paddleboarding cornwall

11 of the Best Places to Go Paddleboarding in Cornwall in 2022

The words paddleboarding and Cornwall are almost synonymous given that the peninsula has hundreds of sandy beaches that are not only weather-friendly but picture-perfect – great for anyone who wishes to get both their sweat on and a shot for the gram. 

In fact, Instagram data shows that Cornwall has the most beautiful beaches in all of the United Kingdom, given that it received the most hashtags per meter.

If a good paddle boarding session and amazing photos are on your holiday agenda, then Cornwall’s definitely your place to go. 

So pack your sunnies, swimwear, gear, and sit tight as I take you through some of the best places to paddleboard in Cornwall in this article. 

At a glance, they are:

1. Bude

2. Carbis Bay Beach

3. Dennis Cove 

4. Fowey River

5. Gannel Estuary 

6. Helford River

7. Looe Beach

8. Porthcurno Beach 

9. Sennen Cove

10. St Michael’s Mount 

11. Towan Beach

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11 Best Places for Paddleboarding In Cornwall

1. Bude

paddleboarding cornwall bude

Bude is a sleepy coastal town in North Cornwall that is popular among couples and families with its chill vibes. It’s such a favorite among those in the area that it was reportedly named the Best UK Seaside Town previously. 

Paddleboarding in Bude promises you views of pristine sandy beaches, and majestic emerald hills – something you’ll soon realize is a common and welcome sight along most of the Cornwall coastline. 

A favourite within Bude is Widemouth Bay, a small, rocky beach that is easily accessible by car. The tidal waves there vary, however, with some waves coming in – making it a spot suitable for both paddleboarding and surfing. 

2. Carbis Bay Beach 

paddleboarding cornwall carbis bay beach

A St Ives paddleboarding highlight is definitely Carbis Bay. The water there is typically flat and calm, and away from the winds, making it a great spot for the most novice of paddleboarders or anyone looking to just swim in the clear waters.

If the turquoise waters are not enough to entice you, Carbis Bay is close to a bird sanctuary where you’d probably be able to catch a glimpse of sea birds. 

3. Dennis Cove 

Located in Padstow, Dennis Cove is a paddleboarding hotspot given that there is an adjacent campsite Dennis Cove Farm Campsite, where one could camp at before or after a day of paddleboarding.

While the conditions at Dennis Cove are suitable for most paddleboarders, these conditions could change quickly depending on the tide and weather so you’re advised to check ahead of time and to err on the side of caution if unsure of inclement weather or busy maritime traffic.  

4. Fowey River

paddleboarding cornwall fowey river

Fowey River is not only one of the best places to SUP in Cornwall, but its deep port, easy access to the sea, variety of surrounding wildlife, and gorgeous wooded setting make it a great place for any sort of water sports. 

Kayaking, SUP, canoeing, boating, cruising, you name it, you’ll see it – which also means anyone paddleboarding there will need to also be mindful of the surrounding maritime traffic. And don’t get too distracted too by the wildlife you might encounter!

5. Gannel Estuary

Now, paddleboarding in Newquay isn’t complete till you’ve given the Gannel Estuary ago. It’s a quiet area located away from popular tourist hotspots and is teeming with wildlife including migratory birds. 

You’ll find yourself paddleboarding through sandbanks, meaning there are no waves or unstable water conditions to navigate through – making it the perfect spot for anyone looking to paddleboard for the first time. 

Fun fact, the Gannel Estuary was also mostly used for shipping until very recently, so the area houses several historic locations like Reeds Boatyard from which large ships up to 250 tons were built and launched. 

6. Helford River

For those who might be hesitant about paddling out in the open water, rivers like Helford River are a great spot to try paddleboarding in Cornwall. Its clear waters and opportunity to see wildlife like oysters and herons while out paddleboarding make Helford River a spot not to be missed if you’re in Cornwall. 

Paddle out far enough and you’ll probably find yourself at the Falmouth Bay coastline, which has plenty of wooded valleys and hidden beaches you could explore when taking a shore break. 

If you’re looking to paddleboard at Helford River, you should take note that it can be quite a busy area with many boats passing. If you’re unfamiliar with the tides and the river conditions, definitely consider going with a local guide or tour. 

7. Looe Beach 

Looe, a small coastal town, is home to several beaches but the mention of Looe Beach typically refers to East Looe beach, an accessible sandy beach with amenities that is popular with families and holiday goers. 

Paddleboarding in Looe is extremely ideal as the waters are calm and tranquil.

 Its popularity as a watersport location also means there are many operators, like Loe Beach Watersports, which provide boards for hire or provide SUP lessons for those who might want to go on a holiday without bringing along too much gear. 

8. Porthcurno Beach

paddleboarding cornwall porthcurno

When you think of majestic granite cliffs, you think of Porthcurno Beach. Couple that with its clear white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, and this location makes for a great sunbathing and paddle boarding spot in Cornwall. 

The beach gets its characteristic white appearance from thousands of crushed white seashells. 

With its high cliffs, the area can be quite shielded from the wind, making its conditions favourable for an activity like paddle boarding, but one should never let their guard down as the tides would quickly change. 

9. Sennen Cove 

Located at the most westerly part of Cornwall, Sennen Cove is well-loved for its proximity to Land’s End, one of the UK’s most prominent landmarks. 

paddleboarding cornwall sennen cove

Paddleboarding at Sennon Cove would probably mean an unobstructed, unparalleled view of the spectacular cliffs of Land’s End, and you might even catch a glimpse of the surrounding wildlife like seals.

 In fact, we hear there’s even a resident seal colony in the area!

While the conditions at Sennen Cove are ideal for paddleboarding most days with calm waters, there might be a swell or two, so if you want to be doubly sure, you can always check out the Met Office weather forecast for Sennen Beach before heading down. 

10. St Michael’s Mount 

paddleboarding cornwall St Michael’s Mount

St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island in the West of Cornwall, in Mount’s Bay, and is home to a medieval castle, garden, and community. Not only is it a must-visit location when visiting Cornwall, but it is hands down one of the best spots for paddleboarding in Penzance because of its even waters. 

Most people choose to start from the beach across in Marazion, Penzance and then paddle to the island. Sometimes the tide is even low enough for you to walk across – and would take you about 10 to 15 minutes by foot. 

Bit of trivia – if you found this island familiar, you’d probably have seen its French counterpart Mont St Michel in Normandy, France which has a similar conical shape.

 I covered this briefly in my Paris weekend trips article as it’s also a popular weekend trip spot outside of the French capital. 

11. Towan Beach

Located right in the heart of Newquay, Towan Beach is a popular spot for holiday-goers given its proximity to restaurants, and the Newquay Activity Centre, and is also surrounded by paddleboarding and SUP schools. So you know for a fact that it is a popular and good spot to paddleboard in Cornwall. 

Similar to all beaches in Newquay, Towan Beach’s shores are bathed in golden sand and it maintains its pristine aesthetic despite the crowds. 

However, because of its popularity, you may want to avoid it during peak holiday seasons or choose to visit during less busy periods of the day. 

What Is Paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding, as the name suggests, is a water activity where the rider uses their arms to move their board around in the water. 

The more common version of paddleboarding in recent years is Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) where the rider stands up on the paddleboard and then uses a paddle to move around. 

Contrary to surfing, paddleboarding is a great activity that can be done on almost any body of water – you don’t need any waves to paddleboard!

 It is also easy to learn for almost all ages, most people can easily learn how to do it in one session. 

what is paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a full-body cardio workout that builds stamina, strengthens your core, and challenges your balance. Because it takes a level of focus to remain stable on the board, some even say paddleboarding can help you with your mental health and stress levels.

If you haven’t done paddleboarding or stand up paddle board in Cornwall before, fret not, here’s a detailed guide to SUP you can pore over as you prepare to paddleboard in Cornwall.

Can You Paddleboard In Cornwall?

YES, you can paddleboard in Cornwall! The best place to paddleboard in Cornwall is the waters below St Michael’s Mount in Marazion, whichever stage you are at in your paddleboarding or SUP journey. 

Do You Need A Permit To Paddleboard In the UK?

You will need a Waterways License if you’re paddling in Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust waterways in England and Wales, before you jump onto your paddleboard into the sunset. 

But don’t worry, not all waterways require a license or a permit. If you want to check, it would be best to contact British Canoeing to find out more and to ensure you’re paddling responsibly in the UK. 

How Much Is A Paddleboard?

The cost varies, but a paddleboard can be as cheap as $180, and as much as $2,000, in case you’re already raring to go and ready to purchase! The price depends on whether you’re getting an inflatable board or an epoxy board, and also the size of the board. 

To learn more about how much is a paddleboard, check out:

It is also important to pick a board that is ideal for your frequency of paddling, body size, and the type of water you’d be using it on, rather than just based on price. 

Can You Paddleboard In Padstow?

If you want to know, can you paddleboard in Padstow? The answer is a resounding yes, but it is only recommended that you paddleboard in the busy seaside town of Padstow if you understand the maritime ‘rules of the road’. 

Padstow’s waters can be incredibly busy with a lot of maritime activity, so understanding the rules when being on the water will help if you want to experience paddleboarding in Padstow. 

Can You Paddleboard In St Ives?

can you paddleboard in st ives

A hundred percent yes you can paddle board in St Ives! St Ives is an ideal spot for paddleboarding in Cornwall because of its calm waters and good weather, if you’re wondering if you can paddleboard in St Ives,

When paddleboarding in St Ives, you’ll not only feel at ease but depending on where you’re paddling, you may also get to enjoy the picturesque St Ives Harbour as you engage in this activity. 

Conclusion

As you probably realize by now, you’ll never run out of beaches, rivers, and spots to go if you want to go paddleboarding in Cornwall. 

I hope that on your next trip to Cornwall, you’ll find my list of places to paddleboard in Cornwall useful! 

I can guarantee you that once you’ve taken your board out for the first time and witnessed the sheer beauty of the Cornish county on land and out at sea, you’d come paddling back for more! 

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