Porthcurno is a small beach nestled between high rising cliffs on each side. The soft, deep white sand is reminiscent of tropical beaches and you can find yourself thinking you aren’t in England at all on a sunny day.
The name Porthcurno means “Cove of Horns” taken from the words Porth which means cove and Curno meaning horns.
Just 4 miles away from Porthcurno, Land’d End lies to the west and Penzance is around 10 miles to the east. Porthcurno and the surrounding cliffs and countryside are designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Walking along the cliff paths maintained by the National Trust is a great way to take in the stunning landscape. To the west lies Porthchapel around 1/2 a mile away, a small hard to access beach that is a quiet spot even in the summer.
Porthcurno has a couple of notable features that make a visit well worth the time. During the 1800’s underwater telegraph cables were laid to form the communications link between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. These cables run underneath Porthcurno beach itself, a Telegraph museum is situated at the top of the beach and make an interesting place to visit.
The second notable attraction of Porthcurno is the Minack Theatre. Recognised internationally the Minack Theatre is an open air theatre that put on showings all through the summer season. Running from May until September and over 15 productions over the season, plays are put on regardless of the weather. Started by Rowena Cade the theatre was made when she moved rocks from Porthcurno and from her home Minack House to for a stage. A local amateur theatre company put on the first play there, The Tempest in 1932.
Getting To And Parking At Porthcurno
On the A30 coming from Penzance toward Land’s End there is a left hand turn signposted to Porthcurno and Minack Theatre (B3283). Take this road a follow it down for around 5 miles until you reach a brown tourist sign on the left for Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, Minack Theatre and St. Levan Church. Follow this road for about 1/2 a mile and just past some Tennis courts is the main beach car park on the left. There is also parking for the Minack Theatre further along the same road.
Access and Facilities
Getting onto Porthcurno beach from the main car park is via a path a few hundred meters long. The end of the path is fairly steep down towards the beach and involves going down some steps.
There are toilets in the cark park but no disabled facilities.
Lifeguard Patrols and Swimming
There is an RNLI lifeguard patrol at Porthcurno in the holiday season. The patrols will be at the beach between Easter and the end of September. Flags will be in place to indicate areas safe to swim and bathe.
Swimming at Porthcurno can be good, the beach shelves quite steeply at high tide so care needs to be taken. Take advice from the lifeguard patrol and be aware of changing tides and currents that can form at low tides.
Surfing at Porthcurno
Conditions for surfing at Porthcurno are inconsistent. Winter is the only time really where conditions can provide some waves. A south westerly swell with northeast winds work best. Low tides can create rips so care needs to be taken
Dogs are allowed on the beach off season. Restrictions are in place between Easter and the end of September.