One of the most popular destinations in Cornwall, Newquay also happens to be the surfing capital of Britain. Its spectacular sandy beaches, golden and immaculate, with promenades on one side and surging crashing waves on the other, draw in legions of surfers and sun-worshippers every year. Newquay's also famed (or notorious) for being a party hotspot, its pubs and clubs a hit with students celebrating the end of their exams, not to mention stag and hen parties. That said, Newquay is also a fine family destination thanks to its cute coves, cosy restaurants, and idyllic surrounding countryside.
Things to see
Whether you're a seasoned surfing pro or want to get to grips with a board for the first time, Fistral Beach is where you need to be. This is THE surfing beach of Newquay, hosting numerous festivals and water sports championships over the course of the year. Look out for the monster waves caused by the Cribbar, a reef beloved by experienced surfers. Then there's the perfect sandy stretch of Porth Beach, as well as the striking yellow dunes of Crantock Beach, a stretch of coastline next to a quaint village. Another sunny spot is Watergate Bay, which boasts over 1.5 miles of sandy beach along with rugged rock pools and caves. To see wildlife close-up, try Blue Reef Aquarium, which features an underwater tunnel where you'll be surrounded by the clashing colors of exotic fish (and the odd shark).
Hotels in Newquay
Those looking for a high-end beach break will find no shortage of options to tempt them, with upmarket hotels in Newquay aplenty. Many are situated over the sea, offering breathtaking views of the surging waves and Atlantic horizon, and facilities like swimming pools, fitness centers, saunas, and even golf courses are available at some of these lavish Newquay hotels. That's not to say there isn't also a wide range of very affordable hotels and bed and breakfasts, while visitors in their late teens and 20s may want to crash out in one of the vibrant surf lodges, which offer cheap dorm-style accommodation along with bars, eateries, and board storage.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels in Newquay in the city center, which is ideal because of its proximity to the many beaches. You'll be able to stroll to the sands, and also visit the harbor which at low tide is a beach in itself – particularly well-suited to families with young children, as it's sheltered with serene waters. You'll also be able to see the fishing boats coming in with their fresh catch. Towan Beach is also very close to the center, making it a convenient place to soak up the sun. The city center features a long high street lined with restaurants, cafes, and surf shops that's a delight to explore when you fancy a break from the coast.
How to get to
Newquay Station has its very own rail line to Par Station. It's to Par that trains go from various major cities across the UK, although direct trains from London straight to Newquay are also available at select times. Don't fancy several hours on the train? You can always fly into Newquay Cornwall Airport, which is around five miles from Newquay itself and has flight connections with London, Manchester, and the Isles of Scilly. During the peak summer season there are also flights to a wider selection of cities across the UK.