April 25 2014 Latest news:

Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 8°C

Five-day forecast

Good beaches, great surf and a holiday feel make Newquay a popular destination. Lesley Double explores the town and area for Cornwall Life

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Good beaches, great surf and a holiday feel make Newquay a popular destination. Lesley Double explores the town and area for Cornwall Life


People have lived in and around Newquay for over 3,000 years. There is evidence of prehistoric burial mounds in an area now called The Barrowfields and remains of a Bronze Age village overlooking the River Gannel, although the first signs of a serious settlement date from the Iron Age, when man came to exploit iron deposits found in the area. A natural curve in the headland provides a certain amount of shelter and this meant that a small fishing village was able to flourish. The village was called Towan Blystra: towan means sand hill in Cornish and blystra means blown. However, the harbour was still open to winds from the north east, so in 1439 a new quay was built, and Towan Blystra became Newquay.
During the last 600 years, Newquay has changed from a fishing town reliant on the pilchard shoals, to an industrial town. The arrival of the railway meant that it became a port for loading tin, lead and china clay. Trains bought both goods and tourists and these industries grew through the years until today, when Newquay has become one of the main holiday centres in the South West and, possibly, the surfing capital of the UK.


Get off to a good start


Newquay is home to a busy airport, the largest one in Cornwall, which lies just to the north east of the town at St Mawgan. Planes fly in from around the UK and Europe and it is only a short taxi or bus ride into the town itself. There are several roads that lead to Newquay from the A30, the main road that runs through the centre of Cornwall, one of which passes along the edge of the River Gannel. This is a lovely way to enter the town, as you will often see horses and riders along the bridleways beside the estuary, which is a wildlife haven, especially for migratory birds.


Why visit now?


In the height of the summer tourist season Newquay is buzzing with life. Families and surfers dominate, so early in the season is definitely the best time to come if you want to get around comfortably. In May, the car parks are less full, the shops less crowded and you will find a space on one of the beautiful beaches. There are many to choose from in the area, and thanks to sheltering cliffs and little coves you will always be able to find somewhere protected from the wind. May is one of the loveliest months of the year for wild flowers and the cliffs, inland valleys and country lanes are abundant with yellow and purple blooms.


Dont miss


Some of the best beaches in the Westcountry its impossible to come to Newquay without hitting the sand. From Watergate Bay in the east to Crantock Beach in the west, and the many smaller beaches in between, you are sure to find something to impress and attract. There are several beaches near the town such as the horseshoe-shaped Lusty Glaze and the sheltered Towan Beach, with its island, just a few short steps from Newquays main shopping streets.

If you want to learn more about the town itself then pick up a map and go on one of the Newquay Discovery Trails. There are two, one takes in the coastal footpath and breathtaking scenery, while the other sticks to the town and explains about its history and architecture. Follow the discs around the town and learn about the pilchard industry, the Headland Riots and the time when the Beatles came to Newquay during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour.


Go green


Trenance Gardens are spread over 26 acres and, although almost in the centre of Newquay, there is a hill between the gardens and the sea, which protects them from the wind. Here you will find mature trees, winding paths, hump-back bridges over streams and beautifully tended flowerbeds. There is also a large boating lake, complete with ducks to feed, which holds some quite beautiful works of art. On an island there are three willow figures, each approximately 4.5m (16ft) high, made by Serena de la Hey, the sculptress who also created the giant Willow Men beside the M5 in Somerset and the M65 in Lancashire. Metalwork sculptor Tim Fortune has produced a beautiful stainless-steel swan, which has a wingspan of 3m (10ft) and appears to be taking off from the water.
If you fancy using some energy then Newquay is situated on the famous South West Coast Path and there are dozens of walking paths around the area. Or, hire a bike. Newquay is on the Sustrans National Cycle Network and theres the St Pirans Trail that runs from Truro to Bodmin, via Newquay.


Treat yourself


Just three miles from the hustle and bustle of Newquay is the beautiful Elizabethan manor house of Trerice, where you can sample a Tudor experience. You can hear Tudor music every Sunday in May, when lutenist Brian Wright plays in the houses Great Chamber between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, or you could watch the games of kayling or slapcock being played. You can even try some Tudor recipes in the Barn Kitchen tearoom or take part in a Tudor-themed workshop.


Enjoy the view


You dont have to pay an entry fee to enjoy the delights of the caf at the Blue Reef Aquarium. A great expanse of glass allows you to enjoy your cream tea in warmth and comfort, while watching the surfers and swimmers right outside the window on Towan Beach. If you want to sit up high on the cliffs and admire the view, then take a picnic and follow the signs to Pentire. This headland is in between the two beaches of Fistral and Crantock, where you can spend hours just watching the tiny dots on the beach and in the sea, and the comings and goings along the Gannel estuary. Come here late in the day for the perfect place to watch the sun go down.


Treat yourself


Just three miles from the hustle and bustle of Newquay is the beautiful Elizabethan manor house of Trerice, where you can sample a Tudor experience. You can hear Tudor music every Sunday in May, when lutenist Brian Wright plays in the houses Great Chamber between 2.30pm and 4.30pm, or you could watch the games of kayling or slapcock being played. You can even try some Tudor recipes in the Barn Kitchen tearoom or take part in a Tudor-themed workshop.


Enjoy the view


You dont have to pay an entry fee to enjoy the delights of the caf at the Blue Reef Aquarium. A great expanse of glass allows you to enjoy your cream tea in warmth and comfort, while watching the surfers and swimmers right outside the window on Towan Beach. If you want to sit up high on the cliffs and admire the view, then take a picnic and follow the signs to Pentire. This headland is in between the two beaches of Fistral and Crantock, where you can spend hours just watching the tiny dots on the beach and in the sea, and the comings and goings along the Gannel estuary. Come here late in the day for the perfect place to watch the sun go down.

0 comments

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Local Search 24
Looking for a:
Location:
Search radius: