Sennen Cove (or Porthsenen in Cornish) is a traditional Cornish fishing community and the setting for one of Cornwall’s finest beaches, surrounded by the spectacular scenery of Whitesand Bay. Sennen Cove is situated approximately one mile from Land’s End on the south-westerly tip of Cornwall’s Penwith peninsula (see the Area page).
The beaches of Whitesand Bay form a one-mile stretch of golden sand, split between the larger Sennen Beach to the south and the secluded Gwynver Beach to the North.
For those who enjoy coastal footpaths, there are many scenic walks and rambles to explore, with the South West Coast Path running along the entire coastline of Whitesand Bay, and indeed the majority of the Cornish coastline. We particularly recommend the walk along Mayon Cliff from Sennen Cove to Land’s End.
There are also plenty of choices for food, with a restaurant overlooking the beach, a traditional Cornish pub – the Old Success, established in 1691 – a fish and chip shop and restaurant, cafés and a mini-market store selling hot Cornish pasties as well as groceries and souvenirs.
Sennen Cove is home to a lifeboat that has regular display launches throughout the summer. The Lifeboat Station is open to the public and has a viewing platform above the lifeboat.
The small harbour beach, in the lee of the breakwater below the lifeboat station, is a great sheltered spot for paddling. The harbour slipway is often full with small, moored fishing boats, as it would have been for centuries past.
Other places to explore in Sennen Cove include the local art gallery and craft shop based in the old capstan Roundhouse.
Just off shore, beyond the breakwater, are the flat rocky islands of Cowloe, Bo Cowloe and Little Bo, often thronging with seabirds at low tide but barely visible at the highest tides.
Whitesand Bay stretches from the Pedn-mên-du headland in the south – the site of the Coastguard’s Lookout – to Aire Point – a rocky escarpment at its northern limit. The bay is around 1.2 miles along its coastline and encompasses Sennen Cove, Sennen Beach and Gwynver Beach to the north. The two beaches are divided by a strip of flat topped granite rocks and boulders worn smooth by the sea, full of rock pools at low tide.
On calm sunny days, the beautiful turquoise waters of Whitesand Bay can show barely a ripple, but in a fierce Atlantic storm, waves crash in over the rocks and the breakwater with the sea spray reaching unbelievable heights over the Pedn-mên-du headland.
The South West Coast Path passes through Sennen Cove and the sandy dunes behind the beach, with a World War II pillbox, looking down on the bay from above, that can be accessed from the footpath.
Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and basking sharks (don’t worry they’re harmless plankton feeders) as well as other flora and fauna listed on our Wildlife pages. And why not try out our Little Bo the Dolphin game to race a dolphin around Sennen Cove and Whitesand Bay.
Whitesand Bay is popular with bathers (with lifeguards on duty throughout the summer) as well as surfers of all abilities, with its own surf schools giving introductory lessons for beginners. Facilities include two carparks, toilets, outdoor showers and a large surf shop.
Note that dogs are only allowed on Sennen beach out of season, from October to Easter.
Cape Cornwall, surmounted by its disused mining chimney, forms the backdrop to Whitesand Bay, with the two steep, craggy islands known as the Brisons, or Enys Vordardh in Cornish (meaning ‘breaker island’), just beyond the end of the headland.
Visit our Panorama page for a 360 degree scrolling view of Whitesand Bay and Sennen Cove from the end of the breakwater.
At night, there are dark skies with little light pollution, making it a great spot for amateur astronomers. Visit our Stars page for an interactive map of constellations and planets that are visible tonight above Sennen Cove.