When you think luxurious vacations or tranquil retreats, Newquay rarely comes to mind. The colourful surfer’s paradise has long-held a less than savoury reputation as the go-to destination for partygoers and budget holidaymakers… But thanks to its captivating coastlines and a myriad of trendy new venues, Newquay is starting to enjoy quite the transformation…
One of Newquay’s biggest assets is its miles of sandy beaches. By far the most popular spot on the local map is Fistral Beach – one of the world’s top surfing destinations. Hundreds of surf enthusiasts flock here each summer to get their big wave fix. The sunset is glorious at Fistral and deserves a mention of its own. Make sure you set aside time to catch the fiery oranges and vibrant purples that wash over the sky after the beach turns amber.
To truly make the most of the view, try stand up paddle boarding during golden hour. Watergate Bay is another stunning beach to explore. Two miles of golden sand stretch out toward Newquay during low tide and impressive blue waves crash in from the Atlantic. To experience Watergate Bay in style, head to Emily Scott Food to feast on classic European fare and sip on cocktails as the sun sets over the horizon.
Laid-back Lusty Glaze lies in a beautiful cove enclosed by dramatic cliff edges. The Restaurant & Bar is the perfect vantage point from which to gaze out to sea and listen to live music from Cornish musicians. Holywell Bay and Porth Joke Beach should also be on your north Cornwall itinerary and it’s worth seeking out the curious poetic rock carving at Piper’s Hole in Crantock.
Consistently good surf in the region means there is a choice of Surf Schools to choose from. Fistral Beach Surf School, Quicksilver Surf School, Westcountry Surf School and Escape Surf School all offer group and private lessons, or equipment hire on some of the most famous surfing beaches the country has to offer.
Looking for some new beach threads? Indie boutique Roo’s Beach is a lively antidote to sometimes samey beach wear. They offer fresh, relaxed fashion and accessories suited to coastal living with lots of sustainable options. Delicate gold and silver designer jewellery, and colourful ethically-made beach bags are among our favourites.
On blustery days, nothing is more enticing than the display of meticulously decorated cakes and pretty bakes at Newquay’s The Basket. All the packaging at this indie cafe is biodegradable and their salads and light bites are seriously delicious. There’s also The Jam Jar, another one of Newquay’s charming independent cake and coffee shops. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, The Jam Jar’s menu includes a wide range of organic teas, superfood smoothies, healthy breakfast bowls and freshly toasted bagels.
Stylish eatery, ISLAND, offers epic flat whites and some pretty serious brunch options such as rhubarb and marzipan French toast and root veg hash. Plus, if you’re feeling good there’s also a range of smoothies to choose from.
For something more substantial try The Fish House. Perched by Fistral beach, they serve seafood hauled in fresh from Newquay Harbour, arriving on your plate in the form of perfectly prepared mussels, grilled fish or fragrant risottos. Head Chef Paul Harwood has lived in Cornwall for over 25 years and learned his trade from none other than Rick Stein.
Come evening time, head straight to smart cocktail joint Tom Thumb to experience some cocktail alchemy. Expect combinations like citrus and spice, rose and hazelnut, and even rhubarb and custard on their creative drinks list. It’s a classy spot that’s worth visiting for their finely tuned, unusual flavours.
For more Cornwall holiday inspiration, why not get your hands on our Cornwall Travel Guide?