Newquay is one of the most popular seaside towns in Cornwall and it’s easy to see why. The town has so much to offer visitors including a great variety of exciting entertainment and a wide choice of activities. Why not explore the South West Coast Path, walk along one of the 11 stunning beaches or visit one of the local attractions such as the zoo?
Newquay is so much more than just beaches and, in this guide, you will read about some of the reasons why Newquay should feature on your 'must visit' list when visiting Cornwall, plus some other top things to do in Newquay.
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8 unmissable things to do in Newquay
Take a surfing lesson at one of Newquay’s beaches
Newquay is immensely popular in the world of surfing and is well regarded as one of the best surfing destinations in the UK. Newquay is great for beginners as most of the beaches have their own surf schools, as well as for experienced surfers who are looking for great surfing conditions.
The most popular beach for surfing is Fistral Beach, which is regularly home to some of the best surfing competitions in the world and is widely regarded as the surf capital of the UK. In addition to Fistral Beach, there's also Great Western Beach, Holywell Bay, Lusty Glaze Beach, Whipsiderry Beach, Porth Beach, The Gannel, The Harbour, Tolcarne Beach, Towan Beach and the equally famous Watergate Bay Beach – all wonderful sandy beaches backed by the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
We recommend Newquay Activity Centre, which is based a short walk from both Fistral and Towan and offers lessons in everything from surfing and kayaking to coasteering and paddleboarding.
Visit Newquay Harbour
Newquay Harbour is one of the prettiest places in Newquay and even has its own small sandy beach to relax on. Surrounded by restaurants and pubs, you can enjoy a drink or a meal whilst taking in some spectacular views. Nothing feels quite so traditionally Cornish as watching the fishing boats coming home with their catch with spectacular sea and beach views in the background.
From Newquay Harbour, there's also a wide variety of boat trips available. Whether you want to head out to sea for a fishing trip, try your hand at some of the water sports on offer, or just take in the beautiful scenery, there will be something for everyone. If you're lucky, you may even spot a seal popping its head above the water!
Walk The South West Coast Path
Photo of Watergate Bay taken by a member of our local team
The South West Coast Path runs all around Newquay, making it easy for you to join wherever you may be in Newquay. It also means you can walk as much or as little of the coast path as you like. The Newquay section of the coast path is a beautiful stretch of the path which runs from Porth Beach to Fistral Beach and is roughly 3 miles long.
From Newquay town centre, heading north on the coastal path, you can walk to Watergate Bay or Mawgan Porth. And, if you head south, you can enjoy the delights of Crantock Beach, Porth Joke, Holywell Bay and Perranporth Beach.
We recommend Watergate Bay, as it's dog-friendly all year round and, at low tide, it is a vast expanse of roughly 2 miles of spectacular golden sand.Click here to read about other highlights of walking the South West Coast Path.
Visit Newquay Zoo
One of the top things to do in Newquay, Newquay Zoo is located amongst Trenance Gardens, allowing you to mingle with hundreds of different species of animals, insects and birds including wildebeest, zebra, pandas and meerkats while learning more about the zoo’s conservation programmes.
Throughout the day, the education team are on hand to share some of the animal’s funniest behaviours and habits at feeds and talks, so you can get to know your favourite a little bit better!
Newquay Zoo is a registered charity, so not only do you get a good day out, but you also know your money is going to a good cause, supporting education, scientific research and practical conservation around the world.
Newquay Zoo supports a number of projects in the UK and overseas that aim to conserve wildlife in the wild, as well as playing a key role in breeding programmes for rare and endangered species.
Walk around Trenance Gardens
Trenance Gardens is an Edwardian public garden in the heart of Newquay, not far from the town centre. With beautifully maintained grounds and a picturesque stream, Trenance Gardens is a must if visiting Newquay.
Next to the gardens is Trenance Boating Lake with rowing boats and pedalos available to hire – it is the perfect place for a stroll where you can feed the resident ducks and swans, and it is not usually too busy even in peak summer months. In Trenance Gardens, you’ll also find Trenance Heritage Cottages which has a free-to-enter heritage museum open to the public, The Garden tearoom and an ice cream parlour!
Head to Trenance Leisure Park
If you fancy a day away from the beach, Trenance Leisure Park is the perfect solution. With lots of different activities and attractions, there will be something for all the family to enjoy.
Playgrounds and parks are children’s favourites and here you will find numerous activities to keep the little ones occupied. There are a couple of free play parks with swings and slides, an area for the children to run around, Newquay Zoo and Heron Tennis Centre.
There’s even crazy golf or pitch and putt, a ride on a miniature railway, or you can wander through the beautiful gardens – great fun is guaranteed!
What's more, Newquay Leisure World is also located here, featuring a swimming pool, children’s fun pool with flumes, and fitness centre/classes should the urge take you.
Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
The Blue Reef Aquarium overlooks Towan Beach and is home to a wealth of spectacular marine life.
More than 40 innovative displays vividly bring to life the sights, sounds and smells of the sea, whilst regular feeding displays, rock pool workshops and informative talks provide a fun and fascinating day out for all the family.
At the aquarium’s heart is a spectacular coral reef display housed within a 250,000-litre ocean tank that’s home to exotic tropical species like blacktip reef sharks, Omiros, the rescued loggerhead turtle, hundreds of brightly-coloured reef fish and a huge southern stingray.
Pop to nearby Lappa Valley
Photo credit: Lappa Valley
Located in the rolling Cornish countryside, just outside Newquay is Lappa Valley Steam Railway. Children will delight here in the thrill of the trains and boats, exploring nature and in the play areas. There are three family-friendly railways, an adventure golf course, pedalos, trampolines, woodland walks as well as outdoor and indoor play parks.
The Engine Shed is a lovely café to relax and refuel in. Lappa Valley is open all year round and offer host special events like their popular firework displays and Father Christmas days. Lappa Valley is also dog friendly – although they must be kept on a lead.
Things to do in Newquay map
Plan your stay in Newquay
Newquay offers a range of top-quality attractions, events and activities throughout the year both in and out of the water – there really will be something to please everyone!
Are you ready to book a holiday cottage in Newquay and discover some of these wonderful places for yourself? Browse our wide range of self-catering holiday homes and cottages today. From romantic cottages for a weekend escape just for two, to larger properties for the whole family, we have a great selection of cottages in Newquay and the surrounding area for your next break.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.