Nanjizal Beach – A Guide To Mill Bay

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Nanjizal beach is a little piece of paradise nestled away near the southerly tip of Cornwall. When we first stumbled upon it, we all fell in love immediately and have returned many times since. 

What makes Nanjizal particularly special is that it is never too busy (even in the height of summer). This is because it can only be accessed on foot.

It sits on the South West Costal path between the beautiful white sands of Porthcurno beach and Land’s End. 

girls playing at nanjizal beach
Crashing waves on Nanjizal beach

How To Get To Najizal Beach

There are 3 main ways of getting to Nanjizal: 

  • Park at Porthgwarra and walk West along the coastal path
  • Park at Land’s End and head East along the coastal path (parking charges at Land’s End attraction apply) 
  • Park in a lay-by near Trethewey off the B3315 and walk across country

Arriving By Car

The closest access point by car is off the B3315 in Trethewey. If you are travelling from Penzance then head through the small village of Trethewey, past a playing field on your right and then turn left up a narrow country lane signed Porthgwarra.

On the corner is a blue shed which is inhabited by the author Catrina Davies who wrote the book Homesick – Why I Live in a Shed. It’s definitely worth a read!

If coming in from the opposite direction, then travel along the B3315 from Sennen. You pass a small duck pond on your left. The road bends sharply to the left and here you take the road signed to Porthgwarra to the left of the blue shed – it’s on the right just as the road bends to the left.

Staying near Nanjizal Beach

There isn’t that much accommodation close to Nanjizal Beach. Most of the properties in this small area are owned by the St Aubyn Estates. The closest to Nanjizal is Bosistow Farmhouse (click here to view), set in an elevated position with stunning sea views only 1 km from Nanjizal Beach. This gorgeous property sleeps 8 and is the perfect cosy, homely bolthole to use as a base to explore the wild west coast of Cornwall.

St Aubyn Estates own a range of accommodation all beautifully decorated and in amazing locations. Faraway Cottage (click here to view) is also close to Nanjizal beach and sleeps 4 so perfect for a smaller group or family.

Your other option is to stay in Trethewey or Polgigga, which are little villages within walking distance of Nanjizal. We stayed in Trethewey when we visited and found that it was a perfect location with both Porthcurno Beach, Porthchapel Beach and Nanjizal Beach all easily accessed on foot. No worries about getting down to Porthcurno early enough to get a parking space which after about 10 am can be tricky.

The Rest House (click here to view) is a beautiful recently refurbished holiday home which sleeps two people and The Granary (click here to view) is larger and sleeps 6 people.

The Walk To Nanjizal Beach

path to Nanjizal

Follow this narrow country lane about 500m uphill until you reach a gated entrance to some cottages on your left and then take the track a few metres further up on your right. This track is bordered by a hedge on either side and winds through the fields until you reach Bosistow Farmhouse (which is in a beautiful spot looking out to sea and is available to rent and is part of St Aubyn Estates). 

Walk through what would have been the farmyard with the house to your right and when you reach a small country lane turn left. A little way down this lane there is a gate to your right which leads to a path. (If you reach another cottage you have gone too far). 

This path leads you through another gate and down towards Nanjizal beach. The path is quite steep at times but as you start to descend you get your first glimpse of the little cove and if you’re like me you’ll start to feel a little buzz of excitement.

If you are lucky, you might even see some Dartmoor Ponies on the path leading down to the beach (which my two girls like to call the wild horses). 

To access the beach itself there are some steep wooden steps down onto some large boulders so this beach is not a good idea if you have very small children or are not steady on your feet. 

The Coastal Path To Nanjizal

Depending on whether you are a Poldark fan or more into bigger tourist attractions might affect which way you want to access Nanjizal on the coastal path. 

The easiest path is following the coastal path west from Porthgwarra beach, which was where Ross Poldark was famously filmed skinny dipping. There are some breathtaking views from the cliff tops but this section of the path is less challenging than the stretch from Land’s End. 

For the more adventurous, you can follow the coastal path East from Land’s End. This path has some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.

The path takes you a winding route right on the cliff edge but is definitely not for the faint hearted or anyone with young children. It was a challenge with our 7 and 11 year old and I don’t think I have said watch where you are putting your feet so many times in one hour!

At Nanjizal Beach

Steps down to Nanjizal beach

When you arrive at Nanjizal the beach looks different depending on the tide. If its high tide there is no sand, leaving you with just rocks to perch on… but when its low tide the true beauty of this spot is revealed.

There is a large area of golden sand near to the cliffs and as you get closer to the sea, huge rocks are scattered making it the perfect natural playground for children to explore.

A stream runs through the beach from the rocks by the cliffs creating a mini-waterfall and our children have had hours of fun making dams and paddling.

The Song Of the Sea (Zawn Pyg)

A guide to Nanjizal and the song of the sea cave

What makes this cove stand out from many similarly gorgeous places in Cornwall is the the arch in the rocks known as the ‘Song of the Sea’ or Zawn Pyg.

At high tide it simply looks like a slit of Cornish light shining between the rocks, however at low tide, twin turquoise pools are revealed.

The best time of day to appreciate this is in the afternoon or early evening, when the sunlight casts a magical glow over the glistening pools. They are perfect for children to play in as they are quite shallow and slightly warmer than the chilly Atlantic Ocean (no wetsuits required!).

It’s no surprise that this is an Instagram hotspot as the many, many photos we have taken on our copious visits always look stunning whatever the weather. 

Why We Love Nanjizal

Children playing on Nanjizal beach at sunset

In my opinion it is one of the best beaches in Cornwall, as it has something for everyone. As a family we have been at all times of day and for different reasons. 

We have often stayed in the village of Trethewey, in the Old Sunday School (a beautiful building converted into a spacious, two bedroom holiday house), so we love the fact that we can walk out of the door and be there within 30 to 40 minutes on foot.

One evening we packed a fancy picnic including a bottle of Prosecco and headed down to watch the sunset. Being west facing is also another plus.

We enjoyed nibbling on cheese and meats bought from a local farm shop while the children climbed over the rocks and played in the crashing waves. While sipping our Prosecco we were lucky to spot a seal swimming in the distance by an outcrop of rocks which really made our youngest daughter’s day. 

Another time we walked down during the day with my mum who has a very lively Border Collie who loved the walk down to the beach and was in heaven to find that it is one of the few year round dog friendly beaches in Cornwall so she was allowed to bound in and out of the water playing fetch with the girls.

While we all sat and watched in the glorious midsummer sunshine. 

It’s perfect for walkers stopping on their way along the coastal path, nature lovers and couples who want a peaceful, romantic setting.

In contrast to the nearby Sennen beach (which we love for bodyboarding) but can become very crowded and busy in the summer months, it is a tranquil spot for those who enjoy peaceful golden sands and crystal clear waters. It is definitely one of our favourite places in the UK! 

Laura Mills bio pic
Written by Laura Mills

Laura loves travelling across the UK and abroad. She has two children and a husband who are often her travel companions. Beach holidays, cosy cottages, treehouse adventures and brunching are just a few of her favourite ways to spend her travel time.