Take a dip in the sea at splendid Sennen, which is situated in the most south-westerly part of Cornwall, one of the closest places to the legendary landmark that is Land’s End.
The village is about 8 miles west of Penzance, close to foodie Porthcurno, picturesque Mousehole, and also the former mining town of St Just.
You can pick up the South West Coast Path here and walk the glorious Penwith Heritage Coast. Sennen plays a vital role for the RNLI, as it is home to a lifeboat station, but the cliffs at Pedn Men Dhu do help protect the bay from the Atlantic. The Cove boasts a small fleet of fishing boats but also pleasure fishing crafts.
It’s really pretty straightforward by car, as the A30 takes you right there. From the M5 motorway at Exeter, take the A30 and just keep driving. If travelling by train, the nearest station is Penzance, and there are buses to Sennen Cove from there.
There are three car parks close to the beach at Sennen. The closest is the car park directly adjacent to the beach. At the top of the hill is a large field that acts as an overflow for the beach-side car park during busy periods, but that is about a 5- minute walk up the hill. The beach-side car park is often full by 10 am in busy periods.
At the western end of the cove, beyond the Lifeboat Station is another smaller car park operated by the Sennen Cove harbour commissioners, with the (very reasonable) payments fed back into maintaining the harbour area.
Eating in Sennen is largely informal and beachy, just how it should be way out west.
If you park at the harbour car park you can grab a bacon butty at the ‘shabby chic’ Little Bo Café with its mismatched crockery, or if you’re on the beach and fancy a snack try the Surf Beach Bar with its breathtaking ocean views.
Well, there is tonnes of sand, so that should keep the kids occupied, not to mention surfing and bodyboarding.
Why not get them to walk the coast and forage for their supper? You can even do it professionally here!
Try the Sennen Surfing Centre to book a lesson or two and try catching the waves – for beginners to intermediates, or also for private lessons. The Smart Surf School is run by a family of professional surfers, who offer ready-packaged and bespoke surf lessons all years round.
Well known for its surfing, it is also a great swimming spot.
When the swells are small it can offer really good swimming conditions. Water quality and clarity are good and the beach is stunning, but it does get quite crowded during high season.
Check out the Roundhouse Gallery which showcases excellence in Cornish art and craft. West of Eden is a promotional vehicle dreamed up by owners, former Classic FM presenter, Sally Peterson, and her husband, sculptor Colin Caffell, housed in an iconic building. It sells paintings, ceramics, jewellery, glass and sculpture.
Sara Bevan is a local landscape artist whose studio is worth looking out for.
Enjoy the turquoise ocean and a huge stretch of sand that is Sennen Cove. Its crescent of white sands and aquamarine water will satisfy any beach lover for surfing, sunbathing – and sandcastle making. It is also known as Whitesands Bay (which can be a tad confusing) and is very beautiful. At the top of the main stretch of sand is the delightful Gwynver Beach popular with surfers, dogs, and those who wish to avoid the crowds. It is a bit of a walk if you have small children there and are carrying beach gear but the walk for others is sublime.
The RNLI lifeguard service is present during the summer months and you can catch a good sunset here. What’s not to like? The beaches are spectacular and on a beautiful sunny day, it is reminiscent of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
Sennen Cove Beach also has rock pools to explore and it is only a short walk to Land’s End. Swimming on the Penwith coast can be pretty wild but the water is the most incredible colour, especially on a sunny day.
If you seek inaccessible and untouched, try gorgeous nearby Nanzijal Beach.
The harbour here is small, but on a stormy day, waves will readily crash over the harbour wall – the power of Mother Nature can be immense, so grab yourself a pasty and immerse yourself in storm-watching from a safe distance.
Surfing and being in the sea are great whatever the weather unless it is extreme! If you’re wet, you’re wet.
Nearby Land’s End is definitely different, known in times past as Belerion. It is a legendary landmark. However, be aware that it is also ultra-commercialised, though it is worth a visit just to say you’ve been and to take some photos because the views are superb – and you do not have to walk too far to escape the crowds.
Don’t drive to Land’s End but park up and do the coastal walk there from Sennen which makes it a much pleasanter proposition; anyway, you can always catch a bus back. If driving there, pre-book a parking place (which you have to pay for). Entrance is free other than parking.
Land’s End, the most south-westerly point in Britain, has some popularist tourist attractions but it’s still a lovely place beyond those with some gorgeous views on the walk across the cliffs and is at times stunning.
Look out to sea and you may spot whales, dolphins or seals. The best parts are the cliff paths, in our opinion.
Sennen is indeed very beautiful. As the Atlantic Ocean rages against the rugged rocks at the cliffs above Sennen Cove, then you will feel you are in a remote and beautiful place. This is not a resort as such, nor is it a traditional fishing village; there is nothing touristy about Sennen. Instead, it is laidback Cornwall at its best.
Walkers can head south to the village of Porthgwarra which is around 4.5 miles away, a walk full of cliff top views and rocky coves, often featuring rock arches. A little further takes you to the Minack Theatre near Porthcurno and passing Levens Holy Well. Don’t miss the historical landmark of Logan Rock on the other side of the bay with its famous rocking stone.
Phoenix Marine of Sennen Cove offers scenic boat trips around the beautiful coastline of the Land’s End. Visit the stunning Longships Lighthouse and meet the resident aeals. View the famous Land’s End from the sea and take in the breathtaking granite cliffs from a new perspective. See and hear of shipwrecks both recent and historic. They also offer bespoke ‘custom made’ trips. There is no website, however, but you can contact them on +44 7516 973623 – they get great reviews.
There is a shipwreck in-between Sennen and Land’s End that is visible from the cliffs. The hefty RMS Mulheim was wrecked in 2003 – amazingly, no one was hurt, but diesel and a cargo of 2,200 tonnes of plastic was sadly discharged into the sea. Away from the seafront, Sennen is a fascinating place with a smuggling/wrecking history, so many of the 16th century buildings used are still there today.
The best time to visit Sennen weather wise is June to October, when temperatures tend to be pleasant and rainfall low. The coldest month is February.
Toilets are by the beach car park and the harbour car park.
Whether you love to surf the waves or walk the coast path, Sennen Cove is the ideal choice.