Newquay's evolution into the UK's ultimate surfing and holiday resort, with international surfing competitions held here, is a late 20th century phenomena. Prior to the 1960s when this Cornish resort really began to take off as a surfing Mecca aided by it's influx of international lifeguards, New Quay's history is predominantly based around it's function as a fishing, export of china clay and copper and small port Cornish centre. Pilchards were the main fish exported from Newquay in the late 18th century, and mainly to Italy and the Mediterranean. Today the picture is a little different, and the shift to Cornwall tourist Mecca from fishing harbour really kicked off with the coming of the railways. Newquay benefits from it's own Newquay Airport making it highly accessible to the home and international crowds pouring in for the surfing competitions.
With it's 11 golden sandy beaches no less, numerous attractions including Adventure and water parks, Stag and Hen weekend activities, a choice of chic surfer bars, restaurants and surf schools, tons of B&B accommodation and cheap hotels crammed into the centre and Atlantic rolling waves guaranteeing prime surfing territory for both the experienced and beginner, you have in Newquay a superb British beach and surfing holiday or break. At the heart of Newquay's appeal are the magnificent 11 beaches which transform into one giant bay at low tide. Each beach has it's own character from rip roaring surfing on Fistral Beach to low key, if crowded!, family fun on Towan Beach right near the town centre. Newquay offers a host of activities for families, but pulls in also couples, stag and hen dos, coastal walkers and fishing fans, as well as offering a variety of watersports and adventure landsports as well as surfing including kitesurfing, wakeboarding, powerkiting, abseiling, climbing and land yachting. Outdoor sports enthusiasts are spoilt for choice.
Newquay town is certainly lively so if it's peace and quiet you're after, head further west to St Ives or Lands End! In recent years Newquay's convenient pedestrianized centre has seen a bit of a contemporary lift with the introduction of sleek bars and cafes which suit the surfer and clubber visitors well. Check out Chy Bar on Beach Road. But Newquay's secret is in the mix and attractions cater for young groups and for families. What choice for family attractions and on the menu is popular Newquay Zoo and Leisure Park at Trenance, positioned slightly inland and family hotspot Waterworld also at Trenance which includes fun pools, a large 25m pool, a gym, sauna and solarium.
Blue Reef Aquarium on Towan Promenade almost right on the beach is one of the most popular family attractions in Newquay. Aquariums have come a long way in recent years, especially on the conservation side. Hands on exhibits and underwater viewing tunnels are part of the experience of Blue Reef. On rainy days, if they happen to coincide with your Newquay family holiday, are easily sorted. For a 'tongue in cheek' mix of Cornwall history and myth pop into 'Tunnels Through Time', the big pink building on St Michaels Road easily spotted! Life-size mermaid figures and Arthurian legend about. Just three miles out of town is Holywell Bay Fun Park offering good old go-karting for the stag weekends and families, plus a choice of fairground rides and pitch and putt golf. For ten pin bowling head to Porth Tenpin Bowling which also benefits from pool tables and a family area, with restaurant and licensed bars on-site.
Visitors interested in historical sites in and around Newquay won't be disappointed. On offer is Treice Manor just to the South East of Newquay. This National Trust Elizabethan manor house, rebuilt in 15 71, is truly worth a visit and was at one time was the powerhouse of the Catholic Arundells. Inside there are Stuart portraits and Brussels tapestries, oh and don't forget to pop into the fascinatingly kitsch Lawnmower Museum in the grounds! For steam railway fans check out the narrow-gauge steam railway Lappa Valley Steam Railway at St Newlyn East near Newquay. Atmospheric steam trains take visitors along the GWR Newquay to Chacewater line. At the end of the line is a leisure park and East Wheal Rose engine house, plus a historic mine building, country walks and a licensed cafe and gift shop.
Newquay and surrounds offers many more attractions including the award winning Screech Owl Sanctuary or Diaryland, a working farm and museum and superb entertainment for the kids including an indoor play area, meet the animals scenarios with hands-on milking and pat-a-pet and pony and hayrides. For a different ancient market town feel head for St Columb Major east of Newquay. It's a contrast to the central hub with it's 15th century church and old cottages. The tomb of the Arundells is here. Take time to visit the Iron Age fort Castle Dinas just to the east of St Columb and the village of St. Mawgan where you'll find a Carmelite convent dating back to 1794. And bonus, there's a Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery. Finally for a great theatre night head back to the centre of Newquay to the community run Lane Theatre which always offers a superb Summer season!
You'll be hard pushed to find such a wide variety of glorious sandy beaches in one UK resorts, as you find here in Newquay with it's 11 sandy beaches no less. Each Newquay beach attracts different interests from the obvious - surfing, but then some beaches are better for beginners, others for the experienced. Other great beach entertainment on offer are rock pools, boat trips and fishing near the harbour, beach hut lounging, sand castle building and sandcastle competitions, bird watching and paddling pools. Safety on Newquay beaches is extremely well organised, with an army of lifeguards always on patrol and flags indicating daily surfing conditions.
The all red flag obviously indicates no swimming. For information call Surf Call on 09068 360360. Newquay Beach Rescue operates from Mid-May until the end of September on 10 of the 11 beaches and from 10am to 6pm, 7 days a week. Red and yellow flags indicate Lifeguards are on patrol and two red and yellow flags positioned at the waters edge mark a bathing/body boarding zone which is supervised by lifeguards. The quartered black and white flag on a zoned area is for surf craft and Malibu boards only and indicates it is not save for swimmers and bathers.
Family beach favourites include particularly Towan Beach right near the Harbour. This Newquay beach benefits from numerous rock pools and is also a favourite for beginner surfers as it's sheltered hence it's gentler waves perfect for bodyboards. At low tide adjacent to the Island on Towan beach a paddling pool is perfect for the kids and it's the closest to Newquay town centre so amenities are within easy reach. Adjacent to Towan Beach and also conveniently near the town centre are Great Wester and Tolcarne Beaches, both again popular with families and beginner surfers. These get quite crowded in peak season. As a general rule the central and eastern Newquay beaches are the gentler wave beaches, and there's a choice of delightful cove beaches such as Lusty Glaze or for the biggest and, some say, the most spectacular of all the beaches head for Watergate Bay just 3 miles outside of Newquay to the east. Watergate is becoming increasingly popular with the surfers too!
West Beaches are best for the experienced surfers and Fistral Beach is the big surfing Mecca. The exposed west facing Fistral Beach gets the full force of the Atlantic breaks, and this beach is the favourite of experienced surfers and is broken into three breaks called Little Fistral, North Fistral and South Fistral. The bottom is sandy and the hollow waves are plentiful. Further West is Crantock Beach which is much more sheltered and is stunningly backed by sand dunes and popular with picnic makers. Porth Beach is popular with families with younger children and visitors with mobility issues as it's easily reached and level with the road and car park. All in all, Newquay with it's 11 varieties of beaches has something for everyone.
Newquay is surfing's UK capital, and attracts plenty of attention from international surfing fans too! With 11 beaches, two or three of which are prime surfing beaches, particularly famous West facing Fistral Beach, Newquay has got the surfing goods. A real surfing culture has built up here since the end of the 1960s, with surfing gear, surfing lodges offering surfing lessons and the British Surfing Association's main centre is located here at Newquay on Fistral.
Newquay surfing is all inclusive, and Newquay caters well for all surfing tastes from beginners of all ages, from kids to seniors, and there are so many surfing schools at Newquay offering surfing lesson packages with all inclusive lodge accommodation but all with a different focus, with some women only, some stag and hen group favourites and some focusing on families and kids. Fistral Beach is where the experienced surfers head to, with beginners starting out on the mushier waves of centrally placed Great Western Beach.
All surfer levels are catered for, which is part of Newquay's real surfing appeal. Favourite surfing beaches in Newquay are number one Fistral Beach, however Watergate Bay about 3 miles out to the east of Newquay is becoming increasingly popular, and has a superb cafe/bar right on the beach! Safe surf is guaranteed with an army of lifeguards on patrol in peak season, and if you love the surfing gear and surfing music and scene then Newquay doesn't disappoint. All your favs are here in the many Newquay surfing shops including Roxy, Billabong, Ripcurl, Animal and all the rest.
The British Surfing Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of surfing in Great Britain and the Channel Islands. The British Surfing Association. The International Surfing Centre. Fistral Beach Newquay Cornwall. TR7 1HY. Tel: 01637 876474
Newquay's Mediterranean holiday feel with it's great sandy beaches, numerous nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, cafe and bars and prime surfing culture has much appeal, particularly young groups. Stag and Hen parties are well catered for in Newquay with ample group accommodation available in the surfing lodges, or the many hotels and B&B Guest houses. Plus the range of activities available at Newquay for a fun packed Stag and Hen weekend break will amaze, with a choice of go-carting, group surfing lessons and a choice of top nightclubs to hit come evening!
The choice of Newquay Nightclubs is impressive, and most tastes are served. Choose from the big multi-bar clubs like Berties on East Street playing R&B, hip-hop and retro 70s/80s or the Beach Nightclub on Beach Road which is probably the most popular of all the Newquay nightclubs with it's four bars and three floors, offering mainstream dance/party and 70s hits.
For the laid back cafe/bar feel head for Beach Road and the stylish Cy Bar or Koola Club, with the former offering Latin fun and soulful house and the Koola offering jazzy smooth music and some house. Popular surfer pub/inns include the Red Lion Inn up on North Quay Hill. Great value food here, plus occasional live music. Other favs include romping Walkabout Aussie bar, with all things kitsch Aussie including the crocodiles. Prime territory for the Crocodile Dundee Stags!
Newquay's restaurant's are on the up and up as well, with as well as the ample fast food outlets there's increasingly more choice of cuisine including now Indian, Mexican, Italian and Aussie Tucker available. In and around Newquay most restaurant tastes are catered for, from lively bars serving food to sit down excellent Indian and Mexican restaurants for which you're well advised to pre-book in peak season! For something a little extra special take a short drive North to Padstow for Rick Stein's renowned seafood restaurant, or head for Finns on Newquay's harbour which serves delicious fresh seafood closer to hand.
Just outside of the town centre, Newquay is blessed with it's very own airport. Primarily it serves the UK market in and out of Newquay, with Cornwall's own airline Southwest Air being the prime player, but with BMI Baby and Ryanair getting in on the act. Monarch have just started direct flights from Newquay to Malaga as well, so service to international destinations are on the up.
Regular flights run daily to and from Newquay Airport from Manchester Airport, Leeds/Bradford, Birmingham, Dublin, Teeside, London Gatwick, London Stanstead and Newquay Airport is the base for the Skybus flying to St Mary's, the largest of the Scilly Isles.
Facilities at this growing Cornwall Airport are good, and constantly expanding with two large car parks, a spacious terminal building with licensed cafe plus two major car hire firms - Hertz and Europcar have offices here at Newquay.
Newquay Cornwall International Airport, St. Mawgan, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4RQ. Tel: 44(0)1637 860600
Newquay's accommodation choice is diverse, from superb group style accommodation in the many surfing lodges run by the surfing schools, to friendly Bed and Breakfast guesthouses, or mammoth leisure hotels offering numerous in-house leisure facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzis for spa style weekend breaks.
Look to the centre of Newquay for many budget B&Bs, backpacker lodges and surf lodges, some of which are located right on the beach. There's a fair choice of reasonably priced hotels in the centre of Newquay too, or a choice of self catering holiday flats and homes near the beaches.
For quiet luxury look to areas slightly out of the centre such as Porth which offers a small selection of deluxe B&Bs and self catering options, all still within easy reach of Newquay's beaches and centre.
Cornwall golf course choice is renowned, and Newquay is one of the best Cornwall locations for golf. There's a selection of golf courses on offer both in and around Newquay, serving everyone from the beginner golfer to the experienced.
Newquay golf course up on the cliffs in the centre is one of the most challenging 18 hole course in the area, and many Cornwall golf competitions are held here. Family favourite golf courses include the Lappa and Holywell golf courses slightly inland - great for beginners, plus with lots of other leisure facilities close at hand.
As you'd expect with this glorious Cornwall coastal location, many golf courses in and around Newquay offer idyllic sea views and all are well equipped with cafes/bars on-site, plus golf clubs available for hire. As well as Newquay's central golf course, and the leisure club attached golf courses of Holywell and East Newlyn at Lappa, there are two superb 9 hole courses - Carvynick and Treloy just outside of Newquay. Newquay is a superb golf holiday location for the beginner and the experienced golfer!
Newquay Tourist Information Centre, Municipal Building, Marcus Hill. Tel: 01637 854020