Praa Sands is a wonderful sandy beach halfway between Helston and Penzance. Being located on the south coast it is unusual in the fact that it frequently has reliable surfing conditions throughout the year. The beach and the area surrounding it is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Being situated between to large towns it is a popular beach especially during the summer months.
Praa Sands gets it’s name from the Cornish “Poll an Wragh” which roughly means Witches Cove. The name of the beach is pronounced “Pray” rather than “Prah” which always catches out a lot of people. The beach itself stretches for around 300 – 400 metres and there is plenty of sand even at high tide so you should always be able to find a spot to yourself. The west side of Praa Sands is also noted for it’s interesting geology and is a site of special scientific interest.
Just 2 miles to the west along the Southwest Coast Path lies the small privately owned cove, Prussia Cove and makes a nice walk, slightly on from Prussia Cove is Cudden Point which allows you to see all the way across to Penzance and back on the walk you just completed.
Pengersick Castle which is above the beach is also said to be one of the “most haunted” in the UK with television programmes being filmed there looking for supernatural activity.
Getting To & Parking At Praa Sands
Praa Sands is not too far from the main road the A394. On the A394 just west of Helston there is a signpost to Praa Sands a few hundred metres away from a Petrol Station. Follow the access road down and there are a couple of car parks to choose from at the bottom of the access road. The main beach car park has a few buildings which act as cafes and public toilets, another car park serves as an overflow during busier times during the summer.
Access and Facilities
Access from the beach from one of the car parks involves a flight of steps, there is a access slope next to The Sandbar cafe but it is fairly steep.
There are public toilets in the beach car park opposite the access slope, there are disabled facilities here too.
Lifeguard Patrol and Swimming
Praa Sands has a lifeguard patrol stationed daily between early May and the end of September. There are also patrols during school holidays and some weekends and bank holidays so check the RNLI website for more details
At low tide there are strong rips so swimming is not advisable. During the summer when the sea is calmer the lifeguard patrol will flag the designated area that is safe to enter the water for a dip, during the winter the conditions can be rough.
Surfing at Praa Sands
Offers some good conditions for surfing despite being situated on the south coast. It works best during the winter with northwesterly winds, at high tides the waves break quite close to the beach and at low there are some dangerous rips to watch out for
Dogs are allowed on the beach out of season. During the period between the Easter and the end of September dogs are not permitted on the beach between 7:00am and 7:00pm