Skip to main content.
Guides

Travel Tips - Making the Most of Your Stay in Newquay

Find a place to stay

Newquay is a seaside town with a fishing industry that dates back to the 14th century. It has grown as a visitor destination over the decades thanks to its family-friendly attractions, sandy beaches, and gourmet food. It’s also the UK’s top surfing spot. Bars, traditional pubs, and live music fuel a thriving nightlife scene, while water sports like kayaking, coasteering, and windsurfing attract adrenalin seekers.

Best time to travel

 

Like most seaside destinations in the UK, the weather is changeable, but Cornwall is generally milder than the rest of the country. Peak seasons include Easter and the summer school holidays (late July to early September). To avoid the crowds, travel in May or June when it’s warm and room rates are lower. Winter can be cold and blustery, but it’s a great time to sit by the fire in a cozy beach bar, watching the raging waves. New Year’s Eve is a busy and fun night, with fancy dress and fireworks over the harbor.

Not to miss

 

Boardmasters Festival is an annual surf and music event that takes place in August on Fistral Beach and a site near Watergate Bay. The festival has surf championships and a huge 3-day music event with multiple stages, comedy acts, local bands, and big-name headliners. You can sample seafood and experience a slice of local life at Newquay Fish Festival, held on the harbor in September. Take a walk along Pentire Headland and stand on the top of steep granite cliffs to enjoy vistas of Crantock Beach to the west, and Fistral Beach to the east.

 

Getting around

 

Newquay’s a small town but its 11 beaches stretch for miles, so a car is advisable if you want to explore remote villages and the coastline. Newquay Cornwall Airport (NQY) is a 15-minute drive and operates domestic flights all year round. Trains service Newquay on a branch line but they aren’t frequent: you’ll need to change at Par for services to London, Manchester, or Penzance. There are regular buses to Truro and St. Austell that go via nearby villages like Crantock and St. Columb Major. Taxis are plentiful but booking ahead is advised, particularly during peak season.

 

Cuisine

 

Cornwall’s traditional dishes are based on seasonal seafood. Newquay’s thriving fish industry provides an array of freshly caught delights like mackerel, crab, mussels, and hake. You won’t want to miss battered fish and chips, while Cornish ice cream comes in many flavors including pistachio, clotted cream, and honeycomb. Nearby breweries produce a wide selection of fine beers, smooth ales, and crisp ciders that go perfectly with a piping hot Cornish pasty from a farm shop. You’ll also find global eateries, from curry houses to Mexican restaurants.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Newquay has become a party hot spot over recent years, but it remains a popular family destination. Nudity is not advised on beaches like Towan and Crantock, and drinking in public places, including beaches, streets, and parks is prohibited. Locals appreciate a certain level of politeness, and tipping is standard in restaurants at 10-15 percent. It’s vital to look at tide times if you’re going on coastal walks, and to pay attention to lifeguards’ rules on beaches. Most beaches have dog bans from April until late September, so check before you set off.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 19900
  •  

  • Spoken languages: English
  •  

  • Electrical: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, plug type G
  •  

  • Phone calling code: +44 1637
  •  

  • Emergency number: 999