9 Best things to do in Newquay

Travel Dave tells us how best to spend a weekend in the Cornish town of Newquay from coastal walks to cream teas.

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  • 23 September 2021
  • • 7 min read

One of the most buzzing parts of Cornwall where surfers across the UK gather for summers on the sea. There are tons of incredible things to do in Newquay whether you love action-packed adventures or prefer to people watch from the sand. Newquay is home to some of the best waves in the UK so if it's surfing you're there for, Towan Bay and Fistral Beach are calling your name. Join a surf school for a lesson in getting up on a surfboard and catching waves, indulge in a Cornish cream tea and don't leave without feasting on a too-big-portion of local fish and chips.

We recently sent travel blogger Travel Dave around the UK on a tour of all the St Christopher's Inns hostel locations in London, Bath, Edinburgh and Newquay.

We interviewed Dave and asked him for his top tips on what he would recommend doing over a weekend in Newquay, Cornwall. 

Here are his top suggestions on what to do to help you with planning your Newquay trip.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Newquay? Check out overlooking Towan Bay

1. Enjoy Fish and Chips at Fistral Beach

If you're interested in a bit of sea and surf, Fistral Beach is widely known as one of the best surfing beaches in the UK. 

Thanks to its sandy beaches and Atlantic swells, this beach is a pretty good location for big waves. 

One fantastic takeaway option is to try a premium fish and chips experience from Rick Stein's Fistral restaurant. Grab your gourmet takeaway delight and enjoy with incredible Fistral beach views. 

What makes it unique? The chips are cooked in beef drippings, and the cod has a lovely flaky taste. 

This is probably one of the best examples of fish and chips in Britain – Rick Stein's restaurant certainly is a bit famous. An excellent, simple experience that I would highly recommend. 

Check out the

2. Stay at St Christopher's Inns Newquay hostel

You cannot beat the affordability and charm of a St. Christopher's Inn hostel for a reasonably priced place to stay in Newquay. 

I stayed in the six-bed shared en-suite room and my dorm bunk bed even had a sea view. 

This hostel is very well located in the centre of town, making it a convenient place to stay for a good weekend of exploring. 

St Christopher's is an excellent spot for meeting other travellers and fellow surfers if you're looking for a more social experience on your travels.

3. Try surfing lessons on Towan Beach

Newquay is the home of surfing in the UK and Cornwall has many different surfing spots that are popular with wave riders. 

You have to check out Towan Beach if you'd like to try surfing for the first time. The beach is located within walking distance of St Christopher's Inn Hostel Newquay, but the surf school ‘Escape’ is right on-site. If you choose to stay at the hostel and decide you’d like to give surfing a go, they offer a surf and stay package you should check out before you book. The price includes your room at the hostel, the lessons, and the rental of all the gear you'll need for a day on the waves. Surfing is one of the best ways to meet other people staying in Newquay because it’s always a laugh for first-timers and there’s always time for a few beers when you’re out of the water.

You can inquire in advance or talk to the reception desk on arrival to book your surf lesson.

4. Grab a Cornish Cream tea lunch at Pauline's

It goes without saying that when you're in Cornwall, you have to try a Cornish cream tea lunch. I would recommend that you head to Pauline's - a beautiful bakery and cafe where you can enjoy this special local treat. If you'd prefer to enjoy your tea and scones with clotted cream and jam on the beach, you can even purchase a takeaway cream tea to pack to take with you. 

As for the most important question. Jam or Cornish cream first? I'll let you discuss this with a local so you can find out the proper answer. 

5. Head out on a boat trip from Newquay harbour

Imagine spending a day out at sea around Cornwall, on a boat trip around the coast of Newquay. 

There are many different sea adventures to choose from - such as sea safaris for wildlife spotting, mackerel fishing, or deep-sea fishing. They all range in different durations and prices but all make for a great day out. There are plenty of charter boat companies departing from Newquay harbour where you can also make a booking for a future trip. This is a fantastic way to explore Cornwall and get out on the open sea whilst in Newquay. 

6. Make the most out of the Newquay nightlife at Belushi's bar

Newquay has a lively nighttime atmosphere, with a very relaxing but also exciting vibe by night. 

You might like to start your night at Belushi's – a great place to enjoy the sunset with a drink or two and a tasty burger from the bar. I would recommend booking a table in advance, as you can pick one on the decking that looks out onto the surfers on Towan beach. After that, it's time to bar crawl and drink with the locals at the different hotspots around town.  

Check out the , including Belushi's in Newquay

7. Try a cone at Freddo's Cornish ice cream

Cornish cream ice cream is a big deal in Cornwall and right so, because it's absolutely delicious. You have to try it when you're in Newquay. The best ice cream spot I found was easily Freddo's Cornish Ice Cream, which is easy to find in town. I chose the classic handcrafted vanilla to get the ultimate Cornish ice cream experience. The scoops were massive, and the ice cream was incredibly fresh and delicious. This was a tasty treat after a long walk which brings me onto another great thing to do in Newquay…  

8. Go for a Coastal walk around Newquay

Walking around the coast in Newquay is one of the most enjoyable ways to see the gorgeous scenery that Cornwall has to offer. It's an easy walk with well-maintained paths - an excellent way to scope out all the best Newquay landmarks. The 5-mile shoreline walk is part of the South West coast path, and it starts in Pentire. This takes you across Fistral beach, and you finish the walk right up in Towan Beach. It's a fantastic way to get some sea air, coastal views and enjoy the breeze. 

9. Take a Day trip around Cornwall to Land's end, St Ives and Penzance on the Atlantic coastal bus

If you've got a bit more time on your trip, I'd highly recommend spending one more day exploring the rest of Cornwall. This is incredibly easy with the Atlantic coastal bus, which takes you to Land's End, St Ives and Penzance. Buy a Day Atlantic Coaster bus ticket, and enjoy the loop around the beach and back to where you started. You can hop off the bus at Land's End to get that iconic signpost photo of the southernmost point in the UK. Then you can head around the coast to the cosy and well-known town of St Ives - a great spot to eat lunch. 

Pengenna Pasties is my top recommendation for a traditional Cornish pasty in St Ives. It's a gigantic portion, so make sure the seagulls are not swooping down to steal your food.

The bus passes by the picturesque St Michael's Mount on the way back to Penzance – it's a beautiful view of a castle on an island off the coast of Cornwall, so make sure you're looking out towards the sea on your bus ride, so you don't miss it. 

When you're done, it's straightforward to take the train back to Newquay from Penzance, via Par train station.

Check out the

This guide was put together in collaboration with St Christopher's Inn hostels as part of Travel Dave's UK tour, visiting London, Bath, Newquay and Edinburgh throughout a selection of weekend escapes. 

If you would like to stay at St Christopher's Inn hostels across the UK, don't forget to use Dave's exclusive discount code: DAVE10 for 10% off your next booking (good until the end of 2021). 

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