A mere 4 miles from Newquay, and not far from Padstow, dog-friendly Mawgan Porth (Cornish for bay or harbour) is renowned for its utterly beautiful beach where golden sands caress incredible coastline. The enticing sands are sheltered by high cliffs and even at the busiest times, the beach is big enough at low tide to cater for everyone. In low/mid season, with fewer visitors, it is a mindblowing open space with fabulous views.
By car, depending on where you are travelling from, most people take the M5, the A30 and then a short stretch of A39 to get to Newquay, from where you follow signposts to Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth. Continue on this road until a junction and turn right onto the B3276 (signposted to Padstow and Mawgan Porth). Follow the B3276 for several miles to Mawgan Porth.
It is also easy to get to Newquay by train from all over the UK, with direct routes from some of the country’s biggest city conurbations.
There are a few wonderful places to eat here; for example the Beach Box which looks as it sounds, rather box-like. Here they sell smoothies and continue the theme with ‘beach boxes’ for toasties and wraps, but also great coffee and lovely cakes, all served by friendly staff. It is a quirky little spot, with access to Wi-Fi.
Or try the Kitchen by the Beach (Head Chef, Michael Corbin, has a flair for good food, cooked well, which tastes exceptional). The Kitchen by the Beach serves breakfast, coffee and cake for an after-swim lunch or dinner. They also have a legendary Sunday roast. You will find fresh food, seasonal menus and a great atmosphere.
As you might expect, Catch Seafood Bar and Grill is very beachy. It is people-friendly, dog- friendly and the location, decor, and atmosphere is almost as good as the food.
For coffee, why not try Coasta? We like the pun!
If you love a decent pub, then try the Merrymoor Inn, just 50 metres from the beach, serving reasonably-priced food with locally-sourced produce. It also sells cask ales and has a popular Sunday carvery. Meanwhile, the Smugglers Inn, a stone’s throw away, has a secluded beer garden to relax in.
You will find something a little different at Gnarly Food Ltd in nearby village, St Mawgan. Rustic, ramshackle (their words) and not fancy but wood-fired clay ovens, spit roasters and barrel smokers give you a real taste of authentic barn food. Dogs are welcome to join you for this eating experience.
Sandcastles on the beach, kite flying, and ball games are just a few free, fun options. There are rockpools either side of the beach, too, so buckets are essential.
St Eval near Padstow has a kart circuit with 1300 metres of exciting track to traverse for over 7s.
A surfing Mecca, surfing here is more of an experience than a sport. Be warned, you may get hooked.
Lessons for all abilities are available at King Surf School which has a quiet, privately licensed beach, with a base for dry changing facilities and offers one-off taster sessions or week long progressive courses.
Facing west, Mawgan Porth is Fistral’s younger beach brother (or sister) and offers consistent surfing conditions, with ‘flat’ days rare. Meanwhile, if you rock down to Watergate Bay, you can try kitesurfing, wave skiing and power kiting.
Check out Art at the Beach for art lessons on the beach, private or public, art events and original artwork and prints.
Arts and Crafts Studios also have a presence here. The website has some cool ideas, such as Free Art Friday.
Discover this beautiful and huge, west-facing sandy beach with bright blue water and golden sands; it is the perfect place for families to relax and play as it is less crowded than the beaches at Watergate Bay and in Newquay itself.
There is a little stream running down to the ocean perfect for little ones to dip in and out of with their buckets.
The sea is perfect for a paddle and in the summer months there is a lifeguard service from May to October. It is quite a long beach so there’s plenty of sand for little ones to build great sandcastles. If you are in any doubt, it is also a Sunday Times award-winning beach. Stick around for a stunning evening sunset.
Generally, it is well away from the busier Newquay, so excellent for families. Watergate Bay’ s splendid beach, not far from Mawgan Porth, within walking distance.
Cornish Fresh is the closest supermarket and gourmet foods supplier, with artisan bread, speciality coffee and a full off-licence, situated opposite the beach. It is a village store with a difference. The little beachfront shop stocks a wide range of exotic deli products.
Mawgan Porth has a useful go-to surf shop called Betty’s, for all your beach and surf hire needs. Meanwhile, Married to the Sea surf shop offers a range of branded surf culture art which makes a perfect addition to any home and also perfect gifts. The clothing brand sells unique, high-quality items, hand-screen printed so you can keep memories of the sea close to you.
Entertaining the kids can be hard in wet weather, but with Mawgan Porth situated between Newquay and Padstow, you are spoiled for choice. Jungle Jack’s at Newquay is a purpose-built soft play area with challenging climbs and 1700 sq ft of fun. Alternatively, Pirate’s Quest is an immersive walk through experience with talented actors and special effects. Newquay Zoo, the Lobster Hatchery and Blue Reef Aquarium are fabulous for lovers of land animals and sea creatures.
In nearby St Mawgan, is the parish church. In the graveyard is the stern of a rowing boat, placed as a memorial to men who drifted ashore from an 1846 shipwreck, frozen to death. Their boat drifted onto Tregurrian Beach at Beacon Cove, near Watergate Bay. The stern was used to create their memorial.
Any beach walks need to be timed to coincide with low tide. One such is the walk from Watergate Bay to Porth which can only be completed without diversion two hours either side of low tide. Alternatively go via the peaceful cliff path, bejewelled by summer thrift, with spectacular views. On a sunny day, the rather photogenic sea is transformed into a deep azure.
If it is too hot, there is a shady riverside walk to the pretty village of St Mawgan, set in the wooded Lanherne valley, a route super-rich in wildflowers and wildlife, such as barn owls and deer.
You might also fancy a walk to Padstow from where you can catch a bus back.
During the school summer holidays in July/August, Donkey Derby races take place. There is also the famous annual duck race where the plastic ducks race to reach the bridge by the beach first – look out for signs. There is also a humour-filled Feast Sports Day which is open to all.
This is a really useful weather guide, which tells you rainfall, sunshine hours and anticipated temperatures month by month. The rainiest month is December, the coldest months are January/February, and the sunniest months are May to July. However, the weather is ever-changing in Cornwall, like the rest of the UK, and nothing is guaranteed, so make sure you have a cosy place from our website to stay. You can also use it for other Cornish destinations.
Public toilets are close to the car park and beach. There are also toilets with a charge (free to customers) in the Beach Box Cafe.
A Cornish holiday in Mawgan Porth takes advantage of the best of Cornwall’s north coast beaches