Head to Newquay on the North Atlantic coast of Cornwall and you’re likely to encounter bronzed surf dudes, as the town’s population swells to 100,000 in summer. Drawn by ten long sandy beaches (and a healthy tourist economy to go with it) the town has reinvented itself in recent years – with a lively nightlife and decent eateries to boot.
Newquay’s centre is very pleasant and easy to explore on foot, with several pedestrianised streets in the centre. All around the high street, there’s a lively commercial scene, with plenty of mainstream stores, quirky one-off shops, surf specialists and more. This surfing heartland is a particularly great place to get kitted out in the latest gear; you can eye up boards or try on wetsuits, as well as buy colourful shorts or skateboards. Head for Boardwalk Surf (17 Cliff Road), Emoceanl Surf (2-4 Gover Lane) and the Watershed (3-5 Bank Street).
Food & Drink
Newquay is the homeland of the Cornish pasty and the clotted cream tea, so you’re advised to sample both of these while in town. Try the Coast Café (54 Fore Street) for the latter, while for other hearty options, The Beached Lamb Cafe (72-74 Fore Street) is great for a fry-up and brunch. But there’s a wealth of other choices too. Besides British and Cornish specialities, there are also plenty of international restaurants, including Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Thai. A short distance from town is the renowned Fifteen Cornwall restaurant (Watergate Bay), with Jamie Oliver’s signature innovative cooking, as well as superb views. Advance booking is recommended.
Big names perform at this annual beach-based surf and music festival. There are amazing coastal views from the site, which encompasses eight stages, as well as bars and food stalls.
Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week
This is a huge sailing regatta, with over 450 yachts racing over eight days, plus lots of other entertainments on shore. The races kick off with Falmouth Classics, a race of classic yachts.
Newquay Fish Festival
Celebrating the all-important local fish industry, the Newquay Fish Festival combines plenty of food stalls and activities with family events and entertainment. Expect cookery demonstrations, sandcastle competitions, fish barbecues, real ale bars and more.
Cornwall Film Festival
Running since 2001, this local film festival has been based in Newquay since 2011. It concentrates on Cornish film and premieres over 100 interesting locally made movies, as well as international short films.
Newquay's Christmas Music and Ale Festival
This three-day festival features lots of live music in a marquee venue and a great range of ales. Bars and pubs around the town take part in an ale trail that festival-goers can follow to sample a variety of local tipples.
There’s a fine selection of hotels in the Cornish town of Newquay. Many have sweeping coastal views, including the boutique Lewinnick Lodge (Pentire Headland), which is perched on a cliff in a breathtaking location, and the very comfortable Atlantic Hotel Newquay (Dane Road).There are also some excellent lower-budget choices, such as Tregarthen (1 Arundel Way), a guest house that has chic rooms that come with iPod docks and flatscreen TVs, or the bright and breezy Surfside Stop (35 Mountwise), which likewise has designer looks, a great location, flatscreen TVs, DVD and CD players.