With some of the country’s most beautiful beaches (and reliable surf) Newquay is the unrivalled surfing capital of Cornwall. But there’s more to this popular seaside resort town than surf shacks and wetsuits. Read our guide to plan the ultimate weekend away in Newquay, from where to stay and what to eat, to how to keep the kids happy.
OK, we know we said there’s more to Newquay than surf, but it would be rude not to, frankly, if you’re in town. Get yourself down to the Newquay Activity Centre and book in with one of their friendly and talented instructors (our lesson with Jack was exhausting but seriously enjoyable), who can take you from complete beginner to confident surfer in just a couple of hours. Towan Beach is right in the centre of town, and is ever so slightly less busy than Fistral Beach, so you should find your own slice of surf to practice in. The group also offers coasteering, kayaking and a host of other outdoor activities. newquayactivitycentre.co.uk
Newquay’s beaches are not reserved solely for those wearing wetsuits. It can be a little intimidating jumping into the water when it’s packed with boards (bodyboarders are allowed in the areas marked off for swimmers), so if you have the family in tow, it’s worth checking out one of the calmer, more sheltered beaches. Porth Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Cornwall, with shallow waters, even at high tide. Lusty Glaze Beach was voted Beach of the Year by The Times in 2017, and after a visit to this beautiful sheltered cove, you’ll see why. There’s a great beach restaurant offering splendid views along the coastline, too.
Despite being 45 minutes north of Cornwall’s art capital St Ives, Newquay has plenty to offer by way of galleries, offering original art at really reasonable prices, inspired in large part, as you would expect, by North Cornwall’s gorgeous scenery. Check out the gallery spaces dotted throughout the town and also head to Crantock Gallery and Lorna Wiles Studio while in the area.
Just over 30 minutes’ drive away from Newquay is one of Cornwall’s biggest draws, The Eden Project. An absolute must-visit for nature-lovers young and old, you can spend a whole whatever-the-weather day exploring the best inland attraction in the county. An educational charity, The Eden Project’s visitor destination is a mixture of indoor and outdoor plant havens, nestled in a giant crater. The two enormous biomes hold a living rainforest and Mediterranean paradise of plant and animal life that’s fascinating for both young and old visitors. DO take the little ones, who will love the various outdoor play stations, as well as the indoor weather maker in the rainforest biome, where you can walk through the clouds on a canopy bridge. DON’T take lunch, instead check out the Mid Terrace Restaurant in the Mediterranean biome, where classic med cuisine with a Cornish twist is the order of the day (the crab risotto is our pick of the bunch). edenproject.com
The Headland Hotel
Made famous in the 1990 production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, The Headland Hotel is perched on a private cliff-top overlooking the sand and surf of beautiful Fistral Beach and has been in the same family for nearly 40 years. An iconic Victorian hotel, it has been painstakingly restored and transformed into one of Cornwall’s stand-out places to stay. Check out double AA rosette-awarded Samphire restaurant and take a dip in the heated outdoor pool. If you want more flexibility and privacy than the gorgeous 95 rooms and suites offer, opt for one of the 39 five-star, seaside-chic cottages, idyllic as a secluded, romantic retreat and a favourite with families. Read more in our guide to The Headland Hotel. Doubles from £160 | +44 (0)1637 872211 | headlandhotel.co.uk
No.5, Sykes Cottages
Directly opposite The Headland Hotel at the other end of the beach is a great budget family option. No.5 is one of Sykes Cottages’ most popular properties in the region, a two-bedroom first floor apartment set on the beautiful Pentire peninsula, one of the most sought-after areas of Newquay. With views from the balcony across the surfer’s paradise of Fistral Beach, and gorgeous running and walking routes along the cliff tops, it’s a great base for a week of exploring. There is even a dedicated surf store to leave your board and wetsuit in. Don’t expect from the wifi though, either here or truthfully, across much of Newquay. 7 nights from £465 | Sykes Holiday Cottages is the UK’s leading and fastest-growing independent holiday cottage rental | sykescottages.co.uk
With panoramic views (through sparklingly-clean windows) overlooking the beautiful beach at Watergate Bay, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall is an absolute must-visit. All profits from Fifteen Cornwall go to its registered charity, Cornwall Food Foundation and together they manage the award-winning Apprentice Programme, which helps support those in need to change their lives through a career in the kitchen. The result? Amongst the best food and service in Cornwall.
Head Chef Adam Banks works with local suppliers and the freshest seasonal ingredients on his Italian-influenced menu. If you’re struggling to pick from the menu, visit at lunchtime and opt for ‘Adam’s Lunch’, a selection of four courses picked by Adam for the whole table to share, and available for vegetarians, pescatarians and meat-eaters alike. The taglierini with sardines, datterini tomatoes and pangrattato is a must-try, while the desserts are best ordered in bulk and shared. If the peach tart is on the menu, you’d be a fool to miss it. Oh, and take the kids along. With its elegant styling and light linens, you’d think the place would detest sticky fingers and air-born crayons, but the kids menu is outstanding and even the loudest diners made welcome. Book ahead and request a sea-view table fifteencornwall.co.uk
A really popular choice for locals, ensure you book ahead to enjoy the stunning views of Pentire Headland from this beautifully-positioned cliffside lodge and restaurant. Whether you’re staying for the night, or popping in for supper, you’ll want to dine alfresco (or by a window at the very least). The brasserie-style menu is made with locally-sourced hero ingredients, with seafood and beef dishes the heroes. Cornish mussels are an obvious (but necessary) choice, while the Pan fried sea bream fillet served with thai green curry is an unexpected triumph. The puddings are big enough to share, but you might not want to… lewinnicklodge.co.uk