If you’re looking for things to do in Perranporth, look no further! I’ve put together all of the best Perranporth attractions in this blog post.
In Perranporth, North Cornwall, the surf is up, the dress code is a swimsuit and the holiday vibes are strong.
In fact, it’s one of the best places to visit in Cornwall if you’re looking for somewhere for a beachy holiday – it even has its own beach bar!
I’m part-Cornish, and I’ve spent a lot of my life in Cornwall, visiting family and exploring towns and villages.
Perranporth is one of my favourites – I like how it’s a little more chilled than Newquay but there’s still plenty to do.
I’ve visited as a child and adult, so I can vouch for the fact that there’s plenty for all ages and tastes here!
So, what are the best things to do in Perranporth? Let’s get stuck in this guide and help you start planning your trip!
Things to do in Perranporth
The best things to do in Perranporth include the sweeping Perran Sands that lead into Perranporth Beach, surfing, chilling out at the UK’s only beach bar, exploring Healey’s Cornish Cyder Fam or hiking to either Newquay or St Agnes and taking in viewpoints and beaches on the way.
1. Perranporth Beach
Often regarded as one of the best in Cornwall, Perranporth Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand to relax, play some beach games or take to the waves on.
With a range of restaurants, pubs and bars nearby and seasonal lifeguard cover, it’s no surprise that Perranporth Beach is one of the most loved on the north coast.
You can stretch out close to the town, or take a walk down Perran Sands from here!
2. Go surfing!
Taking a surfing lesson is a must-do while you’re in town.
The entire North Cornish coast is a surfer’s hotspot, but Perranporth in particular is loved for its giant waves and surfer’s culture.
In fact, it’s one of the best places to visit in Cornwall if you want to hit the waves!
On a warm, sunny day, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on the East Coast of Australia…
The waves are mighty here, so only take to the sea independently if you’re confident in your surfing capabilities.
If it’s your first time, we recommend taking a lesson with a surf school. There are a couple of these in Perranporth.
Perranporth Surf School is a much-loved favourite, with classes right on the beach.
I once did a lesson with them – although I must say, surfing isn’t my forte, I found them to be very professional and enthusiastic!
Classes include your surfboards and full instruction by RNLI-trained instructors.
3. Drink at the UK’s only beach bar
The UK’s only beach bar (i.e. a bar that’s actually on the beach) is in town – and one of the best Perranporth activities is definitely raising a glass on the sands!
The Watering Hole serves lager and cider on draught and you can sip on lots of other tasty drinks, both from Cornwall and further afield.
It’s also a live music venue, with artists and tribute bands playing throughout the summer months.
In the evenings in Perranporth, there’s nowhere better – definitely add this to your Cornwall itinerary!
4. Perran Sands
Perran Sands, or Penhale Sands as it is sometimes called, is a long beach that spans across the coastline, from Penhale Point to Perranporth town.
This is an incredibly important point in Cornwall, as it is allegedly where St Piran, the patron saint of miners and the main saint of Cornwall, allegedly landed (more on this below!).
Its vast length makes it perfect for walking down, and backing it are Cornwall’s largest sand dunes, which are perfect for running around and getting lost in.
They’re among the best free things to do in Perranporth for sure!
Plus, if there’s no space at Perranporth Beach, you’ll definitely find somewhere to stretch your towel out around Perran Sands!
5. St Piran’s Oratory
St Piran’s Oratory is one of the most unique places for Cornish heritage and history – and one of the most historically significant places in the UK.
It’s a large, half-buried structure with a fascinating history. It was once a chapel built by the legendary St Piran.
It’s alleged that St Piran, who was originally an Irish monk in the 5th or 6th century, landed here after sailing from the Irish coast.
He was actually exiled from Ireland due to the ruler fearing his power, but was sent to float on the water rather than being drowned!
He eventually landed at Perranporth, which is why Perranporth is named after him (“porth” means beach in Cornish).
He then set about converting locals to Christianity (apparently his first converts were a boar, a fox and a badger, but he eventually had luck with people!).
Nowadays, he’s the patron saint of Cornwall, and the Cornish flag with a white cross is St Piran’s Cross, named after him.
Nowadays, the Oratory, which served as a chapel for some 400 years, is still viewable from the sand dunes. You can’t actually go into the oratory unaccompanied, but a few times a year it is open for public viewings.
You can also look out for St Piran’s Cross.
This is difficult to find as it’s amidst the dunes, but it’s the earliest recorded stone cross in Cornwall, dating back to the Dark Ages.
As someone with Cornish ancestry, I find stories of St Piran fascinating, and if you want to get a deeper understanding of this land, I highly recommend you visit this site!
6. Walk along the Cornish coast path to Newquay
The South West Coast Path is one of the most epic coastal paths in the world, spanning from Minehead in Somerset to Studland Bay in Dorset.
The section around Perranporth and Newquay is one of the most beautiful, with spectacular beaches at almost every turn.
The Perranporth to Newquay walk is around a 12 mile/ 20 km moderate hike. It’s nowhere near as tough as some of the walks around Bude, Boscastle and Tintagel, but you’ll definitely feel your heart pumping as you tackle these cliffs!
You’ll go past beautiful, lesser-visited beaches like Poly Joke, pictured above.
This is my dad’s favourite local beach in Cornwall.
As it’s that little bit further from both Newquay and Perranporth, it’s usually much quieter!
If you want a shorter walk, you could hike to Holywell Bay which is 8 miles or 13 kilometres.
Buses connect Perranporth to both Holywell Bay and Newquay for the return leg.
7. Walk to St Agnes
The Perranporth to St Agnes walk isn’t as well known, but that doesn’t mean that it should be skipped!
In fact, this is one of my favourite walks on the South West Coast Path, just because of the sheer beauty of the mining landscape and the historic engine houses.
The hike is just 3.6 miles or 5.8 kilometres long, and although it has some ups and downs, it’s not too difficult. Some of the path is quite rocky underfoot due to the ancient landscape.
But it’s worth it – you’ll see beautiful beaches and glorious vistas that give you an understanding of the fascinating mining heritage of this land.
8. St Agnes Head
Enjoy sweeping views from St Agnes Head, where you can take in the cliffs, beaches and sea in one panorama.
This is the perfect spot for hiking, picnicking or just taking photos. It’s a short walk from St Agnes village.
9. Walk around St Agnes Village
St Agnes Village is also worth checking out, and it’s just a ten-minute drive from Perranporth.
St Agnes is split into two halves, the beachside part and the town part.
There are restaurants and bars in both parts, and the beach part has (obviously) a small strip of sand.
The whole place has a lovely, small-town atmosphere that you’ll only find in villages by the sea.
Just a pointer: the roads here are very narrow.
When my partner and I walked from Perranporth to St Agnes, we ended up stuck in the village for a few hours.
The roads are very narrow, and a truck had got completely stuck on one of the only entrance roads, meaning that the bus couldn’t get through.
There were police there directing cars and everything!
So do be careful if you have a larger vehicle!
10. Head to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Do you want to learn all about Cornish cider? Then head on down to Healey’s, the home of Rattlers!
Rattlers cider is incredibly popular throughout Cornwall.
Made on the farm at Healey’s, it comes in several fruity flavours, although it isn’t as sweet as other cider varieties.
Its logo makes it look like it would be quite sweet and sickly, but it’s actually my favourite type of cider now.
At Healey’s, you can do a cider tasting, try some whiskey or even book a gin experience.
We did this gin experience when we visited, and it was fun to learn about different ways to make the ever-popular spirit.
There’s also a jam store, a museum about the farm and a friendly cafe where you can pull your own pint of Rattlers!
There’s something for all age groups, too; while kids won’t want to try the cider, they can enjoy a tractor ride and see the farm animals.
There’s a set price to enter Healy’s, and experiences like the gin tasting cost more.
It’s actually located at Penhallow, an eight-minute drive from Perranporth, or there are bus options if you want to drink!
11. Perranzabuloe Museum
This small local museum focuses on the history of Perranzabuloe Parish, which includes Perranporth and a few other villages.
Discover the history surrounding St Piran, information about past and present mining in the town and the popularity of surfing along the coastline.
Entry is free, and it’s open throughout the summer months.
12. See Cligga Head
If you walk to St Agnes you’ll pass Cligga Head, an area that used to be one of Cornwall’s most important mining areas.
It’s just to the south of Perranporth Beach.
As well as fascinating mining history, Cligga Head is home to unique rocks, wildflowers and heather bushes.
13. Go back in time at Trerice
This Elizabethan manor house is a short drive from Perranporth and is one of my favourite National Trust sites in Cornwall.
It’s not a huge place, but it’s worth visiting to see the well-restored Elizabethan architecture and experience the Tudor Gardens.
Due to its small size, it’s a great stopover if you’re travelling elsewhere on a day trip.
Adults and kids won’t get bored here – there are plenty of kid-friendly signs to help them learn about Elizabethan Cornwall and even a few games that they can play!
I would recommend purchasing a National Trust membership if you want to visit Trerice.
It’ll cost a bit more than individual entry, but it gives you access to all National Trust properties all over the UK for an entire year.
The savings you could make are enormous!
14. Visit Newquay
While Perranporth has a very different vibe to Newquay, it’s only a 15 minute drive from the popular town.
So you can easily add a day trip to Newquay into your time in Perranporth – if you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive, there’s also a regular bus service!
I’ve written a whole blog post about things to do in Newquay, so you can check that out if you’re visiting.
However, some of the main attractions include:
- The surfer’s paradise of Fistral Beach
- All of the other beaches, including my favourite, Towan Beach
- Newquay aquarium (perfect if it’s raining!)
- Many independent shops, most with a surfer’s theme
- A night out – Newquay has some of the best nightlife in Cornwall, although it does attract the younger generation
15. Callestick Farm
Callestick Ice Cream Parlour is located a nine-minute drive from Perranporth Beach.
It’s a farm and ice cream store where you can buy a super-local dessert, made with their own cows’ milk!
16. Check out the Other beaches near Perranporth
If you get bored of Perranporth sands, there are plenty of other friendly beaches in the vicinity!
Holywell Bay Beach
Holywell Bay is a glorious beach and one of my favourite spots in Cornwall.
This beach is a famous Poldark filming location, and the sands stretch back from the sea to the car park and pub.
Holywell Bay Beach has plenty of space for beach dwellers, and it’s not as touristy as other beaches around Newquay.
Plus, hike up to the cliffs to enjoy spectacular views over the crashing waves!
Although Treaunance Cove is the main beach of St Agnes, it’s still quite a local secret and is well worth visiting if you want to explore a less-touristy beach in the area!
Explore the old historic harbour or traverse rock pools at low tide, before visiting the highlights of St Agnes village itself!
Where to eat in Perranporth
There are a few fantastic restaurants in Perranporth, including the following:
- The Hub: This is a great cafe serving delicious breakfasts, brunches and lunches – and excellent coffee!
- The Waterfront: This is a family-friendly restaurant that serves up delicious cocktails.
- The Bar at Bolema: This restaurant serves Sunday brunches with delicious vegetarian and vegan options!
Where to stay in Perranporth
The Residence at Bolenna is a boutique hotel with comfy beds in its variety of rooms.
Choose from a suite with a terrace, an apartment, a studio or a king room.
2 Fernleigh Villas is a holiday home is close to Perranporth and accommodates six people and a baby.
There’s parking for two cars and spacious communal areas.
Perran Sands Holiday Park is located right by the sand dunes, with luxury spacious caravans, big enough for all the family, plus an indoor pool and other facilities.
Here are some useful itineraries to put all of the attractions together and make sure that you see Perranporth with whatever time you have!
One day in Perranporth
If you only have one day in Perranporth, start by hitting the waves!
Do a full surfing lesson, and then spend some time relaxing on the beach.
In the afternoon, hike to St Piran’s Oratory before a tour around Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm.
Then return to the beach for sunset drinks at The Watering Hole!
Two days in Perranporth
With two days in Perranporth, complete day one as above.
Then, spend day two hiking to St Agnes, taking in the gorgeous landscape.
Spend some time on the beach at St Agnes, checking out St Agnes Head and Trevanuance Cove, before heading back to Perranporth in the late afternoon for one last chill on the beach!
One week in Perranporth
If you’re basing in Perranporth for a week, complete the first two days as above.
Spend a third day exploring Holywell and Poly Joke Beaches, which are closer to Newquay.
Then, do the following day trips:
- Newquay: Check out Trerice National Trust property and Newquay’s phenomenal beaches.
- Truro: See what the capital of Cornwall has to offer!
- Bodmin: Explore the moor or learn about the history of the jail.
- Eden Project & Lost Gardens of Heligan: Two attractions in South Cornwall that are only about a half hour drive from Newquay.
Where is Perranporth?
Perranporth is located on the North coast of Cornwall, about a 15-minute drive (8.5 miles) from the popular seaside resort of Newquay.
How to get to Perranporth
Most people drive to Perranporth by taking the M5 or A303 to Exeter, then joining the A30 and then turning off for the B3285.
It’s around a five-hour journey from London (with no traffic).
Public transport to Newquay
If you don’t have a car, public transport is *kind of* doable (by Cornish standards!).
You can take the GWR train to Truro (this runs from London Paddington and calls in at Reading, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and other destinations in Cornwall) and connect to the U1A bus to Newquay, which calls in at Perranporth.
You could also take the train to Par, then change to Newquay, then take a bus from there – but the first route involves fewer changes and is usually quicker!
Perranporth is close to Newquay International Airport, which flies to London and a few other cities around the UK, Ireland and a handful of European cities.
A taxi from the airport will set you back anything between £25 – £40, or you could take a bus into Newquay and then change for a bus to Perranporth.
But public transport in Cornwall really isn’t amazing (take it from someone who’s spent months travelling around the region, sometimes without my own vehicle!) so I would recommend having a car if possible.
Why visit Perranporth?
There are loads of reasons to visit the beach town of Perranporth.
Enjoy both the golden sands of Perranporth’s main beaches and deserted bays around the town, learn about the patron saint of Cornwall who landed here, or just take a surf lesson on the crashing Atlantic Ocean!
As I mentioned, Perranporth is one of the most ‘holiday‘ feeling places in North Cornwall.
The weather isn’t always amazing, but when it is, Perranporth is an absolute beaut, with so many activities and attractions.
So pull yourself a nice pint of Rattlers (we’ll go into that later in the post!) and let’s look at all of the best things to do in Perranporth!
FAQs about Perranporth
Can you walk from Perran Sands to Perranporth?
During low tide, you can enjoy a scenic walk from Perranporth all the way to the end of Perran Sands.
However, when high tide rolls in, the South West Coast Path route that winds over the dunes is the recommended way to go.
How long is Perranporth Beach?
Stretching a magnificent three miles or five kilometres, Perranporth Beach stretches along the coastline and then it seamlessly merges with Perran Sands.
It provides ample space for relaxation, walking and surfing. You can either enjoy it by walking along the beach or the cliffs!
Can you take dogs to Perranporth beach?
Absolutely! Perranporth Beach welcomes dogs, although there are some restrictions throughout the summer season. Take a look at my best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall and things to do in Cornwall with dogs posts for more information.
Is Perranporth beach sandy?
Without a doubt! Perranporth Beach boasts soft, golden sands that are simply perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, or constructing magnificent sandcastles, along with crashing blue waves that lap the coastline. It’s perfect for a fun-filled beach day for all ages!
Is Perranporth beach good for surfing?
Indeed, Perranporth Beach is renowned as an exceptional surfing spot.
It’s gained fame as one of Cornwall’s, if not the entire UK’s, most prominent surf towns.
Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner eager to catch some waves, Perranporth Beach offers the ultimate surfing experience.
Are you ready to visit Perranporth?
I hope that this article about Perranporth’s points of interest has proved useful to you!
There are so many things to do in this coastal town, and it’s in a prime position to enjoy the rest of North Cornwall’s attractions too.
Whether you’re young or old or visiting as a group of friends, family or as a couple, Perranporth is a buzzy town, where holiday mode will turn on as soon as you arrive!