Located midway between Looe and Polperro are the secluded twin coves of Talland Bay. This section of the Cornish coast is surprisingly unspoilt and is designated both an Area of Outstanding Beauty and a Heritage Coast. Both towns are within easy walking distance via the South West Coast Path, although at the time of writing the path is diverted away from the coast in the Polperro direction.
The main beach, Talland Sand, is the most westerly of the two and is a popular, well-equipped beach. There is a car park, toilets, shop and the Talland Bay Beach café with tables practically on the beach.
As the name suggests there is a good deal of sand here, albeit a little on the coarse side towards the high tide mark. As the tide drops it reveals a wealth of rock pools which are home to all manner of little sea creatures from hermit crabs to suckerfish. Along with safe swimming this makes Talland Bay an ideal family beach.
The shoreline between the two beaches is rocky and makes for good fishing and snorkelling. These colourful rocks are also of some geological significance. Known as the Meadfoot bedrock strata these slates, siltstones and sandstones dating back to the Devonian period have been eroded at different rates to reveal red, green and brown rocks.
Rotterdam Beach, on the other side of the bay is overlooked by St Tallanus Church and is generally much quieter. There is less sand here and access is a little more difficult (via steps) but there are still the numerous rock pools and safe swimming. This beach is served by the Smugglers Rest café which has a fair sized car park.
Given the bay's relative seclusion tales of smuggling abound. It has also been the site of a fair few shipwrecks including the French steam trawler, 'Marguerite', which hit the rocks here in 1922. All 21 of the boat's crew were rescued and to this day the boiler of the 'Marguerite' can be clearly seen in the middle of the bay at low tide.
Type of beach
Sand and rocks
No lifeguard cover
Dogs friendly beach?
Dogs allowed all year
There is easy access to the beach in the car park close to the beach
OS grid ref.
SX 2242 5152
There are a few parking spaces on the roadside near the sea along with a small, free car park near Smugglers Cottage along with a pay and display car park at The Beach Café. At Rotterdam Beach there is some roadside parking and a customer car park at the Smuggler's Rest.
Talland Bay Reviews (5)
Steve Houghton eJul 26th 2019
Beautiful place , go in smallest car possible, ????
KeithSep 12th 2021
Stunning and beautiful place amazing clear water clean beach
Been to these beaches on many occasions and always kept clean and on occasion the sea deposits seaweed in large amounts but this is taken care of eventually naturally or by the local authorities
Good amenities friendly people and one facility has a superb bbq fri and sat in the summer but book early
One of the hidden gems of Cornwall. News flash to seaweed Steve - in the sea lives something called seaweed, after a storm it washes up on the coastline all around the world. It’s called nature. Go in the winter and you’ll see it everywhere in Cornwall.
Hidden beauty spot
NigelApr 23rd 2022
Beautiful little cove with small sandy beach with rocky structures along its sides. Lots of little rock pools to explore. Lovely views out to sea. We went late in the afternoon/evening so there was only us on the beach. Definitely a hidden jem.
Steven FrowJun 05th 2021
Smelly nasty beach, full of seaweed and flies.
Walked on seaweed fell into a hip of seaweed which resulted in my whole leg ie hamstring bruised from middle calve to hip.