15+ Best Things to do in Perranporth, Cornwall

Perran Sands near Perranporth, North Cornwall

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! 

In this post, we’ll look at the best things to do in Perranporth to help you plan your trip here!

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 A30 and then the B3285. 

If you don’t have a car, public transport is *kind of* doable (for 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. 

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 beaches 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!

Things to do in Perranporth

Perranporth Beach

beautiful Perranporth Beach in North Cornwall

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! 

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. 

You could take to the sea yourself (if you’re confident enough – these waves are mighty!). 

However, if it’s your first time, we recommend taking a lesson with a surf school. There are a couple of these in Perranporth. 

Classes include your surfboards and full instruction. 

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 – add this to your Cornwall itinerary!

Perran Sands 

South west Coast path Perran sands Perranporth North Cornwall England UK

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! 

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.

Walk along the Cornish coast path to Newquay

Poly Joke Beach, one of the best beaches in Newquay
Poly Joke Beach

The South West Coast Path is one of the most epic coastal paths in the world, spanning from Minehead in the north to Studland Bay in the south. 

The section around Perranporth and Newquay is one of the most beautiful, with spectacular beaches at almost every turn.

From Newquay, it’s 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!

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. 

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 just scream Cornwall. 

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. 

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. 

Head to Healey’s Cornish Cyder FarmĀ 

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. 

At Healey’s, you can do a cider tasting, try some whiskey or even book a gin experience.

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 don’t want to drive. 

Perranzabuloe Museum

This small local museum focuses on the history of Perranzabuloe Parish, which includes Perranporth and a few other villages. 

Discover 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. 

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. 

Trerice

A view of the outside of Trerice, an Elizabethan manor house and one of the best National Trust places in Cornwall
Trerice, an Elizabethan house near Newquay in Cornwall

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! 

You can read my full National Trust review here or click here to go through to the National Trust website

Visit Newquay

Beautiful Newquay Harbour Beach

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
Tolcarne Beach in Newquay, Cornwall

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!  

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 Beach, best beaches in Newquay

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! 

Trevaunance Cove

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

  • The Hub: This is a great cafe serving delicious breakfasts, brunches and lunches – and excellent coffee!
  • Sprout at the Yard: This cafe serves delicious vegetarian and vegan food, with options from Sri Lanka, India and Mexico.
  • 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. Click here to read more!

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. Click here for more information.

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.

FAQs about Perranporth

Can you walk from Perran Sands to Perranporth? 

When it’s low tide you can walk from Perranporth all the way to the end of Perran Sands.

But at high tide, you’ll need to take the South West Coast Path route that leads over the dunes. 

How long is Perranporth Beach? 

Perranporth Beach, which leads into Perran Sands, is three miles or five kilometres in total. 

Can you take dogs to Perranporth beach? 

Yes! Perranporth Beach is dog-friendly.

However, you might need to keep yours on a lead if you’re visiting at certain times. 

Is Perranporth beach sandy? 

Yes, Perranporth Beach is wonderfully sandy and ideal for sunbathing or building sandcastles. 

Is Perranporth beach good for surfing? 

Yes, Perranporth Beach is excellent for surfing. In fact, it’s one of the most famous surf towns in Cornwall or even the UK!

I hope that this article about Perranporth points of interest has proved useful to you! There are so many things to do in this coastal town, and it’s in prime position to enjoy the rest of North Cornwall’s attractions too.

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