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From the Blog

Cornwall's best tidal pools: 12 hidden swimming spots

Posted by Bethany Walton on Updated on

Dive into Cornwall’s serene tidal pools

Cornwall is not only renowned for its stunning beaches and world-class surfing spots, but also for its enchanting sea pools. These secluded coastal gems provide a unique swimming experience, offering safe and sheltered waters away from the open sea. As a team of cold-water lovers, we've rounded up the best sea coves and tidal pools in Cornwall, from the popular man-made pool at Bude to the secluded inlets of Portreath.

Before any tidal pool swim, be sure to check the tide times, weather conditions and pack appropriate swimming gear. The summer waters can be warm, but a wetsuit will help keep the cold out and we’d always recommend bringing a towelling robe and a jumper for afterwards.

1. Bude Sea Pool

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Tucked away on the North Cornwall coast, Bude Sea Pool is a true haven for swimmers. This partially man-made pool is created by natural rock formations, offering a safe and tranquil swimming environment for all ages. Whether you want to take a leisurely dip or practice your strokes, it's great for those beginning to dip their toes into the world of cold-water swimming.

2. Trevone Tidal Pool

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Located near the picturesque town of Padstow, Trevone Bay is a delightful swimming spot that comes alive at mid-tide. As the water fills the rocky inlet, it creates an incredible natural pool, perfect for a refreshing swim. Surrounded by scenic cliffs and golden sands, it’s a much-loved spot for locals to take a dip no matter the time of year. Once back on dry land, head over to Trevone Bay Stores where hot Cornish pasties await.

For those looking to stay nearby, The Quarter Deck and Samphire make wonderful beach houses with sparkling sea glimpses.

3. Porthtowan Rock Pool


Nestled within the dramatic landscapes of West Cornwall, Porthtowan’s sea pool is nothing short of spectacular. As the tide recedes, the man-made rock pool is revealed towards the Eastern side of the beach and provides a safe and serene swimming spot for a summertime dip. If you miss the tides, the shallows of Porthtowan are still great for a swim - as long as the waves stay below a couple of feet.

Afterwards, warm up with salty fish and chips from Seasmiths or head into the famous Blue Bar for a post-swim pint.   

4. Song of the Sea, Nanjizal

For a truly magical swimming experience, head to Nanjizal Beach near Land's End. This hidden cove boasts crystal-clear turquoise waters, dramatic rock formations, and a magnificent natural archway known as the 'Song of the Sea'. For those who love to snorkel, dive into the waters and explore the underwater caves that lie just below the surface.

Not far away is our incredible sea-view home, Breakwater. Return home from the ocean and plunge into the hot tub as golden hour descends on the horizon, or retreat to the cinema room to relax for the evening.

5. Polperro Harbour

Located on the south coast, Polperro is quintessentially Cornish with its sparkling blue waters and cottage-lined streets. Here, you’ll find a salty sea pool separate from the ocean and only accessible at mid tide. The summer rays warm the shallow waters fairly quickly, so there’s no need to don your wetsuit here. After your swim, wander through the narrow streets of Polperro and dip into the ice cream parlours and sweet bakeries dotted amongst the village.

Stay nearby in the idyllic south coast town of Downderry. Equipped with an outdoor shower and hot tub, Amar is the perfect place to retreat to after days spent in the sea. Additionally, Eden has an ocean-view resistance pool, meaning you can indulge your love for swimming here too.

6. Mousehole Harbour


Nestled within the fishing village of Mousehole, this tidal rock pool offers a refreshing oasis for swimmers seeking a serene and safe place to dive into the waters. Large and shallow, the rock pool was man-made in the 20th century for locals to swim in a secluded spot away from the waves. Whether you're an experienced swimmer or a novice seeking a gentle introduction to wilder waters, Mousehole rock pool welcomes everyone.

Accessible throughout most of the day, the sea pool offers a perfect setting for a leisurely swim and due to its proximity to the village, it makes an ideal spot to start or end the day of exploring Mousehole.

Stay nearby at our harbour-view hideaway, The Mouse House. Located within walking distance of the town, it's the perfect place to rest after days of exploring and swimming. 

7. Whipsiderry, near Newquay

Escape the crowds and discover the secluded sea pools at Whipsiderry, just north of Newquay. Only accessible at low tide, the shallow waves form a calm and inviting pool sheltered by the surrounding cliffs. Enjoy a peaceful swim while marvelling at the stunning coastal scenery that surrounds Newquay. Keep in mind, Whipsiderry Beach is accessed via a long flight of steps from the coast path – so the walk back up can be quite the challenge. Pack lightly and be prepared!

Looking to explore North Cornwall for the week? Stay close by at our spectacular beachside home, Sea House. With its own indoor pool and far-reaching ocean vistas, it makes a great base for discovering local beaches, cold-water swimming spots and shoreline restaurants.

8. Treyarnon Rock Pool

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Accessed only at low tide, Treyarnon Bay’s rock-hewn pool reveals crystal-clear waters not far from shore. The gently sloping sides and shallow depths make it a safe and inviting spot for families to paddle and play. Surrounded by rock pools and golden sands, this swimming spot provides a natural port-of-call for summertime dips. Whether you choose to swim, sunbathe, or simply sit back and soak up the scenery, Treyarnon Bay’s tidal pool promises to soothe the soul.

True to its name, Treyarnon View enjoys far-reaching sparkling sea views, nestled above the beach and not far from Constantine Bay. There's an outdoor shower, wetsuit dunk tank and heavenly hot tub, making it one of our most-loved destinations for active getaways. 

9. Priest Cove, Cape Cornwall

Situated on the rugged coastline near St Just, Priest Cove tidal pool is a wild and picturesque swimming location for those who love to explore new places. The natural rock pool nestled within the cliffside provides a serene setting for an afternoon of bathing, with stunning views stretching across the Atlantic Ocean. There’s parking nearby in the National Trust car park and a little café serving teas and coffees for a post-swim pick-me-up.

10. Battery Rocks, Penzance

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Located in Penzance between the Jubilee Pool and South Pier, Battery Rocks is a hidden gem that only reveals itself at low tide. As the waters recede, a series of natural rock pools emerge, offering a safe spot for swimmers of all ages.

Take a leisurely swim in these magical pools and admire the views stretching across Mount’s Bay. It’s dog-friendly too, so your four-legged friends can join you for a quick dip. And, as the name suggests, there are plenty of smaller rock pools nearby for little ones to explore and discover their underwater inhabitants.

11. Chapel Rock, Perranporth

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Known for its vast sandy beach, Perranporth also boasts a natural tidal pool known as Chapel Rock. This sheltered sea pool, accessible at low tide, offers a peaceful swimming spot away from the waves. Surrounded by golden sands and towering cliffs, it’s a great place to relax for a few hours. Cool off in the refreshing waters or sunbathe on the rocks surrounding the pool – then find a spot on the sand and visit The Watering Hole for lunch.

12. Portreath Rock Pool

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Concluding our list of must-visit sea pools, Portreath is a relatively unknown, but easy to find spot on the north coast. There’s parking nearby at the beach car park, and the tidal pool can be found after a short walk along the harbour wall.

A great place to swim when the sea conditions are a little rough, the low-tidal pool is calm and sheltered. Visit here during the cooler months and don your winter wetsuit before taking the plunge – the quieter conditions mean seals are often spotted bobbing their heads above water.


Wondering where else to swim in Cornwall?

Read our guide to wild swimming which takes you through the dos and don’ts, as well as the best places to brave the open waters.

Image credits: Bude and Perranporth (left) by Matt Jessop via Visit Cornwall | Perranporth (right) by Adam Gibbard via Visit Cornwall | Portreath by Visit Cornwall | All other images are our own or from Unsplash 


Posted by Bethany Walton

Beth can usually be found on a Cornish beach or enjoying a swim in the sea. She has great insight about where to visit across the county, plus plenty of recommendations for finding the best Cornish ice cream.

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