Newquay is one of those places; most people outside of Cornwall have heard of it yet the locals rarely visit. It’s a hub of healthy eating, surfing and yoga but also has more stag and hen do’s than you care to count. It can offer luxury or a cheap boozy weekend but one thing it certainly does offer is some of the most fantastic coastlines in the South West.
Newquay is on the North coast of Cornwall, it’s approximately half on hour from Truro and one hour fifteen minutes from Plymouth. Newquay is easily accessible by car, has regular bus routes and a branch line train from Par. Newquay even has a small airport which flies to several places across the UK and Europe, find a full list here. The town offers an abundance of car parks but do be prepared in high season as it does get very busy as there are no multi storey car parks and many of the residential homes offer no parking therefore any side streets are filled up by residents. I would highly recommend travelling to Newquay by car, as lovely as the town is, for a long weekend you may desire to head out as Watergate Bay, Crantock and Porth are all a drive away and highly worth seeing.
Staying in the town means you can be within walking distance to the shops, restaurants and bars but the luxury of Newquay means you can also be quietly perched upon a hill with nothing but sea views. Newquay offers affordable hotels such as Premier Inn and an abundance of Air BnB’s to offer but below are the top three hotels which, if within your budget, are definitely worth a night or two.
Arguably the most beautiful hotel here in Newquay, the Headland is based on Fistral Beach. Approximately a five minute walk out of the town, you’ll stumble upon Fistral and The Headland is unmissable with its large red exterior and private grounds surrounding it. The views from the front are panoramic sea views, it’s incredibly beautiful. Headland Hotel offers suites, rooms, restaurant and spa with swimming pool and gym. A night here will cost circa £100 for a twin room to £300 for a family suite. Dogs are welcome and there’s parking on site.
The Atlantic is another large hotel, it boasts four stars and is also very close to the town centre. Just up the road from Fistral Beach, the Atlantic is perched high on the hill so sea views are in abundance. Rooms range from single rooms circa £80 to a sea view family suite with balcony for £260. The hotel offers restaurant, indoor pool and afternoon tea.
Watergate Bay Hotel is my favourite, it is beyond beautiful, situated upon the best beach in Newquay and has an infinity pool to die for. You do pay to stay here though, you are looking £200 for a basic room to £500 for a family suite, per night. Watergate Bay is approximately three miles out of Newquay, so you are away from the hustle and bustle but you don’t have everything on your doorstep. Watergate Bay Hotel offers several different restaurants including Jamie Olivers Fifteen.
Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Newquay. They offer chain restaurants in the form of Wetherspoons, Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny’s and Concho Lounge. Aside from this, there’s also plenty of independent places for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below, see which takes your fancy!
Box & Barber – 82 Fore St, Newquay TR7 1EY
I stumbled upon Box and Barber for the first time two summers ago and I’ve been dreaming about the acai bowl ever since. B&B offers delicious and healthy breakfast food from 8am – 3pm, they also have amazing coffee and smoothies if you’re just looking for a drink and a relax. The coffeeshop has plenty of inside seating and some outside seating for those sunny mornings. Overall, this place has a great atmosphere, healthy good food and reasonably priced.
Gilmores – 1 Tower Rd, Newquay TR7 1LS
I am an absolute sucker for Mexican food, so as soon as I spotted Gilmores on Instagram I was obsessed. A cool new food place serving nachos, tacos, burritos – all the good stuff! Gilmores is a short walk out of the town of Tower Road, there’s indoor seating with a really cool vibe (and a wood burner for chilly days!) Plus ambles of outside seating. Gilmores serves alcohol and is open until late every day so worth a visit of an evening also for a pint and a chat.
The Stable – Fistral Beach, Headland Rd, Newquay TR7 1HY
If you like pizza and good cider – you’re in for a treat. Located on Fistral Beach, sit inside with the best view over the coastline. The Stable may have several locations now but the Fistral Beach restaraunt has a true authentic feel offering ample seating and an amazing cider tasting experience. The menu offers plenty of options and a large pizza will set you back between £9 – £13. The Stable is open 10:30am – 11:00pm and houses live music every Sunday from 7pm.
Jam Jar Cafe – 2 Broad Street, Newquay TR7 1NF
Jam Jar Cafe is the ultimate coffee and cake place. In the town, you’ll stumble upon this quirky little cafe with a menu full of good coffee, dairy free milk options, organic teas and amazing smoothies. As well as great drinks, the owner, Jess, also offers her freshly baked goodies, mostly vegan and refined sugar free, so there’s no guilt here!
Newquay is no stranger to the odd beverage; bars are pretty abundant but it’s hard to filter the comfortable cider bars from the sticky floored boozers. If a dirty night out is what you’re looking for, head straight to Berties, Walkabout or Sailors but for a quieter tipple, my two favourites are below.
Tom Thumb – 27A East St, Newquay TR7 1DN
If you like cocktails, come to this place! Tom Thumb is situated right in town, modest to the outside but step inside and you’re transported to a retro world, with a very relaxed vibe and warm decor, I could have stayed here all afternoon. They market the bar as a speak easy bar and it literally is just that. There’s seating down stairs and a cool vintage living room feel upstairs. The bar is ladened with good quality spirits and mixers and the menu is brilliant. I opted for the Witches Fizzle, I’m an avid cocktail drinker, it’s pretty much the only alcohol I consume, and I will say this was the best made cocktail I’ve ever had. So smooth and silky with the egg white top. There’s more than just cocktails though, beers, coffee and bar snacks also available.
Barefoot On The Beach – 12 Beach Rd, Newquay TR7 1ES
Positioned beautifully overlooking Towan Beach, Barefoot is a cool food place by day and a bar by night. With a menu of good spirits, ciders and craft beers, it’s a nice place to sit with a drink and have a chat, moving swiftly to the dance floor for a little move to end the night. Open from 12pm to 2am over the weekend, I think this place is the perfect blend of civilised and fun.
Newquay offers a blend of local gift stores, surfing outlets and some lovely independent shops. It’s a very stroll-able town with an abundance of places to pop your head into.
The Good Lyfe is everything modern day shopping should be. Offering plastic free, ethically sourced products, it’s a joy to just step inside. With a wall full of jarred dry fruits and grains ready to buy, a ‘pour your own oil’ station and natural beauty, body and cleaning products, it’s a breath of fresh air and I have so much respect for the friends, Jamie and Laura, who opened this little beauty.
I am a sucker for a flower shop and whilst wandering past, Coastal Flowers and Gifts caught my eye. With loads of gorgeous flowers to buy by the stem or bunch, lovely nautical gifts, jewellery and a cute little dog sat sleeping on the counter – what is not to love?
Newquay doesn’t only offer beaches to stroll across. Being a big tourist destination for Cornwall, there’s plenty of fun things to do as a couple or a family. There’s many places to visit within walking distance if you’re staying in the town, but I’ve also included a few slightly further afield a little later in the post, if you wish to hop in the car for a few hours.
Newquay Zoo – Trenance Gardens, Newquay TR7 2NL
What would Cornwall be without an offering of a zoo, and ours is located in Newquay. You can easily walk here from the town centre or there’s parking which you do have to pay for. Newquay zoo is a wildlife park offering small animals, petting zoo and birds as well as larger animals such as lions and zebras. My personal favourites include the otters and the sloth! Newquay zoo will keep you entertained for a few hours and you’re looking at £16 per adult ticket. The zoo is open everyday from 10am and does close around 4pm.
Gilmores – 1 Tower Rd, Newquay TR7 1LS
Previously mentioned, Gilmores is a double whammy. A great food joint but also offers mini golf – winning! Head to Gilmores for an hour of fun on their mini golf course. At only £5 per adult, it’s an affordable way to spend your afternoon whilst letting your lunch settle down.
Yes, they’re tacky and yes they can be super annoying but you may as well indulge because you will find yourself walking past several arcades in Newquay. Head on in, change a quid into 2p’s and have a laugh for half an hour.
Newquay stretches across the coastline and the beaches are abundant. There’s a few within walking distance to the town centre such as Towan, Fistral and Lusty Glaze but there’s also some beautiful beaches worth seeing which may require a hop in the car. They’re all unique in their own way and depending on your intentions, it’s worth seeing at least a few on your visit.
Towan is the easiest beach for you to find as it’s at the bottom of town and the streets all lead to it. It’s not huge but it is lovely and you’ll find the infamous house upon the hill. On Towan Beach you’ll find the aquarium, it’s pretty small and unless you have some time to waste I wouldn’t really recommend it. There’s fish and chips on a sunny day and lines of beautiful colourful beach huts.
Fistral is to the left of Towan Beach and is also walkable from the town. You’ll need to follow Fore Street down and head slightly up the hill, it’s very well signposted. Fistral has a great offering of eateries set on the beach itself. You’ll find the previously mentioned Stable, Rick Steins fish and chips and shopping in the likes of Anns Cottage and Fat Face. Fistral Beach is very popular with surfers so, if you’re interested, they do offer plenty of surfing schools through the summer.
Lusty Glaze is to the right hand side of Towan Beach and is walkable from the town along the coastline. Lusty Glaze is a small cove and was voted Beach of the Year in 2017! Lusty Glaze has a cool, laid back vibe compared to some of the other beaches. Keep an eye on the calendar because they host music events throughout the year and it makes for the most perfect setting.
Watergate Bay is arguably the finest beach on the Newquay coastline. It is three miles outside of Newquay and is a two mile stretch of golden sand. There’s parking at the bottom of the valley and the beach is a very short walk from there. There’s public toilets in the carpark also. There’s places to eat on the beach, whether it’s an easy lunch at the Beach Hut, fancy dinner at Jamie Olivers Fifteen or afternoon tea at the Watergate Bay Hotel.
Newquay has plenty to entertain you for a few days but if you want something else to keep you occupied, I’ve popped a few local places below for places to eat, drink or visit.
In Summercourt you’ll find this gem of a gastropub. It’s set in a quiet and secluded space and is wonderfully decorated inside. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner with alcohol too. If you’re in the area or looking for a nice pub for the afternoon, I would certainly recommend this one. It’s based 7 miles away from Newquay, fifteen minute drive. It’s just off the A30 so if you pop to Truro for the day or anywhere further down West, it’s a good spot to drop in on the way back to Newquay.
Quite possibly my favourite cafe in Cornwall, Strong Adolfo is based on the Atlantic Highway in the Hawksfield complex. They specialise in relaxed, roadside vibes and emphasise the need for ‘Fika time’ which I can certainly get on board with! Strong Adolfo offers an amazing breakfast menu up until 11:30am (check out those pancakes, always on my order!) and lunch from 12:30 including jacket potatoes, sandwiches and a delicious specials board. Hawksfield also offers a vintage shop, organic food store and a beautiful clothing store so worth a pop by. It’s en route towards Padstow and Wadebridge so worth popping in if you’re heading to either of those two towns.
I am a big fan of the Screech Owl Sanctuary, which houses so many different breed of owl. Screech Owl is a haven for sick owls, they are brought to the sanctuary and nurtured back to good health. It is a joy to walk around the park and see all the different owls. They also offer handling experiences and teach you about the different breeds. The sanctuary also offers meerkats, alpacas, goats and more petting animals. It is open every day from 10am and is a twenty minute drive from Newquay.
Bedruthan Steps is 7 miles North of Newquay and is approximately fifteen minutes away by car. Bedruthan is a National Trust spot on the coastline and offers beautiful untouched rugged rocks and cliff formations with plenty of walks and trails to take in the sea air. There’s a car park, gift shop and small cafe for a cup of tea or sandwich. It is free to walk around but a few pounds to park.
I hope my guide to Newquay is helpful to anyone out there! I’ll continue to produce guides to all areas throughout Cornwall. Any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email or tweet me and I’ll be happy to help!