One of the reasons the west country is a firm favourite for families is its spectacular coastline. Discover the 11 best beaches in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

porthgwidden beach bay with cliffs

1/11 Porthgwidden Beach, St. Ives – Cornwall

Best for... a real sun trap

Recommended by the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide in 2015 for its excellent water quality and a recipient of the Blue Flag award for its high seaside standards, Porthgwedden beach, St Ives, will satisfy even the highest expectations for a safe and clean family beach. Smaller than others in St Ives, the beach is often overlooked, but is benefits from its sheltered location that makes it a real suntrap.

Enjoy a meal or afternoon tea at the Porthgwidden Beach café which specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood and has unrivalled views across the bay to the lighthouse. The cafe also offers beach chalets which can be hired daily. These come with two deck chairs and offer the freedom to store your buckets and spades and come and go from the beach as you please. Remember to book in advance, however, as demand is high.

Dogs are welcome, with the exception of the first Sunday before Easter and 30 September.