13 + best things to do in Perranporth, Cornwall

by Jan

Perranporth is a vibrant seaside resort in Cornwall, with one of the most gorgeous beaches in England.  And although the beach is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Perranporth, this popular coastal town has plenty more to offer its visitors.

Whether you’re there for a day or a week, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Perranporth, including surfing, hiking, golf, and riding.  It even has its own beach festival.

Perranporth has a breathtaking coastline with rugged cliffs, diverse wildlife, and remains of a rich tin mining heritage.  The South West Coast Path crosses through Perranporth, making it a great destination for walkers and nature lovers too.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Perranporth and why it’s the perfect location for a Cornish getaway.

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Spend a day on the beach

Perranporth Beach, Cornwall, UK

Without doubt, one of the absolute best things to do at Perranporth is a day on the beach, Perran Sands.

With three miles of golden sand, Perran Sands is a glorious beach which is perfect for families, walkers, and surfers.  The beach at Perranporth has everything you could need and is close to the town too.  In fact, it is so good that the Times awarded it the prestigious Sunday Times title of “best beach in the southwest of England 2022“.

In the summer, Perranporth Beach has RNLI lifeguards for swimmers.  It is extremely dog-friendly, and you’ll probably spot some horses too.

And don’t just save Perranporth Beach for a sunny day.  Even after a grey, rainy day in October the reflections on the wet Perran Sands looked spectacular.

natural archway on Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

At the south end of Perran Beach are a series of natural caves and archways.  You’ll find stacks eroded by the sea and passageways leading to the former mines.  It’s great for explorers, but children should not go alone as there’s always the risk of falling rocks.

Climb Chapel Rock

View of Chapel rock, Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

One of the most famous attractions in Perranporth is the iconic Chapel Rock, which sits in the middle of the beach.  It is fifty feet high and easy to climb but becomes an island twice a day at high tide.

Flying on the top of Chapel Rock is St Piran’s Flag.  St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and converted the locals to Christianity.  It’s believed he built his first small chapel here in the 6th century, but you can’t see it today.

Visit St Piran's Oratory

As his congregation grew, St Piran built a church in the sand dunes.  This ancient church was engulfed by sand in the 10th Century but has since been excavated many times.  Close to the site of the oratory is a medieval cross and the more modern Piran’s Church.

To get to the oratory, take the coastal path up onto the sand dunes behind the Watering Hole pub and follow the sign to St Piran’s Oratory.

Take a dip in Perranporth’s natural tide pool

Perranporth's natural tidal port, Cornwall, UK

If you want a swim, but don’t fancy the sea Perranporth has its own sea water swimming pool on the beach.  This natural wonder is one of the hidden gems at Perranporth.

The natural tide pool is at the back of Chapel Rock near the sea front.  The water is filled twice a day when the tide comes in.  It’s only small but ideal for those who don’t want the waves of the sea.  Although hidden, it is a popular pool, especially in summer when the sun warms the water.

Learn to surf

One of the best reasons to visit Perranporth is for the surf.  The Atlantic waves make Perranporth one of the top venues for surfing in the UK and there’s several surf schools for lessons.  Perranporth enjoys a consistent surf, so is ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.  Surfing is definitely one of the best things to do in Perranporth.

Perranporth Surf School is based on the beach and offers private and group lessons.  The surfing lessons are for all abilities from 7 years up.

Ride a horse across the beach

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could ride a horse across Perran Beach.  Reen Manor Riding Stables has over 20 horses of different sizes, to suit different abilities.  Experienced riders could take a 2-hour hack over the dunes and onto the beach or you could take a more relaxed half-day pub ride.

Children can enjoy a shorter ride of 30 minutes around the beautiful countryside surrounding Perranporth.

Enjoy sunset at the Watering Hole

Sunset at the Watering Hole, Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

One of the best things to do in the evenings is watch the sunset from The Watering Hole, the UK’s only beach bar.

The pub has a prime location on Perranporth beach and offers the perfect location to watch the sun go down.  In fact, it’s such a romantic spot that we shared a marriage proposal whilst there (not us!).

The Watering Hole is a large pub, which serves a selection of Cornish beer and all day food, including burgers, steaks, Mexican food, and snacks.

The pub hosts a regular line-up of live music and in the summer has its own beach festival, Tunes in the Dunes.  Just above the pub is a stone bench, which serves as a memorial to the creator of Poldark, Winston Graham.

Tunes in the Dunes

One of the best annual events in Perranporth is Tunes in the Dunes, a music festival on the beach.  The festival has two main stages, one for major acts and the other showcasing top Cornish acts.  They also have a Ibiza Beach Lounge, Silent Disco and family entertainment for children.

This year the festival will run from 17th May to Sunday 19th May 2024.  The headline acts are McFly, Craig David and Ocean Colour Scene.

There’s a daily after-party for over 18s at The Watering Hole Pub.

Visit the Perranzabuloe Millennium sundial

Millennium Sundial at Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

High on the cliffs overlooking the beach is a giant sundial.  Get to the sundial by taking a short, steep walk up Cliff Road on the west of the beach.

The Perranzabuloe Millennium Sundial was built as part of a millennium project.  It has a large steel gnomon which casts shadows on the circle of standing stones.  Don’t be surprised if the time is not correct as the sundial gives the Cornish time!

The location of the sundial provides excellent headland views back over Perranporth Beach.

Take a hike to St Agnes

Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes, Cornwall, UK

One of the best things to do in Perranporth is a coastal walk along the South West Coast Path.  And it doesn’t get much better than the breathtaking cliff top hike to St Agnes.

The route to St Agnes is about four miles long and takes about 90 minutes.  This is a stunning route and one of the must-do activities for any Poldark fans.  You’ll pass the former tin mines and get a good glimpse into Cornwall’s mining heritage.

On arrival in St Agnes, you can stop for lunch in Schooners Restaurant with a wonderful view of Trevaunance Cove.  Then, climb up Quay Road to explore the pubs and independent shops in St Agnes.

Click here for full details of the walk to St Agnes.

If you are looking for more ideas for Cornish hikes, click here for 50 Walks in Cornwall or the Ordnance Survey’s 25 Outstanding Circular Walks.

Explore Blue Hills Tin Mine

Chimneys at Trevellas Cornwall, UK

Trevella’s Coombe is the former tin mining valley between Perranporth and St Agnes.  You can still see the remains of the tall engine house chimneys and buildings used in the tin mining industry centuries ago.

You can see the Blue Hills Tin Mine, but unfortunately the Visitor Centre is no longer open to the public.

Follow the coastal path to Holywell Bay

Penhale Sand dunes, Cornwall, UK

Another of the spectacular coastal walks in Perranporth is across the cliff tops to Holywell Bay.

The walk to Holywell follows the South West Coast Path in the opposite direction through Penhale Dunes.  At 90m above sea level, these are Britain’s highest sand dunes and the biggest in Cornwall.  The dunes provide a unique habitat for some interesting flora and fauna.

As you walk, you’ll have a beautiful view of Perran Sands and can see the military bases and old mines.  The walk to Holywell is about two miles each way.

Once you reach Holywell, head down onto the spectacular Holywell Beach, managed by the National Trust.  You may recognise it from the tv series Poldark, as it is the secluded beach belonging to Ross Poldark’s rivals, the Warleggens.   If you are there at low tide look out for the wreck on an old Argentinian boat on the shore.

Enjoy a round of golf

Perranporth Golf Club is hidden in the sand dunes above Perranporth Beach. is a large golf course.  It offers one of the UK’s top golf courses, with stunning views across the beach.

Mooch around the shops

Surf shop in Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

Perranporth has a long High Street, St Piran Road, with a variety of independent shops.  As well as the usual surf gear and bucket and spade shops, you’ll find galleries, boutiques, eco shops and alternative gift shops.  Perfect for a mooch on a rainy day!

One of the best advantages of Perranporth High Street is that it is only a few minutes’ walk from the beach.

Visit Perranzabuloe Museum

Perranzabuloe Museum, Cornwall, UK

Perranzabuloe Museum is the ideal place to discover more about Perranporth’s fascinating history.

The museum is located above the library in an old Victorian building near the High Street.  It has collections of memorabilia from Perranporth’s mining, farming and nautical heritage.  Although there is only one room at the museum, there’s plenty of activities for kids (and adults!) to learn about Cornish history.

Admission to the museum is free.

Things to do near Perranporth

Visit Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm

One of the best free things to do near Perranporth is a visit to Healey’s Cyder Farm.  Less than 4 miles from Perranporth, Healey’s Cyder Farm is home to Cornwall’s traditional Rattler Cloudy Cyder and perfect for a day out away from the beach.

Healey’s Cyder Farm is a family attraction, with something for all ages.  Visitors can meet the farm animals, take a vintage tractor ride, visit the cyder tanks or enjoy a traditional Cornish Cream Tea.  Plus, of course, adults can enjoy a pint of Cornish cider.

Take a day trip to Newquay

Just along the coast from Perranporth is the seaside town of Newquay.  Known for its surf culture and vibrant atmosphere, you’ll find a whole host of exhilarating water activities you can enjoy in Newquay.

Have a go at sea kayaking or enrol yourself on a taster surf lesson.  If you are feeling adventurous sign up for a coasteering adventure or bodyboard lesson.

Visit the Cornish Lavender Farm

One of the best places to visit near Perranporth in the summer is the Cornish Lavender Farm.

Visitors to the Lavender Farm can enjoy a 45-minute lavender talk, sample some essential oils and wander the lavender fields and woods.  You can also enjoy a lavender cream tea and sample homemade scones.

The Cornish Lavender Farm is open from the end of May until mid August, though they may open for some weekends before.

Explore Trelissick House & Gardens

Trelissick Garden is a National Trust countryside estate with a neo classical house and woodland gardens.  Less than 30 minutes’ drive from Perranporth, Trelissick is on its own maritime peninsular overlooking the River Fal.  Visitors can explore the house or take a walk through the gardens to see the collection of rare and exotic plants.

Admission to Trelissick is free to National Trust members.

Practical information for your visit to Perranporth

Accommodation in Perranporth

Perranporth offers a fantastic choice of self-catering accommodation.  We stayed at 5 Waves in Wheal Leisure, a stylish town house 5-minutes from the beach.  Other self-catering accommodations in Perranporth that are walking distance from the beach include Beach Haven and Currah.

Alternatively, Perran Sands is an enormous holiday park in the sand dunes above the beach.  Plus there are several campsites outside of Perranporth.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, the Beacon Country House Hotel and St Agnes Hotel are both under a mile from the beach in St Agnes.

Eating and drinking in Perranporth

Eating in Perranporth, Cornwall, UK

Perranporth has plenty of choice when it comes to eating out.  Our favourites were the Jaipur Indian restaurant and No 4 Bistro.  The food here was delicious and the staff were very attentive.

You could also eat at the Summer House, which has a terrific location overlooking the beach.  If you want to try some traditional Cornish beer, head to the Black Flag Brewery.  They make a range of beers and serve tasty homemade pizzas too.

Getting to Perranporth

Perranporth is in North Cornwall, in South West England.  It’s about six miles south-west of Newquay.

It is surprisingly easy to get to Perranporth .  If you are travelling by car, take the M5 and A30.  If you are coming from further afield it is only 15 minutes from Newquay Airport.

We travelled by train taking the Great Western Railway service from Paddington to Truro.  It’s a fantastic journey, with a scenic route along the Devon coastline.  There is also an option for an overnight sleeper train, the Cornish Riviera Express.

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What are your favourite things to do in Perraporth?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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