The Best Sea Pools in Cornwall

Cornwall is famous for its beaches, but to immerse yourself in a truly Cornish experience, you have to try the hidden sea pools dotted around the Cornish coast.

Some of these sea pools are well known and you can’t miss them, some you could walk by and wouldn’t even know and the rest are well off the beaten path and hidden secrets.

Wild swimming and cold water swimming have massively grown in popularity, been linked to better mental and physical health and have become a major community and social activity for the locals of Cornwall.

Taking a dip in a tidal pool can also be a trip through Cornwall’s mining history as a few of the pools aren’t entirely natural and are remnants of miners creating their own bathing pools with dynamite!

When visiting any coastal or tidal pool, always check the tides, with the majority of these being accessible around low tide.

Cornwall’s coastal & tidal pools

These pools are all easily accessible but that can make them busier in the summer months.

Priest Cove – Near St Just

Part natural, part man-made, this tidal pool is nestled below a stunning cliff in Cape Cornwall and is a part of the National Trust. This is a great pool for kids and adults, with a shallower end as you enter that deepens the further you go. It is also a smaller and more remote beach, helping to keep crowds smaller. On days with more swell, you can watch the waves crash into the rocks and enjoy the calm pool.

Cape Cornwall is part of the Tin Coast and Cornish Mining World Heritage Site just north of Land’s End. Cape Cornwall has the iconic chimney stack you can walk to the top of the headland to see up close and personal. Priest Cove is connected to the coastal path and you can easily tick this spot off on a hike or E-bike tour along the coast.

This rock pool is easily accessible but it is easier to leave the buggy, stroller, or pushchair in the car. The best time to visit is in April and May when the headland is littered with bluebells.

Priest Cove Tidal Pool – Google Maps location

Mousehole Rock Pool

Mousehole is one of Cornwall’s most famous small fishing villages and has every reason to be. With iconic small cottages, harbour and narrow streets, it is a rare look into the fading fishing villages of Cornwall.

Mousehole Harbour

Mousehole Village is a must-see on any trip.


Beyond the harbour, you’ll find a scattering of rocks and a view looking out towards St Michaels Mount and back in towards Mousehole, making this a stunning rockpool to enjoy either a quick dip or sit back and relax in.

This is a very accessible rockpool located behind the Rockpool Cafe and a short step down the rocks and path to the pool. This is a pool that can get busy but is great for kids and families.

Mousehole Rock Pool – Google Maps Location

Chapel Rock – Perranporth

Chapel Rock pool at Perranporth is a blink and you’ll miss it, but it stands out like a sore thumb when you know where it is. Located smack bang in the middle of Perranporth beach, it’s hidden behind a group of large rocks sticking up in the middle. Once you climb up and see the pool, you’ll never miss it again.

Chapel Rock Pool

This pool is the most accessible pool, with easy access and a straight walk across the sand at low tide. However, this makes it the busiest and Perranporth is renowned for being very busy in summer with days where it can look like a festival.

If the tide is out but just lapping onto the rock formation, get in early before it fills up or the best time to come is early or late, or if all else fails, out of the main season when the beach itself isn’t so busy.

If you can’t find it, just ask the lifeguards.

Chapel Rock Pool – Google Maps location

Jubilee Pool – Geothermal – Penzance

The Jubilee Pool and Lido in Penzance is one of a kind in all of the UK, an art deco marvel from the 1930s that not only daily flushes itself with clean sea water but also harnesses a geothermal well to provide a temperature around 28-30 degrees!

Jubilee Pool Penzance

The Jubilee Pool is an Art Deco Masterpiece from the 1930’s.

For those who aren’t yet ready to take the plunge into the cold or looking for a reprieve from the winter cold, this is the spot to be. With a cafe within the centre and the beautiful streets of Penzance waiting to be explored, it’s a must-visit pool. Just be aware that this is not a free pool but is well worth the small admission price, with stunning architecture and views of St Michael’s Mount, Penzance and Marazion.

Jubilee Pool Penzance

Jubilee Pool Penzance

With paid admission, this pool is good any time of year but the best time is always winter when you want to escape the cold.

Portreath Rock Pool

The Portreath rock pool is easily found, near the end of the stone jetty/beachside of the harbour inlet.

Despite the wall of the jetty surrounding it, this is a natural tidal pool that you will have to wait for lower tides to access. A quick and easy step across the natural rock formations and you can enjoy a refreshing dip!

This is a very easily accessed pool despite the rocks, they are mostly flat and the beach has a full car park a short distance away. Portreath is also an iconic destination in Cornwall with a lot of walking trails passing through it.

Portreath Rock Pool – Google Maps Location

Porthtowan Rockpool

The Porthtowan rockpool is easily accessed but it is not easily found. Only found at low tide as you have to walk around the cliffs and up a few rocks, you’ll find a pool nestled under the cliffs and looking out to the sea.

Just be careful and time this around low tide as it can be easy to be stuck and caught by the tide here.

Despite the tide closing in, this is the best part of this rock pool as when the waves are there, you can watch them splash up against the rocks forming the pool. Time it well, just as the tide is going out and you’ll get the waves crashing and an easy walk back to the beach.

This tidal pool is not very well known and can be less populated in peak season than most.

Sheep Dip – Gwithian

To be honest, this one you can stumble across and not even think about but it is worth adding as it’s an amazing option for kids. Found just left after coming down the stairs of the main car park at Gwithian, there is a rock formation that naturally traps water within it. This one isn’t very adventurous but it is more of a rugged style.

sheep deep wild swimming

Sheep Dip Rock Formation at Gwithian

It is great for kids as it’s got a range of depths and rock pools you can look or splash in. Just read the signs by the lifeguards on your way down as the tide can trap you but it does need to be pretty high.

In peak season expect a lot of people to be playing around here.

Sheep Dip Gwithian – Google Maps Location

Mermaid Pools – For the more adventurous

For those who are more adventurous, there are the mermaid pools, these are the more off-the-beaten-path pools that are entirely natural and only occur when the tide drops. If you want to explore and are happy to find that hidden hole where there can be fewer people, then these sea pools are for you.

Marazion Tidal Pool

Check the bottom left corner of the sea, you’ll find a mermaid pool that appears on the right tide, right across from St Michael’s Mount.

Check the bottom left corner of the sea, you’ll find a mermaid pool that appears on the right tide, right across from St Michael’s Mount.

Kynance Cove Mermaid Pool

A rugged pool, nestled in the cliffs that allow you to jump in off the rocks, what more do you want? This is a great rock pool but not for the younger kids as it’s not as protected.

Thanks to the rock cliffs that let you dive in, this can still get pretty packed but plan it right and you might just get it to yourself.

Located in a remote part of Cornwall, down by the Lizard, there’s still a cafe but expect less parking than other pools, however, it is still worth it when you see the more rugged and natural landscape!

Kynance Mermaid Sea Pool

Kynance Mermaid Pool is located in the cliffs between the two beaches.

Kynance Mermaid Pool – Google Maps Location

Miners Pools – The secret pools

A lot of these pools are locked in local knowledge and aren’t well documented. Miner’s Pools are typically named after the miner who first created them using dynamite.

Pullandase Rock Pool – Porth Ledden

These pools are located near Porth Ledden and are big enough for a swim with deep water surrounded by large rocks. It looks back towards Cape Cornwall but be prepared that this is a bit of a scramble to access.

The Stackhouse Baths – Perranuthnoe

These pools date back to the 18th Century and aren’t a typical tidal pool. They are baths created to be concealed away from the public’s eye and provide a seawater bathing spot for John Stackhouse and his wife, the owners of Acton Castle in the 18th Century.

These are somewhere between caving and secret rock pool bathing. A must-see on the south coast.


Immerse yourself in Cornish culture, embrace the cold water swimming for either the fun of it, adventure or the health benefits and you’ll forge new memories or new routines! There are even more tidal pools than what we’ve listed here, the joy is going out and finding them. There are plenty with good beach and walking access, as well as suitability for families and young kids.

Just check tide times before you go and try to get them as the tide drops to make sure you don’t get stranded. If you are feeling more adventurous or want to experience Cornish history, try the Mermaid Pools or Miners Pools.

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