Travel: Camping by the Beach in Cornwall

There is no better way to experience the beauty of Cornwall and the West Country than by packing your tent and heading down the A30.

cornwallYou can sleep in a cavernous tent, shower in warm, modern shower blocks and have electricity for all the hair straighteners and charging cables you might need.

There are dozens of campsites all along the coast of Cornwall with easy access to miles of incredible beaches and scores of tourist attractions. The town of Padstow (above) is a great place to start and it’s not just about Rick Stein and expensive hospitality – there are many campsites in the area.

Higher Harlyn

One of these is Higher Harlyn Park. Situated in the village of St Merryn, the site has been welcoming visitors for more than 50 years. In the early days it was a farmer’s field so you pitched your tent wherever you wanted and used washing facilities that were rudimentary at best.


cornwallThese days, Higher Harlyn (left) is one of the best equipped campsites in Cornwall.

The site has been levelled over the years so you won’t feel as if you are sleeping on the side of a hill. There are plenty of electric hook-ups for your tent, caravan or motor-home and the shower blocks are superb.

The site also has an outdoor swimming pool, a kids’ play area and a modern bar and restaurant.

Once you have used the barbeque to grill some local produce for breakfast, why not head out to one of the many beaches and coves that line this incredible coastline?

cornwallNearby is Constantine Bay (left), a beautiful beach with golden sand, great waves and gorgeous dunes. If you are staying at Higher Harlyn you can walk if you are feeling energetic or cycle or take the car.

It’s a short walk from the car park to the beach, where you will feel a million miles from the daily grind. There are no “kiss me quick” hats and fish and chip vans at Constantine, just a gentle vibe.

If you fancy a bite to eat, there is a great mobile coffee van run by the village shop at the top of the hill or you can visit one of the many bakeries and village shops to put together a picnic.


cornwallJust around the headland from Constantine Bay is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful beaches. Mother Ivey’s Bay (left) is a bit tricky to reach but well worth the effort.

Once you navigate the steep path down to the old smuggler’s beach, you are greeted with an enclosed bay that wouldn’t be out of place on a Carribean island.

Next along is Harlyn Bay, a mecca for surfers and sun-worshippers. At low tide the golden sands are exposed but as the waves sweep in the Harlyn Bay Surf School can show you how to become surf-master.

To the south of Constantine Bay is another of Cornwall’s great coastal sights.


Bedruthan Steps (left) is a spectacular rock formation that is equally breath-taking at low and high tides. Bring plenty of energy for this one as you have to negotiate a lot of steep steps to get down to the beach. Stick with it though, it is well worth the effort.

At the end of your day on the beach or exploring the coast, head back to your campsite for a delicious barbeque, made more tasty by the stunning backdrop of a Cornish sunset.

If you don’t feel like cooking after a long day on the waves head to one of the fish and chip shops then drive out to Trevose Head. Once the site of an old quarry, it has incredible views out over the Atlantic.

Camping is the perfect way to get close to the landscape of this stunning part of Britain.


by Ian Hine

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