11 Best day trips from Newquay

Venture out of town and explore these amazing places near Newquay on your 2021 trip holiday down south

Article by

  • 30 March 2021
  • • 9 min read

Staying for a while in the surfing town of Newquay? Day trips are the best way to explore all the beautiful parts of Cornwall that you don’t want to miss on a trip down to the south of England. While Newquay is full of exciting , if you’re staying for more than a few days then make your trip even more memorable by heading out of town on a day trip or two. Coastal walks, castles, quaint coastal villages and way more are within easy reach, particularly if you’re getting around by car. Discover more of Cornwall than just its surfers paradise and party town, and explore these fantastic places near Newquay to visit during your holiday down south this summer 2021.

Thinking of booking a holiday in Newquay for 2021? Take a look at for affordable accommodation with sea views over Towan Bay. Plus we offer free cancellation up to 24 hours before your check-in date.

1. Carnewas at Bedruthan Steps

 20 minute drive or 45 minute bus (number 56) from Newquay town centre

©National Trust Images/NaturePL/Ross Hoddinott

Just a short drive north of Newquay is one of the most magnificent views in Cornwall. The National Trust’s Carnewas at Bedruthan really shows off what people mean by Cornwall having a natural rugged beauty, with its jagged cliffs and sea stacks surrounding Bedruthan Beach. Unfortunately due to a dangerous rock fall the steps down to the beach are currently closed, although, if anything, this only adds to the beach’s beauty as it will be totally deserted. Walk along the Carnewas at Bedruthan coastal path heading towards Park Head and Porth Mear cove to breathe in the salty sea air while taking in the striking views. Being just 20 minutes outside of Newquay, this natural attraction is a real must-visit. 

2. Perranporth Beach

20 minute drive or 40 minute bus (87) from Newquay town centre

Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, on a hot summer’s day there’s no better place to visit than this gem just 20 minutes away from Newquay. The miles of golden sand, great waves and impressive sand dunes make for a fabulous beach day, plus you’ll find a number of shops and cafes in the village nearby, as well as one of the right on the beach. Even though Perranporth attracts a swarm of people when the sun is out, the beach never feels busy. Being such a wide stretch of sandy coast means that there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out their beach towels and umbrellas and enjoy the fresh sea air. 

3. Padstow

35 minute drive or 1 hour 15 minute bus (56) from Newquay town centre

With its many independent local restaurants, the idyllic harbour and British seaside charm, Padstow is one of the most popular spots in Cornwall to visit. When you’re staying in Newquay, a short day trip up the coast to Padstow is a must if you’re thinking about fitting in a day trip or two. Arrive for a box of the famous from Rick Stein’s chippy by the harbour front before wandering around the town and ducking into the charming local shops. A real must-stop is the marine conservation site by South Quay called the National Lobster Hatchery. When it opens to visitors again, you’ll be able to learn all about the work this organisation does to conserve the wild lobster population and even adopt a lobster if you want to. If there’s enough time in the day, hop on the 10 minute water taxi across the River Camel to explore the fishing village of Rock. 

4. Lost Gardens of Heligan

45 minute drive from Newquay town centre

Explore Europe’s biggest garden restoration just a 45 minute drive out of Newquay at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Following the outbreak of WWI the gardens became a tangled bunch of brambles, before being rediscovered and restored in 1990 to one of the most unique gardens in the country. Now, the over 200 acres of fauna, flora and greenery is the perfect place for plant and outdoor enthusiasts to visit for the day. The Lost Gardens are beautiful all throughout the year, but if you manage to visit when the camellias or rhododendrons are in bloom then you’ve hit the jackpot. The earliest of these plants date way back to around 1850, so are a truly special sight to see. Make sure you pre-book your tickets to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on a slot.

5. Eden Project

40 minute drive from Newquay town centre

This iconic Cornish attraction is one of the most unique things to do down south. The Eden Project is home to a bunch of giant biomes, inside which you can explore the largest indoor rainforest in the world. When in Newquay, don’t miss the opportunity to experience a walk through the tropical and Mediterranean biomes, feeling the heat that these plants, trees and flowers thrive in and learning more about the diversity of our environment. From this year, pre-booking your tickets to the Eden Project is essential in advance of your trip. 

6. St Ives

50 minute drive from Newquay town centre

One of the shining stars of Cornwall is the idyllic coastal town of St Ives. Known for its rich artistic heritage, great surfing waves, cobblestone streets and more, if you have the chance to visit during your stay in Newquay, it should be a no brainer. Whether you’re visiting with the purpose of exploring the town’s culture or simply lying on a new beach for the day, St Ives has reasons for everyone to fall in love with this part of the coast. Surf the waves at Porthmeor Beach and visit the Tate St Ives for your cultural fix, then sit in the sunshine at one of the many quaint beach cafes. Stroll through the Down-a-long, popping into the independent galleries, cafes and shops between the whitewashed cottages and cobbles. Then if you have the time, why not book onto a boat trip to Seal Island where you can take in stunning views of the town itself and get up close to the grey seals that have made this part of the world their home.  

7. Lizard Point and Kynance Cove

1 hour 10 minute drive from Newquay town centre

Pull on your walking shoes to visit the most southerly point in the UK, Lizard Point, part of the National Trust. If you’re driving, leave your car in the village and walk 10 or 15 minutes down to the cliffs to look out at the ocean and rocks below before embarking on the 45 minute coastal walk to the impressive Kynance Cove. The turquoise blue water here comes through whether it’s rain or shine, making for incredible views and stunning photographs. If you’re making the trip down to the most southern point in England, this walk is a must. Not only will Kynance Cove likely be the highlight of your visit to this part of Cornwall, but the walk itself is along a National Nature Reserve meaning it’s full of wildlife, rare plants and unique habitats. 

8. Godrevy

40 minute drive from Newquay town centre

The Godrevy National Trust area 40 minutes south of Newquay is another fantastic place to venture to for scenic walks along the cliffs in Cornwall. Pack a picnic for lunch and set off along the southwest coastal path for sweeping sea views with stops at the many small, beautiful beaches along the way. Start or finish your long walk at Godrevy Point, where on a sunny day, Godrevy Lighthouse is in clear view. The walk from here to Portreath will take a good 2 hours, but if you'd prefer to do a 2-3 hour round loop then the well trodden path from Godrevy Point, around Hell’s Mouth and back again is a five-mile path through nature with incredible ocean views. 

9. Tintagel Castle

1 hour 5 minute drive from Newquay town centre

Linked to the legend of King Arthur, the drive north of Newquay is well worth it if you’re into medieval history and architecture. People visit from far and wide to explore one of the UK’s most spectacular heritage sites along with its dramatic cliff top views. Built half on the mainland and half on a headland, for the first time in over 500 years the two parts are now connected by Tintagel Castle Bridge which you will cross yourself to explore the main site. The castle dates all the way back to the late Roman era, about AD 700, so you can only imagine the stories and legends that you’ll discover when you visit. Pre-booking your ticket is now essential in order to visit Tintagel Castle.

10. Port Isaac

45 minute drive from Newquay town centre

Port Isaac has everything you’d expect from a Cornish seaside fishing village, from the narrow winding paths to the whitewashed walls, and of course the small fishing boats bobbing up and down in the harbour. This lovely little village near Newquay sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, meaning the walks from here are bound to take your breath away. Go on the half a mile walk to Port Gaverne, a stunning cove which hides a sheltered sandy beach, the perfect to stop for a drink or picnic. Port Isaac itself is only a small village, but the choice of places to eat and drink won’t leave you hungry, just try and book in advance if you can. The quaint village feel, bright blue water and surrounding natural beauty makes Port Isaac the perfect Newquay day trip destination. 

11. Golitha Falls

50 minute drive from Newquay town centre

Visited by many but unknown by more, Golitha Falls National Nature Reserve has to be one of Cornwall’s more hidden gems. Inside the ancient Draynes Wood and on the edge of Bodmin Moor, the spectacular series of cascades and waterfalls can be found down a long section of the River Fowey, with a signposted walking trail running right alongside it. Enjoy the sound of running water and the incredible scenery as you walk by the river which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (and it’s easy to see why). This part of the wood is also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, so you’re guaranteed to see plenty of interesting flora and fauna en route. Most of the river is pretty steep so incredibly fast flowing and so much too dangerous to enter, however there are some places that are suitable for a paddle if you fancy cooling off in the summer.

Looking for more UK staycations? Check out the , the best and our favourite way to spend for more travel inspiration

Liked this article? Share with friends

Read all Travel Blogs