If there was an 'A List' of Cornish beaches then Porthcurno would be on there without question. In terms of raw beauty few beaches anywhere can match it; near white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and an amphitheatre of rugged granite cliffs as a backdrop.
Not only does the sand here look special - it is special. Made up of seashells pounded to smithereens by the sea over millions of years it is quite unique and is partly responsible for the beautiful colour of the sea here.
The high cliffs here provide some shelter from the wind and there is a stream flowing down the side of the beach which is ever popular with the kids. This often forms a big pool which is great for paddling. The beach is lifeguarded during the summer but towards high tide it is steeply shelving plus the waves can be extremely powerful so care should be taken.
At low tide the sand stretches all the way round to neighbouring Pedn Vounder and the scenery is at its best with shallow pools of translucent water and islands of sand forming across the beach. It is an easy walk between the two coves, but make sure you don't get cut off unless you fancy the climb up the cliff "path" from Pedn. When the tide comes in the beach is much reduced in size and things become a little cosier.
It is hard to say which Porthcurno is more famous for, its beach or the Minack Theatre. The vision of one woman who decided to carve a clifftop theatre at the bottom of her garden. Almost as stunning as the neighbouring cove it is well worth the climb up the cliff path to visit the Minack - if only for the view back down over the bay.
Built into the cliff side on the beach near where the path leads up to the Minack is a rather strange little house like structure with a set of steps leading up to it. This is also the work of the Minack creator, Rowena Cade. Apparently it was built as an oversize playhouse for her nephews and nieces. Today the door and window have been filled in though.
Type of beach
Lifeguard service in the summer. 10am-6pm 19 May to 30 September
Dogs friendly beach?
Seasonal dog ban. Easter day to 1st October
OS grid ref.
SW 3873 2226
Large car park above beach.