Naturist / Nudist Beaches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland

Perranporth Cornwall (north coast)


Large sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Naturism is now allowed on the beach only, but not in the dunes.

Official naturist beach

The resort of Perranporth is situated on the north Cornwall coast, south-west of Newquay. It boasts a huge sandy beach backed by the sand dunes of Penhale Sands. Naturist use of the northern part of the three-mile long beach has been known for decades. Naturism is allowed on the beach, but not in the sand dunes behind it. Beach patrols enforce this policy.

Getting There

Satnav: TR8 5PZ

From the westbound A30, the B3285 get you to Perranporth by way of Goonhavern. Shortly before getting to the town, at the top of a hill you will see the entrance to Perran Sands Holiday village. [ It may be possible to use the (paying) 'surfer's car park' within the holiday village.] At almost the same point, turn north on to a minor road which leads to the hamlet of Mount and (by way of a footpath) to 'St.Pirans Oratory'. About 1/4 mile along this road, park your car and follow footpath to the Oratory and beyond, over the dunes, to the sea. Alternatively, is quite possible to walk along the beach from Perranporth until you reach the nude section - the further end of this two-mile long beach.


This is a glorious wide expanse of golden sand, with an extensive area of dunes (Penhale Sands) on the landward side. Like many beaches along this coast, the North Atlantic waves often create surf conditions that attract enthusiasts from all over the country. When the surf is up, swim with care. Windbreaks could be useful too. This beach is properly called ' Perran Bay'. Naturists are also said to use 'Holywell Bay' - about a mile to the north, beyond the village of Holywell - and some guides confuse the two.

"Although the far end of the bay is advertised as a naturist beach the coastal path from Hollywell Bay leads directly into this section and this part of the bay does not afford any privacy"


In 2006, the commandant of the Army training establishment at Penhale (which extends over Penhale Sands) has announced that The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has decided to ban all nude sunbathing on the MOD owned part of Perran Sands; this ban extending throughout the sand dunes, the fore dunes and as far down as the mean high water mark

His letter announcing this ban states " Unfortunately the presence of the naturists has also attracted less savoury persons whose activities have caused the MOD to review their position of tolerance."

In early 2010, local media reported that Penhale Camp was to be closed and its training facilities moved to St. Mawgan near Newquay. In September 2010 a 40 acre section of the 1000 acre site was sold to 'Comparo Limited' for a reported £1.5 million . A Defence Estates' spokesman said: "The company which purchased Penhale has plans to create a leisure scheme for the site." The sale relates to the area occupied by the camp buildings and that the MoD will continue to use the sand dune area for training purposes.

By 2015, the complete ban had been relaxed. Naturism is allowed on the beach, but not in the sand dunes. There are beach patrols which enforce this. To be clear, the only access to the dunes is walking through them on the permissive paths - sunbathing isn't allowed.


There are good facilities in Perranporth. The beach may be patrolled by lifeguards in the high season.

Water Quality

Typical clean Cornish water with good waves for the surfers. In fact it meets the full EEC guideline standard for water quality at the Penhale end but only attains the lower standard at the village end



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i asked and recieved this today (5th August 2015) from BN. The beach is ok to use but not the dunes at all.
I have visited this beach on 3 occasions in 2010 and 2011. It is fine for naturist use on the beach it's self, and is patrolled for safety purposes by the lifeguards. They are supportive of respectable naturist use. I have seen no bad behaviour on my visits. On two of the three occasions there were about 30 naturists all having a relaxed and enjoyable time. The sea can get rough as the tide turns to come in. At low tide there is an excellent warm(ish) stream that springs from the cliffs and is pleasant to soak in.
Nobody intends to annoy anybody, but you just have to be careful.
Too much is made of who is or who isn't nude. Just go there and strip off if you want to. Don't annoy others and enjoy. Beaches in spain now are the way forward. Some naked virtually anywhere, some not. Lets hope it is happening over here now as well. People just getting used to the fact that some people like to be naked on a beach. No big deal.
[I] have been using perran for serveral years both textile and as nature intended... yes there was a small period when the gay visitors to the dunes possibly could have spoilt a great spot in our county from being used by naturists. I try to go to the beach at perran when I can and always see naturists at the far end (and have done for 18 years) even durring the so-called ban. If you are sensible and respect the army guys and gals when you see them (which is rarely) you will not have a problem, if you want to [be anti-social] - PLEASE STAY AWAY
I think Perranporth beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Due to a small minority, it is a shame that this beach is closed for naturist use. I would have gone back to it as it is an absolutely breath taking beach. But if I do, I will have to go textile style next time.
Have used this beach on many occasions, a quiet spot, with plenty of nudists... just people enjoying being naked!!
"Penhale Sands is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited. I have noticed that the centre of this enormous beach is used by textiles in one crowd - coming from the "Haven" holiday park, down a ramp. It is an extremely long walk to the naturist section at the far end (to the right). Some people were seen spread along the sandy banks of the dunes and most were textiles and had found one or two naturists more less quarter of the way to the naturist section. I then came along to the naturist part and found most naturists grouped together in the corner. The downside is, that the naturist section seems to accumulate seaweed and bits of strewn rubbish while the rest of the beach is sparkling clean. There were groups of single men, women and couples ranging from over 40 years of age. There were the odd glimpes of members of the public who raised a smile or two as they had walked from the coast path from the top of the cliff that takes them from Holywell Bay.
I visited the beach one evening, not as warm as I would like, but pleasant. A very good beach, plenty of space and very few people. A fantastic place for splashing in the water and relaxing. Saw one other nudist. Would recommend it.
We were never bothered by the life guards or the public - in fact they used to wave as we sunbathed with our two dogs. We were discreet using a beach shelter and covering up - i.e. swimsuit to bathe in. Apart from that we could sunbathe totally nude and roam around our area.



Tag and upload photos to the UK Naturist Beach group on Flickr. Photos should be of the beach, or show the way to it. They should NOT have people in them.

Good things come to those who wait.

Nearby Photos

These photos, which have been tagged as 'safe', were all taken nearby.

Good things come to those who wait.

Places to Stay