8 things to do on holiday in Newquay

Newquay is one of Cornwall’s most famous holiday spots, and for good reason. It’s got everything you could need for a seaside town retreat. Not only does the dramatic coastline boast 10 stunning beaches all within 7.5 miles of the town, there’s wildlife centres, festivals and National Trust locations too. Here’s our pick of 8 things to do on holiday in and around Newquay.

Newquay Towan Beach Newquay Forever Cornwall Self Catering 2

1. Catch some waves

George Hiles Whm1IX5eKlw Unsplash Small Crop

Photo by George Hiles

Newquay is a mecca for seasoned surfers, but the variety of beaches means there’s a wave for everyone, no matter their skill level. For beginners, learning to surf at the sheltered Towan Beach right next to the picturesque harbour is a great way to start. If you’re ready to move on to the bigger stuff,  the magnificent Fistral with her long dunes and rocky headlands won’t disappoint when the swell gets big. And, for swimmers and bodyboarders as well as surfers, Crantock offers a paradise away from the hustle and bustle of Newquay town.

2. Visit Newquay’s harbour

Newquay Fishing Boat Web Edit

Newquay got its name when the harbour, or ‘quay’, was built in the 13th Century. This working harbour is a fabulous spot to sit with an ice cream, a pasty or a gin & tonic.  Sit on the sand at low tide, and watch the gulls wheeling around the boats as they come in from a hard day’s fishing.

3. Go wild at Newquay Zoo

Otter Newquay Zoo

Newquay has Cornwall’s largest zoo and home to hundreds of species of animals large and small. It’s a brilliant rainy day activity, and a great way to keep the little ones entertained, as much of the zoo is geared towards an educational experience. Even better, Newquay Zoo is within walking distance of the town, so you can leave the car behind.

4. Chill at Lusty Glaze

Lusty Glaze Beach

Crowned 2017 Beach of the Year by The Times, Lusty Glaze is a must-visit for a day at the seaside. The beach is sheltered by the high cliffs, making it sheltered and secluded, but still has lots of space for rounders, cricket and volleyball. There is a fabulous restaurant on the beach offering great food and free sundowner live music sessions in the summer.

For a place just moments from this hidden gem, why not stay in the Pebble — a boutique apartment with sweeping sea views.

5.Visit the National Trust Trerice House

Trerice House

Step back in time on a visit to this exquisite Elizabethan manor house and garden. You can book a tour around the house to see its full period features in all their glory, and learn about the interesting history of this stately home.  If you’re after tranquility, the gardens are a perfect place to unwind with a book. Trerice House is only a 15 minute drive from Newquay, so you can easily fit this in during a busy holiday.

6. Go deep at the Blue Reef Aquarium

Black Tip, Blue Reef Nequay

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Newquay’s Aquarium is the best (and driest) way to get close to marine wildlife. It is home to exotic and local species, holds daily talks and feeding demonstrations, and boasts an underwater tunnel offering the best views of these aquatic inhabitants. Also a great day out for little ones, providing they’re not too nervous around sharks!

7. Go to a festival

woman celebrates at festival

If you’re looking for a reason to pop down, why not hinge it around one of these events?:

  • Boardmasters Festival (5-9 Aug). This is the biggest music and surf festival in Cornwall and continues to bring people in the thousands. Past line-ups have included stunning acts like Ed Sheeran, Fatboy Slim and Craig David.
  • Newquay Fish Festival (18-20 Sept). Located on the quay, this festival promises great seafood, cookery demonstrations from local chefs, craft stalls and music.
  • Newquay Beer Festival (25-27 Sept). For those who like a tipple, this event includes tastings of over 50 beers from across Cornwall and the UK, plus delicious food and live entertainment.

8. Explore further afield

Holywell Bay Sunset

Newquay’s surrounding coastline has numerous world-class beaches — so it’s perfectly suited to those who want to explore. Here are a couple of places worth making a trip to:

Holywell Bay (pictured above). Holywell is famed for its towering dunes and iconic twin rocks off the coast, which have been featured in BBC’s Poldark. With no settlements in sight, this beach feels wonderfully unspoilt and rural for a popular holiday destination. To stay moments from the dunes, you choose Samphire Beach House.

Mawgan Porth. About 4 miles north of Newquay, this is a westerly facing beach with vast golden sands and great surf. There’s a lot of space, so you won’t be fighting for a spot on the beach. You could even make a stay of it at Fourburrows, a holiday home with breathtaking views of the beach.

If you like the sound of Newquay and the surrounding area, we have lots of handpicked beach retreats that make a great bases for exploring the area.