Newquay
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Newquay

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Our Editorial team's advice

Home of the adrenalin junkie, Newquay is known as the best place in Britain for watersports and other exciting activities. On its beaches, there is the possibility of surfing, kiteboarding, bodyboarding and kayaking as well abseiling, rockclimbing and banana rides. Labelled the 'surf capital' of the UK as well as Cornwall's favourite seaside resort, Newquay is reputed for being a youthful and vibrant city. Join the hordes of holiday-makers and see what the fuss is all about.

To see

A 45 minute drive from Newquay lies the remarkable Eden Project, an enterprise that is involved in numerous social and environmental programmes, as well as being a visitor attraction that makes for a nice day out. If you want to remain in the vicinity of Newquay, sampling some of the beaches is your best bet. Fistral beach is the most popular of Newquay's beaches and is a surf centre. With its capacity to produce great waves, international surf competitions are regularly held here. Great Western beach is a hit with families due to its sandy coves and the fact that is sheltered by cliffs. Watergate Bay, a 2 mile long beach situated just north of Newquay, is ideal for watersports.

To do

Aside from the many outdoor activities that are on offer in and around Newquay, there are attractions for the less adventurous, or those needing a break from it all. The Blue Reef Aquarium at Towan Beach hosts marine life from local habitats to tropical fish from all over the world. If wildlife interests you, there is also Newquay Zoo, which is an award-winning complex, home to 130 different species of animals. There is the rainforest exhibit, the Madagascan walkthrough or even the beautiful oriental garden. Interspersed with the zoo is Trenance Park and Gardens, an expanse of 26 acres of verduous sub-tropical parkland in the centre of Newquay. It also comprises a heated pool and the 60m flume at Waterworld.

pros

  • +  Surf capital of Britain, perfect for those who like to ride the waves
  • +  Charm of its seaside location
  • +  Most beaches are child and dog-friendly

cons

  • -  The sea gets cold so you may need a wetsuit if you're going to brave the water
  • -  Although you're at the beach, it's not going to feel like you're in the Mediterranean!
  • -  Unless you're a beach addict, you may run out of things to do

To think about

Newquay has numerous road, rail and air links which make it straightforward to get to.

Daily coaches operate from London and there are other services available from Plymouth, Bristol and Manchester.

Every Saturday there are fast, direct trains to Newquay from London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland. This is supplemented by a regional service from Par.

Newquay has its own airport, which flies to Gatwick, Manchester and other UK airports, as well as Cyprus, Croatia, Madeira and Germany.

By road, join the M5, which will take you to Exeter, and from Exeter, take the A30. From there, the A392 will take you directly into town.

To avoid

When swimming or surfing in the sea, pay attention to the flags on the beaches. Flags with one red and one yellow horizontal stripe signify that it is safe to swim between the two markers. Black and white checks mean the area has been marked for use for surfing. An entirely red flag indicates that should not enter the water at all. Swimmers and bodyboarders should also pay close attention to not being caught up by rip currents, dangerous channels of flowing water that can sweep you out to sea.

To try

A visit to Newquay, and therefore Cornwall, is not complete with sampling a Cornish pasty and a cream tea, both iconic of the county's cultural traditions. The area is also awash with rich dairy products, fresh seafood, meat, cheeses, artisan bakers and fruit and vegetables.

To bring back

If you come here during the summer months and you want a fitting souvenir, you'll be lucky to go home with a tan! However, British summers can't be counted on, so probably best to bring back some clotted cream shortbread, just in case.