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Golden dunes
Holywell Bay

Holywell Bay holiday cottages

Holywell Bay is made up of towering dunes winged by rugged cliffs, with the distinctive Gull Rocks sitting just off shore. From the beach you can see very few buildings, which makes the place feel unspoiled and a world away from anywhere. The long stretch of sand and azure waters make for a stunning location.

The beach is dog-friendly all year round, making it the perfect place to tire your four-legged friend out before returning to your retreat at one of our Holywell Bay holiday cottages. During the warmer months, Holywell Bay is lifeguarded, so kids (big and small) can play in the waters safely. Wander off the beach and into the village to find a local shop, the 13th-century thatched pub serving excellent pub classics and local ales, or hop in the car or a taxi and reach Newquay in under 15 minutes.

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The holywell bay guide

Perfectly placed

If you want to be somewhere a bit more rural and peaceful without missing out on the action of the lively town of Newquay, Holywell Bay is a brilliant spot. From our Holywell Bay holiday cottages you can be in Newquay in 15 minutes if you hop in the car, or if you want to make a day of it then walk the coastal footpath and take in the dramatic scenery, the beautiful beaches and see Newquay from a new perspective — it is a long walk though, so you may want to jump on a bus on the return!

Newquay has masses to offer, with a huge choice of places to eat, legendary surfing beaches (Fistral, Watergate Bay and Lusty Glaze), as well as a zoo and an aquarium to keep little ones happy on rainy days. Not only is it a perfect location to explore the surfing town, Holywell has everything you could need so you won’t need to touch the car all week if you’d rather not. Order a food delivery, fire up a barbecue on the beach and stroll the coastal footpath for a relaxing, back to nature retreat.

Sand dunes in Holywell Bay, Newquay, Cornwall, Forever Cornwalll

Spoilt for choice

Staying in one of our Holywell Bay holiday cottages, you have the stunning beach of the same name on your doorstep. With lifeguards on duty from the end of May through until the end of September, a local shop nearby and a pub for lunch or dinner, you needn’t look further for a beach to spend the entire day relaxing on.

But if you want to head further afield, there’s plenty to discover along this stretch of coastline. To the west, explore the three-mile stretch of Perranporth and the only bar on the beach in the UK, The Watering Hole. To the east — where do we start? The first beach next door to Holywell Bay is Polly Joke, a smaller, slightly more secluded beach, with no lifeguards and fewer people. Continue towards Newquay to find Crantock, a huge beach when the tide is out that sits at the mouth of the Gannel estuary, before coming across Fistral, Towan and the rest of the sandy Newquay sprawl.

Wining and dining

Although Holywell Bay village is small, you have a choice of places to eat within walking distance — The Treguth Inn or the Gull Rocks Bar and Coffee House. Both serve excellent local beer and spirits and a great selection of traditional pub grub that will please all tastes!

In the surrounding area you are absolutely spoilt for choice, with Newquay and its many different cuisines from Mexican to Australian, or Perranporth, as well as seafront restaurants serving food and delicious cocktails. From our Holywell Bay holiday cottages you can walk the unspoiled coast all the way to Crantock, where you can stop at the Bowgie Inn for a well-deserved meal or drink.

Further afield, Newquay is home to farmers’ markets, bakeries, delis and breweries, so it’s easy to find fresh, local and artisanal food in the Newquay area — they’re brilliant for stocking up on ingredients for your sunset barbecue or beach picnic.

Beaches

Holywell Bay

This wide bay of golden sand fringed by grassy dunes is a beach for all seasons — storm watching in winter and kicking back with a book in the summer while children play in the trickling stream. If you want to venture out onto the water, there’s surf and bodyboard hire from Holywell Bay School and Surf and Cornwall Surf Academy. At low tide you can explore the amazing Holywell Cave (keep an eye on the tide) and see the wreck of an old Argentinian coaster SS Francia, which hit the rocks in 1917. Taking a picnic up onto the dunes for sunset is the perfect end to the day.

Lifeguarded? Mid May-end of Sept
Dog-friendly? Yes, all year round

Porth Joke

Known locally as Polly Joke, this small cove halfway between Crantock and Holywell is a quieter alternative to some of Newquay’s bigger, more crowded beaches. It’s a 20-minute walk from the National Trust carpark in Crantock but it’s an easy, flat amble through pretty fields down to the sand. There’s a stream running down the beach, ideal for sandcastle builders and dogs, who are welcome on the beach all year round. Make sure you bring a picnic with you as there are no facilities on the beach. Come in early summer for carpets of red poppies and yellow marigolds on the West Pentire headland.

Lifeguarded? No
Dog-friendly? Yes, all year round

The Gem Newquay Crantock

Crantock

The River Gannel flows from the approach to Newquay right around the outskirts of the town and out into the Gannel Estuary before reaching the sea. Here, there is an idyllic beach that sits either side of the river as it makes its way down the sand to meet the sea. Crantock is a great place for kids, who can play under the watchful eye of the lifeguards

Lifeguarded? Mid May-end of Sept
Dog-friendly? Yes, all year round

Food & drink

The Truguth Inn

This beautiful 13th-century thatched pub in the centre of Holywell is just a couple of hundred metres from the epic sands of Holywell Bay so it’s the perfect place for an post-surf pint and basket of loaded chips, or a hearty lunch or dinner; their Sunday roasts are popular so make sure you book ahead. Inside, it’s full of character, with low beams interior and cosy atmosphere. There’s a large garden which you can spill out into on sunny days, and you’re only a few minutes’ walk to the golden sands of Holywell Bay.

Gull Rocks Bar & Coffee House

At the head of the track that winds to Holywell Bay you’ll find the Gull Rocks Bar & Coffee House, a friendly beachside bar and cafe serving breakfast baps, homemade lunches, such as fish and chips and chunky sandwiches, and delicious cream teas. It’s a brilliant spot for dog walkers to refuel, with it’s large outside terrace and benches under parasols and has stunning views of the bay beyond.

 

Bowgie Inn Crantock

Bowgie Inn

On a dramatic clifftop halfway between the beautiful beaches of Crantock and Polly Joke, the popular Bowgie Inn (Bowgie means ‘cowshed’ in Cornish — there used to be an old farm on this site) has wonderful views over the bay below and is just a short hop from the coastal path, making it the perfect stop off on a coastal walk. Inside, the sleek curved bar serves up local craft ales and liquors, with plenty of Cornish gins, and there’s award-winning food with lots of veggie and vegan options. Outside, the sun terrace has to be one of Cornwall’s loveliest, with spectacular views over the bay.

Buying local

Holywell Bay, Newquay and the surrounding area has lots of places where you can get hold of fresh, local produce, including bakeries and delis, butchers and breweries. Its weekly farmers’ market, held in the heart of town, is a great place to get hold of all your Cornish goodies to take back home. Mawgan Porth, five miles north, is also home to a brilliant beachfront food market supporting local suppliers and artisan food producers.

Check out our guide to Shopping local in Holywell Bay, Newquay and the surrounding area

Things to do
Surfers at Mawgan Porth beach near Forever Cornwall holiday cottages

Take to the waves

Staying in Cornwall invariably involves getting out on the water, so if you fancy trying your hand at surfing while you’re here, you can’t beat this area. Holywell Bay, sandwiched between Crantock and Perranporth, two other brilliant surf beaches, offers fantastic surf for all abilities, whether you’re a pro or just starting out. There are two surf schools that run board hire and lessons from Holywell Bay, including Holywell Bay Surf School, the longest running surf school in the area who are based on the beach front, and the Cornwall Surf Academy, who also run coasteering, paddleboard sessions and biking lessons in the surrounding countryside.

Train

Lappa Valley

The railway originally operated as a mineral line in the mid 19th century, transporting minerals between Newquay and East Wheal Rose, five miles south. Lappa Valley is now one of Cornwall’s favourite tourist attractions, ferrying passengers through the Cornish countryside on a nostalgic steam train ride. There’s a boating lake with canoes and pedaloes, crazy golf course, a huge soft play area, outdoor play areas, and woodland walks and trails to discover across the 35-acre site.

Trerice House and Gardens

Three miles east of Newquay, the Elizabethan manor house of Trerice is one of north Cornwall’s finest National Trust properties, a small but stately Tudor house surrounded by extensive gardens that include many specimen trees and beautiful apple orchards, a maze and a ‘kayling’ lawn where you can try your hand at the traditional game of Cornish kayles. Rooms include a long hallway fille with paintings and a stunning master bedroom with vaulted ceilings.

Beach near holiday cottages in Newquay by Forever Cornwall

Newquay’s attractions

One of the best things about Holywell Bay is that you can enjoy the peace and quiet of this little bay but still be within easy reach of the bright lights of Newquay and all the brilliant things to do in the town. Not only are there some great places to visit for rainy days, such as the aquarium and zoo, but there are amazing places to eat and drink, including farm shops and markets, spas for indulgent days, great shopping and, of course, some of the north coast’s best surfing beaches.