Guide to Porthcurno Beach and its magical coastline
With porthcurno beach powdery white sand and a protected amphitheatre setting, you’d be forgiven for camping down on Porthcurno Beach and not leaving. But there’s plenty more to do in this idyllic slice of Cornwall. Located on the far reaches of Cornwall’s dreamy coast, Porthcurno Beach is one of the finest in the UK. With soft white sand underfoot, an amphitheatre of cliffs on both sides and turquoise water lapping at the shore, you could easily spend all day lazing around. But if you are feeling energised by the picture-perfect setting, there’s other great things to do as well.
Attend a theatre carved into the cliffs with the sea stretching out beyond, hike a snippet of the magnificent coastal path, or (most importantly) visit our favourite beach in the UK just a short walk away. Furthermore, in 1870, a submarine telegraph cable was laid from the sandy shores of Porthcurno Beach, linking Europe with India, reducing the time it took to transmit messages from weeks to minutes. Porthcurno became a hub for global communications and today a museum stands proudly behind the beach. It’s strangely fitting that this area now has no phone reception. But there are worse places to go off-grid than Porthcurno, here’s how to see the best of it.
HOW TO GET TO PORTHCURNO BEACH, CORNWALL
Porthcurno beach is at the southern end of the Penwith Peninsula – the western point of Cornwall. It’s a glorious beach but being at the end of small country lanes in a remote part of the country, it can be a little tricky to get to.
Driving is by far the easiest way to get to Porthcurno, however reasonably regular buses run during summer months from Penzance.
PARKING AT PORTHCURNO BEACH
Porthcurno Car Park is a 25-minute drive from Penzance or 45 minutes from St Ives, although in summer holidays – with the roads packed – it can take longer. The car park is large, but if fills up quickly on peak weekends and sunny summer vacation days, so it’s a good idea to arrive early or late in the day.
The parking machines at Porthcurno Car Park only take coins, so bring plenty with you. On our last visit (September 2021) it was £2.20 for up to 2 hours, £4.80 up to 4 hours or £6.60 for up to 24 hours. The car park has toilets and it’s located just a short walk from the beach.
If the car park is full, there is additional parking at Treen Car Park. It’s only a 5-minute drive away, but it will take about 25 minutes to walk along the Coastal Path to Porthcurno beach. Treen Car Park has toilets (20p, coin only) and takes cash and card (£2 for up to 2 hours, £4 all day).
BUS TO PORTHCURNO BEACH
During summer months buses run roughly hourly during daylight hours from Penzance to Porthcurno, continuing on to Land’s End before returning on a circular route. Please keep in mind that the bus schedule has become very erratic over the pandemic period and services are much less frequent in winter. Check times here in advance.
The journey from Penzance to Porthcurno takes 50 minutes. The bus stop is next to the car park which is only a short walk to the beach.