Thanks to our unique position on the south west peninsula 80% of Cornwall is surrounded by water, giving us the longest stretch of coastline in the UK at 697km.
In fact, in Cornwall you are never more than 16 miles from the sea, which makes almost everyone in the county a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the water. And with over 300 beaches to choose from, who can blame them!
For centuries fishermen and even the odd pirate have reaped the benefit of the rugged coastline, which today is a haunt for people who surf, scuba dive, sail or just simply lie on the sand and watch the clouds drift by.
For secluded coves and sheltered bays stay here on the south coast. Head to the north coast if you fancy a day stretched out on a large expense of golden sand watching Atlantic waves breaking on the shore with surfers following in their wake. But rest assured - whatever beach you choose it will be blessed with the clear waters and picturesque views that put Cornwall's beaches among the best in the world.
LOCAL BEACHES (approximate distance from St Margarets)
Pentewan Beach (3 miles)
A large sandy beach, excellent for swimming and all water sports - swimming, surfing, windsurfing, sea canoeing, water skiing and sailing. Bathing is safe except in strong easterly winds. Dogs are not allowed from 1st April to 1st November. The beach is on the South West Coast Path and there is the Pentewan Leisure Trail to follow.
Porthpean Beach (3 miles)
Porthpean is known as St Austell’s ‘Town Beach’ and is popular with families because of its safe bathing. Dogs are not allowed. There are toilets and snack bar on the promenade. The beach is home to Porthpean Sailing Club. On the coastal footpath, an easy walk to the Georgian port of Charlestown to the east.
Gorran Haven Beach (9 miles)
The two beaches at Gorran Haven have golden sand and sea amongst the safest in the County, making them ideal for the whole family. The main beach is accessible by all and all facilities are close by, including a large car park (charge applies during the main season), fish & chip shop, general store/bakery and cafes. The harbour is sheltered by a stone quay and there are visitors' moorings for boating enthusiasts.
Vault Beach (9½ miles)
Vault beach is secluded and rarely busy to the east of Dodman Point, access from parking is via a 10 minute walk. It is a curve sweep of sand and shingle that gently slopes into the sea. Dogs allowed.
Hemmick Beach (10 miles)
A fairly isolated & small beach with limited parking reached by narrow country lanes. Its rock pools and sheltered cove are ideal for those who prefer more seclusion.
Portmellon Beach (10 miles)
Portmellon’s beach only appears at low tide. There is limited on road parking. Dogs allowed all year.
Caerhays Beach (Pothluney Cove) (11 miles)
A lovely sheltered beach, with golden sand, beach café and toilets. There is ample car parking directly behind the beach allowing easy level access (charge applies during the main season). The bay is overlooked by Caerhays Castle, a private residence which is open to the public during March, April and May (Monday to Friday) and the gardens are open between February and May.
LOCAL TOWNS & VILLAGES (approximate distance from St.Margarets)
Pentewan (3 miles) - The village has a pub, restaurant, tearoom, gift & general shop and water sports shop which also supplies diving air. The local Post Office is located in the Petrol Station. The village is dominated by the old harbour, built between 1818 and 1826, which has been silted up since the 1940’s. The beach can be accessed across the harbour.
St.Austell (3 miles) - St.Austell is the nearest town to St Margarets where you will find a fair selection of high street and local retailers, including the newly opened White River Place shopping centre, although for shopping Truro has more to offer. The town centre has a brand new 4 screen cinema and a 10-pin bowling centre.
St.Austell is home to the Eden project, already being called the 8th wonder of the world.With its Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes and plenty to see outside aswell.
Mevagissey (5 miles) - Mevagissey is an extremely popular destination for visitors in the summer. There is an inner and outer harbour and there remains a fishing community, as there has been since the fifteenth century or earlier. The local fishermen take holidaymakers out on fishing trips – look out for the boards around the harbour. There is also a water ferry across the bay to Fowey which runs from May to the end of September. The village has a variety of small shops and several pubs and restaurants. There is an Aquarium on the harbourside, a model railway exhibition, a museum (free admission!) and a bowling green. At the end of June the village celebrates Feast Week, this ancient festival celebrating the Feast of St. Peter has become a major event in the Cornish calendar - the harbour is decorated with bright lights and flags, there is a full week of activities and on the final evening there is a carnival and Spectacular Firework Display around the harbour.
Charlestown (4½ miles) - Charlestown is no longer a working port, you are more likely to find a collection of old ships which are used in filming projects all over the world – ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘Frenchman’s Creek’ and ‘ A Respectable Trade’ have all recently used the port as a film location, as has ‘Doctor Who’. Charlestown also has a Shipwreck Rescue & Heritage Centre, Pub, Hotel, Pottery Workshop, Gallery and restaurants.
GARDENS (approximate distance from St Margarets)
The Lost Gardens of Heligan (3 miles)
Created over a 200 year period, this intricate collection of gardens was inspired by the Tremaynes' passion for travel and the garden trends of the Victorian period.
Caerhays Castle Gardens (8 miles)
Situated in a secluded valley overlooking Porthluney Beach, the 100 acre Caerhays Castle Gardens are everything you could wish for in a spring woodland garden.
Eden Project (6 miles)
An unforgettable experience in a breathtaking epic location. The world's largest conservatories, the biggest rainforest in captivity, fascinating events and exhibits and over a million plants make Eden one of the truly 'must-see' places in Britain.
Trebah Garden (26 miles)
Discover Trebah,a beautiful sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop. Explore under canopies bursting with exotic blooms and follow vibrant tunnels of colour down to a private beach on the Helford River.
Trewithen (7 miles)
An historic estate boasting one of the loveliest gardens in England. With its magnificent collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, wonderful woodland walks and a beautiful family home that is open on selected days for guided tours, Threwithen is a rare and unique family gem.