Frankly speaking, I can never get enough of beaches! The cool ocean breeze and rolling waves never fail to mesmerise me.
Besides, you can always find something interesting at the beach – be it the people or the oceanic curiosities washed ashore by the waves. On that note, one of these curiosities that I found here during my travels is sea glass, which has fascinated me ever since.
It’s not just me either – these objects have intrigued most beachcombers for a long time. And Cornwall is one of the best places in the world where you can find them in abundance, thanks to its long coastline.
But the question is – which Cornish beach is the best for collecting sea glass? That is just what this guide is about. So, get ready to begin your sea-glass hunting adventure!
What Is The Appeal Of Sea Glass?
Sea glass, also known as beach glass or mermaid’s tears, is formed due to the degradation of broken pieces of glass from various sources, such as glass bottles, jars and other glass objects. The smooth sea glass is formed when they are tumbled and weathered by ocean waves, sand and rocks over a period of years or even decades.
You can find sea glass along shorelines and beaches around the world, where they are often washed ashore by the tides. However, certain areas are more abundant in sea glass due to factors like historical dumping sites or specific currents.
Collectors, enthusiasts and tourists are drawn to sea glass for its inherent beauty and mystique. After all, it is an interesting artefact that is the result of nature’s artistic collaboration with human-made glass waste.
Each piece of sea glass is unique, distinguished by its shape, colour and rarity. That makes it a highly coveted treasure for jewellery makers, who drill sea glass to make exquisite pieces of jewellery.
7 Best Beaches In Cornwall Where You Can Find Sea Glass
I’ll be honest – when I first travelled to this southwestern county of England, I did not expect to find any good sea glass beaches. However, as I explored the county’s rich coastline further, I realised how wrong I was! The list below mentions some of the best places where you can find this beautiful artefact in abundance.
1. Polzeath Beach
Situated on the North coast of Cornwall, Polzeath Beach is a popular destination for both surfers and sea glass enthusiasts. This expansive sandy beach boasts breathtaking views and ample space for exploration.
If you want to go sea-glass hunting, I would suggest visiting the beach during the summer months when the tide is low. Once you are there, you can head towards the rocky outcrops and the shoreline.
There, you will discover a variety of sea glass pieces in a wide range of colours, including vibrant greens, blues and even rare reds. Also, don’t forget to check the small pools left by the retreating tide, as they often hold hidden treasures that you may find interesting.
2. Perranporth Beach
Perranporth Beach is another popular destination that is located in the northern part of the Cornish coastline. Tourists and beachcombers from all over England come here in search of sea glass pieces and for good reasons.
The wide sandy expanse and beautiful dunes of this beach offer an idyllic setting for sea glass hunting. So, even if you get tired of scouring the shoreline for these coveted artefacts, you can take a breather and enjoy the cool ocean breeze for a bit.
It is best to visit the beach during low tide. During this time, a large portion of the shoreline becomes exposed, revealing hidden sea glass treasures that usually cannot be accessed during the high tide. You can explore the beach to discover an array of sea glass pieces, predominantly in shades of green and white.
Besides, the beach includes amenities like toilets, cafes and surf schools, making it an ideal spot for a day of sea glass hunting and relaxation.
3. St. Ives Harbour Beach
As the name suggests, St. Ives Harbour Beach is situated in the heart of the bustling town of St. Ives in western Cornwall. Also known among the locals as the Wharf, this beach offers a unique sea glass hunting experience. The beach is easily accessible, and there are several car parks available nearby.
During low tide, you can explore the sandy areas and rocky sections around the harbour to discover a variety of sea glass pieces in different shapes and colours. If you comb the beach carefully, you’ll find charming sea glass pieces in shades of green, blue, white and others.
Moreover, the beach has several seaside shops and cafes that make for a lively atmosphere. You can explore the vibrant town of St. Ives once you are done collecting sea glass, just like I did when I visited this place.
4. Holywell Bay Beach
Situated on the North Cornwall coast, Holywell Bay is a stunning beach with towering sand dunes and dramatic cliffs. As such, it provides a unique setting for sea glass hunting. After parking your car in the designated area, you need to take a short walk to arrive at the beach.
When the tide is low, you can comb through the exposed areas of the beach and the rocky sections to collect sea glass pieces. The last time I visited there, I encountered a diverse collection of sea glass pieces strewn all over the shoreline. You can find them in a wide range of shades, including brown, green and even rare hues like purple or cobalt blue.
Apart from that, Holywell Bay is known for its natural beauty, which makes it an ideal spot for nature lovers as well.
5. Marazion Beach
The Marazion Beach near Penzance in West Cornwall is renowned among sea glass hunters and tourists alike. This beautiful stretch of sandy beach is situated near the iconic St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion Beach. Therefore, you can hunt for sea glass in the backdrop of a picturesque shoreline and historic castle.
In fact, when the tide is low, you can follow the granite path all the way up to the Mount, grabbing any sea glass pieces you find along the way. You can also explore the exposed areas of the beach, particularly near the rocks and tidal pools, to discover sea glass pieces in various colours and sizes.
6. Pentewan Beach
Situated on the southern coast of Cornwall near St. Austell, Pentewan Beach is a popular sea-glass hunting destination among both locals and tourists. I had made quite the haul of sea glass pieces when I visited this beach during my Cornwall trip!
As usual, the best time to hunt for sea glass is when the water recedes during the low tide. You will find different shapes of green, brown and white sea glass, as well as some rare and unique sea glass colours.
Furthermore, Pentewan Beach is popular for watersports and swimming, which means that you can go there with friends and family. Thanks to these amenities, you can participate in some interesting beach activities with everyone after you are done collecting sea glass. That’s what I did, and I can tell you that they were a great deal of fun!
7. Sennen Cove
Sennen Cove is a beach that is situated near Land’s End, which happens to be the westernmost point of Cornwall and mainland Britain. It is a picturesque beach known for its stunning scenery and potential for sea glass hunting.
After parking at the designated car park, you can take a short walk to the beach. During low tide, the sandy areas and rocky sections become exposed, revealing a variety of sea glass pieces, including colours like green, blue, white, and brown.
Sennen Cove is also popular among general beachgoers, offering facilities such as toilets, cafes, and nearby shops. During my visit here, I found the expansive views of the beach and the surrounding areas quite breathtaking. And if you are a sea glass enthusiast and a digital nomad like me, you’ll find it a delightful destination indeed!
So, now you know where you need to head to find sea glass and build up your collection.
Of course, there are other beaches where you can find these hidden gems, such as Portreath Beach and Porth Nanven, to name a few. But the ones mentioned above are some of the most rewarding locations for beach combing.
On that note, your chances of finding sea glass pieces in abundance depend on factors like weather, tides and recent beach activity. I would recommend that you check local tide times and regulations to get the best haul. Also, while you’re at it, you should practise responsible beach combing to avoid causing trouble for other tourists and locals.
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