There are few places in Cornwall to see a better sunset than at Sennen Beach. The beach that faces due west directly in to the full force of the Atlantic ocean is well equipped for catching those instagrammable sunset vibes most of the year round – but there’s so much more to this large Cornish beach than just its picturesque scenery.
Indeed, Sennen beach (that sits in Sennen Cove) is one of the most popular spots in South West Cornwall for surfers and dare devil body boarders. Indeed, the geography and elements combine for a perfect storm here and so the beach (and more so the ocean) is filled with adrenaline seekers all year round – and it gets pretty busy during peak summer.
It’s an ideal spot for families with young and older children alike – and at low tide the beach is vast – so even in the height of summer you can usually find a space to set up your mini camp.
Our girls simply love it here. And, we’ve got to say that we do too – it’s a great contrast to the smaller beaches and coves that litter the southerly facing shoreline.
Let’s take a look at all the key information you need for a successful visit to Sennen beach, before I give you a little more of an idea as to why we love it so much.
Our Favourite Places To Stay In Sennen
Best for families with stunning views (sleeps 7) – Mordros click here to book
Best for a romantic get away (sleeps 2) – The Old Beach Store click here to book
Best for larger groups (sleeps 12) – Creagle click here to book
Best hotel – The Old Success Inn click here to book
Best location on a budget (sleeps 4) – Sennen Cove Retreat click here to book
How To Get To Sennen Beach
Sennen beach is one of the easier beaches to navigate to whether you are arriving by car, foot or public transport. It sits just off the A30 and is well signposted. It’s just before or after Lands End (depending on which way you are heading) and you can’t really miss the turn off from the main road.
If you are heading there in the summer season then the Coaster also drops off and picks up at Sennen every hour.
For those arriving by car, there are two car parks at sea level and then an overspill carpark that sits at the top of the hill (on the right just after you turn off the A30) – this is perfect for those arriving later in the day and those with camper vans or larger vehicles. The good news is that there is always somewhere to park if you are heading to Sennen.
Our preferred carpark is the one further along the seafront near the harbour – as there is often a space here as it’s a little more hidden away and most people try to park next to the beach bar right next to the beach entrance. The beach bar car park (first turn on the right as you come to the bottom of the hill) gets very busy in summer though and can be tricky to navigate with so much traffic. We avoid it.
Every time we have arrived (even in peak summer) pre-11am we have managed to park on that second car park. You can pay via card or app too which is handy.
For those walking you can take the coastal path, with Lands End to Sennen being a popular route (or vice versa).
Sennen Beach Facilities
As mentioned, Sennen Beach is very popular with surfers and body boarders. So you will find everything surf related pretty well catered for – including a surf school and surf hire facilities (including wet suit hire). They run beginner to advanced classes and booking is advised.
Sennen Beach Bar (open from Easter to October usually) gets mixed reviews – but there is no denying the vibe and the views from here – they are some of the best in Cornwall. It’s not cheap, but it’s not crazily overpriced either and we had the pizzas which were actually pretty good. We’ve always found the staff to be super nice too.
They serve fast food and drinks from the lower hatch to keep the hoards of beach goers fed and watered.
The beach is lifeguarded during the day during the tourist season with 4 or 5 lifeguards usually on duty at any one time. They are very vigilant and due to the fast moving tide they are constantly moving the flags and assessing safety for everyone.
Along the harbour front you will find a pub with a front facing beer garden, a wonderful ice cream shop, a little cafe, a fish and chip shop and an RNLI shop too. There are toilets at both car parks and they are pretty well maintained considering how many people are using them.
There are few beaches that are so well equipped to deal with the masses of tourists as Sennen beach is.
Why We Love Sennen Beach
If you are anywhere local to Sennen Beach (and by that I mean within a 30 minute drive – we were a 5 minute drive) then it’s well worth a visit. During a two week holiday we will come to Sennen around 5-6 times during the day, and a few times at least during the evening.
Tip – If you pay for a 24 hour ticket you can leave and come back with your car if you wish, which is handy for beach by day, sunset by night – with a break in the middle).
The reason we visit so often is that our girls (aged 11 and 7 during our last visit) absolutely love it here. They have plenty of wide open space to play beach games and make sandcastles (when the tide is out), but above all else, they just can’t get enough of the waves.
Even when the waves are 9 feet tall, they generally break a few times and our youngest daughter is content to board on the last bit of surf as it breaks again practically on land. Our eldest daughter is a little more adventurous.
Ideal conditions are around 3-4 feet waves for body boarders and you’ll often get conditions like this. It is very very rare for there to be no surf at Sennen.
We tend to take it in turns to board with the girls – usually for an hour to 90 minutes at a time. So whilst one of the parents is in the water with them, the other can sleep or chill in peace – not a bad deal.
The added benefit is that the kids are exhausted come the evening so they hit the sack without a complaint.
Before bed though, finishing the day with a drive back down to the beach (with a usually half empty car park) and catching the sunset and sipping on a beer or cocktail in the beach bar, or even just taking a flask down to sit on a rock on the beach and watch the hardcore surfers, is the perfect end to a perfect Sennen day.
There really is something for everyone at Sennen – and if you’re lucky you might even spot a seal or a dolphin.
Co-founder of Big Little Travels, Jason has been an avid explorer his whole life. Having spent much of his twenties exploring Eastern Europe he now prefers to spend his time on his own shores and explore the wonders the UK has to offer along with his young family. He loves sharing his big and little adventures right here on Big Little Travels.