Cornwall’s Best Tidal Pools, Sea Pools And Lidos




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Ah, Cornwall – a county known for its glamorous beaches and great beach culture! No wonder people from all over flock to this place.

Believe us – if you want to experience the best beach vacation in the UK, you have to visit this southwestern county. All of its beaches have clear blue waters, golden sands and rolling waves. These aspects make it the perfect holiday destination for those who love swimming, surfing or doing other water-related activities.

However, the tides at these beaches can get a bit challenging for some people. If you want to swim without having to brave the waves, then you should head over to the numerous tidal pools, lidos and sea pools along the Cornish coast.

That is why we have discussed some of the top picks in Cornwall where you can go swimming. Read on if you are curious!

Going For A Swim In Cornwall

Any trip to Cornwall feels incomplete without taking a swim (or atleast getting your feet wet). After all, the long coastline and beaches are some of the highlights of this county. But if you have a family, you might want to avoid the beaches for obvious reasons. 

If you have children, you would not want to let them swim at the beaches, for the waves may be a bit risky. The same is applicable to older people as well, who will often find the waves too high or challenging, given their age.

This is where you will find tidal pools, sea pools and lidos to be useful since they are a lot safer than the open waters of beaches. A tidal pool, sea pool or rock pool is a natural formation along a rocky coastline. It is formed when the sea water gets trapped in the intertidal zone after the high tide recedes. 

Conversely, Lidos are open-air swimming pools that are either natural or artificial. These outdoor swimming spots are good places to avoid the challenging waves that prevail at most Cornish beaches.

Tidal pools and other natural formations are also great for those who wish to avoid crowds or go wild swimming. They are often found in relatively isolated and unsupervised locations, which makes for a peaceful and thrilling swimming experience.

Eight Best Tidal Pools, Sea Pools And Lidos In Cornwall

1. Bude Sea Pool

One of the most popular outdoor pools in Cornwall is situated in the town of Bude near the northern end of the county. The Bude sea pool is a semi-natural pool that measures 45 metres in width and 91 metres in length. It is a part of Bude’s Summerleaze Beach, which is the main beach in this town.

Therefore, you can enjoy the sights of the beach and take a dip at this pool at the same time. In fact, when the tide is high, and the wind is strong, the waters of the mighty Atlantic crash against the walls of this pool without endangering the visitors. That, in turn, makes it a truly thrilling experience for most swimmers.

This pool was constructed in the 1930s to provide a safe space for inexperienced swimmers. It was funded and operated by the local authorities up until 2010. After that, its ownership was transferred to the Friends Of Bude Sea Pool, which is a charity organisation that raises money for running and maintaining this pool.

2. Porthtowan Tidal Pool

The town of Porthtowan on the northern coast has one of the most popular and picturesque beaches in Cornwall. Flanked by rocky cliffs on either side, this small beach is a popular destination for tourists. However, if you are seeking a bit of solitude, you won’t find it here, for its size and popularity makes it very crowded.

Fortunately, if you head to the north of the Porthtowan beach, you will find a secluded tidal pool nestled between the cliffs. This place has little to no crowds and offers a calm and peaceful ambience, which is perfect for wild swimming.

The Porthtowan tidal pool is a natural formation that is only accessible during low tide. There is a wall that separates it from the sea, meaning that you don’t have to worry about rough waves while swimming here. 

That said, the waves can spill over the wall during high tide, which is why you should avoid it during this time. Apart from that, it has a depth of five feet, which is suitable for inexperienced swimmers.

3. Jubilee Pool

The Jubilee Pool in Penzance is an iconic tourist spot in Cornwall. Situated a bit south of Penzance Harbour and east of the town’s promenade, this lido is one of the most popular saltwater pools in the world. This is all thanks to its unique design, size and ambience. 

Unlike many conventional lido pools, the Jubilee Pool has a triangular shape, which makes it unique. Besides, it has an immense capacity of five million litres that is replenished by the tides. The pool, which measures around 100 metres at its longest point and 56 metres at its widest, can easily accommodate 600 swimmers at a time. 

Also, it offers an excellent view of the surrounding areas, which makes it a great place to swim or hang out with friends and family. Since it is replenished by natural seawater, it feels very natural. There is little to no trace of chlorine in the water, which sets it apart from most artificial outdoor and indoor swimming pools.

This pool was opened in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V, and it has been popular ever since then. In this regard, it might seem a little crowded to some people, especially to those who are wild swimmers.

4. Chapel Rock Tidal Pool

You’ll find the iconic Chapel Rock tidal pool in the seaside town of Perranporth, which is a few miles away from the UK’s surf capital Newquay. Despite its proximity to such a popular seaside town, Perranporth and its beach is a fairly peaceful place without too much crowding. 

Likewise, the Chapel Rock Pool is a picturesque location that is situated on the Perranporth beach. This beautiful pool lies on a rocky outcrop island on the beach that is revealed during the low tide. 

A casual beach goer can easily miss the spot since the pool is relatively small and well-hidden by the craggy rock faces of Chapel Rock. But if you ask any of the locals or the lifeguards on the beach, they will point you in the right direction.

Fortunately enough, the pool can be accessed easily once the tide recedes, and it offers good safety from the waves. On a sunny day, the water of the pool will be warmed to a comfortable temperature by the sun’s heat. As such, you will find it to be an excellent place to go for a swim.

5. Treyarnon Bay Rock Pool

The Treyarnon Bay Rock Pool is a large tidal pool located in the northern part of Treyarnon Bay in Padstow. You will come across it when walking along the south west coast path from Constantine Bay. This pool, which measures almost 12 metres wide and 2 metres deep in some places, is possibly one of the biggest naturally-formed tidal pools in Cornwall.

Because of that reason, it is a perfect place for wild swimmers to practise their swimming skills. What’s more, the rocky cliff faces around the pool provide great opportunities for rock jumping too. It gets replenished by the tides at least twice a day, due to which the water feels cool and fresh. 

Besides, each new tide brings in a host of marine fauna like blennies and starfish. So, if you have a curious personality, you will find this place to be very interesting.

However, since it is a fully natural formation, the rocks may tend to get a bit slippery in some places. Therefore, you should be careful while entering the pool.

6. Children’s Pool 

If you follow the south west coast path to move further down the Cornish Peninsula, you will come across the beautiful Cape Cornwall. Here, you will find the small but aesthetically pleasing Priest’s Cove, which houses the famous Children’s Pool. It is a rectangular rock pool that is regarded as the westernmost tidal pool in the county.

Do not be fooled by its name, for this tidal pool cannot be considered to be particularly safe for children, especially if they are left unsupervised. That’s because the far side of the pool is pretty deep and can be a risk for those who do not know how to swim properly. 

Having said that, you will find this pool quite relaxing if you know swimming well. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas, which should satisfy the nature lover in you. Also, it is relatively quiet and peaceful at most times, meaning that it will give you a tranquil swimming experience should you choose to come here.

7. Mousehole Rock Pool

Mousehole is an idyllic coastal village on the south coast that is known for its scenic beauty and a sandy harbour beach that becomes exposed at low tide. Because of the above reasons, this small coastal village attracts numerous tourists throughout the year.

However, there is another reason why tourists come to this place, and it is the Mousehole Rock Pool. The pool, which is located a bit north of the harbour beach, is considered to be one of the smallest rock pools in Cornwall. This small tidal pool has a fairly shallow depth, which makes it the perfect swimming spot for children and older people.

Compared to many of the other rock pools mentioned here, this one is a bit exposed to the sea. That doesn’t mean you have to worry about the waves, though, for the discrete sea walls provide adequate protection from swells.

In that context, the pool offers gorgeous panoramic views of the nearby Mounts Bay and Lizard Point. Moreover, the Rock Pool Cafe is a popular coffee shop that is situated right next to the pool. So, after a day of fun and frolic here, you can head straight to the cafe for some food and refreshments.

8. Chapel Pool

Many people tend to confuse this option with the Chapel Rock Pool, which we have already discussed. Given their similar names, this is quite natural, especially for those who are new to Cornwall. However, you should know that they are not the same at all. The Chapel Pool is situated in Polperro on the south coast, while the Chapel Rock Pool is in Perranporth on the north coast.

That is why most people alternatively refer to it as the Polperro tidal bathing pool. It lies in a pretty secluded location below the steep Chapel Cliffs. If you wish to get to it, you’ll have to move south from the Polperro harbour entrance. 

Bear in mind that the pool is accessible during the half tide. At this time, the water depth will remain at a manageable limit, and the temperature will be comfortable for swimming.

As a matter of fact, the pool has been used by the people here for a long time. Several generations of kids have learned how to swim in this waterhole, which makes it an important place for both tourists and locals.

Final Words

So, those were some of the best tidal pools, sea pools and lidos that Cornwall has to offer. 

Of course, there are many other hidden gems throughout Cornwall, such as the Boat Cove in Pendeen or the Millendreath Sea Pool in Looe, to name a few. But the ones we have mentioned above are the most popular choices.

If you ask us, then we’d say that the best time to visit these pools is during the summer. That’s because the weather remains clear and favourable for the most part. Also, the sun makes the water temperature quite pleasing for swimming around.

In any case, it is time for us to wrap up over here. Safe travels, folks!

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