Plan your visit to Kynance
There really is a lot to take in when you get to Kynance, not just the views but also the walks, the wildlife, the history - we could go on. We've compiled some of the need to know information below that will help you make the most of your visit. Please note that during the summer months Kynance can get extremely busy and the car park is often full before 11am. We recommend arriving early and at low tide to avoid disappointment.
Planning your day at Kynance Cove
Kynance Cove is rightly revered as a Cornish gem. Its white sands, turquoise water and serpentine rocks, smoothed by the sea, combine to make it one of the most photographed, filmed and painted beaches in Cornwall. The cove regularly features on lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and on a sunny day at low tide, you’ll see why it deserves this accolade.
Its name derives from the Cornish kewnans meaning ravine, and a stream cuts through the valley and across the beach. Low tide reveals a series of coves and interconnected caves, with splendid Victorian names such as the Ladies Bathing Pool and the Drawing Room. One rock is named after Prince Albert, who came ashore here with his children in 1846, and the largest island is Asparagus Island, named after the plant which is native and grows wild there.
How to get to Kynance Cove
Kynance is located on the exposed west coast of the Lizard peninsula, 2 miles north of Lizard Point, and is approached across wild open heathland, known locally as Downs. Be sure to plan your visit by the tide, as the beach almost completely disappears at high tide and take care not to get cut off by the rising water.
The walk from the National Trust car park, where members can park for free all year, is quite steep with steps at the bottom of the path onto the beach and can take about 10 minutes, there’s also an alternative pushchair route which is flatter and follows a track around the back of the beach to emerge by the café. This route, which you'll need to take at high tide, takes between 15 to 20 minutes. There is no public vehicular access to the cove.
History and wildlife
Kynance has been on the tourist map since the early Victorian era, when it became fashionable to go on excursions, to paint, to botanise and to take in the sea air. With the arrival of the railway to Helston, and connecting omnibuses on to Lizard, Kynance became a popular destination. It was even possible to hire a donkey for the last leg of the journey. Its royal connections, and links to poets and writers boosted Kynance Cove’s popularity. Alfred Lord Tennyson found inspiration in the views, and was impressed by the ‘glorious grass-green monsters of waves’. Kynance is also a mecca for naturalists, with the heaths and cliffs supporting a wide array of scarce species, from plants like asparagus and Cornish heath to ferns, lichens and rare moths. Listen out for the distinctive ‘chiaow’ call of the chough, a rare species of crow which has returned naturally to Cornwall’s cliffs in recent decades. Choughs can often be seen probing for grubs on the short cliff top turf.
There is a National Trust car park that is open all year at Kynance (manned or pay and display). The car park can become very busy and is often full in the peak summer months, there is no alternative parking available within 1 mile of the car park so to avoid disappointment we recommend arriving early.
There is a well-known and loved café on the beach run by Luke and Vicky from Lizard village. The cafe is normally open from Easter to the end of October half term and serves local ice cream, sandwiches, tea and coffee and even locally brewed beer. The views from the café stretch across a section of beach and provide a nice resting point for South West Coast Path walkers or those escaping the high tide. The cliffs above the beach offer panoramic views of the Lizard peninsula and are popular picnicking spots.
There are no lifeguards on the beach and there is a council enforced dog ban in operation on the beach from 1 July to 31 August, 10am-6pm, but you can still walk your dogs on the footpaths around the beach
Walking at Kynance Cove
The South West Coast Path links Kynance with Lizard to the south, and Mullion to the north, and this stretch offers walkers fantastic wild scenery.
A popular route is to follow the Coastpath south between Kynance and Lizard Point (approximately 2.5 miles), returning inland via Lizard village and Lizard Downs. Soapy Cove, 1 mile along the Coastpath to the north across Lizard National Nature Reserve, is a wild and isolated spot that is well worth a visit.
A bridleway crosses Lizard Downs inland of Kynance, reaching the A3083 at Mile End, and it is possible to link in with numerous other routes on towards Mullion. Please go properly equipped and take care if setting out on foot to explore the spectacular scenery around Kynance, as the coastal terrain is wild and isolated, and the weather can change rapidly.