With no shortage of dramatic coastal landscapes, charming seaside towns, and ancient castles, Cornwall has some of the most picturesque views in the UK.
There’s no better way to end a day exploring Cornwall than watching the Cornish sunset!
From beaches and coastal towns to iconic landmarks, we’ve rounded up some of the best spots to watch a Cornish sunset that guarantees a breathtaking, picture-perfect view you won’t forget.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the following spots in Cornwall:
- Fistral Beach
- Watergate Bay
- Land’s End
- Chapel Porth and Wheal Coates Mine
- Godrevy Beach
- Holywell Bay
- Bedruthan Steps
- St Micheal’s Mount
- Minack Theatre – Porthcurno.
Without further ado, here’s our guide to the best sunsets in Cornwall.
With its sandy pools, sheltered stream, and plenty of sand dunes to climb around, Holywell Bay is a popular beach with families.
Located on the northern Cornish coast, Holywell Bay is known for its incredible sand dunes and breathtaking sights.
With plenty of fun to have in the daytime, from surfing and sunbathing to making sandcastles, Holywell also offers some of the best views of the Cornish sunset.
As the sun sinks behind the offshore Gull Rock, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another planet!
Watch as the setting sun turns the sand into gold while the jutting rock formations perfectly frame your view of the ocean, turning it into a mesmerising silver against the light pastel sky.
Holywell is a wonderful way to spend a day (and evening) and is perfect for a relaxing time with the whole family.
Chapel Porth and Wheal Coates Mine
Historically, tin and copper mining has contributed to a large part of Cornwall’s economy, with the county being the world’s biggest copper producer during the eighteenth century.
While the last tin mine in Cornwall closed in the nineties, their remains have transformed into picturesque landmarks with rich histories.
The Wheal Coates mine at Chapel Porth is one such former mine and it has also earned the distinction of being of the most photographed mines in Cornwall—and for good reason.
Located not far from St Agnes Head, the coal mines sit beautifully against a landscape of purple heathers and bright yellow gorse and overlook the coast where Chapel Porth beach lies.
Walk the coastal tin mining walk just before the sun sets to explore the remains of the mines and stare at the stunning horizon where the brilliant blue of the Atlantic meets the sky.
As the afternoon turns into evening, the azure sea turns purple beneath the colourful sky. Marvel as the final rays of sunlight hit the ruins of these historic stone buildings, bathing them in a soft pink light before turning them into striking silhouettes.
A list of the best places to watch sunsets in Cornwall isn’t complete without Godrevy Beach.
Here, you can walk the miles of golden sandy beach or go for a walk up around the headland to view the stunning sunset at Godrevy Beach.
If you’re looking for a swim, dive into the crystal clear waters at one of Godrevy’s two large rock pools. While enjoying yourself, look up and watch as the skies turn pastel.
You can even go for a moonlit swim once the sun has gone down!
Fans of Virginia Woolfe may recognise the Godrevy Lighthouse on the island just off the coast, which served as an inspiration for her novel To the Lighthouse.
Whether or not you’re a literature fan, you’re sure to appreciate the sight of the Godrevy Lighthouse as something out of a postcard– perfectly framing the view of the sunset.
Known as the best and most popular surfing spot in the UK, Fistral Beach in Newquay is also one of the best places in Cornwall to watch the sun go down.
Find yourself in a little piece of heaven while you watch (and even join) the surfers catching some evening waves on this iconic beach.
Take in the day’s last golden rays of sunlight glinting on the water and watch as the sky turns into a blend of warm pinks and purples.
The Fistral beach offers some of the best and most serene places in Cornwall to watch the sunset.
Indulge in the panoramic view of the ocean and sky, feel your feet sink into fine warm sand while the evening breeze brushes by you, and relish the seaside ambience of seabirds and crashing waves—Fistral beach is the perfect place to end the day.
Another well-known surfing beach, Watergate Bay is a popular site to watch the day turn into night– and it certainly lives up to its hype.
The gorgeous Cornish sunset—sometimes painting the sky with tranquil pastels, sometimes decorating it with dramatic reds and oranges—is the perfect backdrop against the surrounding cliffs that fall and stretch out into the horizon.
End your day by strolling barefoot on the long, two-mile flat beach, and watch the evening sun sparkle against the fine golden sand while the waves lap at your feet.
For the adventurous, why not catch a wave while the sun sets and appreciate the way the water around you catches the colours of the sky?
You can also go for a hike and watch the sun retreat into the Atlantic Ocean from the cliffs flanking the beach.
If you’re ready to rest your feet, you can relax and take in the sea view with a drink and some locally made food at one of Watergate Bay’s many eateries looking out over the coast.
However you decide to spend your evening, you’re bound to appreciate the beauty of the Cornish sunset at Watergate beach.
One look at Land’s End, or Penn an Wlas in Cornish, and you’ll immediately understand how it earned its name.
Rolling green hills fall dramatically into steep rocky cliffs that jut out into the ocean, and you can easily imagine it as the edge of the world.
As Britain’s most southwestern point, Land’s End is emblematic of Cornwall’s rugged coastline and has been an iconic Cornish sight for millennia. The landmark itself has also inspired many myths and stories throughout time.
Arthurian legend claims that King Arthur’s realms once extended past Land’s End, all the way to the Isles of Scilly. Known as Lyonesse, this area was said to have been lost to the sea in a single night.
While the “Lost Land of Lyonesse” might be underwater, we’re rewarded today with the breathtaking sights of waves crashing against wild cliffs, rocky arches, and sea stacks, made especially spectacular when illuminated by the golden light of the setting sun.
If you bring some binoculars, you’ll also see some of the Cornish wildlife that calls Land’s End home, such as gannets, shags, razorbills, and the Cornish chough. These birds are a sight to behold when they’re bathing in the warm glow of the evening sun.
While you’re there, make sure to snap a photo of the offshore Longships Lighthouse– a lighthouse built in 1875 that stands in the sea and casts a lovely silhouette in the sunset.
Bedruthan is one of Cornwall’s more geologically fascinating beaches. Contributing to Cornwall’s rough coastline, the view over the rocky cove is dramatic. The beach itself is known for its massive slate formations that stand amid the sand.
At high tide, these giant rocks appear striking as waves crash against them. Bring in the added drama of a sunset, and the view will certainly take your breath away.
Due to a cliff fall, beach access at Bedruthan has unfortunately been closed since 2021, but it’s still worth a visit!
You can view the sunset over the beach from the cliffs fringing the cove. Gorgeously dotted with shrubs of pink thrift flowers, the clifftop viewpoint up in the headlands will offer some of the best views of Cornwall’s majestic natural beauty.
The miles of golden sand and huge surf that make up Perranporth can be found along the northern edge of Cornwall.
The massive beach was named the best beach in the British southwest by the Sunday Times in 2022 and has won multiple Seaside Awards over the years. A stroll along the beach is sure to convince even the most stubborn of sceptics!
Perranporth has everything you want from a beach—fantastic surf, sand dunes, rockpools, caves, a nearby village with plenty of beachside eateries to choose from, and a large stretch of beach that will let you feel secluded and in your own private space.
Of course, you have to end the day by watching the sun recede into the Atlantic. Smell the salty air as the shimmering water mirrors the changing sky, and you’ll be rewarded with a picturesque view of the sunset.
You simply can’t miss the sunset views over Perranporth.
St Micheal’s Mount
When you’re in Cornwall, visiting St Micheal’s Mount is an absolute must. Found off the coast of Marazion and steeped in history, St Michael’s Mount is a tidal island topped with a historic mediaeval castle and church originally built in 1135.
The island looks like something out of a fairytale book, and fittingly, it has a whole list of stories and legends associated with it—from mermaids and giant killers to the Archangel Michael.
Visitors can walk to the island from the mainland via a granite causeway when the tide is low. During high tide, this causeway can still be seen through the clear water, and the island can then be reached by boat.
Wherever you are at St Michael’s Mount, whether you’re in the gardens viewing the church, at its harbour, or even on the stone causeway, you’re bound to witness a memorable and truly magical sunset.
Pronounced “Mow-Zel”, Mousehole is a quaint fishing village on the southern coast of Cornwall. Described by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas as the loveliest village in England, this charming seaside settlement is stunningly picturesque.
During the day, explore and delight in the shops that line the tiny village’s narrow streets and meet the friendly locals.
Watch small boats bob in the water as you watch the sun sink past the harbour gates and wash the coastal village in pink light. Pair the sight with an iconic Cornish stargazy pie from the village’s historic Ship Inn, and you’ll be in for a treat!
If you happen to be in Cornwall around Christmas time, you must absolutely visit Mousehole to see its Christmas lights illuminating the village and the harbour at sunset.
This classic Mousehole tradition started in 1963 and has since delighted both locals and visitors every year.
Minack Theatre – Porthcurno
This incredible open-air theatre looks out over azure water, making it the perfect place to sit down and view the sunset in Cornwall.
First opened in 1930 by Rowena Cade, the Minack Theatre was built into the granite hills of southwestern Cornwall, largely by hand.
A tribute to the natural landscape, the theatre complements the rugged beauty of the hills while still maintaining much of the surrounding natural formations.
With many decorative details created by Cade herself, the theatre is a sight to behold no matter the time of day, but it’s the light of the sunset that makes the sight truly incredible.
The Minack is a working theatre, meaning that there are often performances and theatre productions that run at this iconic spot. The sunset becomes a breathtakingly spectacular backdrop against some Shakespeare, opera, or orchestral performances.
As the day fades into night, you can also appreciate the performances under the glow of moonlight and the night stars. Watching a show at the Minack is an experience you shouldn’t miss!
Just remember to book your admission to the Minack in advance, as they admit people based on timed entry. Fortunately, once you’re in the space, you’re welcome to stay until closing.
Introducing Eliot, the Editor here and Cornwall local with a wanderlust spirit and an insatiable appetite for adventure. With a passion for the great outdoors, he can often be found catching waves on his surfboard, scaling peaks on a hiking trail, or discovering hidden gems in his exploration of Cornwall.