Explore Cornwall’s stunning Seven Bays

If you’re spending a week at a holiday cottage in Cornwall, head to the north Cornish coast to spend seven days in the Seven Bays. This glorious stretch of coastline has – you guessed it – seven stunning beaches to explore – one for every day of the week. Centred around the pretty village of St Merryn, the family friendly Seven Bays of Trevone, Harlyn, Mother Ivey’s, Booby’s, Constantine, Treyarnon and Porthcothan are all accessible via the South West Coast Path. They offer those famous breathtaking Cornish views as well as sheltered coves, some great places to surf, paddleboard, snorkel and rockpool. If you need some action after a relaxing day at the beach, the famous fishing towns of Padstow and Port Isaac and the surfing mecca of Newquay are a short drive away and home to some of Cornwall’s best restaurants.

Experience the blowhole at Trevone Bay

Just up from Padstow is the first of the seven bays: Trevone. A Blue Flag beauty that offers clear waters and fabulous rock pools, this gently shelving beach is surrounded by cliffs and plenty of hidden alcoves where you can relax in peace on your own private bit of golden sand. Soak up the scenery, ramble about to see what you can discover in the rock pools at low tide (you might even find a natural swimming pool!) or head out to catch some waves from low to mid-tide. Don’t forget to walk along the cliff tops with your camera to see if you can snap the spray from the 80-foot blowhole formed by a collapsed sea cave.

Get out on the water at Harlyn Bay

Half an hour’s walk east from Trevone is Harlyn Bay, a crescent of sand that stretches for nearly a mile. Harlyn is a mecca for water sports, offering calm seas and gentle waves for paddleboarders and those getting to grips with surfing in summer. Come winter, there are heavy Atlantic swells for experienced surfers. Sign up for some lessons with Harlyn Surf School, which also offers coasteering adventures. Landlubbers will love walking the huge expanse of sand (dogs are welcome all year round) and exploring the coast path round to the remains of an iron age cemetery and up to the lighthouse at Trevose Head.

Chill out at Mother Ivey’s Bay

Mother Ivey’s is a little slice of peaceful heaven in what can sometimes be a busy Cornwall. Far from the chockablock beachside car parks and cafes of other more popular Cornish beaches,  this remote and sheltered bay just around from Harlyn is perfect for swimming, making sandcastles and sunbathing. In the winter months, leave the crowds to it, take the dog for a walk and lap up the beautiful coastal views. And the bay’s name? Legend has it that the beach was named after a wise woman and healer who cursed a wealthy local family after they refused to help needy villagers. It’s such an idyllic spot, though, that it’s impossible to imagine dark forces at work nearby!

Explore rock pools and shipwrecks at Booby’s Bay

Just south of Trevose Head and a short walk from Mother Ivey’s is Booby’s Bay, named for the famous Booby seabird that makes its home in this little Cornish gem. Head to this wide, sandy beach for a bit of adventure. It’s the most wonderful place for rock pooling – arm yourself with a bucket and net and go down at low tide when the retreating sea will reveal all sorts of enticing marine treasures. Discover an array of sealife, collect pretty shells and explore the remains of a shipwreck within the sand. Take care clambering about as it can be slippery. Wildlife lovers will thrill at the walk to the bay from the clifftop, where you can spot dolphins, seals and seabirds.

Catch some waves at Constantine Bay

One of Cornwall’s most famous beaches, stunning Constantine Bay has something for everyone: gorgeous sand dunes to roll down, rock pools to explore, wonderful clear waters for swimming and consistent surf. Advanced surfers will love the reef break while improvers will have fun along the beach. The sunsets are off the scale, too – after a day of crabbing, shrimping, swimming, wave-riding or walking, hunker down in one of the sand dunes for a barbecue (bring hot drinks and blankets in the winter months) and watch the sun go down. 

Swim in the tidal pool at Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon is the perfect destination for a lovely family day out. The beach, framed by sand dunes and low cliffs, is home to a wealth of rock pools, teeming with all manner of sea creatures and interesting sea-smoothed pebbles and shells. Discover the secret natural tidal pool hidden in the rocks and jump in for a swim. Warm up on the rocks afterwards or head into the sea to play in the waves. Picnic on the beach or have your refreshments up on the cliffs. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views. 

Channel Poldark vibes at Porthcothan Bay

Porthcothan Bay is usually crowd-free but it’s since become a magnet for fans of BBC series Poldark after starring as Nampara Cove. Rolling waves, golden sands and plenty of rock pools make this a wonderful spot for a family day out and the dramatic surrounding cliffs are ideal for blustery winter walks. At low tide, you can explore around the southern end of the beach and settle down in the secluded cove for some peace and quiet. Just around the corner from Porthcothan is Park Head, where Ross Poldark galloped across the cliff tops with the spectacular Bedruthan Steps in the distance.