dudes come from far and wide to one of the West Country’s most famous surfing beaches. The beach is popular with families and there is a warren of dunes behind for exploring. Crowds gather at the northern end, but more space can be found at the quieter southern end. The small resort of Woolacombe has shops and cafés.

Fistral Bay

Surf aficionados flock to this beach, which is the venue for surfing competitions. A surf centre supplies equipment for hire. Most of the sand is covered by water at high tide and strong currents mean that kids need to be careful, though lifeguards are present throughout the summer. The restaurants and cafés here offer outdoor seating.

Watergate Bay

North of Newquay, this arc of golden sand has a wild appeal. It is home to the Extreme Academy, which offers kite-surfing, land-boarding and other pursuits for the adventurous. Behind it are Jamie Oliver’s famous restaurant, Fifteen, and the more casual Beach Hut, both with splendid views. Watergate is not very sheltered, so make sure you carry windbreakers.

Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe

This private beach is named after the tunnels that have provided access to it since 1823, when the swimming was segregated. There is a tidal bathing pool and on-duty lifeguards make the beach safe for kids. The rock pooling is top-class and there are kayaks for hire. Open Apr–Jun & Sep–Oct: 10am–6pm; Jul–Aug: 9am–9pm.

Croyde Bay

Sandwiched between the extensive west-facing Saunton Sands and Woolacombe, this compact bay has fine sand. There are campsites around and the village has pubs and bars that fill up in the evenings.

Blackpool Sands

Backed by woods and meadows, this family-friendly beach makes an enticing sight as it swings into view on the road from Dartmouth. Its sheltered location, clear water and fine sand makes this one of South Devon’s best swimming spots. For refreshments there is the renowned Venus Café.

Top 10 Devon & Cornwall is published by Dorling Kindersley, priced £7.99, and is available at

We wonder why the likes of Damar Bay with the villages of Rock, Polzeath and Padstow – home to Rick Stein’s gastronomique delights (he has four restaurants there – or certainly did have before Gordon took charge!), has not made it to the top ten………………perhaps too upper class and too many drugs of the nefarious kind, reportedly. Let us know your thoughts and get on down there, it will be a blast.

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