Are you looking for a unique experience during your trip to Cornwall? Look no further than dolphin watching! Cornwall is home to several species of dolphins, and there are plenty of spots to see them in their natural habitat. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to see dolphins in Cornwall, along with some helpful tips and advice for your trip.
About Dolphins in Cornwall
Before we dive into the best places to see dolphins in Cornwall, let’s learn a little bit about these fascinating animals. There are three main species of dolphins that can be found in Cornwall: common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins. Dolphins are highly intelligent and social creatures, known for their acrobatic displays and playful behavior.
It’s important to note that dolphins in Cornwall are a protected species, and it’s crucial to practice responsible dolphin watching. This means keeping a safe distance from the dolphins and not disturbing their natural behavior.
Where is the best place to see dolphins in Cornwall?
Cornwall is undoubtedly one of the best places in the UK to see dolphins, particularly in its South West region. Head to one of our recommended spots, our book a boat tour from Padstow, Falmouth or Penzance to take your out to sea.
St Ive’s Bay
St Ives Bay is a fantastic location for dolphin watching in Cornwall, as it is home to a variety of marine life, including common dolphins. These playful creatures can often be seen leaping out of the water and swimming alongside boats. The bay’s calm waters and clear visibility also make it an ideal spot for dolphin watching. In addition to dolphins, visitors to St Ives Bay may also spot basking sharks, seals, and a variety of seabirds.
There are several boat tours available that offer the chance to see these animals up close, or visitors can try their luck from the shore. With its stunning coastline and abundant marine life, St Ives Bay is a must-visit destination for any nature lover or dolphin enthusiast.
Mount’s Bay is a beautiful bay located in the southwestern part of Cornwall and is a popular spot for dolphin watching. The bay is home to a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins, who can often be seen swimming close to the shore. Visitors can also spot other marine life in Mount’s Bay, including seals, basking sharks, and a variety of seabirds. Boat tours are available for those who want a closer look at the dolphins, or visitors can try their luck from the shore.
This patch of Cornwall’s coast is critical to the health of the seas, and become a designated Marine Conservation Zone in 2016.
Sennen Cove is a picturesque coastal village located in the far west of Cornwall, and it’s also a great spot for dolphin watching. Common dolphins are often seen in the waters around Sennen Cove, and visitors can also spot seals, basking sharks, and a variety of seabirds. The cove is surrounded by rugged cliffs, providing an excellent vantage point for spotting dolphins from the shore.
Get the best views from the car park at high tide, or head to the beach at low tide.
Gwennap Head, Land’s End
Gwennap Head is a dramatic headland located at Land’s End, the southwesternmost point of mainland Britain. The headland offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and visitors can often spot dolphins swimming and playing in the waters below. Gwennap Head is also a great spot for birdwatching, with a variety of seabirds, including gannets and puffins, nesting on the cliffs.
Head to the ex-coastguard building that’s been transformed into a Coastwatch station for the best views.
The Lizard is a stunning peninsula located on the southernmost point of mainland Britain. It’s a great spot for dolphin watching.
Visitors can often spot common dolphins swimming and playing in the waters around The Lizard, and the area is also home to seals, basking sharks, and a variety of seabirds. The rugged coastline provides an excellent vantage point from the shore, and boat tours are available for those who want a closer look. The Lizard is also home to several beautiful beaches, including Kynance Cove, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
In addition to its natural beauty, The Lizard is steeped in history, with several ancient monuments and ruins, including the famous Lizard Lighthouse.
Tips for Dolphin Watching in Cornwall
Now that you know where to go to see dolphins in Cornwall, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:
The best time to see dolphins is typically in the morning or late afternoon.
Look for areas with calm water, as dolphins are more likely to be seen in these conditions.
Bring a pair of binoculars to help spot dolphins in the distance.
Be respectful of the dolphins and their habitat. Keep a safe distance and don’t approach them too closely.
Best place to see dolphins in Cornwall FAQs
What is the best time of year to see dolphins in Cornwall?
It is possible to see dolphins year round, however you can most often see them in the Summer months when it is warm. You’ll be able to see them from cliff tops, beaches, harbours and boats all across Cornwall in their pods.
What species of dolphin can you see in Cornwall?
You can actually see a few different species of dolphin in Cornwall. Those commonly seen are:
- Common dolphin
- Bottlenose dolphin
- Risso’s dolphin
It’s also common to see harbour porpoise.
Most likely you’ll be able to spot common dolphin, which have a distinctive yellow and grey hourglass pattern. They travel in pods of between 20 and 100, and can often be seen jumping out of the water as they swim. They’re also one of the most sociable species, and get up close to boats.
Other Marine Wildlife to Look Out For
While dolphins are the star attraction in Cornwall, there are plenty of other marine animals to look for as well. These include seals, basking sharks, and even whales. There are also several marine conservation organizations in Cornwall, such as the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, which offer educational programs and opportunities to get involved in conservation efforts.
Best Place To See Dolphins In Cornwall Map
Dolphin watching is a unique and exciting activity that is a must-do during your visit to Cornwall. By following these tips and guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while also respecting the dolphins and their habitat. Remember to also take the time to appreciate the other marine wildlife and conservation efforts in the area. Happy dolphin watching!
For more information on dolphin watching and marine conservation in Cornwall, check out these helpful resources:
- Cornwall Wildlife Trust: https://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/
- Visit Cornwall: https://www.visitcornwall.com/things-to-do/wildlife/dolphin-watching
- Dolphin Watching UK: https://www.dolphinwatching.co.uk/dolphin-watching-in-cornwall/