Carlyon Bay

Carlyon Bay

Set at the heart of St Austell Bay, Carlyon Bay is a stretch of almost 2 miles of coarse sand. Actually it isn't really sand but "stent", a mixture of waste from the tin and china clay industries - if you look closely you will see it is made up of large grains of grey quartz with the odd grain of tourmaline.

The section of beach here is actually divided into three sections - Crinnis, Shorthorn and Polgaver. Crinnis is the part most people refer to as Carlyon Bay.

Back in the day Carlyon Bay was St Austell's best known beach. Much of this was due to "Cornwall Coliseum", a huge entertainment venue that sat rather unsympathetically on the beach. Despite attracting many big name performers over the years the Coliseum closed its doors for the last time in 2003, after which time it became something of a decaying eyesore.

Over recent years there have been plans to redevelop the site including a £200 million complex. However, work has never really started as the project has be marred with objections.

Also known as:

Crinnis Beach

Type of beach


Lifeguard service

No lifeguard cover

Dogs friendly beach?

Dog ban in operation from Easter Sunday to September 30th

dog friendly beaches »

OS grid ref.

SX 0582 5208


If the proposed development goes ahead there will be a host of facilities. As it stands they are somewhat limited.


Large car parks close to beach

Carlyon Bay Reviews

Shameful treatment of a beauty spot.

J M Anderson
Jun 13th 2022

Such a shame to see what a ruin can be made out of a beautiful landscape that was Carlyon Bay with, probably, dirty money. £15 pounds for parking for the elderly and infirm with no return and to cap it all dreadful access onto a beach which had beautiful level access originally.
Then they received an award…..shameful!
If the owners are so full of themselves they wanted to keep the masses out they have certainly succeeded. One star is too many.
It’s a scandal! Our beach has been stolen!

Dogs not welcomed further than the car park ????

Sep 23rd 2021

Pay £3 parking then walkout to find dogs are not welcomed , security guard will stop access to the beach !! Not even to wonder and view off the beach !!!

Lovely beach - nice for swimming and snorkelling

Sarah Richardson
Jul 26th 2021

Been visiting Cornwall for years but only just discovered this beach. Really pleasant area and the “stent” is preferable to the usual fine sand as it doesn’t get everywhere like the finer stuff does.

Parking at £3/car or £5/van is good and makes me think that the Lake District where we are based is seriously ripping off tourists with their parking charges. The only constructive criticism I would make is it would be prudent to consider making the compounded area at the beach (presumably staff parking) also available for ones with restricted mobility, otherwise the beach becomes far less accessible. Thankfully we are all super fit and healthy but I couldn’t help thinking I would be a bit upset if I had an elderly or disabled passenger that I had to transport down to the beach - just wouldn’t happen. The compounded area surely could accommodate even just 50 cars for blue badge holders.

Nice having a really good choice of food and beverage stalls on the beach too. Yes, perhaps a little more pricey than the high street but you are paying for the convenience.

Lovely for swimming and pretty good for snorkelling. Family keen snorkellors and commented the waters were clearer and more to see here than the last trip which was in Corfu.  So the question is will we return? I guess so as we’ve just had two pleasant days in a row on this beach.

Jul 20th 2021

Absolutely beautiful beach,beautiful sand and lovely to swim in,gets deep very fast.Beautiful

Will never go back

Jul 04th 2021

Having been to this blue flag beach many years ago when the little train was running and refreshments where available and yes the old coliseum did look a bit dated but wow what a gem. Now after paying the parking and walking down the road to be greeted by the most uneven beach, rubble everywhere and to top it off the most obnoxious security man sat in his little box with his jobs worth hat on. I just wanted to drive down the road to pick up my 91 year old mother as she could not do the climb back to the car park to be abruptly told no.
So if I could award less then one star I certainly would and my recommendation is avoid at all cost

Dog friendly update

Apr 01st 2021

Dog ban kicked in already, starting Thursday 1/4/2021 instead of Easter Sunday 4/4/2021.

Lovely beach

Aug 13th 2020

Great beach. Lovely and clean and great to have a beach bar (that serve amazing pizzas) and toilets too.

Car park is very close and only costs £3 for the whole day.

Highly recommend.

Carlyon Bay Beach

Mike Eagles
Jul 26th 2020

Lovely beach and safe swimming. Shame there are plans for developments as it is a beautiful beach and great asset to Cornwall. Just spoilt by rusty piling and rocks dumped presumably by developers who want to spoil a natural beauty spot

Sarah Rose
Aug 30th 2019

Had a lovely day at the beach and really enjoyed watching the dancing frog at the asylum . Fab food and drink too - worth s visit

long hike up to carpark

Aug 27th 2019

love this beach even if it isnt really sand, can be extremely quiet at times off peak out of school holidays.  there are toilets but not been in them and places to get food and drink. my only gripe is the long hike up to the car park up some very steep steps other than that its ok.

Nice beach

Jul 22nd 2019

The description is a bit inaccurate as there’s lots going on at the beach during summer, there’s a beach bar with inside seating and fire pit, a seafood shack with great food a pasty shop and jet skis! Also ive heard the theatre will be down this summer with a massive tent just Been erected. Also decent toilets for a beach!