TRAVELLING TO THE UK’S SURF CAPITAL? HERE’S HOW TO PLAN YOUR STAY
The UK is a surfer’s playground, the whole island outlined by bountiful beach and rockin’ waves. If you’re looking for a perfect surf retreat, get yourself to England. The British climate is superb for surfing which is why the windy south coast attracts budding surfers from all over the world. If you’re a keen surfer, you’ll know the greater the wind speed, the larger the wave. Which makes our coast, in particular Newquay, one of the best for surfing in Europe.
Located on the North coast of beautiful Cornwall, Newquay boasts large sandy beaches and mega-waves coming in continuously from the Atlantic Ocean for a great surf. This makes it perhaps the best surf spot in the British Isles.
Here are some tips to make the most of surfing in Newquay…
WHERE TO SLEEP
ST CHRISTOPHER'S INN
Looking to sleep N’ surf on a budget? St Christopher’s Inns is a perfectly positioned hostel right on the cliff top overlooking Towan Beach and the whole of Newquay Bay. Expect stunning views of the beach below. This stretch of beach and the hostel itself is popular with surfers (and it’s right in the centre of town), so there is an abundance of fun things to do while you’re out of the water. Towan Beach is a mix of both sand and rock so it’s great for sunbathing too.
The rooms in St Christopher’s are modern, clean, offer free Wi-Fi - and clean bed linen is provided upon arrival. You can wake up, then head down to the beach in just 5 minutes on foot.
St Christopher’s is also a fun social party spot in the evenings with its awesome downstairs bar and restaurant overlooking the whole Bay (scroll down to PARTY to find out more!).
LEARN TO SURF
Whether you’re learning to surf or you’re already a champion on the waves, St Christopher’s Inns Newquay caters to surfers of all levels with its Escape Surf School. Take some lessons from this Level 4 approved surf school on Towan Beach and benefit from fantastic coaches, equipment and expertise. Taking the classes is also a great way to meet other surfers staying in the hostel.
You’ll also find other decent surf schools around the area like the Fistral Surf School based on Fistral Beach, just a 3 minute drive from Towan Beach. These two beaches are usually quite busy (but for a reason - they’re great), so if you if you want to take a day or two to explore quieter stretches, there are more areas to test out. Summer is the best time to come for the obvious reason: it’s sunny! But remember - Newquay is a great place to visit in the off season (Nov-March) too as the beaches and waves are quiet and the water isn't that cold. In fact, swells (aka waves) are best from late autumn through to the winter, the best time to surf in Newquay.
OTHER NOTABLE SURF STRETCHES IN NEWQUAY TO CHECK OUT:
Lusty Glaze (packed)
Newquay Harbor Wall (not too busy)
Tolcarne (quite packed)
Crantock (not too busy)
Whipsiderry (not too busy)
And of course being right down south, it’s one of the sunniest spots in the country in summer with a great party atmosphere. So really, you can come at any time! What more could you want from a surf trip?
Sleep, Surf, Party, Repeat! Newquay is buzzing in the evenings. People even flock here for the hen or stag do’s! So if you’re a young traveller looking to embrace the nightlife after a day at sea, here’s how to party in the town centre.
If you’re a guest of the hostel, you can buy tickets from St Christopher’s reception to different pub crawls every night of the week, a fun way to make friends - plus all of the best bars are already scoped out for you. All you need to do is tag along and see where the night takes you…
This is the best party spot in town. You may plan to only come to Belushi’s for lunch or dinner - but don’t be surprised if you find yourself staying all night! Its two best assets? It overlooks the whole beach AND it’s right under the hostel so after a late night, just walk upstairs to crash in your bed! Handy. Belushi’s serves up a killer range of handmade burgers (the best burgers in Newquay in fact), bar snacks and all St Christopher’s guests receive 25% off food and 2 for 1 drink specials all day, every day.
Who’s buying this round?
Watch the best of live sports or sit on the terrace and watch the waves coming in with a cocktail. At night, Belushi’s goes wild so be prepared. Party with other surfers and do it all again the next day...
Need another place to drink and party? Whisker’s is a favourite in town for locals and tourists alike, serving craft beers, local ales, spirits and wine at the buzzing bar. After dark, party to awesome live music and be sure to check what’s on each night - there’s something different every single day. Monday is open-mic night, Friday night is live upbeat music and Saturday hosts awesome DJs.
Somewhere to remind you of your uni days. A few minutes away from the hostel and beach, you’ll find this popular hang-out loaded with young people. It makes for a great (and cheap) night out - and stays open till LATE. This venue plays awesome music 7 nights a week and one of the best lighting and sound shows in the whole of Newquay. Whether you’re just popping in for drinks, or want to party hard, Walkabout is always a good idea.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Newquay offers a lot more to do than just surfing. Take some time to explore over eleven different beaches: there’s lots to see from the dunes to the ruins of Tintagel Castle - the home of Merlin the Magician, Uther Pendragon, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
BLUE REEF AQUARIUM
If you have some spare time, pay a trip to the Blue Reef Aquarium (it’s just by the beach). With over 40 naturally themed habitats, come face to face with sea life from Cornish waters to exotic seas. See the huge Black Tip Reef sharks up close, giant octopuses and take a walk through the underwater tunnel, home to hundreds of colourful fish and a spectacular coral reef. Tickets are £9.58.
Other than Belushi’s where you receive 25% off food if you’re a St Christopher’s guest, try out these spots for yummy grub...
1 MORRIS PASTIES
Cornwall is famous for its pasties. So while you’re in Newquay you can’t NOT try one - Cornish pasties will be the best you’ve ever tasted and any local/tourist/Brit would agree. If you’re not familiar with a pasty, it’s basically a thick savoury pastry packed with all sorts of fillings, most traditionally beef, potato and onion. So delicious and comforting. Head to Morris Pasties for your fix, it’s an award-winning shop that makes homemade pasties in the town centre, just 0.12 miles away from Towan beach.
2 INDIAN SUMMER
Just a minute’s walk from Towan beach, this Indian joint will make you feel like you’ve just been out for a surf in Goa, not Newquay. With its authentic, traditional cuisine cooked by award-winning chefs, this is the place to go if you fancy a good quality curry. Spicy, delicious and flavoursome.
3 THE STABLE
Come here for PIZZA! There’s so much choice on the menu and everything is made from fresh produce. The Stable offers panoramic views over one of Britain’s most famous beaches, Fistral Beach. So watch people surf while you tuck into one of their delicious pizzas by the cosy log fire inside.
4 CAPTAIN JACK’S
Come to Captain Jack’s to try out the local Cornish seafood. It’s so fresh: try locally sourced mackerel, lobsters, prawns, scallops, crab claws, plaice, megrim, sole and sea bass. But it’s not just fish on the menu. All meat from the BBQ & Grill is sourced from local butchers.
5 RICK STEIN FISTRAL
Fish and chips at Rick Stein’s. Photo credit: davidgriffen.co.uk
If you haven’t tried good old British fish n’ chips, you simply must. It’s a classic that started out being served on the British seaside so there’s no place better to enjoy some battered cod than in Newquay. Plus, Rick’s famous homemade tartare sauce is a winner. We recommend getting a takeout of the British food staple, then find a nice spot on the beach and dig in. This restaurant is located on Fistral beach, just a 3 minute drive from St Christopher’s Inns (or a 16 minute walk) and it’s well worth a visit. It also has a beautiful large terrace where you can eat overlooking the sea.
You can even try surfing on this awesome sandy stretch while you’re there, it’s another popular surf spot. Just remember your board and wetsuit.