Escape to the coast: a weekend in Newquay

Perched on the rugged edge of Cornwall’s Atlantic coast sits one of the country’s most popular seaside destinations. With 11 beaches and a hazy, laid-back atmosphere, Newquay is the perfect place to spend a relaxing holiday with family or friends. It’s also the perfect spot to set up base when exploring the surrounding towns and villages.

Where do I start?

To the west of the town is perhaps Newquay’s best-known stretch of sand – Fistral Beach. Pros travel from all around the world to ride the waves here, but there’s still plenty of room for amateurs and it’s a great place to learn the ropes. Fistral Beach Surf School accepts families, groups and individuals at all levels of ability, from beginners to advanced, and prices start at £35 per lesson, including equipment.

And remember, surfing’s not just a summer activity, and in fact you’ll spot enthusiasts in the water all year round.

Where to eat?

Over on the other side of town is a secluded cove called Lusty Glaze. At its centre is a dog-friendly restaurant serving some deliciously-apt seafood options. Enjoy a lazy lunch while you look out at the amazing view, or simply stop by for a coffee and a snack before tackling some beach-based activities such as abseiling.

Where should I kip?

North of Fistral Beach, near rocky outcrops that reach into the Atlantic, is the Headland Hotel and Spa. Offering a great location with super views, the Headland is an ideal spot for a bit of holiday pampering. Indulge yourself with good food and fine living at this luxuriant coastal bolthole.

What’s hip?

Vinyl junkies, make your way to the tiny Retro Sounds Records to get your hands on some classic and collectable platters. You’ll find examples from all the main genres, including folk, hip-hop, jazz, rock and more – be sure to chat to owner Steve to put in a request for that obscurity you’ve been hunting for years. There’s also a nice selection of hardware, if you’re in the market for an old amp or deck.

Only in Newquay

  • Head on over to Newquay Zoo to get a look at some top wildlife from around the world, including lions, tortoises and capybara. Set in 13 acres of subtropical gardens, the zoo makes for a very pleasant day out.
  • There are 40 naturally themed habitats full of wildlife at Blue Reef Aquarium. Enter an underwater tunnel and come face to face with turtles and caiman, pufferfish and much more.
  • Take an hour-long voyage into the history of piracy with Pirate’s Quest, an immersive walk-through experience that tells the story of real Caribbean swashbucklers. Visitors are given a map and encouraged to complete one of three quests of varying difficulty.