Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class surf schools, prehistoric rock formations - the coastline in the southwest of England is much more than simply sand and sea; they just happen to have that too. From the artsy vibe of St Ives to the paddleboarding paradise of Falmouth, we've selected our top eleven beaches in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

View of St Ives Harbour behind purple flowers

1/11 St. Ives Harbour Beach | Cornwall

Best for... exploring a working harbour

St Ives Harbour Beach is one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist destinations. There is sand here even at high tide, so plenty of sunbathing time and during low tide you can walk across to Porthminster Beach. Sitting on the doorstep of St Ives town, this beach is surrounded by lovely gift shops and galleries, as well as a plentiful supply of cafes and restaurants. This working harbour will entertain the kids for hours as they watch the local fishing boats delivering their catch. Take a stroll along Smeaton’s pier and check out the lighthouse at the end that has been there since 1890. There's parking available in town, but the spaces fill up fast, so also try St Ives Leisure Centre which has able spaces. The beach is just a 15-minute walk from St Ives train station. Dogs are restricted during the summer season between 8am and 7pm.