With crystal-clear waters lapping at an enticing sandbar there are few more beautiful beaches in the UK than Pedn Vounder. Tucked into a remote corner of Cornwall, here’s how to safely visit this beautiful slice of paradise.

Pedn Vounder is a remote, idyllic location and a perfect destination for a relaxing weekend break in the UK.

It may not have the huge sweeping arc of sand of Rhossili Bay, or the protected calm waters of Barafundle in Pembrokeshire. It doesn’t have the iconic natural arch of Durdle Door, or the white powdery sands blessing beaches on the Isle of Mull.

At high tide you wouldn’t even know Pedn Vounder was here.  

But, at low tide, mother nature transforms a surf-battered rocky cove into a beautiful untouched corner of paradise. Light glistens on a sandbar; hidden coves reveal themselves in rocky walls, and jagged headlands tower overhead.

Part of the charm of Pedn Vounder lies in the fact that it’s not easy to get to. There are also a few risks you need to be aware of. But if you’re up for a touch of paradise with a slice of adventure, read on for our tips on visiting – in our opinion – the most beautiful beach in the UK.

For a safe beach with lifeguards and facilities, you’re looking for Porthcurno beach.

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IN THIS GUIDE

VISITING PEDN VOUNDER BEACH, CORNWALL


WHEN TO VISIT

PEDN VOUNDER CHALLENGES

TIPS FOR VISITING

HOW TO GET TO PEDN VOUNDER

MAP

WHEN TO VISIT PEDN VOUNDER BEACH

The changing nature of Pedn Vounder beach is what gives it so much allure, but it means you need to visit at the right time. Set under huge granite cliffs, the beach is completely covered at high tide, however as the water retreats, a golden slither of sand creates an intimate cove under the giant rocks.

Just before low tide, a sandbar is revealed creating a shallow crystal-clear lagoon just off the main beach, transforming the cove into something resembling a Caribbean idyll.

Therefore, the best time to visit Pedn Vounder is roughly 90 minutes either side of low tide. Over this period, the turquoise waters of the lagoon ripple in the sun and hidden coves appear along the rock face. Laze in a rocky cove, wade through the lagoon, play in the surf, or photograph the amazing scenery. It is at this point that Pedn Vounder becomes – for us – the most beautiful beach in the UK.

Tides change with the seasons, but roughly speaking, sand first starts to appear about 90 minutes after high tide.  Therefore, it’s possible to spend up to 8 or 9 hours on the beach before it disappears. Check the tide times to plan your visit.

CHALLENGES OF GETTING TO PEDN VOUNDER BEACH

For all its charms and beauty, it’s not easy to get to Pedn Vounder beach for three reasons.

Firstly, it’s remote. Located on the far western end of Cornwall it’s a long way from most major cities. Additionally, the last section of driving to Pedn Vounder is over single-track lanes that twist through farmland, making the going slow.

Secondly, it requires a walk along the coastal path. The two nearest car parks (Porthcurno Car Park and Treen Car park – see more information below) are a 20-minute walk to the beach. The path is a narrow trail along the coast and although a little rocky and uneven as it descends towards the beach, it is very achievable for most people.

Thirdly, the last 15 metres of descent onto the beach requires a scramble down the rocks. You’ll need to be steady on your feet, be able to take decent sized steps, and you’ll need both your hands to climb down. Having said that, that there were many fit 70+-year-olds having a great day on the beach when we visited.

If you don’t fancy the scramble down, spend the day at Porthcurno beach, and walk over the coastal path at low tide to take a peek of the spectacular view over Pedn Vounder. The views of this Cornish hidden gem at low tide from the clifftop above are staggering.

TIPS FOR VISITING PEDN VOUNDER

To visit a safe beach with lifeguards on duty and facilities on hand, the best option in the area is the nearby Porthcurno beach. However, if you have a sense of adventure and you’re up for visiting an even more beautiful beach, Pedn Vounder makes for a great excursion. But there are few things to be aware.

1 –  As mentioned above, Pedn Vounder is a tidal beach. Check tide times before arriving and aim for the period around low tide. If the tides aren’t convenient, spend time at Porthcurno beach before taking the 15 to 20-minute walk across to Pedn Vounder to see the views from the top.

2 – Don’t come in flip flops or bare feet. The scramble down to the beach is tricky and shoes with good grip are required. To make the scramble easier, descend facing the rock.

3 – The sand on Pedn Vounder is more grainy than powdery and will most likely be wet. Bring a picnic blanket with a waterproof base rather than just towels to sit on.

4 – The rip tides can be dangerous at Pedn Vounder and there are no lifeguards on duty. If you are not a confident swimmer, stick to the shallow lagoon directly between the beach and the sandbar or the shallow surf. Take care at either side of the sandbar where the riptides can be surprisingly fierce. Even strong swimmers should not venture too far beyond the sandbar.  

5 – There are no facilities on Pedn Voudner beach so bring what you need with you and make sure you take everything away with you. The nearest café, toilets and lifeguards are at Porthcurno beach.

6 – Pedn Vounder is a naturist beach, so clothes are entirely optional.

7 – Bring a camera, it would be mad not to take photos of the most beautiful swimming locations in Cornwall. The views from the beach are amazing but it’s even more impressive from the cliffs above. Be considerate of nudists wandering into your shot.

HOW TO GET TO PEDN VOUNDER

There are two convenient car parks for getting to Pedn Vounder. They are both about a 25-minute drive from Penzance, or 45 minutes from St Ives. Keep in mind that journey times over the summer holidays can be significantly longer.

TREEN CAR PARK

Treen Car Park has toilets (20p, coin only) and takes cash and card (£2 for up to 2 hours, £4 all day). There is a café in the village (shut the entire of 2021 and may not reopen in 2022) and a good village pub called the Logan Rock Inn.

From the car park, follow signs on a whiteboard for the 20-minute walk to Pedn Vounder beach. Head past Treen Farm Campsite and follow the public footpath for about ten minutes until you meet the coastal path. Turn right on the coastal path hanging above the cliff, then take the next left to drop down to the western edge of the beach. From here take the tricky scramble down onto the beach.

PORTHCURNO CAR PARK

Porthcurno Car Park fills up quickly on peak weekends and in the summer holidays, so it’s a good idea to arrive early or late in the day. The parking machines 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 a nearby café.

From the car park join the coastal path rising on the eastern side of Porthcurno beach to the cliffs above. Ignore the first right that takes you to a concrete bunker, but when the path splits again take the right fork that descends to the western edge of Pedn Vounder beach and the tricky scramble.

MAP / PEDN VOUNDER BEACH

We have listed all the main highlights at Pedn Vounder including the car parks and access trails on the below map to help navigate this idyllic slice of Britain.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


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