Tucked away on the North Cornish coast, Newquay is one of the area’s premier holiday destinations. With its bustling atmosphere, vibrant nightlife and stunning scenery it is easy to see why it’s so popular. And we’ve decided to give all the people planning a trip to Newquay a helping hand, by tracking down the best attractions in the town. From hitting the waves to taking a pirate tour we’ve covered it all, so take a look.
Hit the beach
Where else could we start? Newquay is home to some of the best beaches in the whole of the UK, never mind just in Cornwall. With the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic and the pale golden sands, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were somewhere in the tropics rather than on the south-west coast of England.
There are more than ten high quality beaches all within easy reach of Newquay, that between them cater for all parties - from the surfer’s haven of Fistral Beach through to the family-friendly Towan Beach.
For more information on Newquay’s beaches and to see which would suit your group, take a look here.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Tucked away in the countryside just outside of Newquay is the Lappa Valley Steam Railway, one of Cornwall’s premier family attractions. Featuring three miniature railways, countless play areas and activities, it makes for the perfect day out in the Cornish sun. Whether it’s through a round of crazy golf, a wander down one of the nature trails or a trip out on to the boating lake, everyone is bound to have a great time. Lappa Valley caters for all requirements with on-site facilities including a café, toilets and disabled access to many of the attractions.
Prices - adults £12.00, children £9.50, over 60's £10.00, family saver (two adults and two children) £37.00, family saver (two adults and three children) £40.00, under threes go free
Just three miles east of Newquay is Trerice, one of the finest manor houses in all of Cornwall. Built by the Arundell family back in 1573, the house endured mixed fortunes over the centuries but remains a stunning example of Elizabethan architecture. Taken over by the National Trust back in the 1950’s, it has become one of the premier attractions in Newquay with its stunning gardens, tea rooms and plenty of activities aimed at the little ones, such as traditional Tudor costume days and the opportunity to try out the traditional Cornish sport of Kayling.
Prices - adults £8.50, children £4.25, family (one adult) £12.75, family (two adults) £21.25
Go on a Sea Safari
Or maybe you fancy a trip out to sea? Well you’re in the right place! Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing operates right out of the town, and offers a wide range of fishing trips and the opportunity to come face-to-face with some of Cornwall’s marine wildlife. Whether it’s a safari through one of the local seal coves, a trip out to catch a glimpse of dolphins, basking sharks and sunfish, or even a plunge below with some shark cage diving, it’s bound to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Prices - Basking Shark Encouter - adults £50.00 / children £40.00, All Day Deep Sea Fishing - 9:30am - 5:30pm - £48.00, Sea Safari - adults £20.00 / children £15.00
Contact - 07582 466122; 01637 877613; www.newquayseasafarisandfishing.co.uk
Dairyland Farm World
©Dairyland Farm World
No trip to Newquay with the little ones would be complete without a visit to Dairyland Farm World. Situated just outside of the town, it’s the ideal place to spend an afternoon with the younger children. You could get to know the animals in the Pat-a-Pet area, go for a pony ride, or take a stroll along one of the nature trails. If you get hungry, you can pop on over to Clarabelle’s kitchen café and tuck into a Cornish cream tea and some delicious homemade ice-cream.
Prices - adults £10.50, children (over 80cm) £8.00, children (under 80cm) free, seniors (60+) £8.50, family of four £32.00, family of five £40.00
Or maybe you want to do something a little bit more exotic? Well, if that’s the case then you’ll probably want to head over to Newquay Zoo. With more than 130 of the world’s most exciting animals, it’s the perfect way to pass an afternoon. From African lions to fire-bellied newts and red pandas, there are all sorts of inhabitants at Newquay Zoo, and you can get closer than ever before with their fantastic range of zoo experiences that includes feeding the lemurs and meeting the meerkats.
Prices - adults £13.30, children (three-15) £10.10, children (under three) free, seniors and students £11.45, saver ticket (two adults and two children) £40.70
Contact - 01637 873342; www.newquayzoo.org.uk
You may also be interested in our guide to animal sanctuaries in Cornwall.
But what if you want to get a taste of Cornwall’s famous pirate heritage? In that case, you’ll want to head over to Pirate’s Quest where you’ll be able to experience it first-hand. Guests are transported back to the 18th century and introduced to Captain Calico Jack, who will guide them through a flurry of fun-filled areas from the Royal Anne Galley through to Ne’er Do Well’s Passage and Captain Morgan’s Tavern.
With tours led by a wide ranging cast of colourful characters, treasure hunts and even a ‘scare trip’ through the Lost Lands of Lyonesse, Pirate’s Quest offers the perfect way to pick up some tales to tell the land-lubbers back home all about.
Prices - adults £9.95, students and seniors £8.95, children (three-15) £6.95, children (under three) free
It’s often said that Newquay is the jewel of the UK surfing scene. Between them, the numerous beaches dotted up and down the short stretch of coastline cater for all abilities making Newquay the perfect place to hit the waves, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started.
Fistral Beach is one of the main surfing hubs in the area. It hosts competitions throughout the summer has an area set aside for free surfing. Or if you’re looking for something a little calmer, you might want to head over to Towan Beach, the most sheltered of Newquay’s bays.
If you’re after some lessons or need to hire some equipment, then you’ll struggle to find anywhere better than the Newquay Activity Centre. Situated right beside Fistral Beach, it’s rated as a Centre of Excellence by TripAdvisor and offers a wide range of surfing packages as well as the chance to rent all the equipment that you will ever need.
Prices - surfing taster surfing £30pp, surfboard hire £10.00 for one day, wetsuit hire £8.00 for one day
Head down to the Gannel Estuary
What if you just fancy a little bit of peace and quiet to enjoy your surroundings? Then you’ll want to head over to the estuary of the River Gannel just outside of Newquay. Formerly a busy waterway leading through to the heartland of Cornwall, the river has gradually become inaccessible to boats and is now a haven for all manner of wildlife.
It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon stroll - just make sure the tide is out before you head off - and you may want to stop off at the Fern Pit café for a fresh crab sandwich and some of the best views in all of Newquay.
Blue Reef Aquarium
Situated on the beachside in Newquay Town Centre, the Blue Reef Aquarium is the perfect place to learn a bit more about the marine life that calls the Cornish coast home. It's also handy if the weather takes a turn and you need to escape the a sudden downpour. Featuring sea life ranging from those found in the waters just a matter of meters away, to those from the coral reefs of the tropics, you'll encounter Black Tip Reef Sharks and even a Giant Pacific Octopus.
Prices - adult £10.00, children (three-12) £7.75, seniors and students £9.00, family ticket (two adults and two children) £33.50. Discounted prices available if tickets booked online and in advance.
So, there you have it, our top ten things to do when you’re in Newquay. Hopefully you’ll enjoy trying some of them out and no doubt you’ll be working up a bit of an appetite while doing so. But don’t worry, if you do start to feel a bit peckish, here are our favourite five restaurants in Newquay for you to try.