How to have a socially distanced staycation in Newquay

Need to get out of the house? Head to the Cornish coast for a few days…

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  • 30 June 2020
  • • 8 min read

Need a holiday but don’t feel comfortable flying out of the UK? Then this is the perfect time to discover more of what England has to offer. Now that restaurants and bars are opening up throughout the country on 4th July, explore down south and make the most of the beautiful Cornish coastline for the ultimate beach getaway. Drive down to Newquay which is one of the nation’s favourite affordable seaside towns. Known for its sandy beaches, surf culture and relaxed Cornish lifestyle - not to mention the seafood, ice cream and Cornish pasties, there’s plenty to do while still safely practising social distancing. We’ve created the ultimate guide on how to enjoy a staycation in Newquay while keeping yourself and others safe at the same time.

Things to know before you go:

  • Seaside destinations like Newquay are expecting a swarm of 'staycationers' for the summer so be prepared for a lot of tourists, queues and traffic. Please don't travel if you or anyone in your household experiences any Covid symptoms before your trip.

  • Don’t travel in a big group as it makes social distancing much harder, especially when visiting Newquay’s restaurants, bars and beaches

  • Remember to be safe out on the water. Use our

  • Pack appropriately. The English coast can get windy so pack a weatherproof jacket and waterproof gear

  • Book tables at restaurants in advance as there will be reduced capacity in many of Newquay’s establishments which will be enforcing the correct levels of social distancing

  • If you’re driving to Newquay there are a few car parks nearby to the hostel where you can park up for the week at a charge.

  • Pack hand sanitiser, a face covering and antibacterial wipes 

Where to stay 

St Christopher's Inns

Surf n’ stay

Book a private room at St Christopher’s Inns, a backpacker hostel located in a prime location on a cliff top overlooking Towan Bay and the beach below. The hostel is just a 5 minute walk from the sand and boasts an outdoor bar terrace with stellar views of the seaside. If you’re keen to surf, we recommend booking the package where you’ll get a 2 hour surf lesson everyday with the Escape Surf School included in your stay, as well as wetsuit and surfboard.

The hostel has put the necessary social distancing measures in place as well as new deep cleaning and hygiene protocols to ensure the wellbeing of guests and its team. To find out more about the changes being made at the hostel, check out the Covid-19 hub .

Learn to surf or paddle board

Surfing is an awesome activity you can enjoy on the Cornish coast - and it’s social distancing friendly too. Newquay has some of the best waves for surfing in the country. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, master the swells and breathe in that fresh, salty sea air on your surf lessons. The Escape Surf School is located within the hostel premises, where you can arrange your lessons and make sure you have the right gear. You can also take up stand-up paddle boarding which is actually a lot easier than it looks. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than being out on the waves in Newquay. 

The Escape Surf School is now open again with new operational procedures in place to protect customers and staff. As it stands, the school is not open for surf hire unless you have a lesson booked so that all equipment can be monitored and cleaned properly before each use.

Scoff down fish and chips

You can’t come to the coast and not indulge in a classic British fish and chips for lunch or dinner. Newquay is home to several amazing chippies which are open for eat-in (from 4th July) or takeaway. Whether you like yours coated in vinegar or prefer curry sauce and ketchup, we’ve rounded up the which are all within a short walk from the hostel. Crispy batter, hot chunky chips and mushy peas await! The Harbour Fish and Grill in Newquay boasts beautiful sea views if you’re looking for summer holiday vibes.

Be mindful that there will be queues to enter fish and chip shops so please social distance and look out for yourself and others. We recommend wearing a face mask in all situations where you may have to queue. Do some research and see if restaurants provide the option to order food online instead so that you can arrive to pick up your fish and chips at a designated time slot.

Explore the golden beaches

Newquay has loads of different sandy beaches to explore, the main one being Fistral beach which is one of the busiest in the summer. There’s also Towan Beach (where the hostel is), Whipsiderry beach, Tolcarne Beach, Crantock Beach, Newquay Harbour, Porth Beach, Lusty Glaze (which can sometimes get quite busy) and more. To avoid the crowds during the pandemic, why not try out some of the quieter beaches too? The quietest stretch of beach is probably Whipsiderry Beach which is peaceful and quiet due to its secluded location - but make sure you’re careful and do your research about each beach beforehand.

For example, you can only visit Whipsiderry beach during low tide - there is no lifeguard present here to help you with the tide information so it's crucial to read up on things like this first. The high tide can cut off the steps to exit the beach so if you’re unsure of the beach regulations and safety measures, then stick to the beaches which are easier to access with lifeguards present. You can find all the information about each beach here .

Try the best ice cream in town

Cool yourself down with an ice cream in the summer at one of Newquay's best ice cream parlours. There are quite a few good ones in the seaside town, but Kook always comes out on top as the highest rated. From classic Cornish clotted cream ice creams to more fruity flavours to decadent chocolate shakes, fresh smoothies and tasty vegan ice cream options, Kook is just a 1 minute stroll from the hostel. The perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. The ice cream parlour opened its doors again for customers in June for takeaways. 

Enjoy cocktails with unobstructed ocean views

When eating and drinking out in Newquay, we recommend sticking to restaurants and bars that have outdoor seating areas while Covid-19 is still upon us. One of the best places to enjoy the sunshine while sipping on a cocktail has to be Belushi’s, the hostel bar which has its very own terrace looking over Towan Bay and will be opening its doors again on 4th July. Pop in for Happy Hour from 5pm - 10pm and enjoy the diverse drinks menu; from pina coladas to mai tais to local Cornish beers. The terrace also has private beach shacks where you can social distance with your group. Check out the new measures Belushi's has introduced to cater for the correct level of social distancing, delivering a safe environment for both its customers and teams.

The terrace at Belushi’s is a great spot for people watching where you can look down at the beach below. It boasts such a chilled vibe with great music and a real family-friendly atmosphere. After a day of surf lessons and exploring the beaches, where better to end your evening on the Belushi’s terrance watching the sun go down?

Dine out (literally)

Newquay is full of affordable restaurants which are set to open again on 4th July with social distancing measures in place - but if you don’t feel like eating in, dine out on the beach instead. The best Cornish pasty shop for takeaway in Newquay has to be either Rowe’s Cornish Bakers or Morris Pasties.

Want to eat inside? Some of our favourite dining options include Fish House (for seafood - you can sit outside here too), Cafe Cloud (for cream tea)  Zaman’s (for Indian food), Belushi’s (for burgers), Gusto (for Mediterranean grills and salads) and the Harbour Rest Cafe (for pasties and sandwiches). 

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, we recommend booking a table at Rick Stein’s on Fistral Beach. Currently only open for takeaways, we are hopeful that the seafood restaurant will be taking bookings for tables sometime in July.

Visit the sharks at Blue Reef Aquarium 

Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium is opening up again on 4th July so if you’d like to learn more about the sea life creatures of the Cornish coast and beyond, this is the place to go. Here you’ll find 40 naturally-themed habitats home to freshwater turtles, pufferfish, black tip reef sharks, octopus, crustaceans and plenty of colourful fish. The underwater tunnel is a particular highlight where you can walk through and gaze at the sealife swimming around you. The Blue Reef Aquarium has put social distancing measures in place to avoid overcrowding such as a one way system, screens installed at ticket stations, hand sanitizer stops, social distancing rules for queuing and takeaway food options only. You can pre-book a ticket to the aquarium online for  £10.62. 

Looking for a private room in Newquay? Check out St Christopher’s Inns

Find out more about what the hostel is doing to ensure the correct levels of social distancing and hygiene protocols on our Covid-19 hub .

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