The best secret beach hideaways in Cornwall and Dorset

Dorset and Cornwall are renowned for being home to some of the best beaches in the country, but this generally means that these beaches are jam-packed when there is a spell of good weather.

So if you are staying in holiday cottages in Dorset or in Cornwall and don’t fancy sharing your patch of sand with hundreds and thousands of other sun seekers that often descend on the region’s most well-known beaches, then why not try one of the ‘secret’ beaches that are tucked away in some of these counties’ most beautiful places?

The quiet and secluded beaches in this guide are not only gorgeous stretches of sand, but are also close to some great attractions you could visit on your way there.

Dorset Beaches

Man O’War Cove

Whilst Lulworth Cove looks like a sea of people on a hot day and Durdle Door has a constant stream of people visiting it, just a stone’s throw away is the little-known Man O’War Cove.

Surrounded by spectacular high cliffs, the cove, which is part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, is the perfect secluded beach hideaway for you and your family to visit and is a perfect haven for children to take a dip, but do make sure to check when high tide is.

The cove can be accessed on foot via a long steep path and there are nearby car parks so your vehicle is never far away.

Man O’War Cove is owned by Lulworth Estate and whilst you are in the area you just have to visit another popular Lulworth Estate attraction; Lulworth Castle.

Surrounded by beautiful parkland with views of the Jurassic coast, the former hunting lodge was built in the 17th century and the castle’s tower offers visitors breathtaking views off the Dorset countryside. The castle also boasts pretty grounds that are ideal for a picnic, ancient woodlands for visitors to wander through and a Roman Catholic Chapel to explore.

Mupe Bay

To the east of Lulworth Cove is the shingle beach of Mupe Bay. If you are a keen walker then visiting Mupe Bay could be the ideal day out for you and your family; it can be reached along a 1.6 mile walk from Lulworth Cove car park.

The bay is picturesque and offers visitors an often deserted beach to enjoy that also boasts calm waters most of the year. Another great way to visit the beautiful Mupe Bay is by getting a private charter from Lulworth RIB Rides.

Lulworth RIB Rides private charters mean that you can leave Lulworth Cove and go wherever you wish, including Mupe Bay and other secluded beaches on the Jurassic Coast.

Alternatively, Lulworth RIB Rides offer visitors to the region 15 minute rides to Durdle Door all day every day from Easter to September.

Worbarrow Bay

Just a short one mile walk from Tyneham village is Worbarrow Bay. The quiet beach is now managed by the Ministry of Defence and access is limited, so check the Dorset For You site before you go; you can find details about when the bay and village is open to the public.

Visitors to the bay can take advantage of a number of scenic walks, but there is space to park your car at Tyneham village. Worbarrow Bay has very calm waters and visitors will be in awe of the surrounding chalk cliffs.

Ringstead Bay

If you are vacationing in Shaftesbury holiday cottages then the Dorset coastal resort of Weymouth is within easy driving distance. Close by is the National Trust’s Ringstead Bay, which offers spectacular views of Weymouth and Portland. Follow one of the steep, ancient tracks down to the 700-yard shingle beach, which has uncovered sand when the tide is out. On the western edge there are lots of rock pools to explore and the beach also offers a safe area for swimming. There is a shop and café in the car park just 50 metres away.

Cornwall Beaches

Kynance Cove

When visiting Cornwall, the Lizard peninsula is often high-up on a holidaymaker’s bucket list and if you fancy stopping off at a secluded and peaceful beach during your trip to the region, then there is nowhere quite like Kynance Cove, which is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beach has a nearby car park and a cafe and is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna in the UK. Before visiting the beach make sure that you check the tide times as getting cut off is no fun at all. Dogs are allowed on the beach outside the main season from Easter Day to 1st October.

When visiting Kynance Cove you should also take a trip to famous Lizard sculptor Samvado’s Wood Studio to check out his bronze, stone, metal and wood sculptures. A visit to his studio in Goonhilly, Helston before or after visiting Kynance Cove could see you walk away with one of his jaw-dropping, unique sculptures.

Pedn Vounder

Pedn Vounder beach in Penwith is certainly one of Cornwall’s best beaches, but despite this it is rarely packed.

Crystal-clear waters, a sandy beach and striking cliffs await visitors. The beach is probably not as well-known as some other Cornwall beaches because it can only be accessed via a steep cliff path or by walking from neighbouring Porthcurno beach.

Sun seekers should be wary of the tide as when it is high tide you will not be able to walk back to Porthcurno.

The Minack Theatre overlooks the Pedn Vounder beach and if you are staying nearby you should definitely visit both the beach and the theatre.

The Minack Theatre is open throughout the winter season and performances at the theatre start again in April.

Nanjizal Bay

Nanjizal Bay, also known as Mill Bay, is also in the Penwith region of Cornwall and this out-of-the-way beach is a popular destination for walkers and nature lovers.

The beach is approximately three miles away from the nearest car park, but is easily accessible on foot and if you love nature then the fact that seals commonly call in at Nanjizal Bay will make sure you don’t forget your binoculars.

Staying on the nature theme, just under 40 minutes away from the beach is award-winning wildlife sanctuary Paradise Park in Hayle. The wildlife park is perfect for a family day out and has an indoor play centre, free flying bird shows, penguin photocalls and lots more.

With over 140 species and a total of over 650 birds, plus mini donkeys, pygmy goats, sheep, rabbits and guinea pigs there is a stunning range for visitors to see.

Crackington Haven

If you’re staying at Hideaways’ Cobble Cottage you’ll be a mere two miles from Crackington Haven, another quiet beach known for its Mermaid Pools. The beach is located an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers some great walks and stunning scenery.

The village of Crackington Haven has a pub called Coombe Barton Inn as well as some small gift shops, so visitors can stop off and grab a bite to eat or a souvenir of your trip to this secret beach.

Image credits: Lulworth Estate, Lulworth Estate, Lulworth RIB Rides, Lulworth RIB Rides, Hardo Müller (flickr.com), Ross Huggett (flickr.com), Sarah Delbridge, Rod Allday (commons.wikimedia.org), Minack Theatre, Jim Champion (flickr.com), Paradise Park, Andrew (flickr.com)

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