Newquay is one of Cornwall’s most exciting towns. Although best known as the UK’s premier spot to catch a damn fine wave, there are plenty of other reasons to visit if surfing isn’t your bag. Here’s why you should make Newquay your next Cornish getaway. 

1. Eat your way around the tasty brunch spots

1. Eat your way around the tasty brunch spots
Pavilion's breakfast buns

If you think the Cornish food scene is just pasties and classic cream teas, think again. Newquay has some great places to grab a bite but it’s brunch where it really excels. Australian restaurant Bush Pepper serves up a typically Antipodean selection including eggs with dukkah (crushed seeds, spices and nuts), smashed avo and halloumi, or more out-there options like the wild boar and chorizo scotch egg. Meanwhile, just over the road, east London favourite Pavillion’s Cornish outpost makes freshly baked sourdough, cardamom buns, shakshuka and other eggy delights, all served with damn fine coffee.

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2. Explore the sensational sands

2. Explore the sensational sands
Windswept Whipsiderry beach / Image: Adobe Stock

Cornwall is known for its legendary beaches, and none is more famous than surfer’s paradise Fistral beach (more on that later); if you want something a little more chill, there are plenty of supreme sands near Newquay. For something not far from the centre of town, head to Crantock Bay, an idyllic National Trust beach on the Gannel Estuary flanked by two grassy headlands, perfect for swimming or watersports. 

Or if you’d rather something a bit more secluded, picturesque Whipsiderry beach could be just the ticket: the walk down the steep cliff steps and lack of facilities keeps out the bulk of tourists and means you should have the place mostly to yourself. Then be sure to check out Watergate Bay, just a short drive away. Popular with locals for swimming, surfing or just sunbathing, its gorgeous stretches of flat sand are dog friendly and there are lots of cafés nearby for a bite. 

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3. Visit historic Newquay Harbour

3. Visit historic Newquay Harbour
Picturesque Newquay Harbour / Image: Adobe Stock

It’s not just the beaches that are easy on the eye here; when strolling around town, be sure to pay a visit to the quaint old harbour just off the main drag. It’s said that the harbour was created in 1439 and that’s where the town’s name comes from – it was previously called Towan Blystra – so it’d be almost rude not to stop by. These days, it’s a picturesque spot to sit and eat a pasty while watching the boats bob about, or there are some nice cafés and restaurants down by the water to help you make the most of the view.

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4. Get lost in a Japanese Garden

4. Get lost in a Japanese Garden
Vibrant Japanese Maple trees

A short drive from Newquay in a bucolic village called St Mawgan, you can have a mini jaunt to Japan. The garden is small but perfectly formed with brilliant red Japanese maples, a bamboo grove, rhododendrons and a pavilion, plus a calming mini waterfall and ponds home to some chubby koi carp. Take a seat on one of the benches and soak up the chill vibes. The shop also has a great selection of different bonsai trees (complete with useful growing guides) so you can take some of that zen home with you. 

Open from March to October
japanesegarden.co.uk
Entry £5

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5. Sample the local sauce

5. Sample the local sauce
Where the magic happens

To get a real behind the scenes look at how Cornish cyder is made (and try some other quality local goodies), it’s got to be a trip to Healey’s farm. The original and largest cyder-maker in Cornwall is still a family-run brewery and distillery which offers tours to enlighten scrumpy fans on the history and process of making the good stuff. There are also farm animals to coo over, a tea room (where scones are served with a pint of cold cyder, of course), a vintage car display and a great selection of other homemade produce including wines, spirits, juices, preserves and sauces to get stuck into.

healeyscyder.co.uk

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6. Meet some cute critters

6. Meet some cute critters
A red panda at Newquay Zoo / Image: Newquay Zoo

Since 1969, this little zoo has been home to thousands of the world’s rarest and endangered critters. In the midst of the 13 acres of the tropical lush greenery of Trenance Gardens, little (and big) kids can explore Lemur Island, the dragon maze or the lion enclosure, swing by and watch feeding time or pop along to lectures by the resident zookeepers on animal conservation. Little ones can also help feed the meerkats and Humboldt penguins. A wild day out for all the family.

Adult entry from £16.35
newquayzoo.org.uk

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7. Watch the pros on Fistral beach

7. Watch the pros on Fistral beach
Catching a wave at Fistral beach / Image: Adobe Stock

Even if you don’t fancy donning a wetsuit and doing your best Point Break impression, it would be a crime to visit Newquay and not spend some time on this stellar beach. The impressive waves here attract surfers from all around the world and you could lose a whole morning just watching them skilfully navigate the waves. If you get peckish, head to Rick Stein’s Fistral restaurant for lunch overlooking the water or to try his superior takeaway fish and chips. And if you do get tempted to give it a go, there’s a surf school right on the beach to help newbies stay afloat.

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