When the sun is shining, there really is no place like Cornwall. With tranquil turquoise bays, stunning sandy shores, and a bounty of boutique hotels, it’s no wonder the popular beaches, narrow lanes and top restaurants get busy over the summer months.
But avoiding the Cornwall crowds isn’t impossible. In fact, with our list below, you’ll soon discover some of the best Cornwall hidden gems.
Most of Cornwall’s hidden gems remain out of the tourist guide books because of their inaccessibility, steep cliff paths and strong currents. Even though these beaches, coves and walks are the perfect getaway escapes from the crowds, it’s important to know your own and your group's limits and turn back if the path becomes too steep or unsafe. Remember, with Cornwall hidden gems, the way you go down is usually the way you have to come up.
Many of these beaches disappear with the rising tide, and all are un-lifeguarded.
When exploring Cornwall's hidden gems, always keep your eye on your exit and keep safe.
Portheras Cove, TR19 7TU
This West Cornwall hidden gem, located between Morvah and Pendeen, is only easy to find if you know where it is, a slice of irony no one likes to hear when tempted by a beach as beautiful as this. However, that’s what makes it such a special Cornwall hidden gem!
Once you find the beach, and with enough determination and maybe a spot of Google mapping you definitely will. Its scenic stretch of sandy shore may soon become your happy place.
Access to the beach was renewed in 2004 after a shipwreck in 1963 left razor-sharp fragments of metal buried in the sand. But don’t let that put you off, the wreck has since been cleared, and now the beach is enjoyed by many locals.
Cast your eyes across the nearby waves and you may spot a seal bobbing in the water.
Lantic Bay, PL23 1NP
Without a doubt, Lantic Bay is one of the most wonderful beaches in Cornwall and certainly a hidden gem worhtly of a mention.
Nestled between Fowey and Polperro, it’s on Cornwall’s prime Southern coastline. So why isn’t it packed with beachgoers, dog walkers and sandcastle empires?
Maybe it’s because the nearest car park is over a mile away? But for those who are willing, a mile trek isn’t too bad. So perhaps it’s the 20 minute steep cliff descent that puts many people off setting foot on the sands below.
If you take the trek to this Cornwall hidden gem, the only other people you’ll find enjoying the peaceful bay are others who have endeavoured down the cliff path and anyone who has arrived by boat.
Enjoy exploring Lantic Bay’s secluded coves at low tide but be careful not to get cut off. The tide can rise faster than expected.
Goldiggins Quarry, Bodmin Moors
As its name suggests, Goldiggins isn’t a beach, bay or cove but rather a manmade quarry. This Cornwall hidden gem remains an escape due to its inaccessibility by car. Anyone who wants a dip in Goldiggins fresh waters will have to embark on a 20 minute hike across the moors for the pleasure. This isn’t really a setback though as the walk is stunning and part of Goldiggins’ charm.
The quarry doesn’t reveal itself until you're practically upon it. It’s hidden from view by a border of rocks, which provide natural diving platforms into the water. If diving from a height into the unknown doesn’t take your fancy, you can walk down the grass-clad rocks into the water.
Without tidal changes or currents, Goldiggins is the perfect hidden gem for a swim, paddle or dip.
Porth Joke (Polly Joke), TR8 5SE
Despite being only 5 miles from the bustling town of Newquay, Porth Joke’s unspoilt sandy shores are an oasis of calm all year round.
This deep stretch of golden sand backs onto a shallow valley with a stream running through. If you visit during low tide, you’ll find plenty of rock pools, caves and nooks to explore. Again, like any one of these Cornwall hidden gems, be mindful of the returning waves.
The only nearby car park is a fair walk away, and even then, the spaces are limited. But that’s what makes this beach so peaceful.
Bosahan Cove, TR12 6JL
This secluded cove appears to have been placed in Cornwall from an ancient, mythical tale.
Backed by woodland, Bosahan Cove can only be accessed via the coast path or by boat. Another less strenuous way of getting to the cove is through the Bosahan Estate, which boasts sub-tropical gardens. Despite the admission charge, this Cornwall hidden gem is well worth a visit.
On a sunny day, relax on the shore and watch the yachts bob past or simply bask on the shingle and sand and soak in the fresh Cornwall air. Feel utterly relaxed, inspired and at one with your surroundings at Bosahan Cove.
Nanjizal Beach, TR19 7AA
When visiting Nanjizal Beach, the only other people you’re likely to bump into are coastal path trekkers, local dog walkers or intrepid explorers like yourself.
If you’re looking for a sunbathing beach, this Cornwall hidden gem not be the spot for you, as most of the sand was washed away after a storm 20 years ago. Even though the sand is slowly coming back, the beach is mainly boulder-strewn, with some sand presenting itself at low tide. The beach’s unusually clear water is what makes it one of Cornwall’s hidden gems.
If taking in the spectacular view or paddling in the crystal water doesn’t satisfy your passion for adventure, then this beach is strewn with an abundance of caves and rock formations to explore.
Not all that’s great is hidden…
You’ve spent the day discovering Cornwall’s hidden gems, and now you’re looking for a not so hidden place to rest your head. A stay at Driftwood has everything you love about those Cornwall hidden gems, all without the strenuous treks and mile-long walks.
Our beautifully calm boutique hotel, situated in the heart of the Roseland Peninsula, overlooks the turquoise waters of Gerrans Bay and gives you the chance to soak up more of Cornwall’s medicinal vitamin sea. We even have our own hidden beach... perfection.
After a calm night’s sleep, you’ll be ready to embark on another adventure. Who knows what Cornwall hidden gems you’ll discover!