Cornwall’s Family-Friendly Beaches 2017 Part 1

Blue Flag beaches are awarded not only for water quality, the award criteria also is concerned with the beaches facilities such as disabled access, life guards on duty and toilets etc. It doesn’t mean that there are no other beaches worth visiting in Cornwall with the family,(far from it, there are lots of tiny coves and sandy escapes)  this is just the tip of the iceberg and we will be featuring some hidden gems in our next Family-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall series.

Here is a snapshot of a small collection of beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status in Cornwall, and overview on what they can offer for families looking for little bit of seaside fun…

Polzeath Beach

Image: Jamsta @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Polzeath is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The beach here is sandy and safe, gently shelving into the sea. At high tide Polzeath beach is very small but at low tide it turns into a fantastic sandy haven for all the family, extending about half a mile in all directions. Not only does Polzeath beach boast fine golden sand but it is also fringed with rock pools and if you are lucky you could well spot the odd dolphin or puffin.

Polzeath itself is a small village located on the headland opposite Padstow. There are lots of shops lining the beach front here for family holiday-makers. Within the village itself you will find a number of restaurants, cafés and pubs.

Polzeath beach is very popular and can get busy during the summer months. It is great for rock pooling, sand castle building and is also a fun beach for learning to surf or body board. It is located in a nature reserve and so home to many interesting wildlife species.

Trevone Bay

Image: Evans1551 @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Trevone Bay is a rural secluded un-spoilt beach located in north Cornwall close to Padstow. This beach has golden sand and little coves and is home to good marine wildlife. Dogs are welcome here except between Easter Sunday and 30th September when the seasonal ban comes into force. The sea is quite strong here making it popular with surfers. Trevone Bay is a popular little beach with families, it has rocky ledges either side of it, home to lots of rock pools. Apparently if it’s rock pools you are after though, you should visit the Rocky Beach (Newtrain Bay) next door as it has both fab rock pools and a big tidal pool too for splashing around in.


Porthtowan is a large west-facing beach fringed with granite cliffs. The beach is sandy, perfect for sand castle building and children will also love exploreing the rockpools for life.

Being a Blue Flag beach means that the amenities here are good. There are also a range of cafes and shops within close proximity including the Blue Boar a fashionable beachside café bar. Blue Boar Facebook Page

Porthtowan (Cornish Porth Tewyn, meaning cove of sand dunes) lies on Cornwall’s Atlantic costa just over a mile west of St Agnes, it is a family-friendly beach and is popular with surfers too.

There is a thriving local community here visit the Porthtowan website need more inspiration? visit the Porthtowan online video

Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay is located just one mile east of St Ives. It is privately owned by the Carbis Bay hotel but open to the public. The hotel provides beach facilities including washrooms, and food and drink outlets.

This wonderful golden sandy beach in Cornwall is about a mile long and the water is generally quite calm, not great for surfers but perfect for families with toddlers! There is a host of wildlife here, with occasional sightings of dolphins and other sea animals like seals and spider crabs.

Dogs are welcome here (except between the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September when the seasonal ban is in place, however dog walks are allowed between 5 and 8 am).

Image by Lantographer under the creative commons license

Gyllynvase Beach (Falmouth)

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall is Gyllyngvase Beach (AKA Gylly) with its  wide golden arc and beautiful blue sea it is easy to see why.

Gyllynvase Beach is a south-acing family resort beach with something for everyone, from water based activities to sand castle building. The award-winning, Gylly Beach Café is built over the beach with lovely views, and prides itself with using local produce wherever possible and offers a fresh contemporary menu (shellfish, fish, tapas, salads etc). There are lots of amenities here, along with a beach café selling ice cream and beach goodies next to Gylly Beach Café throughout the summer months. Gylly beach is located to the south of Falmouth town centre which is a 15 minute walk away. There are also Green Flag Award winning gardens making the area well recognised for its environmental quality.

Image: Tony Atkin under the creative commons license

Coming next: Hidden Family -Friendly Coves in Cornwall

Toddle to… The Top Half of Cornwall

Since our toddler was born we have travelled to a few places from France to New Zealand but never really explored our own country other than West Sussex. although I have fond memories of my childhood holidays to Cornwall, my husband is more worldly travelled than I and was a little sceptical about the UK providing a holiday to inspire but inspire Cornwall did!

It can be fun even if it’s not sunny!

We concentrated on the top half of Cornwall which offers a wonderful array of toddler-friendly beaches, parks and family attractions to suit all tastes and budgets. All do-able from where ever you stay in the north of this lovely county. When we travelled to Cornwall Freddie was 2 yrs 8 months at the time and would recommend it for all ages. We can’t wait to go back.

Our pick to Toddle to…

 1.    Beaches galore…

Depending where you are staying you will find wonderful family friendly beaches and rock pools to play on/in from Rock and Padstow on the north coast to Whitsand Bay and Looe on the South East coast

 2.   Lovely seaside towns

      Dotted along the coast-line where you can grab a pasty or ice cream (depending on the weather) and enjoy the fantastic views. Try Padstow and take a walk along the beach cliff alternatively park in Rock and take the small boat across to Padstow or explore other seaside towns and enjoy a bit of history.

 3.    Bodmin Moor…

Explore the Moor and it’s stunning views with streams, rocky outcrops, wild ponies and lots of safe space to enjoy.

 4.    Carnglaze Caves

These caves are a fun way to explore underground and have their own lake, the acoustics are great for little voices! There is also a woodland walk dotted with fairies and elves, far too many to count but a great challenge for children! Beware the woodland walk is steep and winding so not for faint hearted parents with little ones and definitely not pushchair friendly. Our two year old loved it but you have been warned!!

 5.    Lappa Valley Railway.


Three different train rides to hop on and off in an old mine site with play areas, boating, picnic space,

cafe etc. Great day out especially for little ones obsessed with steam trains like our chap.

 6.    Old Macdonalds Farm

A small family run farm park. Young children especially will enjoy the freedom of a visit to Old MacDonalds Farm. Pony rides, miniature train ride, play areas and farm animals. Cafe.

 7.    Crealy Adventure Park

Whatever the weather at Cornwall’s largest theme park, the fun never stops with hours of awesome indoor play. Lose yourself in the Dragon’s Lair with mini mazes, aerial walkways and breathtaking drop slides, creep through the shadows in the haunted house and especially for young explorers, you’ve your own special playhouse. Farm Animals.

 8.    Blue Reef Aquarium

Take the ultimate undersea safari at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. Enjoy close encounters with everything from tropical sharks to enchanting seahorses!

 9.    Springfields Fun Park & Pony Centre       

An action packed day with acres of space to run and play. Pony rides.

 10. Dairyland Farm World

A great hands on experience to stroke, feed, cuddle and ride some of DairyLand’s friendly farm animals. Hours of fun inside and out.

 11. Newquay Waterworld Tropical Fun Pool

where you can have loads of fun shooting the water cannon, wrestling with a crocodile, riding the flumes & kiddies slides, but beware of the spitting snakes or water tipper which may catch you unawares. 25m Swimming Pool: where you can practice your swimming & diving skills. Splash on down today!

 12. Oasis Fun Pool 

Featuring the fast and furious high speed aqua whiz flume, the exciting wet & wild 265ft super flume, and the suitable for all gentle fun slide! A river rapid ride to take your breath away, and geyser for a real soaking, then get drenched under the giant tap, fountains and waterfalls too!

 13. The Monkey Sanctuary         

The Monkey Sanctuary Cornwall

Set in beautiful woodland overlooking the picturesque Cornish Coast, we

 have been offering a safe home to monkeys in need since 1964. Much more than just monkeys, it’s a great day out for the whole family, and you can rest

assured that all income goes to support out charitable work.

For a selection of child-friendly holiday properties in North Cornwall visit Holiday Tots where you will find individual holiday cottages, farm-stays and luxury Eco lodges – perfect bases to explore from… or the official Tourist Board for Cornwall website where you will find details of what’s on as well as some lovely holiday accommodation