Ultimate Newquay Beach Guide
As a beach paradise and the surfing capital of the UK, a holiday in Newquay would not be complete without visiting its famous golden sands. Walk across two miles of gorgeous coastline at Watergate Bay, mix with the wave riders on Fistral or enjoy the sunset sessions at Lusty Glaze. And they’re all just a few miles from the park! Here is our comprehensive guide to beaches in Newquay!
1. Crantock Beach
Photo credit: Thomas Tolkien, Flickr
Crantock Beach is famous for its beautiful sand dunes. You’ll find these wonderful sands at the bottom of a quaint Cornish village and only a 15 minutes drive, or 45 minute walk, from Newquay’s town centre. The River Gannel flows through Crantock, with ferry runs from the beach to Fern Pit, where you can pick up fresh crab from the café. With cliffs, rocks and sand dunes, this beach is a stunning sight and wonderful to explore. The high cliffs at the southern end provide shelter from the wind, and to the north is the mouth of the river. The most popular entrance can be found from the National Trust car park, near the river, which holds public toilets. In the small village you'll find a pub, shops and there is the Fern Pit Café on the other side of the Gannel. Dogs are allowed all year around, and lifeguards operate from mid May to the end of September.
2. Fistral Beach
Photo credit: A Pillow of Winds, Flickr
Fistral Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in the UK and Europe, making it a popular spot for visitors all year around. This is the perfect beach for surfers and families, with its long sands, rocks and cliffs on either side to shield from the wind, and first class beach and seafront facilities including restaurants, cafes, toilets, car parking, surf equipment hire and lessons. Rick Stein has a restaurant here, so you can enjoy some top notch, Cornish fish and chips. Fistral is host to many surfing competitions and festivals including Boardmasters, the UK ZapCat championships, English National Surfing Championships, and the King of the Groms Junior Surf Festival. Lifeguard’s work from April to the end of October from the incredible RNLI lifeguard station at Fistral that is kitted out with a dedicated first aid room, storage, changing facilities and a large observational area for the lifeguards to watch from. Just on the outskirts of the town centre, its a short drive from any location in Newquay. Fistral is also a European Designatred beach, complying with European Water Quality Standards.
3. Towan Beach
Photo credit: Márcio Cabral de Moura, Flickr
Towan Beach is a busy beach at the heart of Newquay’s town centre, and can be accessed simply by walking down the hill from the shops and cafés. At high tide the beach disappears and people retreat to the grassy areas above, or back up the road to the shops. The waters are calm and sheltered, perfect for beginner surfers and swimming, with small bathing pools for the kids. There is a beautiful bridge joining an island with a stunningly located house, to the cliff of the town. Nearby is the Blue Reef Aquarium, where sand chairs are available for hire. Lifeguard cover is from mid May to end of September, and dogs are allowed all year around.
4. Great Western Beach
The best time to visit this beach is at low tide when it joins Towan, Tolcarne and Lusty Glaze beach to create a beautiful expanse of sand. At high tide the beach is surrounded by coves and high cliffs and is a rectangular area of sand. The beach facilities include a café, public toilets, deckchairs, bodyboards and windbreaks. Access to the beach is via a road leading from the Great Western Hotel. The hotel also has a private lift to the beach. Lifeguards again are around from mid May to September, and dogs are allowed all year.
5. Tolcarne Beach
Photo credit: i.know uk, Flickr
Tolcarne is the next beach to join this series of coves along the edge of Newquay town. A beautifully crescent-shaped beach, Tolcarne is set against a backdrop of cliffs just below Cliff Road. Like Towan it is perfect for easy swimming, surfing and exploration of rock pools at low tide. Tolcarne can be seen from a grassy open space on the cliff above, Barrowfields, which is a lovely walk for dogs and families to enjoy the beautiful views Newquay has to offer. There is access from a sloping roadway or steps and plenty of facilities. With beach huts and tents, sunbathing platforms, café, shop, beach trays and surfboard hire; this beach has all you need for a family day out. The surf school of qualified BSA instructors offers individual and group lessons for novice and intermediate surfers. There is no car park, but only a short walk from the centre of town. Lifeguard cover is again from mid-May to September. Unfortunately, there is a dog ban from the 1st of April till the 31st of October.
6. Lusty Glaze Beach
Photo credit Scott Wallace, Flickr
This private beach is known for its beach-side restaurant, live music, stunning views and beach-side facilities for all to enjoy. The restaurant and bar not only offers an incredible seaside view but has weekly live music to accompany your meal. The amphitheatre shape of the beach makes Lusty Glaze a unique and beautiful location for live music and concerts, and was voted the ‘Most picturesque live music venues in the UK’ by the Times. The beach itself is a beautiful horseshoe cove, accessed by steps down from the high cliffs. All of this makes it a popular and well-established location for beach weddings. Beach huts are available to hire and there is a car park situated at the top of the beach. Lifeguard cover is seasonal and dogs are banned from the 31st of May until the 30th of September.
7. Porth Beach
Porth Beach sits at the bottom of the hill leaving Newquay towards Watergate Bay, and is sheltered by headlands on either side of the long beach. This makes it just a 5 minute drive or 25-30 minute walk from the town centre, and just around the corner from Newquay Bay Resort. From the beach you can access Porth island on the east side, by a footbridge, on top of which offers spectacular 360 degree views of Newquay and the surrounding area. This is a great place to take your dogs for a walk, or go for a run. A blowhole can be witnessed at mid tide, and in particular on windy days. Porth beach is narrow and long and with easy access, making it popular for families. At low tide the beach is a wonderful expanse of golden sand. Next to the beach is a busy pub, the Mermaid, as well as cafés and shops. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and surfing and dogs are not allowed during these times.
8. Whipsiderry Beach
Photo credit: Alan Parkinson, Flickr
Next door to Porth beach is Whipsiderry, only accessible via steep steps. At low tide the beach is a great beach to explore rock pools and caves. With caves including the Cathedral Cavern, the Internal Regions, the Great Banqueting Hall, Boulder Cavern and Fern Cavern, its understandable why this beach made it into the top 20 of Europe’s Best Beaches. Whipsiderry is approximately a 5-10 minute drive from Newquay, or at the end of the road from our Newquay Bay Resort. It has limited parking, no lifeguards and dogs are allowed all year round.
9. Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay is possibly Newquay’s most famous beach, known for the immense expanse of golden sand stretching across 2 miles, and its incredible surf, attracting surfers from all around the world. The bay is very large and open, picking up swells from the Atlantic, making it perfect for families and surfers. Situated at the access point to the beach is Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant and the Watergate Bay Hotel, which is host to many events, festivals, surfing championships, food fairs, markets and a variety of places to eat and drink. Find out more on the website. 15 minutes away from Newquay, and around 5-10 minutes from our resort at Porth, this beach is a must-see during your stay in Cornwall. It has achieved the highest standard of UK bathing water as a European Designated beach. RNLI lifeguards from April to end of October and dogs are allowed all year.
10. Mawgan Porth Beach
Photo credit: Henry Burrows, Flickr
The last beach on our list is Mawgan Porth, but it certainly is one of the best. Past Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth is a wide sandy beach surmounted by cliffs and rocks on either side, with a river that flows out to sea. The village of St Mawgan is beautiful and peaceful, with a car park, a pub, restaurants, takeaways, surf hire, café and beach shops adjacent to the beach. Again Mawgan Porth is a European Designated beach with the highest UK standard for bathing water. Dogs are allowed all year round and lifeguards are on duty during the summer months. Beacon Cove, a small secluded beach, is accessible at certain tides.