The Blue Flag Award is an independent recognition of environmental excellence run by the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The award is aimed at the development of beaches and marinas all over the world. Totally, there are about 2,000 Blue Flag beaches situated in 36 different countries. 8 out of 2, 000 Blue Flag beaches are situated in Cornwall.
It is worth to mention that despite most of the beaches in Cornwall are not awarded Blue Flag, it does not mean that these beaches have less golden sand to enjoy, worse water quality, whatever. The thing is that the Blue Flag award also deals with such criteria as environmental education, environmental management and takes into account such facilities as the availability of a disabled access, lifeguard cover, and toilets. It means that it works only with those beaches and marinas with the combination of the above-mentioned features. It means that besides Blue Flag beaches, there are hundreds of other clean and unspoiled beaches in Cornwall to enjoy. But now let us focus on those awarded Blue Flag in 2018.
Porthmeor Beach – St. Ives
Porthmeor Beach is perfectly placed just a couple of minutes from the center of the inspiring Cornwall’s town – St. Ives. It means that Porthmeor is surrounded by numerous ancient pubs, trendy cafes and lots of art galleries situated in the town. The beach itself is nestled in the shadow of the iconic Tete St. Ives building. The beach offers a lot of golden sands to enjoy, pure water and safe swimming.
Porthmeor beach is famous both among surfers and swimmers. Close proximity to the center of St. Ives makes it a great place for a beach picnic. With everything at hand, the beach is also very popular among families with children. What is more, Porthmeor Beach is considered to be one of the most picturesque spots in St. Ives and that is why it is a popular destination for those who are looking for a place to spend a romantic evening. It does not matter if you come here in the morning, noon or evening – Porthmeor beach is always nice and welcoming.
Note that between the Sunday before Easter and 30 September there is a seasonal dog ban. Also, keep in mind that despite the fact there is a parking nearby the beach, during the summer season it gets full very early. Nevertheless, you can always consider parking at St Erth station or Lelant Saltings.
Porthminster Beach – St. Ives
Porthminster Beach situated a short walk from the center of St. Ives, is one of those rare beaches in Cornwall with a definite tropical feel. The beach is covered with golden sand with some waving palm trees and all this beauty is framed by a glittering bay with translucent waters. One of the great attraction of the beach is a glorious view across to Godrevy Lighthouse. It is interesting to know that it inspired Virginia Woolf to write one of her most famous novels – ‘To the Lighthouse’. So if you are looking for inspirations – Porthminster beach is definitely worth visiting.
Porthminster is one of the best beaches in Cornwall for families with kids. It offers everything needed to have a great beach day, starting from safe swimming ensured by the lifeguard cover to deck chairs aimed to make you feel absolutely relaxed. Visitors to the beach can even play golf at the mini 18 hole golf course. You can even order some freshly made juices or smoothies. And if you get hungry, there is an award-winning Porthminster Beach café where you can try some great local food, some of which is grown in their adjoining vegetable garden.
Note that there is a seasonal dog ban, so dogs are not welcomed in the period from the first Sunday before Easter to 30 September. Also, despite there is a parking overlooking the beach, generally, during high season, it gets very busy. Still, you can park at St Erth or Lelant Saltings and enjoy your walk to the beach through the scenic streets of St. Ives.
Polzeath Beach – Polzeath
Polzeath beach, thanks to its easely accessible location and great waves, is considered to be one of the most popular surfer spots in the county. Both pro surfers and newbies flock to the beach to catch waves, so do some occasional dolphins and seals.
Nevertheless, there are not just surfers who find Polzeath beach attractive. The thing is that there is also New Polzeath beach – a smaller and less competitive spot favored by families with children. The beach provides its visitors with safe swimming away from surfboards and offers a number of entertainments, including the Waterfront Cafe Bar where you can treat yourself to some delicious snacks and refreshments during the main season.
Polzeath beach is also known as a perfect place for walkers. It offers an easy 2-mile walk to nearby Daymer Bay and Rock.
Both Polzeath beach and its little sister – New Polzeath, offer a lot of sand to enjoy during low tides. When the high tide is in power and sands are swallowed by the waters, there are a lot of charming cafes and fascinating shops offered by the village street where you can spend some great time regardless of weather conditions.
Carbis Bay Beach – St. Ives
Carbis Bay beach, situated just about a mile from St. Ives and owned by the Carbis Bay Hotel, is known as an ideal spot for families with children. The thing is that the beach is perfect for safe swimming and there are no surfers. What is more, this beautiful bay is surrounded by subtropical splendor, making you feel like you are somewhere much further south.
The beach is covered with golden sands meeting turquoise waters. What is more, it is surrounded by sub-tropical plants that make it look and feel like a real beach paradise. There is also an RSPB bird sanctuary, an important habitat for seabirds. It can be found during low tide, just a short walk on the east side of the beach. The fact that part of the beach is listed as one of the best in the world by the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Organisation makes Carbis Bay Beach even more special and definitely worth visiting.
Despite the fact that there is a seasonal dog ban from the first Sunday before Easter to 30 September, morning dog walks between 5-8am are allowed.
Gyllyngvase Beach – Falmouth
Gyllyngvase beach, situated less than 10 minutes walk to historic Falmouth’s town center, is considered to be the largest and one of the most popular beaches in town, as well as one of the best in Cornwall. The beach is popular both among surfers and families, offering everything you can expect from a Blue Flag beach. It is perfectly clean, offers the highest quality of water, lifeguard cover and some other facilities for your comfort and safety.
Gyllyngvase beach offers some great entertainments, including the first dedicated stand-up Paddleboard center in the county and the ability to visit well-kept formal Queen Mary Gardens with such sub-tropical plants as colorful Agapanthus and giant leafed Gunnera to see. If you get hungry, there is a great Gylly Beach Cafe famous for its fresh contemporary menu and breathtaking views from its sun-drenched terrace. The cafe is also known as one of the most environmentally friendly cafes in Cornwall: it utilizes everything possible and highly supports local produce. There is also a small building adjacent to Gylly Beach Cafe where you can buy some takeaway food, ice-cream, and beach goodies.
Gyllyngvase Beach is also known as one of the most easily accessible beaches: access to the beach is flat and there is a large parking just 100 yards away.
Widemouth Bay Beach – Bude
Widemouth Bay beach situated just 3 miles south of Bude, is a very long open bay with numerous rockpools to explore during low tides. It is not surprising that the beach is famous both among families with children who come here to enjoy safe swimming and to explore tide pools, and newbie surfers who come here to enjoy fantastic conditions for mastering their surfing skills. There are many local surf schools on the beach.
The beach is accessible along the South West coast path from Bude. If you travel by car, there are two large car parking on the north and south end of the bay. Both of them provide you with the ability to enjoy a fantastic panorama from viewing areas.
Despite the fact that there is a seasonal dog ban between Easter Sunday and 30 September on the northern part of the beach, the southern part welcomes dogs throughout the year.
Trevone Bay Beach – Padstow
Trevone Bay beach situated near Padstow is nestled between Trevose Head on the south and Harlyn Bay on the north. Sheltered by cliffs, the beach offers a lot of sand and highest quality water to enjoy.
Trevone Bay beach is a popular destination for families with children who come here to enjoy little alcoves in the golden sand. Also, it is one of the favorite spots among intermediate and experienced surfers who come here to catch good waves from low to mid tide. The beach is situated in an area of geological interest, so it is also good for those who want to explore Cornwall’s wildlife. Also, it is a great place for walkers. What is more, there are cliffs on the northeast of the beach from where you can enjoy the views of Hawkers Cove, the Camel Estuary and beyond.
Porthtowan Beach – Porthtowan
Porthtowan Beach, located within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is considered to be one of the most popular surfing beaches in Cornwall. The beach provides a lot of golden sand backed by beautiful dunes and sheltered by dramatic cliffs.
Despite there are a lot of surfers who come to enjoy waves, the beach is also very popular among families with children, especially its neighboring Chapel Porth part. There is even a children’s play park at the top end of the beach.
Porthtowan beach is also considered to be a perfect place for walkers who can enjoy the coastal footpath to St Agnes and west to Portreath. This footpath skirts over the cliffs and provides spectacular views out over the sea.
If you are looking for something else, there is a famous Blue Bar cafe where you can enjoy have a drink and watch the sun goes down in a perfectly relaxed atmosphere.