Hayle – a guide for visiting this Cornwall town in 2023


There are lots of excellent towns and villages in Cornwall, and we feel like Hayle is a real hidden gem. With its stunning sandy beaches, it's a paradise for beach lovers and surfers. It might not be the first town you think of when you think of places in Cornwall to visit, but that's partly what makes the town such a hidden gem. Hayle's proximity to popular attractions like St Ives and Land's End also makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding beauty of Cornwall.

We wanted to publish a guide about this town for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into it:

Where is Hayle?

Hayle is located on the north coast of Cornwall, at the mouth of the Hayle River. The town is situated right between St Ives Bay and Godrevy Head, and it's very well-placed for exploring the surrounding locations.

What is there to see and do in Hayle?

As we mentioned in our introduction, despite the relatively small size of the town, you've got quite a lot to see and do in and around Hayle. Here are some of the highlights:

Mutton Cove

Mutton Cove is an excellent place to visit during your time in Hayle. With views across to St Ives and Godrevy, Mutton Cove offers a very unique and unspoiled experience. It's a cove with a secluded sandy beach, and there is an enjoyable walk around the cove which allows you to take in the views from all angles. But there is 1 main reason why you should make time for a visit to Mutton Cove - seals. There is always a very good chance of spotting seals here on the beach which is an amazing sight. You're asked to be quiet and respectful of the seals so they're not disturbed, and you might wish to bring a pair of binoculars with you so you can see them even better. If you're a National Trust member then you can actually park at the car park here for free which is an added bonus. Definitely make time for a visit to Mutton Cove during your time in Hayle!

RSPB Hayle Estuary

If you're a keen bird watcher, then a trip to RSPB Hayle Estuary is highly recommended. This area is known as a "natural harbour", and it was once an important for trade and the movement of people and ideas. It's now an important conservation area, attracting thousands of wetland birds every year. The estuary is a mix of habitats and terrains, including tidal pools and marsh, which is partly what attracts such a diverse collection of birds. Expect to see waterfowl, gulls, and waders here, along with flocks of teals and wigeons. It's free to visit but a donation is recommended and much appreciated, learn more and plan your visit here -

Gwithian Beach

If long walks along a sandy beach are your thing then a trip to Gwithian Beach is a must during your time in Hayle. With its vast expanse of golden sand, dramatic dunes, and crystal-clear waters, it offers a truly picturesque setting for beach lovers. The caves on the beach are also amazing to explore. You'll likely spot surfers out on the waves and plenty of families enjoying themselves here, and we could spend hours at this beach. Learn more here -

Paradise Park

If you're a fan of animals then a trip to Paradise Park is highly recommended. This wildlife sanctuary is an enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. With its stunning gardens, exotic bird displays, and interactive animal encounters, the park offers a unique opportunity to get up close with a diverse range of creatures, with everything from parrots and penguins to red pandas and donkeys. Once you've seen the animals you can also enjoy a range of attractions at Paradise Park, including the excellent JungleBarn Indoor Play Centre and the Jungle Express Train. At less than £20 for an adult ticket and less than £15 for a child ticket, we think it's great value. Learn more here -

Hayle Towans

Often referred to as simply "The Towans", this 3 mile long stretch of sand is absolutely stunning and as good as any beach you'll find anywhere in the world as far as we're concerned. Extending all the way from the estuary of the River Hayle to Gwithian Beach, this sandy beach is perfect for long walks, and because it's so vast it very rarely feels busy. If you can time your visit with low tide then this is the best time to head here as the beach will feel especially wide and long. Learn more here -

Outdoor Swimming Pool

If you want to enjoy a dip outdoors but you don't fancy the sea, then a trip to the outdoor swimming pool in Hayle is highly recommended. It's open during the summer and we'd only really recommend visiting when the sun is out (unless you're happy with a very cold swim). The pool is located on King George V Memorial Walk, which is a great 2 mile walking route that you can follow around the area. Learn more about the pool and the walk here -
Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to visit this brilliant Cornwall town. If you're interested in visiting other locations in Cornwall then we have guides about Boscastle, Truro, and St Agnes.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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