The largest holiday resort in Cornwall


Newquay Town Council


The ever increasing popularity of surfing around the world has undoubtedly boosted the appeal of Newquay as a summer resort. It is situated on the North Atlantic coast approximately twenty miles west of Bodmin and is approached along the A392.

The Atlantic rollers have combined with the Gulf Stream to create a rugged Riviera of cliffs, caves, rock-pools and seven miles of soft golden sandy beaches. It is situated on the north coast midway between Bude and St. Ives. and nowadays is the focus of attention for Europe's surfers, as the Atlantic swells roll in from the South West, it looks back on 1600 years of history and a dramatic change of identity from fortified cliff settlement, through tiny port to premier resort. Iron Age Man smelted ore here for weapons and tools, Industrial Age Man made it his conduit for the trade in tin and china clay, but Modern man found its hidden gold; the chain of eleven beaches that have transformed Newquay in less than a century into the most popular resort in Cornwall.

People come to Newquay with a bucket and spade, but they leave with a surf-board. The beaches are so tempting, the conditions so perfect for surfing that every level of skill - or lack of it - is encouraged and rewarded.

The population of the town was 20,836 at the 2011 census, swelling to more than 100,000 in the peak summer months. But back in 1840 the seaside hamlet only had 489 inhabitants.

The resort hosts World Surfing Championships at Fistral Bay in August, which opens its arms wide to the Atlantic rollers. But in the lee of Towan Head's sheltering bulk, the beaches of Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne provide a safe and instructive nursery for belly-boarding learners before they graduate to white horses and the long, shark-finned Malibu boards. Tuition is available, and boards can be hired, either on the beach of from specialist surf shops in town. Newquay held the UK's first World Surfing Championship in 1994.

1600 years ago all that existed within the modern boundary was a settlement on Porth Island. You can see a reconstruction of the inhabitants' lifestyle, hunting and iron-mining methods in the Tunnels Through Time exhibition at Pirates Quest in St. Michael's Road.


St. Michael's church was built in 1911 but was destroyed by an arson attack on 29th June 1993, but has since been re-opened

In 1439 Bishop Lacey of Exeter allowed the burghers of what was then called Towan Blistra to build a New Quay. In 1832 a new harbour was built by Squire Richard Lomax which allowed much larger vessels to land here. It was the beginning of the towns second life as a fishing port culminating in the arrival of the great pilchard shoals of the 18th century and the galvanising cry of "Heva !" from the whitewashed Huer's Hut, still standing above the harbour. When Richard Lomax died in 1836 his estate was sold to Joseph Thomas Treffry who constructed a railway to Newquay.

When the pilchards went, the Industrial Revolution came, turning Newquay from a fishing to a commodity port loading tin, lead and china clay. The famous six-oared gigs you can watch in harbour races originally competed to put pilots on board incoming vessels.

Only three miles away is the beautiful Elizabethan manor house of Trerice which belonged to the Arundell family.

Cornwall's most popular holiday resort owes its development to the glories of the coastline (its spectacularly lovely beaches, in particular) and to the coming of the railway. The Par - Newquay line was originally intended to transport copper ore and china clay from south and mid-Cornwall to the newly-developed and enlarged harbour at Newquay. However, by the time of its completion in 1876 copper mining was in decline and Cornwall was beginning to discover a new wealth; the trains soon brought Victorian tourists rather than minerals, hotels and boarding-houses were built along the cliffs and a new era was born.

The Headland Hotel was designed by the Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail and opened in June, 1900. In 1911, Edward, Prince of Wales, and his brother Prince Albert (later Kings Edward VIII and George VI respectively) recuperated at the hotel after catching measles and mumps while studying at Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

Because of its position at the heart of Cornwall, Newquay makes the perfect touring base to explore its history and legend. To the north-east is Tintagel where Merlin wove his spells and King Arthur held court. To the east is Roche Rock, spiritual home of the Cornish Gorsedd and the wildly beautiful Bodmin moor. And south is the 11th century Restormel Castle, one-time home of the Black Prince, the beautiful valley of the Fowey River and the lushly different riviera of sleepy estuaries, secluded coves and picturesque fishing villages like Mevagissey.

Newquay has been used as a filming location for many films including 'The Witches' in 1994 set inside Newquay's Headland Hotel and in 1967 by The Beatles during the 'Magical Mystery Tour' which used Newquay's Atlantic Hotel.

On the 15th April 2019 a new lifeguard visitor centre opened at Fistral beach to teach vital skills to keep people safe in the sea.

Fistral - The surfers paradise with excellent rock pools at South Fistral and Little Fistral.

Towan Beach - Sheltered and sandy. The ideal family beach for sunbathing and swimming.

Great Western Beach - Sand-covered at high tide and smaller surf. Great for learning to ride the waves.

Tolcarne Beach - Beach huts, beach shop. great eateries - the families favourite.

Lusty Glaze Beach - Descend the steps for adrenalin-fuelled fun, soft sand, family-friendly activities and a beach-side restaurant.

Porth Beach - It's safe, it's sheltered and it's perfect for families, relaxing and swimming.

The Harbour - Small, sandy and where the fishing boats come in.

Local Attractions
The Blue Reef Aquarium on Towan Promenade brings the Atlantic on-shore with a fascinating slice of life beneath the waves. For something really unusual, why not learn how pearls are cultured, made or made up into exquisite jewellery at Newquay Pearl (Quintrell Downs). And as your thoughts move from day to evening entertainment, why not book your seats for the latest in laughter at The Lane Theatre? Waterworld provides all round family fun and entertainment, with Fun pool, 80 foot swimming pool, viewing gallery and cafe, licensed bar serving hot and cold bar food, garden terrace, bandstand entertainment and the popular junior discos. A visit to Animal World (Newquay Zoo) will turn a dull day into a memorable one, for this is no ordinary zoo. Children have their own area where they can learn by watching and handling harmless animals like ducks and rabbits. The Tropical House doubles as a rare breeding and education centre where you can see many exotic - and endangered reptiles and insects. The Aviary cleverly replicates the rainforest in which 100 different species live. And for those who want to learn more about the bigger mammals there are Pumas and a Lion House - with the 'fun' element of an assault-course, adventure play-park, Tarzan Trail and Dragon Maze to ensure all tastes are catered for. Newquay Activity Centre is Cornwall's One Stop Destination For Awesome Outdoor Ocean Adventures. Whether you want to learn to surf, bodyboard, coasteer, stand-up paddle board and kayaking, you can do it all on Towan Beach.

Newquay Station
A railway branch line from Par still operates a regular passenger service and during the summer intercity trains to London. The railway was originally built as a mineral line in the 1840's to provide a link with the harbour. A passenger service followed on 20th June 1876, and from then on the town developed quickly as a resort. The station is close to the beaches on the east side of the town centre. Tel: (0845) 7000125.

Newquay Airport
A warm welcome awaits you at Newquay (Cornwall) Airport, providing a vital link to the rest of Britain and the Continent. Newquay Airport was originally opened as an airfield in 1933. It is now an HM Customs port, because it also handles increasing numbers of foreign flights, both scheduled and chartered. Newquay (NQY) is the principal airport for Cornwall. For flight details and further information Tel: (01637) 860600.

Newquay Buses
National Express runs coaches from various parts of Great Britain to Newquay. The Town also has a good local bus network: the principal operator is Western Greyhound, but some services are provided by FirstGroup and Summercourt Travel. The bus station is in Manor Road, which runs parallel to the main shopping area of Bank Street. Tel: (01637) 871871.

Newquay Lifeboat
For nearly 80 years the station operated an all weather lifeboat until it closed in 1945. After a gap of 20 years the station opened again with an inshore lifeboat and has carried out a variety of rescues, earning several awards for gallantry.

The town's Tourist Information Centre is at Municipal Offices, Marcus Hill, TR7 1BD.

The local sports centre is in Tretherras Road, TR7 2SL.

Town Trail

Newquay Discovery Trail is made up of 14 Cornish slate discs, each 39 inches in diameter, sunk into the ground at strategic points around the town. Each of the discs features a series of 'conundrum' words carved by sculptor Peter Martin. The trail starts in the centre of town at the Killacourt.

Art Galleries

Cornwall Galleries

Whistlefish Gallery

Saltwalls Gallery

Notable Residents

Sir John Arundell, (1576-1656) From Trerice, near Newquay, Commanded Pendennis Castle during the Civil War.

Sir William Gerald Golding (1911-1993), author of Lord of the Flies, was born in Newquay.

Alexander Lodge (1881–1938) was an English inventor who did early work and held some patents on the spark plug.

Singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph (1982-) lives in the Newquay area.

Richard Long, 4th Viscount Long (1929-2017) lived at The Island, a house on a rock linked to the mainland by a private suspension bridge.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic footballer Chris Morris (1963-) was born in Newquay.

Singer-songwriter James Morrison (1984-) grew up in the Newquay area: he attended Treviglas College.

Singer-songwriter Neil Halstead (1970-) currently resides in the area.

Phillip Schofield (1962-) attended Newquay Tretherras School.

John Coulson Tregarthen (1854-1933), naturalist and novelist, lived in Newquay.

Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015) the choral conductor, organist, and composer was born in Newquay.

British painter Nicholas Charles Williams (1961-) is based in Newquay.

Musician/producer Richard David James (1871-) (Aphex Twin) resides in Newquay.

Novelist Charlotte Mary Matheson (1888-1937) lived at Porth Veor.


New Year's Day Swim - January

The Run to the Sun, a showcase of custom cars and Volkswagen vehicles is held at the end of May.

Perhaps the most famous event is the Boardmasters Festival, which brings thousands of people to Cornwall every August to watch world-class surfing.

Newquay RNLI Lifeboat Day is held every August at Newquay Harbour.

The nearby St. Mawgan Steam Rally, and the Newquay Fish Festival and the Newquay Beer Festival are all held in September.

Oktoberfest, Newquay will be transformed into a Bavarian Wunderland, offering a taste of German culture and general debauchery at the end September.

Newquay Gin Festival - premier gin festival - end September.

The ancient Lowender Peran Festival, held in November, was revived by Betty Pitman in 1978 and was moved to Newquay in 2015 when the hotel used in Perranporth closed.

Newquay Harbour Festival - mid September

Newquay Beer Festival - third week in September

Newquay Christmas Lantern Parade & Light Switch-On - December


Cafes in Newquay


Pubs in Newquay

Bedruthan Steps       The Gannel Estuary       Blue Reef Aquarium       Pirates Quest       Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm

Cornwall Karting       Holywell Bay Fun Park       Newquay Zoo       Trerice       Holywell Bay       St. Columb Major       Mawgan Porth

The Coastal Footpath       Dairyland Farm World       Old MacDonald's Farm       Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre       The Lane Theatre

Cornish Lifeboat Stations       Cornwall's Beaches       Porth Reservoir       Springfields Fun Park       Surfing in Cornwall

Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum       Watergate Bay