Newquay started life as a rather humble fishing village originally known as Towan Blystra (Cornish for dunes). From 1554 silver mining brought a brief rush to the centre and its current name refers to a now not so “new quay” which was built in the 16th century. The arrival of the railway brought the Victorian trippers and ever since tourism has become the town’s main industry.
A lively holiday resort, the centre of Newquay comes with a good choice of facilities and entertainment, but at times can be a brash and rather intense location, its clubs and bars attracting hen and stag night revellers in summer. For that reason, we tend to use options for quieter accommodation at Fistral Beach located several miles beyond the town centre, still Newquay, but instead replacing the nightclubs and bars with one of Cornwall's finest beaches.
The choice on where to stay however is yours depending on what sort of evening entertainment you want. Newquay itself is the largest town along the coast and as such has a good range of shops covering the essentials, as well as boutique and independent curios and plenty of wetsuit outlets.
Whilst there are a lot of the usual rather forgettable tourist trappings, the town does has an excellent Aquarium with a walk through tunnel where you can watch sharks and turtles swim above you - well worth a visit as it sits on the main Town Beach just off the South West Coast Path.
Newquay’s run of 9 excellent beaches make it the capital of British Surfing and the town has developed its own unique surf culture and entertainment. Fistral beach is the last of the sands but without doubt the best. Home to ‘The Cribbar’, a wave of up to 12 metres high, this natural phenomenon is created by waves moving over a scattering of reefs off Towan Head, attracting the country’s top surfers when it comes to life a few times a year. At other times, this beach is the site of regular international competitions and surfing events.
The combination of golden sands and huge waves have made Newquay the place to go on the UK surfing circuit, and if you choose to stay here for a rest day, it is easy to arrange surfing lessons and equipment for a walking rest day. For those wanting a more sedate swim, head for sheltered Towan beach in the centre of town, bordered by an impressive tall crag linked to the town by a replica of the Clifton Suspension bridge in Bristol. There is a good cinema (The Lighthouse) showing a range of mainstream films.