A day on the north coast: Exploring Cornwall’s iconic Seven Bays
Family friendly beaches, stunning views and Cornish cafés nearby
A holiday to Cornwall isn’t complete without exploring the county’s iconic Seven Bays, from the soft golden sands of Trevone to the inviting blue waters at Porthcothan. Enjoy sweeping views of coast and country as the South West Coast Path leads you across vast sandy beaches, past ancient shipwrecks and towards some of the best surf in the county. Stretching almost seven miles along Cornwall’s beautiful north coast, embark on an all-day adventure or discover a new bay for every day, with our local knowledge providing some inspiration before you set off.
A popular spot for surfers owing to its clean waves and gently sloping sand, Trevone Bay is the furthest north of the Seven Bays, sitting two miles west of Padstow. A Site of Special Scientific Interest, the expansive sandy beach is surrounded by striking cliffs and interesting rock pools, with plenty of inlets and caves for children to explore.
Park in Trevone beach car park and following the South West Coast Path down the headland, stop to admire The Round Hole – Cornwall’s largest natural blowhole – before continuing down to Trevone Beach Café for a coffee by the sea to fuel your walk. Showcasing a fantastic Cornish menu, from freshly caught fish to traditional pasties, this dog-friendly beachside café is popular with locals and visitors alike.
Half an hour’s walk east from Trevone is Harlyn Bay, one of Cornwall’s best family friendly beaches. The crescent shaped sand and pebble beach is a great place to try your hand at a new watersport with the brilliant local surf school. Pop up the road to Rick Stein’s pub The Cornish Arms for a simple British lunch served alongside the finest ales and wines from local breweries, or settle into one of the beach’s many alcoves to enjoy your favourite beachy read.
With the sand on your skin and the salt on your lips, retreat to The Hideaways – three beautiful timber-clad holiday homes just moments from the beach. Perfectly placed for exploring the Seven Bays, Lizard, Wolf Rock and Longships each sleep six guests in relaxed coastal luxury, enjoying pretty gardens, terraces and beautiful beachy interiors.
Mother Ivey’s Bay
Taking its name from a local wise woman, Mother Ivey’s Bay is tucked away and sheltered from the wind by the striking Merope Rocks – making it a quiet spot to rest a while on a quiet afternoon. A firm favourite with families, the locally named Polventon Beach is dog-friendly all year round, and is just as suited to summer sandcastles as it is for romantic walks along the shallows.
While there are few facilities at Mother Ivey’s, the beach is accessible from the coast path – ideal for taking in the incredible coastal views as you walk down. Look out for the state-of-the-art Padstow Lifeboat Station just past the tiny ‘Long Cove’ towards Trevose head, or pack a picnic to enjoy overlooking the magical blue-green water.
Dog-friendly year round and with ancient shipwrecks visible in the sand at low tide, Booby’s Bay is a small cove with a dramatic rocky backdrop and plenty of pools for exploring.
While the beach disappears at high tide, walking to the bay from the clifftop will be relished by birdwatchers – faced with the opportunity to spot a whole host of magnificent local wildlife, including the infamous seabird after which the beach is named. Alternatively, wait for the tides to change and explore the wide expanse of the beach as it joins Constantine Bay – creating a long sandy stretch that’s ideal for young children to let off some steam.
Constantine Bay is a picturesque west-facing beach featuring beautiful pale sands, a myriad of marine wildlife and some of the best surfing conditions Cornwall has to offer. A great spot for both swimmers and thrill seekers, the beach itself is bordered by a large rocky reef to the south and is backed by an impressive network of dunes.
The beach can be accessed on foot in under ten minutes from Treyarnon Bay – the next beach over – while the village’s local surf shop, Constantine Bay Stores, stocks everything from daily groceries to fine wines and locally made gifts – a must visit for any traditional bucket and spade holiday.
Clean, sandy and surrounded by low cliffs, Treyarnon Bay is a popular beach in the summer months, with car parking, toilets and a beach shop all located close by. With rock pools teaming with small fish and a natural swimming pool formed within the rocks at the north end of the beach, Treyarnon is a playground for children.
Dogs are welcome all year round and sand chairs are available for visitors with limited mobility. Venture to the headland to admire the beauty of Trethias Island as the waves crash against the rock – completely separated from the mainland by a steep gulley. After an afternoon on the sand, enjoy refreshments by the sea at Treyarnon’s Coastal Café – a timber clad take-away serving fresh food and drink with a spectacular beach backdrop.
Showcasing magnificent views across both the north and south from the coast path, Porthcothan Bay is the southernmost of the Seven Bays. Backed by grassy dunes, the pretty beach is a family favourite with plenty of swimming and board sports opportunities in the sheltered waters.
Dog-friendly every day of the year and just a short walk along the cliffs to the picture-perfect Bedruthan Steps, Porthcothan Bay has become an iconic Cornish location after appearing in the ever-popular Poldark television series, where it featured as the on-screen locations Nampara and Hendrawna Beach.
Whether you’ve got big plans to walk the Seven Bays from top to bottom or you’re simply looking to uncover a little more of Cornwall each day, a stay at The Hideaways in Harlyn Bay will make your holiday all the more special. Each sleeping six guests or up to 18 for sociable seaside breaks, Lizard, Wolf Rock and Longships are located just moments from the beach.