Newquay is rightly proud of its seven fabulous beaches some of which rank amongst the most popular in the UK. However, Newquay has much more to offer than just beach life. Go off the beaten track to uncover the hidden wonders and quirky treats of Cornwall’s most vibrant town.
Look out for the brand new Newquay signage around the town. With key local information and top tips for getting to know the town, they will guide you round our fantastic seaside resort
Whether you stroll along the riverbank or take a paddle on the calm tidal waters, explore the beauty of the Gannel estuary and listen out for the eerie call of the legendary Gannel Crake while you discover the remnants of the river’s trading past. At low tide you can cross the river via a footbridge, but at high tide the only way across is via a foot passenger ferry that runs during the summer months. One divine walking route is to follow the South West Coast Path from the town centre, walking along the back of Fistral Beach, over the stunning Pentire Headland and down onto the Gannel. With many lovely cafés and restaurants such as Bodhi’s, the Fern Pit, Fistral Beach Bar, Fistral Beach Hotel & The Esplanade Hotel along the way, you can make it a truly special day out.
The Island on Towan Beach
For over 100 years there has been just one home perched high above the beach on Towan Island. Surrounded by sea at high tide and only a couple of minutes’ walk from the town centre, this unusual location is reached by an Edwardian suspension bridge and towers above the nearby Blue Reef Aquarium. Local history reports that prior to the building of the house on the island, it was used as a potato patch and chicken run. Over the years it has had a varied history – having been an art gallery, a tea room and hosted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The island is private so you cannot just wander onto it, but it is an incredible place to witness from the beach, and if you are very taken with the location it’s possible to stay here (book via Boutique Retreats, www.boutique-retreats.co.uk).
Newquay’s picturesque working harbour has been a centre for fishing since the 15th century. Originally boats caught pilchards, but now crab and lobsters are the main haul and are exported all over the world. With its pretty sandy beach and waterside cafés, such as the Harbour Fish and Grill and the Boathouse Restaurant, this is the place to uncover the maritime past of Newquay and savour a taste of the sea. Look out for the historic gigs – rowing boats once used to pilot ships into harbour – and see if you can spot Sammy, the friendly seal. Newquay Harbour is also home to Newquay’s fantastic annual Fish Festival; which takes place every September. The Fish festival is a must for foodie and fish lovers, with stalls, fresh seafood, chef demonstrations, live entertainment and much more.
The Huer’s Hut
One of Newquay’s most iconic historical buildings, the whitewashed Huer’s Hut has its origins as far back as the 14th century, although the current building is around 160 years old. It was from here that the Huer would call out ‘Heva, Heva’, to the fishermen, alerting them to the sighting of pilchards or herring. Boats would be launched at once, guided by the Huer towards the shoals. In recent years the hut had fallen into disrepair but, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, sufficient funds were raised to restore it to its former glory. With its stunning cliff -top location it is a must-see on any visit to Newquay. Why not pop into the nearby Atlantic Hotel for afternoon tea or a delicious meal after your visit, to make the best of the panoramic ocean views?
Footsteps from the town centre, with an uninterrupted view of the sea; The Killacourt is the perfect spot for a cliff –top picnic or a stroll in the afternoon sun. For hundreds of years this beautifully manicured area has been used as a meeting space, and today its lush green lawns lure many locals and visitors alike. Overlooked by nearby cafes and restaurants, such as Frankie and Benny’s and Prezzo, The Killacourt is a great place from which to get to know Newquay. The Killacourt is also hosts many town events, from family fun days to live music, there’s something for everyone, all set to the stunning backdrop of the sea.
This small, west-facing beach is only accessible at low tide, so is often overlooked by visitors. However, flanked by rocks on either side and pummelled by strong waves, it deters any water sports, which makes it a perfect hideaway for a summer picnic or a secluded sunbathe. Little Fistral’s low-key reputation belies the fact that it is an international film star, featuring in the highly popular German made Rosamund Pilcher series. Make the best of your day with a meal at the nearby Headland Hotel or the Carnmarth Hotel, both of which boast fantastic coastal views and serve delicious food made with fresh, local ingredients. To reach Little Fistral head towards the Headland Hotel along Headland Road, and turn right just before the hotel, following the path to the end as far as the Old Lifeboat Station. Just make sure you check the tides before you head off!
With breath-taking views over Newquay Bay, the Barrowfields make the perfect place to stretch your legs, go for a picnic or just lie back and cloud watch. Named after the ‘barrows’, which are ancient Celtic burial mounds, these days there are only a few barrows left; yet it is still a site of historic importance, with the 3,500-year-old remains of a Bronze Age Chieftain having been discovered here. A visit to the Barrowfield scan be rounded off with a tasty treat or delicious meal from many of the local cafes and restaurants that line the route to this stunningly scene spot.