8 excellent surfing beaches & hotspots for all abilities on Cornwall’s North Coast
Taking in the sea-salt air as you watch the rolling tide offers blissfulness and peace unmatched anywhere else. North Cornwall is home to not only some of the best beaches and surfing spots in Britain, but the world.
So, if you’re heading to North Cornwall (or one of our luxury Cornwall holiday parks) with plans to hang ten, you’re in luck. Grab the surfboard, slip into the wetsuit and ride the waves at one of these incredible beaches and surf spots.
The best surfing beaches & surf spots in North Cornwall
From the famed waves of Fistral beach to the panoramic backdrop of crescent-shaped Harlyn Bay or the challenging tides of Watergate, North Cornwall provides surf spots for all abilities — whether you’re a novice after a fun family day out or want to escape the crowds and catch some serious surf.
Whether this is your first time or you’re a pro, safe surfing starts before you get into the water. Remember to check Magic Seaweed for the latest surf reports and forecasts to help you understand the day’s surfing conditions.
To get started, we’d always recommend booking in with one of many excellent surf schools in the area. They’ll be able to completely kit you out and find a suitable surf lesson for your ability.
Even for complete newbies, surfing can be fun with the right guidance and help early on — and once you’ve learned the ropes, it can be an exhilarating, rewarding experience.
1. Fistral Beach— the home of British surfing
Located in Newquay, Fistral is often described as one of the world's top surfing locations regardless of ability — beginner, intermediate or advanced.
It has hosted some of the biggest surfing competitions, including the Boardmasters Surf Championships, the famous Night Surf, National Championships, to name a few.
With plenty of surf schools like the Fistral Beach Surf School and many places to eat and observe from afar, there's no better place to take on the challenge of surfing.
2. Summerleaze Beach— Bude’s central hub of sand, sea, surfing and sun
A big hit with surfers, the clean, safe and sparkling waters of Summerleaze in Bude are renowned as one of the best beaches in Cornwall for surfing at low and high tide. This sweeping sandy stretch offers an expanse of flat sand, making it a safe choice for families and beginner surfers.
3. Gwithian Towans— a stunning beach with two incredible surf schools & room for everyone
Gwithian Towans boasts consistent waves and forms part of The Towans, three miles of beach — ‘Towan’ being Cornish for ‘dune’. Given its length, even at peak season you’ll find plenty of room and a space to ride some waves, whether you’re a beginner or experienced surfer.
With stunning golden sands backed by huge dunes and views to Godrevy Point and Godrevy lighthouse, it’s not only a top surf spot, but a fine opportunity for any Instagrammers out there.
Gwithian Towns is just a short drive, cycle or hour-long walk from our Parbola Holiday Park.
4. Widemouth Bay— all the facilities you need for a family day out
Also known as Black Rock, Widemouth Bay is one of the best places to surf along the North Cornish Coastline. Only 3 miles south of Bude, Widemouth Bay is full of facilities and activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. And by the family, we mean the whole family, as this beach is dog-friendly.
When it comes to the surf, there are a variety of surfing academies in the area to get you familiar with your board. Surfers of all abilities cruise along the stunning coastline and the tranquil waterways. More experienced surfers will enjoy the surf break at high tide.
5. Harlyn Bay— one of Cornwall’s safest and best family beaches
Three miles from our Padstow Holiday Village, Harlyn Bay is ultimate beach day out with unforgettable scenery. From the rocky shoreline with its golden sand dunes to the tide pools, it's easy to fall in love with the natural beauty of this area.
Harlyn Bay is popular with novice surfers due to its 2–3 mile wide, spacious crescent shape, sheltered by granite cliffs. As stated by the Sunday Times, host to the ‘best surf school on the North Cornish Coast'.
Harlyn Surf School is led by Chris Rea, a leading voice in the industry for safety, governance and high standards. The perfect teacher for anyone of any ability looking for a safe environment to surf along the North Cornwall Coast.
6. Watergate Bay— renowned for its consistent breaks and occasional barrels
Only a 15-minute drive from Newquay, Watergate Bay is stretched over two miles and is a fantastic beach for surfers and activity lovers of all ages and abilities.
Hosting various events, demonstrations, championships and festivals every year, there’s always something to look out for on your Cornwall holidays.
This surf spot offers ideal surfing conditions during most tides, but those mid and high tides will make for some particularly memorable waves. But with an array of bars and restaurants, Watergate Bay and its white sands cater excellently for beginners.
7. Polzeath Beach— a haven for surfers, a superb place to catch a wave
Just north and across the water from our Padstow Holiday Village, Polzeath is a family favourite for digging sandcastles and body boarding, but most importantly for surfing.
With its easily accessible location and consistent long slow breaking waves, Polzeath is ideal for experienced surfers as well as anyone wanting to catch a wave for the first time.
Polzeath also has a quieter little sister beach called New Polzeath to the right of the bay that's perfect for swimming peacefully away from the surfing fanatics. After finishing your surfing fun, stroll into the small seaside resort for a drink and a bite to eat.
8. Mawgan Porth— this Blue Flag beach is a true Cornish gem
Halfway between Newquay and Padstow, just a short 15-minute woodland stroll from our Sun Haven Holiday Park. Mawgan Porth has glistening waters complimented by golden sands featuring plenty of rockpools, caves and a large stream flowing down the south side of the beach.
With ample sand for all beach-goers alike, this lovely seaside village presents the perfect surf spot when the tide is mid to low — as well as grab a bite to eat and drink afterwards.
Stay longer in North Cornwall whilst you catch some waves
Whether you’re surfing with your family, partner, the little ones or it’s just you and your four-legged friends, why not end the perfect day with a perfect staycation at one of our beautiful Cornwall locations?
There’s no better way to enjoy Cornwall than at one of our four perfectly placed parks. Experience luxury lodges and holiday homes, or if sleeping under canvas is more your style we offer camping and touring getaways as well!
Our Padstow location, named after the historic North Cornwall harbour town that’s a short stroll away, is filled with beautiful cuisine and just moments from Polzeath and Harlyn Bay.
Then there’s also Sun Haven, right on the doorstep of Mawgan Porth’s mind-blowing Blue Flag sands, and no time at all from Newquay and its dog-friendly surf hotspots, including Fistral beach. Closer to Land’s End is Parbola, the ideal escape to St. Ives, Hayle and the stunning Godrevy.
You could also head to Penmarlam, where you’ll be greeted with second-to-none panoramic views of Fowey estuary on the south coast of Cornwall, still just a short drive up the road to Wadebridge and Padstow on the north.
Truly in love with North Cornwall? You can even become a holiday home owner — discover more about ownership in Cornwall with us.