When people mention Newquay, a few thoughts come to mind. “The beaches are great, but the town doesn’t offer much.” “It’s filled with the wrong groups of people in the summer.” We‘ve heard it all. But, we’re happy to overlook all of that. We think Newquay is getting some undue negativity.
It’s no surprise that holiday makers flood to Newquay in the summer months. If you’re searching for a beach holiday with plenty of reliable surfing beaches, Newquay is perfect. You could be visiting for a week and spend every day on a different beach without ever really needing a car. However, our favourite beaches happen to be on the two extremes of the town, and both will need little introduction.
Fistral remains a favourite surf spot for us, and we’re sure for many others. It’s arguably the premier UK surf spot — many of the bigger competitions are hosted there — and it’s not difficult to see why. The long outstretched beach, the restaurants and sand dunes right behind it, and the waves. The waves. The two headlands that flank the beach channel clean swells and offer a bit of protection from the wind. It’s no secret that Fistral is a surfers paradise.
On the other end of town is Watergate Bay. Again, a large expansive beach that’s popular for surfers. The beach is a little different here, though. Backed by imposing cliffs that are unfortunately showing signs of erosion, the beach is far more exposed to the elements. On a good day, the waves are up there with the best. But on a bad day, it can get a little messy.
Watergate Bay is also the end of town where you’ll find Boardmasters festival for one weekend in the summer. It’s grown to astronomical proportions and is now a fully-fledged member of the UK festival circuit. With the standard of artists the festival now attracts, the festival brings people from all over the country down to Newquay for the weekend. And while a festival is all but self-contained, there’s definitely a positive effect on the town’s economy.
But the town itself suffers from that typical Cornish tourism lull in the winter months. It’s alive in the summer, but once the bulk of tourists are gone the businesses suffer. And it’s no surprise. The population of the town increases to around 100,000, nearly five times the population throughout the rest of the year. It’s the inevitable situation of tourist towns, not just in Cornwall but around the world. But again, we can overlook all of that. The summer months almost make the winter lull worthwhile. Let everyone share the beaches, embrace the tourists bringing in money to the county, and show them what the Cornish life embodies.
We think Newquay is due a revival, and it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Regardless of whether Newquay can have a year-round appeal, we think the summer months mean you can’t write off the town just yet.