Kynance Cove is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Cornwall. It draws many people year after year and it’s easy to see why.
I’ve visited Kynance Cove many times and totally understand its appeal. With it’s striking serpentine rock and stack formation towering above fine, almost white, soft sand, it’s considered to be one of Cornwall most picturesque places.
My most recent visit took place just as lockdown was easing in the UK. I only planned to walk along the beach but ended up staying for a few hours. On the spur of the moment, I decided to walk the surrounding coast path which was coming to life with vibrant yellow gorse and other coastal faun and flora.
As it remains one of the most popular places to frequent in Cornwall. it’s high time I shared this comprehensive guide to Kynance Cove with you. Planning a visit to Kynance Cove can come with many questions. I’ve answered them all here, along with some additional tips, to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Where is Kynance Cove?
Kynance Cove is on the Lizard Peninsula in west Cornwall, so it’s on the same coast as other well known places like Mullion and Coverack. It’s about 2 miles north of Lizard Point, and is 27 miles from St Ives.
To get to Kynance Cove, follow the road to the Lizard. The turning is signposted, on the right. It’s pretty easy to find. If you need the postcode for satnav, it’s TR12 7PJ.
Who Owns Kynance Cove?
The National Trust own and maintain Kynance Cove, meaning it’s well looked after. In fact, I’m sure the steps down to the beach have been rebuilt since my last visit. It seemed much easier to get down this time round.
Thanks to the National Trust, it’s been well preserved. This means natural wildlife and vegetation, like Cornish heath, that can only be found on the Lizard, continues to thrive.
Is there a Car Park?
As with many National Trust places of interest, there’s a decent sized car park, and an overflow, at Kynance Cove. They’re usually manned as well.
The car parks are on the cliffs, above this stunning part of Cornwall. While there are 2 car parks, it’s best to get there early. For my most recent visit, I arrived at 9.30am on the first weekend of the Easter holidays, and the main car park was filling up quickly. There’s a car parking fee unless you’re a National Trust Member, in which case it’s free.
When’s the Best Time to Visit Kynance Cove?
When it comes to planning your visit there are 2 things to consider.
The first is tide times, so please check these beforehand. At high tide, Kynance Cove is absolutely stunning but there’s no beach to walk on. I arrived as the tide was going out and it was getting progressively busy.
While it’s important to factor in the tide, Kynance Cove is very popular in peak season. The car parks usually full up very quickly. There’s no alternative nearby parking either.
So my second piece of advice is, arrive early. If it’s high tide, think about exploring the south west coast path with a short walk (see below for ideas), engage in some mesmerising wave watching, go on a photography tour, or enjoy a picnic on the cliffs as you wait for the sand to appear.
How Accessible is Kynance Cove?
Generally speaking, most people can get onto the beach easily. I’ve seen small, preschool aged children wander down with adult supervision, as well as a man with a walking stick.
When it comes to accessing the beach for those who need assistance or use a wheelchair, I don’t see how this possible. Visiting Kynance Cove is certainly doable but I suspect you’d have to stay on the paths or higher ground. Even though it’s renowned for its stretches of soft sand at low tide, there are rocks and large stones at every entry point onto the beach.
How To Get Down onto the Cove?
There are 2 routes down to Kynance cove. The most direct is on a path from the overflow car park, which leads to some steep steps. This is the quickest route but for some, it’s not the easiest. It took me about 10 minutes in total from the car, bearing in mind that I went a bit crazy taking photos.
The alternative route is push chair friendly. This is the preferable option for those who use a wheelchair if you want to get closer to the beach and appreciate some of the surrounding views. The wide path starts beside the car park toilets and naturally goes around the back of Kynance Cove, eventually connecting to Kynance Cove Cafe. It’s a longer route, taking about 15 – 20 minutes, and is also the route to the cove at high tide.
More appropriately, there’s a disabled car park by Kynance Cove cafe. I haven’t driven down this road but I hear the path is steep, so do take care if you choose to park here.
Are There Toilets?
Good news. There are 2 sets of toilets at Kynance Cove. You’ll find toilets in the car park and more at the back of the beach, by Kynance Cove Cafe (more on that later!).
The car park toilets are maintained by the National Trust. As the car park is open all year round, I assume the toilets are too, aside from when it’s closed at night.
Is There Anywhere to Buy Food and Drink?
Kynance Cove is home to Kynance Cove cafe. It’s been in situ for decades, but was fully renovated in 1999. It’s open from March to November, and during the Christmas holidays (how lovely is that?).
Obviously it’s a popular place. Afterall, it has one of the best views. The cafe has a license to sell beer and cider, just perfect for seeing out a day by the sea. The cafe relies as much as possible on local Cornish businesses and suppliers, and they encourage all visitors to use the recycling facilities provided.
I don’t need to point out that you can buy a good Cornish pasty here, do I?
Is Kynance Cove Dog Friendly?
The great news is, dogs are allowed on Kynance Cove but there are some restrictions. A dog ban is in operation from 1st July to 31st August, between 10am and 6pm. However, you can walk your dog outside of these hours. Aside from these dates and times, dogs are allowed to enjoy Kynance Cove as much as their owners.
Needless to say, if you visit with your dog in peak season and can’t go on the beach, the surrounding coast path is a fantastic place to walk.
Is It Safe To Swim at Kynance Cove?
There are no lifeguards at Kynance Cove but that doesn’t mean it’s a safe place for sea swimming.
As tempting as it is to swim in these wonderful blues, riptides can happen here as much anywhere. The general advice seems to be to swim at low tide. However, there’s a warning sign at the back of the beach advising caution and alerting people to the strong currents.
If it were me, I may go in at low tide. But given the warnings, I wouldn’t go out of my depth. It’s simply not worth it.
Are there any good walks from Kynance Cove?
Of course, this is the Cornish coast path after all.
There are 2 walks I’d recommend.
Walk 1: From Kynance Cove to Lizard Point
I ran this route, and beyond, some time ago so can vouch for its beauty and outstanding views. It’s about 2 miles to Lizard Point. Here you’ll find the Polpeor cafe and the brilliantly named, Mungo Lils on the Hill, a gift shop selling coastal and Cornish goods.
It’s not far from here to carry on and walk to the Lizard lighthouse. Another sight and landmark I’d recommend.
Walk 2: On the South West Coast Path around Kynance Cove
I ended up walking this circular route during my recent visit to Kynance Cove, and what a beaut. I walked along the beach and headed up the coast path, opposite the cafe. It’s a steep climb but well worth it. An aerial-like view of Kynance awaited me at the top, bringing a whole new perspective of the cove and its surrounding coastline.
From here I followed the path around the back of Kynance Cove. It was easy to find and I soon met up with the wide track that connects to the car park.
It’s totally totally idyllic and stunning walk, like much of the Cornish coast. I saw Kynance Cove from every angle and was able to see the seasonal flowers doted along the coast path. This walk around wasn’t far at all, maybe just over a mile. Just don’t forget your camera!
If you’re interested in other walks and routes on the south west coast path, you may like Cornwall’s Tin Coast, from Botallack to Levant.
Can You Camp at Kynance?
I’m sorry to say, camping is strictly prohibited at Kynance Cove. However, I totally understand why someone would want to stay overnight. During my last visit, I overheard the car park attendant saying the car park closed at 6pm. I’m guessing this is partly for safety reasons, and to prevent overnight visitors.
There are campsites near Kynance Cove, at Kennack Sands and Coverack, both less than 10 miles away. Alternatively, Kynance Cove Cafe have a cosy cottage on the edge of the beach. I don’t think you could ask for a better location.
You’d you like to know more about Coverack, there’s a post on visiting Cadgwith and Coverack in a day.
How was Kynance Cove Formed?
I often look at the Cornish coastline and visualise my hand moving rocks and stacks closer to the cliff, trying to picture how it once looked. You can often tell, I think, how our coastline has shifted over time.
When it comes to Kynance Cove, it’s not as simple as that. According to the Geological Society, many of the rocks on the Lizard were originally kilometers below the earth’s surface. These include the rocks that make Kynance so recognisable.
Geologists tell us they were pushed up and made an appearance as two continental plates collided about 300 million years ago. The clue’s in the type minerals that make up the stacks, rocks and islands. It’s the same as that found beneath the earth’s surface. Clever stuff, isn’t it?
Do the Rocks and Stacks have names?
Of course they do!
Some rocks and stacks have the most uninspiring names. Seriously, how many Gull Rocks can there be? Some of the rock names at Kynance Cove are a bit more intriguing and come with their own story.
Looking at a photo of the stacks at Kynance, their names from left to right are, The Bishop, Gull Rock (told you 😄), Asparagus Island (the big round one), and Steeple Rock. Apparently, wild asparagus grows on the island with the same name. It seems a shame no one can get up there to pick some.
The caves that can be explored at low tide have names too, like The Drawing Room, the Parlour and Lion’s Den.
Well I think that’s it for all the Kynance related questions.
It’s important to plan your visit and make sure you have the best time. Kynance Cove is definitely a must-see whether you live in Cornwall or are visiting. You won’t be disappointed, that’s something I can promise you.
If you’ve been, let me know your thoughts.