Beach with Cafe
Having walked on this beach wearing summer clothes in December, Praa Sands (pronounced pray or prah, heatedly debated locally, though pray probably wins) comes highly recommended.
Roughly halfway between Penzance and Helston, the beach has a car park which does not impose but is a short walk away, perfect if you have tiny tots and lots of equipment to carry.
Hendra, the end of the beach away from the car park is usually pretty quiet. Here you have plenty of space and can watch the surfers from a tranquil distance. Or even book a lesson and join them.
Soon you are on the white sands made from pulverised sea shells. The long, sandy beach is sheltered by sand dunes, its gentle waves lapping the shore, perfect for families wanting to build sandcastles and have a lovely paddle, giggling as the cold water touches your toes.
When the waves are big, however, they are also pretty powerful, crashing surfing waves, so bear that in mind. The beach is, however, usually lifeguarded during the summer so you can seek advice if needed.
The beach is sheltered by undulating sand dunes and huge cliffs. With its azure waters, it is another Cornish paradise, especially in low season.
If you want a walk, try from Praa Sands to Rinsey Head to see the butterflies. It’s a gentle stroll, rather than a full-on coastal hike, with about 23 species of butterflies to spot. Nature at its best. As for history, check out the green behind the beach, home to a memorial to the crew of a British warplane which crash-landed on the beach in 1943, luckily with no loss of life.