Porth is technically a village in its own right, and feels very separate from Newquay bay when you’re on the beach itself. The suburban sprawl links Newquay and Porth with no clear distinction, but on the beach itself it has its own distinct vibe. Due to the long narrow nature of the beach, and the cliffs on either side, Porth often has relatively calm water (compared to the bay), and is a regular spot for paddleboarders and swimmers.
Porth has a very quirky beach car park right on the sand (accessed from Porth Beach Road), it’s currently closed due to the number of cars getting stuck there. If it does re-open please check the tide times and the height of the tide before parking, as spring high tides catch users of this car park out every time. There is alternative and less risky parking on the opposite side of Alexandra Road, it’s a pay and display car park and a very short walk to the beach. Users of The Mermaid Inn can also use their parking which is right next to the beach.
Porth can be accessed at several places with relative ease, there are no steep steps to contend with. If you are walking around on the south west coast path from Newquay then there are some steps, but not if you access from the Porth car parks themselves.
There are public toilets by the main entrance to the beach, next to the beach car park.
Lifeguard Patrols 2023 (Check with RNLI for latest schedules):
Daily 13 May-24 September
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.
Porth Beach has a seasonal dog ban. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 15th May to 30th September between 10am and 6pm. Outside these hours and from 1st October to 14th May dogs are allowed and you can walk your dog on the beach. Please check local signage for updates.
At low tide Porth is super exposed to swell, and offers similar size waves to its neighbour, Lusty Glaze.
But it’s as the tide comes in that Porth really comes into its own. It’s a long, narrow beach with cliffs on either side, this means it’s generally very protected from the conditions out in the bay. It’s also a very flat beach with no shelf, this makes the waves slow down which is brilliant for learner surfers and bodyboarders. Porth can be viewed as a port in the storm, when conditions are wild elsewhere, take a look at Porth, you might just find the mellow conditions you’re looking for.
There is a river that runs down the side of the beach and out to sea. Be aware of this rip current if you’re a novice as it may catch you out. If you’re experienced you can use the rip to paddle out with ease.
For experienced surfers, at mid to high tide you can walk up the left hand side of the beach along the rocks, then jump in behind the breaking waves. It’s a pretty unique feature to be able to walk outback.
Porth island is separated from the mainland, and accessed by walking over a bridge. If you’re experienced there is a cool little known paddle route under the bridge that cuts through to Whipsederry beach.
Porth has several lovely options. The Mermaid Inn is right on the sand and serves up hearty pub grub and generous portions. There is ample outside seating to enjoy the view.
On the other side of Alexandra Road there is Roo’s Beach which offers take away coffee and cake, and Estrella Morada which is a funky tapas bar.
Over by the beach car park are Cafe Coast Porth and Gwenna Teahouse, both of which offer great refreshment options.
Porth was known as St. Columb Porth, and was originally a small port for the village of St Columb Minor, and used for importing coal, salt, lime and a range of other cargo. When Newquay became a china clay port, boats unloaded their coal on Porth Beach and then sailed to Newquay to pick up china clay.
Before the main road around the beach, Alexandra Road, was constructed in 1902, all traffic had to cross the beach and ford the river to get over to Watergate Road.
Archaeologists have confirmed that the headland on the north side of Porth Beach was the site of an Iron Age promontory fort, this area is known as Trevelgue Head or Porth Island. You can see the evidence of it clearly, as the bronze age ramparts and two round barrows still remain. In 1939, archaeological excavations of Trevelgue Head discovered the foundations of Iron Age roundhouses believed to date from the 2nd century BC.