St Merryn

St Merryn's Seven Bays

Courtney Kelly 30 March 2023

Situated on the north coast of Cornwall in between Newquay and Padstow, the famous Seven Bays comprise seven beautiful, sandy beaches surrounding the humble village of St Merryn.

Starting at Porthcothan Bay, you can travel north on the Trevose Head Heritage Coast all the way to Trevone Bay, stopping off at each and every bay. It’s telling of the county’s coastal reputation that you can have some of Cornwall’s best beaches on such a small section of shoreline.

The local slogan ‘seven bays for seven days’ hints at the length of time you should be spending on this superb stretch of coastline. And if you need a cosy cottage to retire to at the end of each day, we have some excellent choices in the nearby village.

Porthcothan Bay

Porthcothan Bay at sunset

This huge, north-west-facing sandy beach with sand dunes backing into it is great for sunbathing and is very popular with families. There are occasional rips with the spring tides so be careful, but it’s great for a paddle. As there are better surfing beaches nearby, you’re unlikely to share the waves with any boards.

The South West Coast Path offer spectacular scenery from above the beach and, down on the sands, when the tide is out far enough, you can walk around to Goldenburn Cove.

Parking: Car park across the road from the beach

Facilities: Toilets and a seasonal shop are close by

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols during the peak summer months

Dogs: Dogs are allowed all year round with no seasonal ban

Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon Bay

A fairly narrow but long sandy bay at low tide, Treyarnon is of interest to the young and old thanks to its surrounding rock pools. It has a natural pool which is big enough to swim in, but it’s only accessible at low tide. It’s a popular bay for surfers and families as it is renowned for its cleanliness.

Treyarnon features Trethias Island on the left-hand side of the bay. It’s separated from the headland by a deep gully which fills with water at mid and high tide. There is an opening that leads into a large cave which you can follow, arriving at an adjacent cove. This is a fun activity but ensure you go with a friend and please watch out for the incoming tide.

Parking: Car park situated right by the beach

Facilities: Toilets and a shop in the beach car park

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols during the peak summer months

Dogs: Dogs are welcome all year round with no seasonal ban

Constantine Bay

Constantine Bay

This sweeping arc of golden sand is emblematic of Cornish beaches: swathes of soft, pale sands, rugged promontories, and plenty of excellent surf. In fact, Constantine Bay has a reputation for being one of the top surfing beaches in Cornwall.

This massive, sandy beach backed by sand dunes has plenty of rock pools for the kids and dogs to explore. The beach shelves quite sharply at high tide so be ready for this, or plan to visit as mid-tide becomes low tide.

Parking: Small car park with limited spaces directly next to the beach; larger seasonal car park just up the road

Facilities: Toilets by the car park, and a shop in Constantine Bay village

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols during the peak summer months and most of the school holidays from Easter to October half term

Dogs: Dogs are welcome all year round with no seasonal ban

Booby's Bay

Booby's Bay

Just around the corner from Constantine Bay, separated by a thin, rocky point is Booby’s Bay. Named after the gannet-like bird and not the … er … other things, this beach has plenty of sand and rock pools to entertain any budding marine biologists.

These shores, although close to Constantine Bay, have a gorgeous remote feel to them. So much so that you may even spot a rogue seal or dolphin. Popular with surfers, this bay offers excellent views and walking opportunities to Dinas Head and Trevose Head.

Parking: No car park; nearest parking at Constantine and Treyarnon

Facilities: Toilets are only accessible from Constantine Bay

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols during the peak summer months

Dogs: Dogs allowed all year round

Mother Ivey's Bay

Mother Ivey's Bay

Head to this secluded beach at low tide and get ready to discover all manner of coves. It’s a bay that’s well protected from the wind by the surrounding rocks, meaning you can get down to sunbathing without worrying about sand on your face. It’s in a sheltered location that is enveloped by picturesque scenery; you may find the odd surfer making his way across the sand but it’s likely to be a quiet day at the beach.

This tranquillity is due largely to its access and lack of amenities. It’s about a 1-mile walk along the South West Coast Path from Harlyn Bay to reach Mother Ivey’s Bay, with parts of the trail becoming naturally steep. If you’re looking for a quiet beach to get away from the crowds yet still wish to remain close enough to civilisation for lunch and toilet usage, this is the perfect beach for you.

Parking: The closest parking is at Harlyn Bay

Facilities: Toilets situated at Harlyn Bay

Safety: No lifeguard service

Dogs: Dogs are allowed all year round

Harlyn Bay

Harlyn Bay

Backed by dunes and sharing its neighbours’ beauty, Harlyn Bay is another top Cornish surf spot. Low tide reveals a wide expanse of sand with a few pebbles for good measure, and there are plenty of rock pools to cater for marine-life enthusiasts.

The bay is well known for being safe for swimming so it’s a great place to bring the family. As previously mentioned, you’ll find a lot of surfers migrating to the beach, but it’s also popular with sea kayakers. If you need to stretch your legs, head towards Mother Ivey’s Bay and continue to Trevose Head where you’ll be rewarded with outstanding views towards Pentire Head and Newquay.

Parking: Two large car parks with access to the beach

Facilities: Toilets in the overflow car park, pub and shop

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols from May until the end of September

Dogs: Dogs allowed all year round

Trevone Bay

Trevone Bay

The last of the Seven Bays (or the first depending on your direction) is Trevone Bay, a cove with a gently shelving beach made up of golden sands. You can get up on the cliffs to the north-east and enjoy walks with views of the Camel Estuary and beyond. While up here, you must go and visit the Trevone Round Hole, a natural blow hole in the cliff that was formed by a collapsing sea cave – don’t get too close though, it’s a 25-metre drop!

Being so close to Harlyn Bay means that Trevone also enjoys good surf. The sloping sand means it’s a good option for paddling and swimming too, especially with little ones, but be aware, there is often a strong rip on the right side of the beach. If rock pools are your thing, head south to find the aptly nicknamed Rocky Beach (Newtrain Bay) where you’ll find a platform of low rocks as well as a tidal pool that the kids will love.

Parking: Two car parks with access to the beach

Facilities: Toilets, shop, cafe/takeaway and a pub just over 1 mile away

Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols from May until the end of September

Dogs: Dogs are banned from mid-May to the end of September between the hours of 10am and 6pm

Self-catering cottages in St Merryn

Now that you’ve discovered the Seven Bays, you’re going to need somewhere to stay for seven days! From properties with enclosed gardens to keep your pooch safe to cottages with outdoor taps to wash off sandy toes, we’ve got it all. Book your St Merryn escape today.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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