10 Best Things To Do In Newquay, UK

best things to do in newquay uk

Newquay is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. Popular with surfers, the atmosphere in Newquay is relaxed and chilled out, making it the perfect place to escape a busy and hectic work schedule and simply breathe in the crisp sea air and scrunch your toes between the sand.

Newquay is famed for its surf and has a whole host of places where you can learn the ropes and get to grips with life on a board. If surfing isn’t your thing but you want to look the part, fear not, Newquay High Street is full of surf shops that will help you as you strut your stuff down the beach front. With laid back surf shacks serving up everything from freshly caught fish dinners to nutritious vegan salads after a long day exploring the Cornish coast, you’ll have plenty of choice for when you want to refuel!

Newquay is popular with couples and families alike with a range of activities for children, and for those whose inner child is busting to get out! For those who like a more serene and peaceful getaway there are a great deal of gorgeous open gardens and National Trust manor houses to explore!

Read on to find out about the best things to do in Newquay, UK:

1. Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nilfanion used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Fistral Beach is possibly the UK’s most iconic beach. World renowned for great surf and for hosting the annual Boardmasters music festival, Fistral Beach is the buzzing and vibrant hub of Newquay. The wide open beach can be wonderfully windy at times so a windbreaker is certainly advised!

Wide and long Fistral Beach offers soft creamy sands and cool Atlantic waters. With so much space available even on the busiest of days, you can be sure to find a secluded spot for some sunbathing. Be sure to check out the Fistral Beach website before you go and try and time your visit with one of the hundreds of events they host throughout the year.

Fistral Beach

Address: Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, UK

Website: Fistral Beach

2. Newquay Zoo

Bearded Tit - Newquay Zoo (15481826926)
Source: Photo by user Airwolfhound used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Newquay Zoo is a great day out for all the family, home to over 1,000 different species of animal who are in need of specialist conservation facilities. Newquay Zoo is home to the greatly endangered Red Panda, which are captivating to observe in their custom made enriched captive habitat. The Reptile Room is one of the best in the country with the intriguing Blue Tongued Skink on exhibit.

Away from the smaller animals there are some of the bigger beasts too. The highlight of a visit to Newquay Zoo must surely be the great African Lions with their majestic manes waving in the wind. Throughout the day the zoo invites visitors to attend their talks and feeding displays which are a great opportunity to learn about the animals both in their captive environment and how their natural habitats must be preserved.

Newquay Zoo

Address: Trenance Gardens, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 2LZ, UK

Website: Newquay Zoo

3. Lappa Valley Steam Railway

A miniature train at Lappa Valley Steam Railway (geograph 2544593)
Source: Photo by user Rod Allday used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lappa Valley has a whole host of fun and family friendly activities on offer. Offering an all-in-one ticket to families and individuals, Lappa Valley Steam Railway has Crazy Golf, Canoeing Lake, interactive play areas and, of course, the traditional steam railway line with classic steam engines. For the rainy days (and there are plenty in England!) Lappa Valley has an indoor play area and the Whistle Stop Cafe to hide in from the rain and wait for the clouds to blow over!

The Newlyn Branchline runs daily from East Wheal Rose for half a mile (one kilometre) along the original track bed. This open top micro steam engine is loved by steam engine enthusiasts of all ages. The Woodland Railway features the miniature train modeled on the 125 passenger high speed train found on fully functioning railway lines and it’s a great way of getting children engaged in locomotives.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway

Address: Lappa Valley Steam Railway, St Newlyn East, Newquay, Cornwall, UK

Website: Lappa Valley Steam Railway

4. Pirate’s Quest

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Although a little cheesy, Pirate’s Quest is a great day out. Although aimed at youngsters, the actors adjust their performance to the audience they are faced with making the adventure fun for all. Pirate’s Quest takes you on an interactive journey through Cornwall’s pirating history all the way to the jewel of the Caribbean on a quest for gold and treasures!

A real-life pirate will help you escape a sinking shipwreck back to safer shores before you continue your journey through magical caves, misty streets and into the secret pirate’s tavern. Be prepared for a day of lighthearted interactive fun and to learn about Cornwall’s great sea-faring history along the way.

Pirate’s Quest

Address: St Michael’s Road, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1RA, UK

Website: Pirate’s Quest

5. Watergate Bay

Beach at Watergate Bay (5656)
Source: Photo by user Nilfanion used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Watergate Bay Beach spans for a gorgeous 2 miles (3.2 km) and the soft white sands appear and fade away as the tide rises and falls. If Fistral Beach is a surfer’s paradise then Watergate Bay tops the lists for the best kitesurfing in Cornwall. Watch from the shore as the agile kites swerve in the breeze and on really windy days, watch the surfers launch high off the water making for a spectacular show.

Watergate Bay is most famous for its Beach Horse Polo, an annual event hosted on the sand which sees spectators gather from the world over. For peace of mind the beach is covered by Lifeguards from May until the end of September. The bright blue waters are regularly tested and are considered safe for swimming too.

Watergate Bay

Address: Watergate Bay, Newquay, Cornwall, UK

Website: Watergate Bay

6. Trerice House and Gardens

The east front, Trerice, Newlyn
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Humphrey Bolton used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Trerice House and gardens are one of Cornwall’s best kept secrets. This Elizabethan Manor is a hidden jewel nestled close to Newquay’s thriving town centre. Still featuring original decor and interior design, a visit Trerice is a lovely and peaceful way to spend a day.

Situated on the NCN31 cycle route, Trerice is a pleasant and quick bicycle ride from central Newquay and the perfectly kept gardens and stunning vistas of Cornish countryside are certainly something to behold. Trerice has an archaeology test pit that is open for visitors to explore and unearth some of Cornwall’s rich history.

Trerice House and Gardens

Address: Trerice House and Gardens, Kestle Mill, Newquay, Cornwall, UK

Website: Trerice House and Gardens

7. Holywell Bay Beach

Holywell Bay
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nilfanion used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Holywell Beach is possibly Newquay’s most underrated beach and bay. The picturesque beach has rocky outcrops, slippery seaweed lined pools and sparkling azure waters. As one of Cornwall’s many dog-friendly beaches, Holywell is visited the year round and each day of the year offers a different, breathtaking view.

For TV fanatics, Holywell Bay is a must-visit for it was the backdrop for much of the BAFTA award-winning television series Poldark and with more seasons promised, be sure to time your visit when filming is happening to get a sneak peak of the action. The National Trust has listed Holywell Bay as the perfect place to start ticking off your list of 50 things to do and so it is a great place for young families looking to explore the great outdoors.

8. Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre, Newquay
Source: Photo by Flickr user Steve Lynes used under CC BY 2.0

When we said Newquay has something for everyone we meant it, we’ve covered steam engine enthusiasts, wildlife lovers and surfers, so here’s something for lovers of aviation. The Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre has a wide selection of iconic and classic aircrafts for you to get your hands on and explore. Visitors get the chance to sit in the cockpits of jet fighters and imagine what life in the skies during wartime Britain would have been like.

The exhibits can be found both inside the traditional hangar building and out on the landing strip. Through partner company Fly Nqy you can arrange a Trial Flight Experience. During the 30-50 minute flight you will be given control of your two-seater aircraft and be allowed to fly the plane yourself! Certainly a great way to see Cornwall from above!

Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre

Address: HAS 3, Aerohub 2, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4JN, UK

Website: Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre

9. The Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden
Source: Needpix

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Japanese Garden is the embodiment of tranquility and calm in the heart of Cornwall. The garden is overflowing with flowers and flora of the orient that blossoms and blooms throughout the year. The murky green pools house floating lilypads and are shaded by weeping bamboo leaves.

The wooden walkways take you through a set trail that features cute benches and seating spots to take a moment to reflect. The Japanese Garden has an extensive Bonsai collection that can be purchased from the gift shop along with a wonderful range of fair trade and ethically sourced gifts and handicrafts. The Koi Carp in the ponds are lovely to watch and great to photograph.

The Japanese Garden

Address: The Japanese Garden, St Mawgan Village, Nr Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 4ET, UK

Website: The Japanese Garden

10. DairyLand Farm World

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

DairyLand Farm World is a perfect day out if you’re holidaying in Newquay with young children. The farm park has indoor and outdoor play areas meaning a visit to DairyLand Farm World is great fun any day of the year, come rain or shine. The nature trail is a great way to get children walking and engaging with nature and the wonders of the Cornish countryside.

Interactive activities include the ‘Pat-a-Pet’ session where children get to be hands on with domestic animals such as rabbits and are taught how to stroke and handle the animals correctly. Other actives include milking cows and pony ride and these sessions are included in the daily admission price. Family tickets are available and prove a cost effective way to enjoy your visit to DairyLand Farm World.

DairyLand Farm World

Address: Tresillian Barton, Newquay TR8 5AA, UK

Website: DairyLand Farm World

Explore the best things to do in Newquay

Although Newquay is famed for its beautiful beaches, away from the coast there are a great many things to do. The Japanese Garden and the gardens at Trerice are wonderfully relaxing and nature filled. If traveling with youngsters DairyLand and Lappa Valley Steam Railway are a great way to get them running around and engaged with new and interesting activities. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed coastal getaway or a jam-packed holiday, Newquay should be high on your list when planning a visit to Cornwall.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Molly is a full-time conservation volunteer and fundraiser, focusing primarily the Asian Elephant and blogs about her travels to keep her on the road. She has spent the last three years extensively...Read more

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