Carbis Bay, Cornwall – photo © Carbis Bay Holidays

The wow factor: Mile-long Carbis Bay’s beach is the quiet, lesser-known neighbour to bustling resort St Ives, just a three-minute train ride or 20-minute walk away. A Blue Flag beach of golden sands and turquoise sea, its exquisite beauty was the inspiration for sculptor Barbara Hepworth, whose home overlooked the bay.

Activities: Carbis Bay is ideal for families with its safe bathing and lifeguards in summer. Paddle in the clear waters or build sandcastles on the beach. The more active can go surfing, fishing, sailing and windsurfing, hike the South West Coast Path, ride the scenic rail line to St Ives or take a boat trip to Seal Island.

Stay: The Carbis Bay Hotel ( has a dramatic waterfront location with direct access to the beach. Carbis Bay Holidays ( offers beach-front apartments to luxury villas, including one with an outdoor hot tub.

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