Newquay – a visitor’s guide to the surfing capital of Cornwall
Newquay is an extremely popular destination for tourists. It’s the surfing capital of Cornwall and probably still its party capital – although much more family-friendly these days.
The town remains Cornwall’s bustling nightlife destination, but Newquay has moved beyond those tumultuous teenage years to become a holiday destination with so much more to offer.
The seaside town has long been a favorite with vacationers thanks to its beaches, from the breathtaking sandy shores of Lusty Glaze to the surfer’s paradise Fistral Beach. Then there’s the town itself which offers heaps of brilliant restaurants and bars, not to mention the picturesque harbor which never fails to impress as a backdrop.
Read more: The best restaurants in Newquay
He was hugely popular during the pandemic, as overseas travel was restricted.
If you’re planning a trip to Newquay this year, we’ve put together the ultimate visitor’s guide. From exploring the best beaches to the most exciting activities you can try no matter the weather, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also included a list of the best restaurants to visit and how to get there.
Things to do in Newquay
Set in lush subtropical gardens, Newquay Zoo is the perfect place to experience some of the wonders of the world. From lions, lynx and lemurs to meerkats, marmosets and monkeys, you’re never far from a little animal magic when you’re here. On TripAdvisor, the zoo has 2,851 reviews with an average rating of four and a half stars.
blue reef aquarium
Described as ‘lovely’ and ‘informative but small’, the Blue Reef Aquarium has 40 exhibits that bring the sights, sounds and smells of the sea to life, with regular food exhibits, rock pool workshops and informative talks. Located on Towan Promenade in the heart of Newquay, the Blue Reef Aquarium not only offers a beach on its doorstep, but also a great option for a day out, whatever the weather. With 1,740 total reviews, the aquarium has an average rating of three and a half stars on TripAdvisor.
Take to the water on a coastal wildlife cruise, with an experienced crew who can show you the best spot for spotting dolphins, sunfish, seabirds and, of course, seals.
Follow in the footsteps of Cornish ancestors as you stroll along the South West Coast Path from Fistral Beach or Pentire to find Huer’s hut . Overlooking Newquay’s stunning beaches from Towan Head, this small, old building represents the history and heritage of the town’s fishing industry.
Built in the mid 19th century, the importance of this place dates back to the 14th century when the ‘Huer’, for whom this shelter was built, spotted schools of fish and alerted fishermen in Newquay harbor that it was time for launch their boats.
Surfing and water sports
As one of the best surfing destinations in the world, backed by towering cliffs and sand dunes, Fistral is home to hundreds of enthusiasts who flock to the beach to get a feel for the big waves. Trying out surfing on Cornwall’s most famous beach is a must for all water sports enthusiasts. Just a word of warning – don’t attempt to tackle the Cribbar unless you’ve mastered the art.
If you need relaxation, and we’re not all, you’ve come to the right place. Newquay itself has a number of options for calm and tranquil spa retreats, perfect for relieving your busy mind and relaxing your stiff shoulders.
Fistral Spa in Newquay encourages guests to retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Among other treatments, they offer surfer massages and Gaia Jade facials as well as access to an 11m heated swimming pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna.
The Headland Hotel has also recently opened a new swimming and wellness centre; the impressive Aqua Club has six pools and a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. For a perfect, lazy spa day, we suggest lounging on the sun deck of the outdoor vitality pool, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and sipping on cocktails… You can read our review here.
If you fancy a break from the beach to explore central Newquay, but have young children who aren’t up for a lot of walking, hop on the Newquay Land Train. You can hop on and off the Surf Rider Newquay land train all day, enjoy informative local commentary and get the chance to see the town while saving those little legs…
Beaches in Newquay
Fistral is one of the best surfing destinations in the world and is popular with the thousands of enthusiasts who travel there every year. There are 4,359 reviews on TripAdvisor with an average rating of four and a half stars. Citing their reasons for loving him, people called him “beautiful”, “wild” and “busy”. One person praised the “incredible crystal clear waters”.
Towan is also very popular with surfers. It is in the center of Newquay, close to restaurants, bars, shops and car parks.
Crantock and the Gannel Estuary
Crantock beach is beautiful. You can get there either from Crantock itself or by walking along the Gannel – but watch out for the tide!
Great Western Beach
Great Western Beach is also huge and very sheltered. there is a surf rental shop and cafe nearby.
Tolcarne nestles below Cliff Road and is very close to the Barrowfields.
Lusty Glaze Beach
The sheltered cove, which was once a working mine, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Porth Beach isn’t exactly in Newquay, but it’s very popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s huge, very dog friendly and has the lovely Mermaid pub. It is very close to many hotels and vacation rentals.
You certainly wouldn’t describe the Fish House restaurant in Newquay as a hidden gem. Run by a former Rick Stein chef, the restaurant sits in a prime spot above one of the country’s most famous beaches.
But people love it. It is currently Cornwall’s number one breakfast restaurant on TripAdvisor, with nearly 2,000 perfect reviews. You can read our review here.
The pandemic has given ambitious chef Ben Quinn, whose epic banquet experiences are a standout feature of the Wilderness Festival each year, time to cook up his plans for expansion. The result is this new outpost, Canteen at The Orchard, sister to the original Wheal Kitty; expect healthy, value-for-money plates of food and a community ethos.
Located in the heart of Newquay Community Orchard, sustainability is integral to everything Ben and the team do here, and all produce used is sourced from the Market Garden, neighboring farms and Cornish growers.
Sushea on Fore Street is Newquay’s new go-to restaurant for lovers of sushi and Asian fusion cuisine. Dive into extremely tasty bao buns, gyozas and poke bowls as Sushea promises a healthier alternative to food on the go.
As much food as possible is sourced locally, all packaging is recyclable, and the owners source their fish and shellfish from sustainable fisheries, so you’ll be doing your part for the environment while enjoying great food.
This unlicensed deli is a great place to pick up those special holiday supplies, but there’s also a really delicious menu of small plates, toast, baked meats and cheeses to enjoy in the casual setting of what looks like much to a French wine. bar.
With an impressive wine selection, you might find it hard to tear yourself away; we recommend that you don’t plan anything else for the rest of the day if you are planning a visit to The Bottle!
Hidden in plain sight on Bank Street, Newquay, MisoMiso is rated the second best Japanese restaurant in Cornwall and has received dozens of ‘Excellent’ reviews on TripAdvisor. It has built a reputation for serving tasty food and having a good, trendy atmosphere. The food is delicious – you can read our review here.
How to get to Newquay
Travel to Newquay is very simple by road, rail or air. By road, once you reach Exeter you then have a lovely drive on the recently improved A30 taking in some stunning scenery over Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. Then leave the A30 at Indian Queens and follow the A392 via Quintrell Downs and Newquay.
To get to Newquay station from outside Cornwall you need to change trains at Par.
The nearest airport to Newquay is Cornwall Newquay Airport, which is only 15 minutes away by taxi.
You can take the National Express or Megabus to Newquay.
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