Newquay is one of Cornwall’s most famous holiday spots, and this is for a good reason. With the town having so much to see and do, a holiday here has something to suit all needs. The dramatic coastline also boasts 10 stunning beaches all within 7.5 miles of the town, so there’s plenty to explore further afield. So without further ado, here are our top 8 things to do in Newquay:
1. Catch some waves…
Photo by George Hiles
The variety of beaches in the area mean there’s a wave for everyone in Newquay – making this a surfing/bodyboarding mecca. For a learning/intermediate wave you could try the sheltered Towan Beach right next to the picturesque harbour. The magnificent Fistral with long dunes and rocky headlands either side gives you a taste of a professional wave when the swell gets big. Or maybe you could try Crantock, which is a paradise away from the hustle and bustle of Newquay town?
2. Visit Newquay’s harbour
Newquay actually got its name when the harbour, or ‘quay’, was built in the 13th Century. This working harbour is a nice little spot to sit with an ice cream, pasty or gin & tonic. Or you can relax on the little beach amongst the fishing boats — there isn’t anything more Cornish!
3. Go wild at Newquay Zoo
Newquay has Cornwall’s largest zoo and home to hundreds of species of animals large and small. This place is a godsend on those inevitable rainy days when you need to entertain little ones! Even better, this is close to the town so there’s no need to drive.
4. Chill at Lusty Glaze
Crowned 2017 Beach of the Year by The Times, Lusty Glaze is a must-visit for a day at the seaside! It’s sheltered by the high cliffs, making it intimate and secluded. There is a fabulous restaurant on the beach offering great food and free sundowner live music sessions. The beach is privately owned but fully open to all the public.
For a place just moments from this hidden gem, why not stay in the Pebble — a boutique apartment with sweeping sea views.
5. National Trust: Trerice
Step back into time with this exquisite Elizabethan manor house and garden. Known for its tranquillity, it’s a perfect place to unwind. It’s only a 15-ish minute drive from Newquay, so you can easily fit this in during a busy holiday.
6. Blue Reef Aquarium
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.
7. Go to a 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): the biggest music and surf festival in Cornwall and continues to bring people in the thousands with 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 is offering over 50 beers from across Cornwall and the UK, delicious food and entertainment.
8. Exploring further afield
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): this Beach is famed for it’s towering dunes and iconic twin rocks off the coast called “Gull Rocks” — 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. For a place moments from the dunes, you could stay in 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 house with breath-taking 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.