Porthpean is probably the best of St Austell's beaches, although a little on the small side. Backed by steep tree-topped cliffs and with clear, azure water this sandy beach can have a feel of the Mediterranean on the right day.
Being relatively sheltered and easy to get to Porthpean beach is popular with families. During the summer there is a cafe and shop on the beach and also toilets. Despite its popularity there are no lifeguards on duty here, although swimming is generally considered safe.
Porthpean beach is well-suited for various water-based activities with its calm, clear waters and easy access. Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and snorkeling are all popular here. The beach is also home to Porthpean Sailing Club and a slipway allows easy access to the water. Jet skiing, however, is not allowed on the beach.
The cliffs to the east are used by nesting birds, and there are lots of rock pools to the west. The coastal footpath runs right past Porthpean and it is an easy walk to the Georgian port of Charlestown, just to the east.
Type of beach
Not attended by lifeguards.
Dogs friendly beach?
Seasonal dog ban. No dogs on beach from 1st July to 31st August / 10am to 6pm
Access down to the beach is via the gently sloping slipway. Other facilities are located along the level, concrete promenade backing the beach
OS grid ref.
SX 0328 5071
Toilets and snack bar on the promenade.The beach is home to Porthpean Sailing Club
There is a large, privately owned car park.
Porthpean Beach Video
Porthpean Beach Reviews (19)
Car Park WARNING
Camera car park that gives you very little time to park n pay before issuing fines - run by private company.
You can use the Just Park app, however thats if you’re lucky and can get a signal.
DO NOT ENTER THIS CAR PARK WITHOUT PLENTY OF COINS!
Parking company have been know to fine people who have driven in, not found spaces and left.
Great Local Beach
JaneMay 15th 2021
Spent an enjoyable time at this family friendly beach. Arrived early and saw lots of ‘wild swimmers’ enjoying the early morning sunshine. Children had plenty of fun exploring the rock pools.
Car park at the bottom of the hill and easy walk to the beach down the slipway. Car park reasonable rates and a variety of time zones to select from- making this ideal and good value.
Tony MorrisAug 13th 2020
Really nice beach. Well off the beaten track though and accessible by a very narrow country lane. Small car park, so get there early. With the right weather you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Greece or somewhere similar
Do not go there unless on foot.
Utterly corrupt car par owners will fleece you even if you pay.
MikeNov 26th 2021
Beach is awesome, car park owners not content with making enough money out of tourists and locals alike have recently installed ANPR in the car park to fleece even more people. Car park potholed and not properly marked out surrounded by mud all around the edges which makes parking a nightmare when full!
CookieNov 02nd 2021
Food really good at the shop
Lots of piranhas in early august so be careful
Surf pumps on a straight west wind
PaulAug 11th 2020
Amazing. We enjoyed taking photos with the kids. The beach is perfectly flat so I can get a tan!
Great beach for all family
StuffedPolarBearSep 02nd 2023
Has a decent size car park and you can pay with Just Park app. Beach is very flat and plenty of rock pools for kids to do crabbing in low tide.
Has a seasonal shop/cafe on beach which does great food.
Has a toilet which is a bonus.
CathySep 02nd 2022
Nice little beach a mix of gravel and sand. Lots of rocks to climb over and a shop selling drinks and snacks. Sea looked quite shallow so ideal for paddling.
Sadly the shop has a very ignorant male staff member. When asked what drinks they had he waved at a shelf and said those there. Asked what food was available and he pointed to a board saying “read that.”
Fortunately I’m able to read quite well and English is my first language so all good.
The fries were a good portion and cooked properly for £3.
Ladies toilets are basic with a notice up to wash your hands but no sink or taps in there??? Think it was locked off behind a door?? Flushes not powerful enough to clear waste either.
All in all a nice afternoon in Cornwall from our home in Devon
Corrupt car park
Christina NewnhamAug 13th 2022
Same with the car park sadly. Lovely beach but don’t park here. They charge you from the moment you enter not from the moment you get to the machine and if you leave 30 seconds after you’ll find a fine in your letterbox. This is total corruption and this needs to be sorted out ASAP.
Lovely beach but car park company are bandits. Had gone for an early morning swim, 6.15am
Was conscious of paying promptly because if you don’t pay within 60 seconds of ENTERING the car park you will get a fine, unfortunately in my haste I paid for parking on the wrong car.
Tried to appeal, as I could prove clearly that I had paid to park but without success.
Please be aware of how strict the rules are, especially on how long you have after entering the car park to pay.
Carpark is run by idiots!!!
Get fined even if you purschased ticket
£100 fine! Go elsewhere
Spent 5 hours on a lovely sunny day. The car park wasn’t as bad as the comments, as long as you take coins. Plenty of spaces. It was a steep slope but at least the beach was clean, people were friendly and had a cafe. Really enjoyed the peacefulness
Lovely beach, beware of the parking!
SarOct 05th 2021
We’re from the Midlands but have relatives in Cornwall and have been going to this beach for years. It’s a lovely little beach with a small shop and toilets. However, we were absolutely disgusted to receive a fine (£100 or £60 if you pay straight away) from the privately owned car park there which recorded the time of our vehicle going in and out rather than taking our ticket time into account so please be aware and don’t be late leaving the car park!!
Not the best or worst beach but just ok. Although, I would not say that this is easily accessible for anybody with mobility difficulties, as the slope is steep in parts and the car parking is at the top of the slope. As with anywhere in England, lovely in the sun, rubbish in the British weather…hardly comparable to the Mediterranean or other lovely beaches in the world - ok for a British beach but nothing special. I did not find this beach to be particularly well located and the parking was not easy.
DebsAug 30th 2021
narrow road down 2 car park,£5 all day.couple of minutes walk 2 beach.ideal beach with toilets and cafe.good prices.beach not got lifeguard but safe ,great 4 inflatable and stand up boarding.hire shop if wanted canoe or boards,reasonable price.clean beach
ElaineAug 30th 2021
Safe beach for families with great rock pools and friendly cafe. But privately owned car park run by ruthless company who have issued massive amount of fines this summer.
KevinJul 15th 2022
Car parking comments somewhat unnerving, but a day at £5 is good value. Will agree on the right day, hot and sunny, you feel like you’re abroad.
Awful car park
LeonaMay 03rd 2021
Ok beach, bit grotty. Be aware of parking fines. The operator will slap a ticket on consistently if you are even slightly over the time, so take no chances. The car park is rutted and full of holes, most vehicles were scraping the bottom of the car on the ruts as they drove out. So, better still, visit a nicer beach in the area with a better car park!