Mawgan Porth comes from the Cornish “Porth Maugan” meaning “St. Mawgan’s cove”, or Porth Glyvyan, which translates to “cove of the Gluvian River”. Mawgan Porth is a beautiful beach which can seem fairly compact at high tide, but once the water drops it is surprisingly spacious. It’s also less crowded than the nearby Watergate Bay and Newquay beaches, and has retained its village feel. The hillside is clustered with million pound mansions overlooking the picturesque sands, and the beach is a lovely spot to swim and surf.
The Mawgan Porth Car Park is behind the Merrymoor Inn and provides easy access to the beach. There is limited parking in Mawgan Porth itself, but a regular and reliable bus service runs up the coast between Newquay and Mawgan Porth and is a great option if you want to leave the car at home.
Mon – Sun 08:00 – 00:00
All Day – £8.00
The beach is easily accessed from the B2376, simply cross over the road if you’ve parked at the public car park, and if you’ve arrived by bus it’ll drop you right at the beach.
The public toilets are near the entrance to the beach.
Lifeguard Patrols 2023 (Check with RNLI for latest schedules):
Easter School Holidays 01-16 April
Weekends only 22 April-23 April
Daily 29 April-24 September
Weekends only 30 September-15 October
October Half Term 21-29 October
Patrol times 10am-6pm
Stay within the black and white flags if you are surfing
Stay within the red and yellow flags if you are swimming or bodyboarding
If you are visiting the beach outside of lifeguarded hours then read the local signs and exercise caution in the water. If you find yourself in trouble in the water, stay calm and float to survive.
Mawgan Porth beach is dog friendly with dogs allowed on the beach all year round
Mawgan Porth is one of the most underrated waves in Cornwall, it’s a real locals spot. It’s open to swell, even more than Fistral and Watergate, so a good place to go when it’s flat elsewhere.
Be aware that due to its swell magnet status, it can be treacherous. The lifeguards have their work cut out here so it’s best to go on smaller days.
Mawgan Porth is a bit of a phenomenon, in that when you look at the waves as you drive down the hill towards the beach, it often looks rubbish, but when you get out there it’s actually really great. It’s this appearance of mediocrity which allows Mawgan Porth to fly under the radar, stay relatively uncrowded, and be enjoyed mostly by locals who aren’t fooled by appearances.
There are 2 great areas to surf, the left hand side (south side) of the beach at low tide, here the waves stand up next to the rock and wedge off it, giving a left hand bowly peak which can get busy with locals.
Also when the tide is a third of the way in, there are cool waves that are right hand wedges; when it’s on it is one of the better waves in Cornwall.
Mawgan Porth has plenty of lovely refreshment options, including the Merrymoor Inn, Cornish Fresh, Muddle & Press, Catch Seafood, N.42 Noodle Bar and more. If you fancy more formal dining then Scarlet (a 4 star hotel) is up the hill and offers a wonderful restaurant experience.
In 2020, Storm Alex sent huge waves crashing into the north Cornwall coast, uncovering an ancient forest habitat on Mawgan Porth beach, which had been previously covered by sand. A thick layer of peat had preserved the ancient branches, beetle shells, hazelnuts and grass in a kind of muddy time capsule; the items are believed to date from around 300-400 BC.
This was not a brand new discovery as in 1839 Henry Thomas De La Beche wrote in his book, Report on the Geology of Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset that “traces of submarine forests” had been found at Mawgan Porth. A fascinating theory has arisen, that this forest matter was washed down onto Mawgan Porth beach 1700 years ago, due to Cornwall’s early tin streamers who sought tin by washing and sifting the clay, silt, sand and gravel from rivers and streams.