View of Porthleven from the clifftop at Penrose, Cornwall. ©National Trust Images John Millar
Porthleven is probably most photographed during epic storms, where the harbour village takes a dramatic battering from the elements. But when the sun is shining, beyond Porthleven’s harbour you’ll find a sandy beach which is a glorious spot. Access is via a short slope or some rather steep steps known as Blue Buoy Steps.
At low tide it stretches all the way to Loe Bar and the National Trust’s Penrose Estate. Three miles of sand and steeply shelving shingle running east, but don’t get caught out by the tide. Experienced pro surfers love Porthleven’s challenges, but it is not for the novice. If you are more interested in a leisurely swim, head for nearby Praa Sands instead with its lovely golden beach, because Porthleven has strong currents and the sea can be rough, wondrous to watch from on high, rather than to be in.
Lifeguarded from July to September, there’s also a seasonal dog plan in place between July and August, 10-6pm.
There’s also an annual Food Festival which takes place every April on Porthleven’s sandy shores. All facilities are close to harbour area, including The Ship Inn is unmissable, a characterful 17th century smugglers’ haunt overlooking the harbour, built to withstand the most ferocious storms.