Top things to do in Newquay holiday cottages

Top things to do in Newquay

Ed 16 December 2019

Newquay is the fun capital of Cornwall; having been a major draw for party fiends for nearly 20 years, there’s a lot to discover and enjoy here. With more pubs and nightclubs than any other town in The Duchy, you’ll never be short of somewhere to live it up if you are holidaying here. Besides having a great time after sundown, what else does Newquay have to offer? Why not stay in a self-catering holiday property so that you can get to know Newquay properly?


Well, long before the town evolved into a Cornish Ayia Napa, there were surfers; and there still are. The beaches in Newquay are world-class, starting with the wonderful Fistral, Tolcarne, Towan and Great Western Beaches. A few miles north is the outstanding and beautiful Watergate Bay too. The town has one of the county’s leading zoos and an aquarium, there are also National Trust properties to spend time exploring too. With the town’s facilities and amenities improving year on year, Newquay maintains its allure as an exciting Cornish holiday destination for the young and old. Newquay has a good shopping centre where surf gear shops have a strong presence. The town also has a modern cinema multiplex at the end of the main street, and lots of interesting places to eat and drink, no matter what your tastes are.

If you are planning a trip to Newquay, stay in one of our holiday properties. We have coastal cottages and sea view apartments for you choose from as well as luxury townhouses, converted farmhouses and fishing cottages all across town, so if you are looking for a self-catering holiday cottage in Newquay, view our collection today.

Surfing, sunbathing and sandcastles


Newquay and surfing will be explicitly linked to one another forever. Ever since the sport began in England, surfers have been heading to this part of Cornwall to ride the Atlantic swell. The town stands at the brunt of the ocean’s power and the waves cast an addictive spell over the faithful surfers. Surfing is the key to finding out just how good for the soul Cornwall really is. 

Fistral Beach is the best-known of all Newquay’s beaches. Every year the battle for wave riding supremacy, Boardmasters, takes place here. Surfing events happen all year round, so check out the fixtures for the coming year here. The beach has great facilities, as well as a purpose-built complex that hosts beachside restaurants, takeaways, bars and modern WCs; all this is a vast improvement on the lone concrete toilet block that stood at the beach up until the mid-2000s. Fistral is backed by dunes and a golf course, so it has a wild feel to it because it isn’t directly overlooked.

The other beaches are clustered over the to the north of Towan Headland, which means you can get a completely different story, sea-wise, a mere five-minute drive away. Great Western, Towan and Tolcarne are at the foot of the cliffs that characterise the town and have features like the harbour wall which carves a decent set of breakers when conditions are right. Look out for seals who love to play in the bay too, often on a hunt for scraps from the fishing boats. Get in the car and head to the wonderful Watergate Beach. It’s a great place for beginners to try out surfing and bodyboarding. Watergate gets very busy in the summertime but there’s room for everyone. Here are some of the best places to learn.

If you’re a sun worshipper, a parent, or into water sports, Newquay has an amazing array of beaches. Kids will love the endless sands and scope for intensive rock pooling up and down the coast. So, it’s not only surfers who get to enjoy the ocean. As there are miles of wide beaches with lifeguard cover during the spring and summer, there’s lots of opportunity for relaxation and play here. Build gigantic sandcastles and top up your tan to perfection. Newquay is a wonderful holiday resort to enjoy the local beach to the maximum. 

Local’s tip: Get to Watergate early and park in the bay high above the beach. Parking is limited and expensive down at the beach!

Stay in: Fistral Beach House | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog 

Newquay Zoo

Newquay Zoo

Newquay Zoo is a brilliant choice for a family day out. You can get up close and personal with over 1,000 of the world's rarest and endangered animals, birds, insects, arachnids and reptiles. Situated within 13 acres of lush tropical gardens, it is one of North Cornwall’s leading visitor attractions – kids love witnessing the lions tussle over breakfast and trying to get the sloths to wake up. For young children, there are lots of play areas and activity trails for them to get their teeth into too. Adults and kids alike will love to hear that the zoo is a charity that supports important conservation endeavours around the world to protect endangered species.

Local’s tip: The zoo is close to the town centre so there’s no need to drive.

Stay in: Sunny Shores | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog  

Blue Reef Aquarium 


Discover the world beneath the waves at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium. Located right next to Towan Beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, prepare yourself to be dazzled by a sub-aqua safari park. Follow pathways to the giant tanks where you can see specimens from local waters to a tropical reef. Visit over 40 which include regular feeding displays, rock pool workshops and interesting talks which will illuminate you with fab facts about the underwater world of fish, mammals and crustaceans.

Become enthralled with all the aquatic life on show. The Blue Reef Aquarium is home to seahorses, giant octopus, translucent jellyfish and speedy piranha. See the underwater tunnel where you can enjoy a spectacular coral reef display housed within a 250,000-litre tank. See if you can spot the exotic blacktip reef sharks, a loggerhead turtle, a massive southern stingray and legions of brightly coloured reef fish. You can also see baby fish in the Blue Reef Nursery, making the experience even more worthwhile.

Local’s tip: The aquarium is one of the best all-weather attractions in Newquay, so if the weather turns bad, this place is a great option.

Stay in: Cribber Point | Sleeps 6 guests plus 1 dog

Newquay Harbour

Newquay Harbour

For an authentic Cornish treat, take a stroll around Newquay Harbour. Still one of the busiest working harbours in The Duchy, it’s a wonderful place to experience the sights and sounds. Colourful boats bob within the safe confines of the old harbour walls. At high tide, teens take turns to dive off the end of the wall, and local anglers cast off from here too. Look out for seals who charm bait from the fishermen, whilst also looking for scraps. The harbour is a superb place for photo opportunities if you are walking around the town. The Red Lion pub is just up the hill, so you can rest your feet with a pint and a pasty after the climb up. For serious fishermen, it’s possible to charter fishing boats here too for some deep-sea prospecting - see if you can reel in something special for your tea! After the pub, try out a walk past The Huer’s Hut, the war memorial, lifeboat station and on up to the top of Towan Headland. It’s a bracing jaunt but one of the best walks within easy reach of the town centre.

Local’s tip: If you are taking a picnic down there, look out for dive-bombing seagulls on the grift. They are very smart.

Stay in: Paddle Out | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Trenance Gardens

Trenance Gardens

Newquay’s main park is Trenance Gardens, and it’s very pleasant too. With a large boating lake and a play area with swings and climbing frames, it’s a nice spot to take the children. For older visitors, there’s a scenic circular walk around the water and a café in which to enjoy a refreshing drink before you head back into the town centre. The park has many trees and sheltered walkways to discover. Other features include a miniature railway, bowling green, tennis centre, crazy golf, pitch and putt, and Waterworld swimming pool.

Local’s tip: Trenance Gardens are close to the zoo. So, see if you can hear the animals calling.

Stay in: Fistral Rise | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs  

Further afield


Newquay is sat on the craggy north coast of Cornwall and roughly halfway between Padstow and Perranporth. Padstow (to the north) is a cultural enclave, with a harbour and is great for foodies. There are some very good eateries in town for those who like a spot of fine dining. Perranporth (to the south) has a lovely wide sandy beach with a large dune system to enjoy. From Perranporth, take the South West Coast Path to the former mining village of St Agnes for a fantastic cliff-top walk strewn with old ruins from WW2 fortifications to old tin mines. Crantock Beach is a lovely bay close to Newquay, favoured by sunseekers and the odd surfer.

We have some seriously stylish boltholes for those with romance on their minds and some huge houses for holidaying with extended family or friends. Have a peek through our range of accommodation in and around Newquay to find your next coastal escape. Where will you stay on your trip to Newquay this season?

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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