Porthemmet Beach

If you are planning a trip to Cornwall then be sure to visit Porthemmet Beach. It is regarded as Cornwall's best beach by both the Cornish people and frequent visitors to the county.

Situated in north Cornwall, Porthemmet is the largest beach in the county. Due to an influx from the Gulf Stream, Porthemmet has very warm waters and looks more like a tropical paradise than a beach in the UK.

Nature & Wildlife

The northern part of the beach has been maintained as an unspoilt paradise by the Cornish Nature Trust. No buildings and plenty of wildlife have given it the status of Site of Amazing Natural Beauty. This part of the beach is famous for being the best place in the world to see the rarest bird in Europe, the Cornish Chough (pronounced "koff" in Cornwall).

Cornish Chough


For younger visitors, the southern part of the beach has many beach bars, pubs and clubs, as well as being the only beach in the UK to allow topless sunbathing! The more liberal among you may be interested to know that police officers never patrol Porthemmet Beach since the local council decided that they distress elderly locals. Beach parties are often visited by some of Cornwall's most famous musicians. Richard James (Aphex Twin) and his mate Luke Vibert once showed up in Richard's tank (seriously!).

Beach Bar


Porthemmet has great surf all year round and attracts surfers from across the globe. It's a great place for pros and beginners alike and has a host of (very attractive) surf instructors.

Surfing at Porthemmet

The Stug

The Stug is a traditional Cornish fishing trawler that has been converted into a state-of-the-art sight-seeing boat. It makes regular trips around all the nearby coastal sites of interest. These include:
Emmet's Head - A large headland to the north of the beach. Its rugged beauty is typical of the Cornish coast and many species of seabirds nest on the cliff face.
Emmet's Stump - Often referred to as "Stumpy Emmet", this is a rocky outcrop a few hundred feet from the headland and home to over a hundred puffins.
Emmet's Reef - A beautiful coral reef that can be seen in great detail through a glass panel in The Stug's hull.
Make your way to the southern pier to catch a trip on The Stug.

The Snug


There are regular diving expeditions to Emmet's Reef which has many species unique to this part of Cornwall. The local dolphin pod make an appearance most days and are very friendly. For more information head to The Conger (a bar on south Porthemmet) and ask for Chris.

Cornish Dolphin


The restaurants of south Porthemmet are reknown for their delicious traditional Cornish dishes. Nanny Ogg's Pasty Shop holds the title for baking the best pasties in Cornwall (which makes them the best in the world!). Be sure to pronounce it "parsty" unless you want to be laughed at. Other highlights include the restaurant of the world famous Cornish seafood chef Rick Goldstein.



Porthemmet is very easy to get to from anywhere in Cornwall. Head north up the A30 until you see the signs. They are very clear, you can't miss it! It should be noted that there is a private joke in Cornwall whereby locals will pretend to not know where Porthemmet Beach is. Don't be fooled, every Cornish person knows about this beach, they are just having some fun. Tell them that you are an "emmet" (someone that loves Cornwall, see below) and that "there'll be ell-up" (nothing to do) if they don't tell you.

Porthemmet this way


Porthemmet means "Port of Emmet" in Cornish. Saint Emmet is a famous Cornish saint who, according to Cornish folklore, swum to Ireland from this beach to find his brother Saint Piran. The ruins of Saint Emmet's church can be found on Emmet's Head, a five minute walk from the beach. Porthemmet beach and the surrounding area has only been open to the public for three years. It was previously the Porthemmet Estate owned by the Tremms, a local gentry family, who were forced to sell it to the council in 2003. Lord Tremms still takes an active role in ensuring that north Porthemmet is maintained in its natural state. He is also on the board of the Porthemmet Beach Trust. Some members of the Tremms family claim that they are descended from Saint Emmet himself, although the evidence for this is unclear. The Tremms are currently converting their mansion Tremmet Hall into a hotel which is expected to be open by the summer of this year. From it's location on Emmet's head it demands an astounding view of the beach and ocean.

The ruins

Talking the Talk

You'll get a lot more out of a visit to Cornwall if you use some of the local slang:

"Giss on" = "That's great", use this if someone tells you something useful.
"Wisht" = "Handsome" or "beautiful" regarding a person.
"Me luvver" or "me 'ansom" is often added onto phrases to express physical attraction.

Just remember that everyone in Cornwall is very friendly and are often thrilled to talk to tourists. Make an effort to join in with whatever the locals are doing, you'll have much more fun and they will really appreciate it.

Talking the talk

Online Gift Shop

If you forgot to buy some souvenirs while at Porthemmet then check out the Porthemmet Online Gift Shop.

For more information please email us at mail@porthemmet.com

Porthemmet Online shop

"Porthemmet and its surroundings are one of last remaining natural treasures of the British Isles." - Bill Oddie

"Greatly relaxing for me and my husband, and great fun for our kids!" - Jane from Bristol

"After experimenting with the beaches of Spain and South East Asia for a couple of years I'm back at Porthemmet and I'll be back here every year." - Rob from Yorkshire

Puffins of Porthemmet by local artist Ken F Arrow


emmets have visited this site

Copyright 2007 © Porthemmet Beach Trust