Sea Life in Cornwall

Padstow hosts a myriad of sea life that occupy our waters and Cornish coastline at different times of the year

There is a variety of sea life in Cornwall

The true highlight of any Padstow boat trip is the chance to see a wide variety of sea life in and around the water. You might not have realised just how many species call British waters their home! Padstow Sealife Safaris give you the chance to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. Depending on the time of year that you choose to visit, you’ll have the chance to see a number of different species.

The most common mammal that we encounter on our safaris are grey seals. Around 40% of the world’s population of these charming creatures live around the British Isles, they are regular sights on our trips. At all times of the year, seals can be spotted in the waters. Winter can be a particularly exciting time to spot young seal pups, as the breeding season runs from September to December.

The deep waters near Padstow are also bursting with wildlife, dolphins and porpoises. In the summer months you may even have the chance to spot a basking shark! – but don’t worry, unlike their larger cousins, these creatures only eat plankton and tiny fish.

Our experienced crew will help you identify the different varieties you can see, and teach you to spot Common Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, and Bottlenose Dolphins. The sociable dolphins often swim close to the boats and enjoy interacting with the safaris! Every Sea Life Safari is different – we can’t guarantee which birds, mammals and fish will appear on any given day – but with a bit of luck, you can see some truly remarkable species during your day out!

For more information about what wildlife can you see in Cornwall check the sealife sections below & for responsible wildlife watching practices see Tencreek Holiday Parks blog.

Below we’ve listed a handful of our most frequent marine life we encounter on our boat tours, click for more information:

Grey Seal

One of Cornwall’s most beloved and regularly sighted residents. The UK is home to around 40% of the world’s entire population of this globally rare seal!


Become a dolphin expert learning everything from diet to their links with aliens! To start you off, here are our top 9 interesting facts about dolphins.

Harbour Porpoise

The Harbour Porpoise is one of the many exciting species of dolphin, porpoise or whale you can spot on a Padstow Sealife Safari; the only porpoise that can be found in European waters.

Basking Shark

Basking sharks can be seen sporadically throughout the summer months and are easily spotted, due to there size. However, due to warming seas, their sightings are becoming rarer and more special.


Called the ‘clown among seabirds’ by the RSPB, puffins are identified as one of the world’s favourite birds. Unfortunately, they are on the ‘Red List’ for conservation concern.​


We are lucky to have a rich variety of habitats on our doorstep, attracting many different species of birds, both as residents and migrants passing through.

Minke Whales

Minke whales are the most common whale species found in UK waters and are becoming a regular visitor on our Sealife Safaris.

Occasional Visitors to Cornish Waters

As well as the wildlife that we regularly encounter, there are a few species that occasionally pass through our waters. Check out some of the exciting marine animals that could pop up to surprise us.


Jellyfish can be found all over our UK coastlines as well as in all of the global oceans, but how much do you actually know about the magnificent jellyfish?

Seaweed in Cornwall sea

Window to a busy seabed

When the beautiful waters off the coast of Cornwall are still, looking down from your boat may give you a glimpse of the teeming mass of life on and slightly above the seabed.

Fish in Cornwall

Fish off the coast

Of course, your boat trip also puts you close to the ebb and flow of fish shoals in this part of the Atlantic too. Discover the underwater world of our cornish marine life.

That moment you spot the friendly Puffins…