One of Cornwall’s most popular holiday cottage destinations and internationally renowned surfing capital of the UK, Newquay scarcely needs any introduction. This area of north Cornwall, boasting ten or so varied beaches and one of the country’s best sunshine records, is eternally popular with young families, the more mature visitor and, of course, the surfing community. During the summer months the town buzzes with an influx of young visitors. The town centre is a somewhat haphazard mixture of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, surfing and mainstream shops.
The main attraction of course, remains the beaches, and here Newquay really does offer something for everyone. The town’s best-known and busiest beach is Fistral, where the surfing championships are held. Great Western is popular with families, a series of west facing coves where full facilities, such as deckchair and surf hire, refreshments and toilets, are available. Harbour beach is the town’s smallest beach at the western end of town. It is an ideal sandy, family beach with safe bathing, and is easily reached from the centre. The wonderfully-named Lusty Glaze beach is privately owned but open year round to the public, providing excellent amenities such as a crèche, beach shop, bar and restaurant and as such it is very popular with families. A beautiful cove, the beach is naturally sheltered by steep cliffs behind and provides safe, sheltered swimming. Too many more fine beaches to list make up the total in Newquay, whilst further afield quieter stretches of sand wait to be discovered along the coast, such as Watergate and Porth beaches to the north, or nearby Crantock, with its lovely, old-worlde village and generous expanse of golden sand beach, largely kept hidden away from the tourist masses.
Newquay is packed with family entertainments, and one not to be missed is Newquay Zoo. Set in lush, sub-tropical lakeside gardens, the zoo has plenty to keep children busy, with animal encounters, children’s play areas, jungle trails, face painting and much more. The Blue Reef Aquarium on Towan Promenade is another popular draw for families, with its undersea safaris and black and white tipped reef sharks providing the main attraction. Tunnels Through Time makes a good wet weather activity; this museum brings Cornish history to life with a variety of displays, reconstructions and exhibits recounting the darker and lighter sides of Cornwall’s colourful past. Holywell Bay Fun Park, with its action-packed collection of rides and activities, from bumper boats, go-karts and laser-shooters to a climbing wall and pitch and putt course, offers a host of family fun, unusually on an easy to budget pay-as-you-go basis. Dairyland Farm World is an all-weather day out for younger families. Set on a real working farm, this attraction offers pony and tractor rides, bottle feeding, milking and animal displays as well as having a large indoor play area with all sorts of places to clamber and play including a ball pit, tumble towers and fireman’s poles. Springfield’s Pony Centre and Fun Park at St.Columb Major, just outside Newquay, offers a similar type of experience for families with younger children. Between here and Wadebridge the Cornish Bird of Prey centre is another animal-themed day out, with wild birds performing regular displays. Still catering to the family market but on a slightly different theme, the Miniatura Park on the Perranporth road unveils a magical world in miniature, where iconic landmarks as diverse as the Statue of Liberty, Buckingham Palace and the Taj Mahal are all recreated on a tiny scale. A Jurassic Trail leads through the gardens and the children’s play area includes a lake with miniature boats to steer. The Lappa Valley Steam Railway offers a varied day out for all the family, young and old alike. The two-mile trip on the narrow gauge steam railway claims top billing for most visitors, but there are miniature trains, nature trails, crazy golf, a boating lake and picnic area allowing you to enjoy a full day out in the park.
To see Newquay for yourself, take a look at these self catering holiday cottages.