The Tides at Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall

The Tides at Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall

United Kingdom
United Kingdom

When Is the Best Time

Bedruthan Steps is a breathtaking beach that stretches for kilometres between huge rock stacks. The best and only time to access this extremely fascinating beach is during low tide.  At high tide, the sea covers the entire beach until the steps. 

120 steps down to Bedruthan Beach
Staircase to Bedruthan

The coast experiences a high tidal range of up to 7 meters during big spring tides. Always watch the tide times first before entering the 120 steps down to the beach. The tides are coming in pretty fast and it takes at least half an hour from the end of the beach back to the steps. The beach is accessible through a gate only, which is closed from November to February for safety reasons. 

The beginning of Bedruthan Steps and Beach
The beginning of Bedruthan Beach

The reason for the gate closure is the severe weather and surf in the winter. It is also closed during periods of bad weather. This truly stunning beach is best visited up to two hours before low tide to maximise your time here. Plan at least 3-4 hours for a visit. Tide Times Bedruthan Steps

Crowds

Bedruthan Steps and Beach during low tide from the clifftop
Bedruthan during low tide

Often only the main car park is open. At low tide and around midday, cars line up for space. If you arrive one or two hours before low tide, you increase your chance for a parking lot. The beach stretches for more than a kilometre therefore rarely overrun. The Café close to Bedruthan Steps coastal path is popular. They offer jacket potatoes, cream tea, and homemade scones; the reason that it gets busy at midday, especially at weekends. Restrooms are available next to the Cafe.

Weather

Bedruthan with a dramatic sky
Even with fog and clouds a spectacular beach

The coast experiences a mild climate throughout the year. The average day temperature is around 20°C in the summer in July and August but can top 30°C as well.   Autumn is slightly colder on average ranging from 18-13°C. However, the spring is a little colder ranging from 11-15°C. Due to drizzle, fog, and wind, which occurs frequently, you may feel colder as it is. Precipitation occurs throughout the year though in general, April to September are the driest months. The beach looks Caribbean like on a sunny day, but if it's windy and the sea rough and dramatic, it's equally awesome here. Don't let the weather spoil your amazing day at Bedruthan Steps. Wear appropriate clothes, a wind- and waterproof jacket and proper shoes and enjoy the magical beach for a couple of hours. The water temperature is quite cold, even in the summer, a maximum of 17°C. I have to confess to cold for me.

Tip

Stay nearby in Padstow for a couple of days to visit Bedruthan, Tintagel Castle, Lanhydrock House, Bodmin Moor, to mention a view of the many highlights.

Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor

Our favourite hike is the coastal path from Carnewas at Bedruthan to Padstow. The rugged scenery is just mind-blowing. I highly recommend staying in luxury Padstow Townhouse B&B. The only issue you may have afterwards is you don't want to leave this awesome house and this high-level service. Another option for low budget travellers is the Hostel YHA Treyarnon Bay north of Bedruthan Steps.

Best Months to Visit

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Location and Tips

Cornwall, Padstow
United Kingdom
United Kingdom

Carnewas at Bedruthan is a popular destination in Cornwall for more than a hundred years already. The tale is that the name Bedruthan Steps comes from the huge rocks along the beach, which were put there and used by a giant called Bedruthan. Actually, the name was given to the staircase, but it is used for the entire beach. It’s a breathtaking place to feel the power of mother nature. The rocks are always changing due to erosion. In former times the entry to the steps was repeatedly closed due to safety reasons, and once the last part was washed away. Since 1995 the steps were reopened.

Coastal Path Bedruthan
The coastal path at Bedruthan is worth a visit throughout the year.

Closure Update July 2021

Unfortunately, there was a significant rockfall in winter. 2019/2020.  The National Trust would like to develop safer access for the future because of cost savings and budget cuts; it is postponed to the future. Due to erosion, the coastal path got affected in 2021. The Bedruthan Steps and Beach are closed for an indefinite time, and a short part of the coastal path is temporarily closed. 

Me walking on Bedruthan Beach during low tide

It takes around 20 minutes from the car park down to the beach. Facing Bedruthan, the parking is left of the cafe. It is a short walk on the coastal path to the 120 slippery, sandy steps that lead down. If you suffer from vertigo is may be challenging for you to go down. Walk carefully and use the handrail if necessary. A large stretch of sandy beach to the right and left awaits you. Several caves to both sides want to be discovered. Watch the tides always. Dogs are allowed on the beach. The beach is not suitable for swimming because of strong currents.

View from a cave out to Bedruthan Beach

The clifftop is as spectacular as the beach itself. Therefore during high tide and in winter, Bedruthan is also worth a visit. If you are not capable of climbing the steep steps down, just walk along the coast path. Soak in this breathtaking scenery. The beach and coastal walk are dog friendly. 

Coastal Path from Bedruthan to Padstow
Map Bedruthan Beach and Coastal Path

We visited Bedruthan several times, once when the tide already came in and also two hours before low tide. One of the most impressive beaches we've ever been to.

On the way back to the Bedruthan steps
Walk between the clifftop and Pendarves Island.

Truly a place in Cornwall you should not miss despite the weather! Bedruthan Steps is very well managed by the National Trust.

Top Tip - Emergency Exit

Emergency exit at the end of Bedruthan

When walking on the beach to the right, almost at the end, leads a steep path and climb to the top of the cliffs. Helpful to know when the tides are coming back too fast. 

Parking (Google Maps)

There are two car parks—one nearby left of the Café and National Trust Shop and one further down the road. The second one opens in summer only when it’s super busy.  Even on a bank holiday weekend, the second car park might be closed. Queuing around midday is standard. Don’t forget to pay and display your parking fee. Parking is free for NT members. Just scan your member card at the machine and display the ticket in your car.

Bedruthan Beach and the stacks at low tide

Place to Eat at Bedruthan

The lovely Carnewas Tea Room and Café offers freshly prepared food, cream tea, and scones. The jacket potatoes are tasty, filled with different choices. It gets very crowded in and outdoor at weekends around midday. Opening Hours Cafe  10.30 am - 5 pm.

Clean restrooms are outside and usually open to the public.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
Micha Herber-Bleich
I love adventurous trips and my husband…