Newquay is Cornwall's premier holiday resort, boasting some of the finest coastline in Europe and no less than eleven beaches! Although well known as Britain's surfing capital, there are many other activities to enjoy and the surrounding countryside has a wealth of places to visit.
The town is an ancient one - the 'new quay' from which it takes its name dates from the fifteenth century, when it was known as 'Towan Blystra'. Newquay offers wonderful beach and cliff walks, a picturesque harbour and the variety of activities one associates with such a large resort, including golf, squash, tennis, putting, bowls, surfing and even shark fishing!
There are also hidden coves and atmospheric smugglers' pubs which are a living reminder of the more colourful aspects of Cornwall's history.
With such a good selection of High Street and local stores, shopping is a pleasure in Newquay. Bank Street, Newquay's main high street, is mostly pedestrianised, with interesting alleyways yielding little antique and craft shops. There is also a great variety of tea shops, cafés and friendly pubs.
Beaches and Gardens
Newquay's beaches are amongst the best in Europe. Tolcarne and Great Western are the most popular family beaches, with safe bathing and soft golden sands. Fistral beach, which is almost a mile long, is a surfer's paradise and many international competitions are held here each year. Just five minutes from the town centre lies the superb Trenance Gardens; 26 acres of lush sub-tropical colour which incorporates the zoo, miniature railway, boating lake and lakeside café.
Activities and Attractions
Tourist Information Tel:01637 854020
Blue Reef Aquarium Tel:01637 878134
Features include open-top tanks allowing contact with stingrays and a giant tropical ocean display with its own underwater tunnel.
Newquay Zoo Tel:01637 873342
An award-winning attraction which is home to many rare and endangered species.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway Tel:01872 510317
Running on one of the oldest track beds in Cornwall, the circular journey lasts for around two miles.
The Cornish Birds of Prey Centre Tel:01637 880544
Over 50 birds of prey, some of which take part in flying displays, as well as parrots, peacocks, macaws and many other interesting species.
Trewithen House and Gardens Tel:01726 883647
Although the house itself is a worthy attraction, most visitors come here to see the magnificent gardens, which feature many trees and shrubs from as far afield as Burma and China, plus a magnificent collection of plants and flowers.
Minack Theatre Tel: 01736 810181
This unique award-winning open air theatre is set in sub-tropical gardens with breathtaking views over the rugged cliffs and Atlantic Ocean.
Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery Tel:01637 860116
Opened in 1997, the authentic Japanese Garden includes waterfalls, bridges, stone lanterns, bonsai collections and even a Zen garden of tranquility.
Tunnels Through Time Tel:01637 873379
Innovative attraction which tells the story of Cornwall's history with a wonderful array of colourful characters.
Helston's Flora Day
The Flora Day is an ancient celebration, characterised by its Furry Dance, with the gentlemen wearing top hats and tails for the Principal Dance and the ladies their finest dresses, while the children are dressed all in white.
Newquay Lions Carnival held in July is a vibrant affair that fills the streets with colour and entertainment.
Fowey Regatta takes place in August and features daily sailing events as well as a midweek carnival, Red Arrows display and closing with a spectacular fireworks extravaganza.
Newquay Arts Festival is a new event which is held in April. The festival is a celebration of visual art, craft & making, music, dance & movement, drama & performance, photography and moving image.
Newquay Fish Festival takes place in September and features cookery demonstrations, tasting sessions and boat trips.
Run to the Sun Festival takes place in May and includes events and activities for all ages, as well as a spectacular array of vintage and classic vehicles.
Royal Cornwall Show Tel:01208 812183
Themes include music and dance, food and drink, equine events and a steam fair.
Padstow Carnival Week starts the last week in July and features a range of events and attractions.
Padstow 'Obby 'Oss Festival takes place in early May and is a traditional Cornish festival with singing, dancing and a procession through the streets.
For further events, details and listings see:
Places of Interest
Eden Project is without doubt a fascinating experience for both enthusiasts and non-gardeners alike; with its awe-inspiring architecture and magnificent array of plants, it is little wonder that this is one of the area's top tourist attractions.
Charlestown is remarkable in that it has survived as a working port and still exports a small amount of china clay today. The historic town has largely escaped development and remains one of the finest and most fascinating places on the Cornish coast. The town's Shipwreck and Heritage Centre commemorates achievement and heartbreak in a unique 18th century setting barely touched by time.
Heligan Tel:01726 845100
Site of the largest garden restoration in Europe, Heligan's 200 acres includes a lush sub-tropical jungle, Victorian Productive Gardens and romantic pleasure grounds.
St Ives is one of Britain's most picturesque towns with steep, narrow winding streets and a delightful harbour.
Padstow is an ancient, yet busy fishing port which is characterised by its pastel colourwashed cottages and quaint, narrow streets. It was an area which was frequently visited by the late poet laureate John Betjeman and is also noted as the capital of Cornish seafood cuisine.
Mevagissey is still a working fishing port and has been since the 14th century. The museum, housed in an 18th century building, exhibits a wonderful collection of photographs depicting life in the village during the 19th and 20th centuries. There is also an interesting model railway, beautiful beaches and scenic walks to enjoy.
Penzance and Land's End provide all the ingredients for a fascinating day out. Stroll around the pretty harbour in Penzance then visit Land's End, the 'first and last point of England', which is one of the country's top tourist attractions.
St Michael's Mount On top of this volcanic rock sits a romantic castle/house dating from the 12th Century.
Bodmin was once the county town of Cornwall and Bodmin Museum charts the history of the town up to the second world war. Take a scenic journey on the Bodmin and Wenford Steam Railway, or visit Bodmin Gaol where the Crown Jewels and Domesday Book were stored during the first world war.
Tintagel is surrounded by myth and mystery. It's ruined castle, perched atop steep cliffs which rise some 100m from the sea, was built by Reginald, Earl of Cornwall in the middle of the 12th century on the ruins of what is believed to be the legendary Camelot.
Truro is the county town of Cornwall. The 19th century cathedral, with its 250 foot central tower and three spires is well worth a visit and the Royal Cornwall Museum, which is Cornwall's oldest, has many interesting exhibits, including local minerals and even an unwrapped mummy!
St Austell This old market town is one of the largest towns in Cornwall. It was for centuries an important mining town, but the discovery of its china clay deposits increased the town's growth and economy. Take time to visit St Austell Brewery, the largest in Cornwall, or spend the afternoon strolling around Tregrehan Gardens, which features a wonderful collection of camelias and rhododendrons from around the world.