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


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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