North Cornwall

Around Pentire Head lies this big, broad shelf of golden sand, backed by grassy dunes and set alongside a river called the Gannel. It's one of the most spacious of Newquay's beaches, and the swimming is generally excellent – with lifeguard duty throughout summer. Make sure to stay inside the flags, and take extra care to avoid the area where the Gannel empties out into the sea, as the currents can be very strong.

There's a large car park behind the beach, but it fills quickly.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Cornwall attractions

1. Porth Joke

0.64 MILES

Not quite the off-the-radar secret it once was, Porth Joke remains a good spot to escape (most) of the crowds. Known as Polly Joke to locals, its best…

2. Fistral

1.23 MILES

Probably the most famous stretch of sand in Cornwall, and definitely Newquay's best-known beach, Fistral has become synonymous with Cornish surfing thanks…

3. Holywell Bay

1.35 MILES

Two miles southwest of Newquay as the crow flies (but more like 5 miles by road), Holywell is a wonderful expanse of white sand, dotted with tidal pools…

4. Blue Reef Aquarium

1.84 MILES

A small aquarium on Towan beach, with touch pools and various deep-sea denizens, including reef sharks, loggerhead turtles and a giant Pacific octopus…

5. Newquay Zoo

2.45 MILES

Newquay's pint-sized zoo isn't a world-beater, but its population of penguins, lemurs, parrots and snakes will keep the kids happy. The Tropical House and…

6. Lusty Glaze

2.82 MILES

Probably the least hectic of Newquay's beaches, this is a sheltered wedge of sand framed by cliffs. It has a good adventure-sports centre, and also hosts…

7. Porth

3.17 MILES

Porth is a popular family beach 1.5 miles northeast of the town centre. Long and narrow, it's ideal for building sandcastles and sheltering behind the…

8. Perranporth Beach

3.91 MILES

Perranporth's huge, flat, sandy beach is a favourite for everyone: dog-walkers, bucket-and-spade families, kite-buggiers and surfers alike. Its main draw…