The paper presents results from a centrifuge-scale study of the lateral response of piles in variably cemented sands. These sands were characterised using in situ cone penetration tests (CPTs) as well as laboratory element tests. Experimental results and numerical back-analysis of the centrifuge tests confirm that the lateral ground stiffness and capacity correlate well with the CPT end resistance (qc). The centrifuge data are combined with measurements made in other field-scale tests obtained in a strongly cemented sand, enabling development of a CPT-based formulation for load transfer curves that is consistent with observations and numerical analyses. The formulation is shown to provide reasonable predictions of lateral load response in a number of cemented sands with qc values in the range 2–50 MPa.