The National Trust owned beach of Gunwalloe sits at the base of the Lizard Peninsula. It is a pretty little cove with a good sized stretch of golden sand backed by gently sloping grassy dunes. Perhaps the most notable feature of Gunwalloe beach though, is the little church tucked away at the northern end.
The church is where the beach gets (both) its name. Named after the early Breton missionary, St Winwaloe, it is quite a peculiar little building. Unlike most churches, the squat little bell tower is actually separate from the main church.
Gunwalloe sits outside the shelter of Mounts Bay and is quite exposed to the Atlantic swells. In fact the little church here was originally known as the Church of the Storms.
This means there can be surfable waves here, but it can also make swimming less safe. Fortunately, during the summer months there is a lifeguard service here making this a good family beach. The stream running through the beach, is ideal for paddling too.
There is reputed to be lost Spanish treasure just around the headland at neighbouring Dollar Cove.
Also known as:
Type of beach
RNLI lifeguard cover daily from 7 July - 2 September
Dogs friendly beach?
Seasonal dog ban. 1st July to 31st August / 10am to 6pm
OS grid ref.
SW 6609 2043
The local farm runs a small kiosk serving ice creams, tea, coffee and sandwiches is open throughout the summer months. There are toilets located as short walk from the National Trust car park which are open every day between Easter and the end of October.
There is a large National Trust car park just above the beach.
Gunwalloe Beach Reviews (6)
AnitaMay 22nd 2019
My favourite beach in Cornwall
Dog friendly beach / church cove
I regularly go to Church Cove beach after asking if dogs where allowed on the beach in the NT car park the answer was yes all year round .
We visited last week with the dogs who just sit in the shade after a paddle in the sea ( no issue to anyone ) However if there was a ban on screaming kids , throwing stones on a busy beach unsupervised , people who leave rubbish on the beach , and think its ok to move piles and piles of stones to make a area to sit in or pile high to plonk an umbrella in ( then just leave it there ) which in my mind is far worse than a dog sitting on a beach supervised by a responsible owner , I admit that dog poo is something nobody wants to see , but equally I saw a man taking a pee up the rocks , not ok and a woman holding a child doing a poo in the sand and burying it again not ok especially when there are toilet facilities.
Julia Townsend-RoseOct 31st 2022
I love this beach, the added extra of the church makes it more special and romantic. There does seem to be a lot of confusion as to whether dogs are allowed or not. These dog bans are widely ignored anyway and no one enforces them. But it’s fine as long as the poo is picked up.
Sarah DeanOct 29th 2022
Stunning scenery and a wonderful walk to Poldhu. Easy enough for a reluctant teen, a mum with a dodgy ankle and with a lovely cafe at the end as reward. Definitely be back x
Gorgeous little beach
ShelleyAug 13th 2022
We use the holiday down here every year from 2000 to 2014 then made the decision to move down here managed to get a house in Gunwalloe. We have found the beach to be beautiful in all seasons we swim all seasons and any child friendly our children have grown up down there enough to spend time with the family down there.
On Wednesday I had a lovely day on Church cove beach - due to no dogs (they can go on beach other side of church) so could relax. And there was an RNLI presence.
Today, Friday, sadly it was windy on the “dog friendly” beach and there were a lot of dogs on Church cove beach, despite the supposed dog ban 10 - 6pm. And no RNLI presence.
It is very selfish of dog owners to defy the dog ban.
I left the beach today as cannot relax where there are dogs. It is very selfish of dog owners to not respect the reasons for the dog ban.