A local

A local's guide to Newquay

Elianne Reed 04 July 2019

Sandy beaches, aquamarine seas and a laid-back surfing culture are only three of the reasons you’ll want to visit the vibrant seaside town of Newquay. While surfers have their boards permanently waxed and ready to ride the huge Atlantic waves crashing into the sandy shores at Fistral and the nearby Watergate Bay, holiday-makers from all over the country are packing their suitcases, ready to not only enjoy the fabulous beaches on offer but also the amazing walking, fun festivals and family-friendly attractions in and around the area.

Read on to discover why you should choose Newquay for your next escape to the seaside.


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The beaches



Events and Festivals

The Walking


Food and drink


About the town:

Originally known as the fishing port of Towan Blystra, the Bishop of Exeter granted permission for a ‘new quay’ to be built (hence the name) in the 15th century to encourage trade to the area. Though the pilchards are long gone, you will still see the odd fishing boat in Newquay Harbour, as well as sailing craft gliding gracefully out on the open sea.

Newquay Harbour

The promenade behind the harbour and Towan Beach not only leads into the town centre, it is also home to Blue Reef Aquarium and the Newquay Activity Centre - a great choice for ocean activities and open all year round. In the town itself, there are shops, surf stores and award-winning restaurants, nestling alongside bistros and trendy bars.

Newquay Beach

On the outskirts of the town is Lane Theatre, where you can catch a comedy show during the summer season, as well as the Newquay Zoo where you have the chance to get up close to over 1000 of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals.

The beaches:

Oh, the beaches! Nobody would argue that the huge stretches of sand are Newquay’s main selling point. Huge stretches of golden sand all along this area of the coast attracts families with little ones who can spend summer days paddling and building sandcastles, especially at impressive Fistral, where high cliffs and sand dunes create the perfect backdrop for days to remember. All the major UK surf competitions choose this beach so come and watch, and if this inspires you, book a surf lesson; maybe next year you’ll be joining them on the waves.

If you have romance on your mind, the secluded cove of Lusty Glaze Beach, having been named ‘Beach of the Year 2017’ by The Times and The Sunday Times, is just the place to kick off your shoes and settle back under the sun to watch the sunset. Also a surfing heaven, it's one you musn't miss.

Watergate Bay

3 miles from Newquay, watch the colourful kite surfers floating through the air at the lively Watergate Bay. It hosts lots of competitions, many of which are sporty, with Polo on the Beach being a particular favourite. There are great amenities including safe swimming areas so parents with little ones will be happy – even the family dog is welcome, though make sure he keeps his nose out when rock pooling at low tide! 

But don’t leave it there – there are many other beaches you simply have to visit including Bedruthan Steps, Porth, Tolcarne and Great Western

The attractions:

Adults and kids alike will love making memories in Newquay. Discover the underwater walkway at Blue Reef Aquarium with its tanks of pufferfish, sharks and rays and experience the Madagascan Walkthrough at Newquay Zoo, home to lions, wildebeest and sloths. Visitors of all ages should head to the firm family favourite, Camel Creek Adventure Park, set in 111 acres of beautiful Cornish countryside where giant play areas, a 5-D cinema and adventure rides give children that fantastic holiday feeling.


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On rainy days you’ll be glad we told you all about Dairyland Farmworld. An all-weather attraction, it is a hive of activity, offering a nature trail, indoor play centre, milking parlour and an adventure park. Or book a ticket aboard the little blue and yellow Newquay Land Train which choo-choos visitors around the town. You can hop on and off at your leisure, stopping wherever you like as you go along!

Ten minutes out of Newquay, the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre offers a fantastic collection of classic aircraft, a brilliant day out for the amateur pilot. Experience life in the cockpit and have a bite to eat in the charming vintage café afterwards.

The activities:

Newquay surfing

Adrenalin seekers should sign up at the Extreme Academy in Watergate Bay. One of the UK’s leading venues, you can take lessons from the pros in surfing, kitesurfing, bodyboarding and wave ski. Sea babies simply must book a sea safari from the old port out to the deeper waters. Fish amongst the wrecks and reefs - an amazing experience – or head out across the ocean to spot some dolphins or sharks from the safety of a chartered boat!

Newquay golf

If you are a keen golfer, play a round of golf at the Holywell Bay Golf Club although a seasonal 18-hole crazy golf course, set in the lush sub-tropical surroundings of Trenance Park, is also on hand for less experienced golfers. The Bunker Café at the latter is just the place for a post-game snack before your next activity. Sporty types can play tennis at the Heron Tennis Centre or try some zorbing at the Cornwall Zorbing Park while animal lovers can experience a scenic beach ride at the Newquay Riding Centre.

The events and festivals:

A great selection of events and festivals happen in and around Newquay throughout the year. Boardmasters Music Festival brings summertime alive, with some great music and background against the stunning backdrop of Watergate Bay. Recent years have seen Ed Sheeran and Snoop Dogg headline, so expect some top quality acts in the future.


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Boardmasters Festival tickets go on sale today! Boardmasters offers the ultimate beach holiday with a lineup of electronic music, indie rock, alternative rock, indie folk, and indie pop! There's a BUNCH of different stages including The Main Stage, Unleashed, Land of Saints Stage, The Point, The View, Keg & Pasty, The Net Loft, The Beach Bar, Corona Sunsets, Introducing Cornwall, and House of Marley. . SEE MORE AT WWW.SPACELAB.TV! . CHECK OUT THE FESTIVAL: http://bit.ly/boardmasters-2019 . Fistral Beach is there for pro surf competitions as well as skate & BMX competitions. Boardmasters afterparties offer a party after the party complete with shuttle service. There's wellbeing area complete with yoga, mindfulness and meditation mini-retreats. The laid back vibe continues with massage, alternative therapy, luxury hot tub and sauna in the Boardmasters Spa. . What are YOU wearing to your next event? Use our promo code SPACELAB (all caps) to get 10% off at @vibedration & @iheartraves! . FOLLOW US AT @spacelabmusic TO GET UPDATES! . #boardmastersfestival #boardmastersfestival2019 #boardmastersfestival19 #boardmasters #boardmasters2019 #cornwall #newquay #dj #rave #techno #housemusic #trap #dubstep #trance #electro #edmlife #edmfamily #electronicmusic #hardstyle #trancefamily #dancemusic #edmgirls #electrohouse #progressivehouse #drumandbass #electronica #trancemusic #surf #surfing

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Don’t forget the food festivals – the Newquay Fish Festival being the obvious go-to. Cookery demonstrations from top chefs, stalls lining the harbour wall and live music are just a few of the things on offer. If that isn’t your thing, there are enough other events to thrill throughout the year which have included in the past, a balloon festival, gig-racing, an RNLI lifeboat day and a sparkling Christmas festival.


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Day 1 at @thenewquayfishfestival didn’t disappoint! Come and pay us a visit 🐠🦀🐙 #visitnqy #Newquay #Cornwall visitnewquay.org

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The walking:

Everywhere you look around Newquay, you’ll be met with spectacular ocean and country views. The South West Coast Path snakes around the headland and behind Fistral beach, leading to the rugged cliff edges of Pentire. Or head further north to take a walk around Trevelgue Head/Porth Island which was once a major centre of prehistoric civilisation, stretching back eight thousand years to the Mesolithic period.

Bedruthan Steps

A short 1-mile walk awaits you at one of the county’s most iconic destinations, the National Trust’s Bedruthan Steps, where the vantage point gives breathtaking views over the beach and its sea stacks. The longer 5-mile walk of Tregurrian and Trevarrian which stretches high above Watergate Bay is perfect if you want to blow the cobwebs away.

The accommodation:

Newquay accommodation

Newquay is one of Cornwall's premier holiday destination, and we have a fantastic range of accommodation to choose from in order to enjoy the best this Cornish town has to offer. If you and a group of friends are looking to enjoy a surfing break, our large cottages offer plenty of space for all your gear, while couples on a romantic getaway also have a choice of some lovely cosy homes, with some even having a hot tub!. Whatever you're looking for, our collection of personally managed holiday cottages has something for you. Browse our collection and book your next stay.

The food:

From waffles at breakfast to fresh seafood at dinner, Newquay will direct you to some great cuisine. Having become a foodie hotspot over the last couple of years, there is a huge selection of restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from. If you don’t know where to start, why not head over to the West Pentire headland to the The Bowgie Inn Pub for a pub lunch, followed by a walk on the nearby coastal path and over the headland.


In the secluded little cove of Lusty Glaze, you will find the Bar & Restaurant, a particularly special setting for lazy lunches which lead into an early supper by the sea. Watch the waves coming in from the terrace on summer days and on winter days, relax in front of the log burner with one of their famous hot chocolates.


A name you are sure to recognise is Rick Stein Fistral, situated on the beach of the same name. It’s just the place to pick up some Cornish fish and chips or if you are partial to a curry, there are a whole host of delights served up and inspired by Rick’s travels across the globe. Carrying on the maritime theme, The Boathouse, positioned in the harbour is definitely one you need to head to for its freshly-caught seafood and shellfish.


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Come and chill with us at The Beached Lamb with delicious goodies to get your bank holiday started...

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For something a little different, The Beach Hut will attract those with a taste for burgers as will The Beached Lamb Café, a fab laid-back space with better than normal options for vegetarians and vegans. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (Watergate Bay) offers brilliant food that will give you an ethical buzz as the profits are all poured back into the Cornwall Food Foundation. A quirky choice is the Ozzie Bush Pepper – if you have never tried Australian Cottage Kangaroo Pie, then this is just the place for you!

Have we inspired you to book a holiday to this beautiful North Cornwall resort? Browse our fantastic range of accommodation in Newquay to discover your perfect seaside escape.

Discover more of Cornwall:

Guide to Cornwall

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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