Porthcothan Bay

Where are we

Porthcothan is a beautiful bay nestled between Padstow and Newquay on the North coast of Cornwall.  It sits main the main coast road (B3276) and has easy access to the A30 and A39.

The Beach

Porthcothan Beach is the hidden gem of the Seven Bays.  It is made up of a long narrow beach and at low tide the beach extends out to offer access to secret beaches, coves, rock pools, lagoons and caves.

We are very lucky that Porthcothan is protected by the National Trust. This has allowed the beach and its local surroundings to stay relatively unchanged and not bombarded with development.

The bay is sheltered making it one of the safer beaches in the area and is therefore a real hot spot for both local families and tourists.

Beach Safety & Lifeguards

RNLI Lifeguards Patrol Porthcothan Beach from the 14th May 2022 to 25th September 2022.  Times vary throughout the season but for the main summer school holidays Lifeguards will be present from 10am to 6pm.

The RNLI have set out a set of safety tips to keep beach goers safe at all times:

  • Always swim at a lifeguarded beach
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags
  • Never swim alone
  • Know your beach safety flags
  • Never use inflatables in strong winds or rough seas
  • If you get into trouble, stick your hand in the air and shout for help
  • If you see someone else in trouble, tell a lifeguard. If you can’t see a lifeguard call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard
  • Find out about the beach you’re going to before you visit
  • Check tide times before you go
  • Read and obey local hazard signs

More info regarding Porthcothan Beach and safety can be found on the RNLI website by following this link: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches/porthcothan-beach

General Beach Safety

Find more info regarding current tide times below.

Open fires are prohibited on Porthcothan beach but BBQ’s are welcomed, please just stay clear of the Sand Dune area as this is protected land and the vegetation is highly flammable. If you are BBQing please be sure to dispose of your BBQ’s safely, not placing hot coals in or new the plastic rubbish bins.

Porthcothan Tides:

Daily Tide Times can be checked on the BBC website by following the link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/tide_tables/10/545#tide-details

Tide Timetable books can also be purchased in store.


Toilets – Toilets are located in the car park.  These are maintained by the local Parish and therefore a charge of 20p is in place to help with the upkeep of the toilets.  A 20p toilet is better than no toilet!

Phone Box – Mobile phone signal is quite limited in the area (which we think is a bonus!)  but if you do need to make a call there is a red phone box just up the sandy track from the shop.

Post Box – There is a post box just outside the shop so you can buy your postcards and stamps and get them straight in the post.

Bus Stop – Porthcothan is a great start or finish point if you are walking the Coastal Path. The local bus which travels between Padstow and Newquay conveniently stops just a stone’s throw away from the shop.

Pub – The Tredrea Pub is just a short walk from the beach and boosts amazing views of Porthcothan from its outside terrace area.  Here you will find a good selection of beers, ales and wine and food is available daily with roast dinner served on Sundays.


There is a car park just across the road from the shop which is run by Cornwall Council.  Parking from 1st November to 31st March is Free. From the 1st April to the 31st October the parking tariffs are as follows:

  • Up to 1 hour = £1.20
  • 1 – 2 hours = £3.10
  • 2 – 3 hours = £4.40
  • 3 – 4 hours = £5.50
  • 24 hours = £7.20

The parking machines only accept change, no notes or card payments.  The parking machines accept all coins from 10p to £1.00 coin, make sure you arrive with a good stash of change in the car!


Dogs are welcomed on Porthcothan beach all year round but please please please remember to pick up your dog poo!  Emergency bags are available on the side of the shop in case you have forgotten to bring a bag but please do not take advantage of these as they will run out.  

We know there are lots of fairies in Cornwall but there is no such thing as the dog poo fairy!


Porthcothan Bay is perfectly situated for many walking adventures, from coastal walks to valley rambles, there is something to suit all walking abilities.  The stretch of coastal path from here to Bedruthan Steps is some of the most beautiful you will find and you might even spot Captain Poldark along the way!

Local highlights that can be accessed from Porthcothan:

  • Gun Point: featuring on maps dating from 1801, here you will find the remains of fortifications thought to date back to the time of the Spanish Armada.
  • Orchids and reed buntings in the marshes of Harbour Cove.
  • Views from Stepper Point with its navigation station. Much of this area is farmed under the Countryside Stewardship scheme, which means that the land is farmed in an environmentally sensitive way, banishing chemical fertilisers and encouraging wildlife and flowers.
  • Nesting birds on limestone layers of Marble Cliffs, Porthmissen.
  • Round Hole near Trevone: a collapsed sea cave.
  • Harlyn: an Iron Age cemetery was discovered buried beneath the Harlyn Inn. It contained over 100 coffins with human remains and bronze and iron ornaments. These are now in the museum in Truro. Keep a look out for seals around Harlyn Bay.
  • The Old Fish Cellars above Harlyn Bay which were once used for processing pilchards. Carved into the lintel are the ironic words “Lucri Dulcis Odor” or “Profit Smells Sweet”. No doubt the smells were far from sweet when the building was a working fish cellar and the profit itself far from sweet due to the 16th-century Curse of Mother Ivey!
  • Padstow’s Lifeboat Station in Mother Ivey’s Bay, open to visitors Mon-Fri 10.00-16.00 (including weekends during the summer).
  • Trevose Head Lighthouse opened in 1847, and is available for holiday hire.
  • Enjoying the wonderful names, such as Big Guns Cove, Cat’s Cove and Stinking Cove.
  • Watching the surfers and having a picnic at Constantine Bay: a beautiful beach of golden sands backed by dunes.
  • The marine life of Treyarnon Bay exposed at low tide.
  • Resting on the beach in Porthcothan Bay.


If you are Poldark Fan then why not visit Porthcothan and step foot on set of one of the stunning filming locations.  If you plan your visits well you might even catch a glimpse of Captain Poldark himself.


Accommodation and Campsites

If you are looking to stay in Porthcothan there is a good variety of both holiday homes and campsites to suit all requirements and all within walking distance from the shop.   You an find out more info about the local holiday homes and campsites on the ‘Accommodation’ page.


Farmers Arms – 2.1 miles – 6 minute drive

The Farmers Arms is located in the heart of St Merryn.  This pub and restaurant offer a wide menu made up of locally sourced food.  The pub has a lively atmosphere with live music on most weekends. If you are looking for a place to stay they also offer bed and breakfast.  There is a large free car park at the rear of the pub.

Contact Details:

Harlyn Rd St Merryn, Nr Padstow PL28 8NP

Tel: 01841 520303

Mob: 0776 543 6623

Cornish Arms – 2.5 miles – 7 minute drive

Owned by Rick Stein, the Cornish Arms in St Merryn offers a simple British pub menu with dishes such as real beef burgers, mussels and chips and scampi in a basket.  Hide from the cold by the cosy log fires or enjoy the sun in the large outside dining area. Free parking available on site.

Contact Details:

Churchtown, St Merryn, Padstow, PL28 8ND

Tel: 01841 532 700

Merrymoor Inn – 3.6 miles – 8 minute drive

The Merrymoor Inn is based in Mawgan Porth, the next bay along from Porthcothan.  They have great offers on food; Friday Curry Nights, Saturday Steak Nights and Sunday Roasts.  They also offer accommodation with great views of the beach.

Contact Details:

Mawgan Porth, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4BA

Tel: 01637 860258

Travellers Rest – 4.3 miles – 9 minute drive

The Travellers Rest is nestled between the villages of Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay.  Their menu is regularly changing to suit the available local produce and they offer a great variety of beers, ales, wines, spirits and coffees.

Contact Details:

Trevarrian, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4AQ

Tel: 01637 861 633

Retorrick Mill – 4.8 miles – 12 minute drive

Retorrick mill is a real hidden gem, set inland from Mawgan Porth.  In the quirky barn you can enjoy tasty, rustic food cooked in open fires, spit roasts and smoker barrels.  You can enjoy regular live music nights and they even have their own festival. If you are looking for somewhere to stay they have a unique collection of self catered accommodation including a holiday cottage, chalets, caravans and camping fields.

Contact Details:

The Granary, Retorrick Mill, St Mawgan, Cornwall, TR8 4BH

Tel: 01637 860 460

Falcon Inn – 6.3 miles – 15 minute drive

The Falcon Inn is nestled in the picturesque village of St Mawgan, just inland from Mawgan Porth.  This is a proper village pub that offers good, honest, hearty meals. They have a wide menu served daily and the pub has a great atmosphere.  You can also enjoy in the sun in their large beer garden.

Contact Details:

St Mawgan, Nr Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4EP

Tel: 01637 860 225


  • Tesco Padstow – 4.9 miles – 12 minute drive
  • Aldi Newquay – 8.7 miles – 21 minute drive
  • Morrisons Newquay – 9.3 miles – 23 minute drive
  • Tesco Wadebridge – 9.4 miles – 22 minute drive
  • Lidl Newquay – 9.4 miles – 23 minute drive
  • Sainsburys Newquay – 9.9 miles – 29 minute drive

Local Attractions

Waves Surf School – Operate from Porthcothan Beach (waves dependent)

Waves Surf School offer lessons to all abilities, from beginner to advanced competition techniques.  With a selection of private and group lessons there is something for everyone.

Contact Details:

Tel: 01841 521 230

Mob: 07792 5764 749

Macdonalds Farm – 0.5 miles – 2 minute drive

Macdonalds Farm is the perfect place to bring younger children.  With cafe, animals, play park, bar and more there is something for everyone.  If you are looking for somewhere to stay they offer a B&B, camping and glamping.  They also offer great pizzas and entertainment during peak weeks, there really something for everyone.

Contact Details:

Porthcothan Bay, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8LT

Tel: 01841 540 829

St Eval Kart Circuit – 2.7 miles – 6 minute drive

St Eval Kart Circuit is the largest family circuit in the UK.  They have a great selection of karts which are suitable for the whole family and full safety equipment is provided for all riders.  Come rain or shine the circuit is always open.

Contact Details:

St Eval, Cornwall, PL27 7UN

Tel: 01637 860 160

Harlyn Surf School – 3.3 miles – 9 minute drive

Harlyn Surf School offer surf, coasteer, kayak and stand up paddleboard sessions.  They offer a selection of both group and private lessons for all levels.

Contact Details:

Harlyn Beach, Cornwall, PL28 8SB

Tel: 01841 533 076

King Surf – 3.6 miles – 8 minute drive

King Surf are based at Mawgan Porth beach and offer fun, professional and safe surfing lessons for all abilities.  They have a good selection of private lessons, group lessons and surf camps throughout the year.

Contact Details:

Mawgan Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, TR84BA

Tel: 01637 860 091

Pitch and Putt – 3.6 miles – 8 minute drive

In the centre of Mawgan Porth, is a pitch and putt and crazy golf course suitable for all the family. Clubs and balls can be hired from the hut which is also home to a mini gift shop. The crazy course is built on an iron-age settlement and so id small and quirky to preserve the natural landscape. The pitch and putt course on the adjacent hillside would provide a more challenging course if you feel so inclined.

Contact Details:

Mawgan Porth, Newquay TR8 4BB

Tel: 01637 860 938

Trevibann Mill Vineyard – 4.5 miles – 10 minute drive

Trevibann Mill Vineyard is a working vineyard known for its stunning collection of Cornish Wines as well as cider and locally sourced food.  Here you can relax surrounded by its beautifully kept 11,000 vines and 1700 apple trees.

Contact Details:

Dark Lane, Nr Padstow, Wadebridge PL27 7SE

Tel: 01841 541 413

Padstow – 5 miles – 16 minute drive

Padstow is a beautiful harbour town which is a must see for anyone visiting the area.  It has a great variety of pubs and restaurants a that any food lover will want to try such as Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Paul Ainsworths No.6.  There is a good selection of parking both in town and just outside town with a Park and Ride service operating. You will find a huge selection of accommodation available from hotels, B and B’s to self catered picturesque cottages.

Contact Details:

Padstow Tourist Office, The Red Brick Building, North Quay, Padstow PL28 8AF

Tel: 01841 533 449

Padstow Sealife Safari – 5.2 miles – 16 minute drive

The Padstow Sealife Safari offer amazing opportunity to see the stunning rugged Cornish coastline.  There will be opportunities to see dolphins, seals, porpoises, basking sharks and more. Their trips are suitable for all ages and life jackets are provided.

Contact Details:

North Quay, Padstow Harbour, North Cornwall PL28 8AF

Tel: 07754 822 404

Padstow National Lobster Hatchery – 5.2 miles – 16 minute drive

The National Lobster Hatchery is a great conservation and research and charity centre.  They take European Lobsters through vulnerable stages in captivity before releasing back into the wild.  It is a great chance for all the family to look at these amazing creatures close up as well as huge crabs and other crustaceans.

Contact Details:

South Quay, Padstow, Cornwall PL28 8BL

Tel: 01841 533 877

Camel Trail – 5.2 miles – 16 minute drive

The Camel Trail offers a great day out for all the family.  The old disused railway line offers a nice mellow ride which can be enjoyed at your own pass.  You can even stop at ACE The Atlantic Coast Express Buffet Cart for a bite to eat and a drink along the way.  There are bike hire shops in both Padstow and Wadebridge so you can start your ride at either location.

Contact Details:

Padstow Cycle Hire – South Quay, Padstow, PL28 8BL

Tel: 01841 533 533

Camel Trail Cycle Hire – Eddystone Road, Wadebridge  PL27 7AL

Tel: 01208 814104

Camel Valley Vineyard – 16.6 miles – 34 minute drive

The Camel Valley Vineyard is a well renowned Vineyard overlooking the Camel Trail.  It boasts a beautiful sundrenched terrace where you can sample some of their award winning wines.   If you want to find out more about the winery process they also offer great tours of the vineyard.

Contact Details:

Nanstallon, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 5LG

Tel: 01208 77959