Just a headland away from Land’s End, Sennen is the very last beach in the west and, oh, is it worth the trip. Sapphire waters and an elegant curve of brilliant white sand make this a picture-perfect spot for family beach days. It also happens to be one of the top surf spots in the UK, with stretches suitable for all abilities.
Away from the beach, check out a smattering of places to eat and drink with stunning sea views, as well as galleries and artsy shops. With working fishing boats, and lobster pots and buoys gracing the harbour area, Sennen’s perfect-holiday-spot credentials come with a welcome dash of authentic Cornwall flavour.
Here’s the top 10 things to do in:
1) Set up camp on Sennen Beach
Whitesands Bay, also known as Sennen Beach, is a graceful crescent of brilliant sand that is legendary among sun and sea worshippers. It’s an easily accessible spot, too – there’s a slipway onto the beach from the nearby carpark. Lifeguards, amenities, toilets and snack options make this a hassle-free slice of coastal heaven for beach-loving families.
2) Surf the world-class Sennen waves
Sennen Beach faces head-on to the mighty Atlantic, which pushes crisp, powerful waves into the bay. This spot isn’t just for experienced surfers, either – there are areas of the cove suitable for beginners as well as pro-level riders. This makes it a great place to take your first plunge into the world of surfing, and experienced instructors are available to guide you.
3) Level up your surfing at Gwynver Beach
Getting your feel for the waves? Then you might like to join locals by hopping over to Gwenver, just north of Whitesands Bay. A superb surfing spot much-loved by Cornish riders, it is accessible from a steep grassy cliff path – a bit of a trek, but that also makes it less busy than Sennen. At low tide, you can actually walk here from Sennen Cove. While it is a bit more remote and there are no facilities, Gwynver is also lifeguarded during the summer months.
4) Discover the harbour area
Away from the beach, you can take a lovely walk along the roadside to the harbour area, where you’ll discover thatched cottages, fishing boats on the slipway and Sennen Lifeboat Station. The station is open in the summer and you’ll get great views looking over the lifeboat from the viewing gallery.
5) Visit the Roundhouse and Capstan Gallery
Now a commercial gallery, this eye-catching listed building was constructed in 1876 to house a huge man-powered capstan wheel, which winched boats up and down the slip. The upper floor, meanwhile, was a netloft. The lower floor still houses the old wheel, which is now covered with glass and used to display artwork. Definitely worth a visit, for the history and the art.
6) Walk to Land’s End
Restless feet? We have a spectacular little walk for you. A circular hike from Sennen to Land’s End is festooned with wild flowers in spring and offers bird-watching opportunities most of the year. Look out for fulmars, kittiwakes guillemots and more. And we haven’t even mentioned those breathtaking coastal views…
7) Watch the sunset
Where better to watch the sun set at the end of the western lands than at Sennen Cove? This is a spectacular spot to gaze seaward as the sun dips gently into the ocean. The beach is as good a spot as any, but if you’re thinking of relaxing with a sundowner, the beer garden at the Old Success Inn is a top choice.
8) Spot dolphins
Legend has it that Sennen Cove was once the famous haunt of mermaids. If that sounds a bit fishy to you, we have a more rational (but equally romantic) explanation. Dolphins! These marine mammals are frequent visitors to the cove and quite possibly account for the mermaid sighting. Keep your eyes peeled: they have been known to time their arrival and acrobatics just as the throbbing sun sinks into the ocean. Magical!
9) Go storm-watching
There’s another side to Sennen, of course, and balmy summer days tell only half the story. Visit in the wild and windy winter months and you may experience one of nature’s greatest shows. At the west end of the village, towards Land’s End, the sea is known to slam into the cliff face and explode high into the air, a majestic, awesome show of ocean strength you’ll feel in your chest as the waves thud and reverberate. This is a top storm-watching spot.
10) Drink in the sea views
Cornwall’s not short of watering holes looking over spectacular ocean views, but Sennen offers some of the best. Take a pew, order a chilled drink, light bite or meal and gaze over one of the finest coastal scenery in the British Isles.
Penzance: the ideal base for your Sennen Cove visit
If you’re thinking about visiting Sennen Cove, why not stay in Penzance. This famous port town is just eight miles away and offers some of the county’s finest restaurants, great nights out in atmospheric pubs, and a huge selection of places to stay. It’s also perfectly situated for day trips to some of the best spots in Cornwall, including Mousehole, Marazion, St Ives, Hayle, Falmouth, Porthleven and more.