Are you looking for things to do in Newquay in the rain? If the weather’s not so kind when you’re in town, here are all the bad-weather activities to enjoy in North Cornwall!
With golden sand beaches and crashing blue waves, Cornwall can often seem like a dreamy Mediterranean beach destination.
But this is the UK – and this country is by no means immune to bad weather.
While Newquay (and all of Cornwall) often has bright, sunny beach weather, it also has plenty of clouds and rain.
Sometimes there are thunderstorms, but more often you’ll encounter Cornish mizzle; a mix of mist and drizzle – which, unfortunately, can last all day!
You might not be able to enjoy Newquay’s glorious beaches in wet weather, but there are plenty of all-weather activities in town.
I’ve put together the best things to do in Newquay when it’s raining in this blog post!
Best things to do in Newquay in the rain
The best things to do in Newquay in the rain include visiting the town’s museums, seeing animals at the aquarium and zoo, storm watching, surfing and an array of indoor sports (from swimming to axe throwing!). Check them all out here.
Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum
Dive back into Newquay’s fascinating history by checking out the Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum.
Situated right in the centre of town, the building is historic in itself; but here you can learn about local minerals, the town’s fishing industry and exhibits about famous locals in the town, such as the famous poet John Betjemen who was a poet laureate.
Visit the Blue Reef Aquarium
If you’re looking for all-weather attractions right in the heart of Newquay, there’s nowhere better than the Blue Reef Aquarium.
Here, you’ll find more than 40 animals, with turtles, sharks, seahorses and a plethora of fish from all over the world. There’s even an underwater tunnel – walk through it and look up, trying to spot marine life like sharks and pufferfish!
It’s a fantastic attraction to not only learn about the waters around North Cornwall but also to educate yourself in the world’s oceans.
Unwind at a spa
This is one of the best indoor things to do in Newquay for anyone who’s in need of some relaxation!
There are a few spas in Newquay; some are in its hotels (and are free to hotel guests!), but you can often book on as a day guest.
Here are some spas to check out while you’re in town:
- Fistral Spa: Located within the luxurious Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa (one of the best places to stay in Newquay!) this establishment offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps, all using high-quality Elemis products. The facilities include a sauna, a steam room, and a heated indoor pool with stunning views of Fistral Beach.
- The Headland Spa: This award-winning spa is located within the historic Headland Hotel and offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, and body treatments. The spa features a relaxation room, an aromatherapy shower, and a heated outdoor pool with sea views.
- Ocean Breeze Spa: Situated within the Sands Resort Hotel and Spa, the Ocean Breeze Spa is a great place to relax and unwind. The spa offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, and manicures, and pedicures. The facilities include a sauna, a steam room, and a hot tub with sea views.
Visit Newquay Leisure World
Too rainy for the beach? Head to Newquay Leisure World to enjoy swimming and family-friendly activities on a rainy day in Newquay!
Newquay Leisure World has a 25-metre swimming pool, perfect for adults who want to swim. For children, there’s a leisure pool with flumes and next door, you’ll find a trampoline park and soft play – perfect for the school holidays!
Take a whirl on indoor crazy golf
Pirate Quest Adventure Golf is an action-packed, pirate-themed indoor mini golf course.
Travel back 300 years in time, when pirates cruised in the seas around Newquay, with sections including Towan Blystra Docks (themed on historic Newquay – Towan Blystra was its old name) and Blackbeard’s Tavern.
You’ll also experience Cornwall’s history in an immersive way as you delve into Smuggler’s Passage and Cornish Land of Legacy, hearing tales of the notorious smugglers of the region and learning about legends like King Arthur, who was supposedly born at Tintagel.
While absorbing this unique immersive experience, you’ll swing your golf clubs to try and hit each hole, while battling it out for supremacy on the high seas.
It’s the ideal way to both have a family-friendly day out and learn about Cornwall’s history in a fun and engaging way!
Go back in time at Trerice
Built in the 16th century, Trerice Manor is an Elizabethan house, built in 1570 by the Arundell family, that’s one of the best things to do near Newquay in the rain.
It’s been lovingly preserved and showcases some of the finest Tudor architecture in Cornwall. Each room has been artistically furnished with period furniture, decorations, paintings and tapestries.
Once you’ve explored the intricacies of the house, step out into the gardens – they’re open in wet weather, although you might want to pack a brolly. Here, you’ll find a knot garden (typical of the Tudor period) and a vegetable garden.
Go storm watching
Some of these rainy day Newquay attractions involve sheltering from the rain, but this activity will have you embracing it!
Just to get one thing clear, I don’t recommend storm watching independently – the cliffs around Newquay can be very dangerous in wild, stormy weather.
But the Headland Hotel offer storm-watching packages throughout the winter months, ideal for anyone who wants to see the Cornish coast but doesn’t want to brace for awful weather!
The Headland’s Hotel’s advantageous position right on the headland (as the name suggests), overlooking Fistral Beach means that it can be right in the centre of storms; and gazing out of its huge windows, cosy with a cup of hot chocolate is a dreamy way to enjoy Cornwall’s elements.
Catch a movie
The Lighthouse Cinema is an independent enterprise that showcases a range of films, open throughout the day and evening.
The cinema’s located close to Newquay town centre, just a seven-minute walk from Newquay harbour.
Wax activity bar
If you fancy some gaming fun in the heart of Newquay, then head to Wax Activity Bar!
This is an immersive venue that includes interactive darts, axe throwing, a prison escape room and a Cornish mine escape room.
There’s also a speakeasy bar on-site where you can toast to a successful rainy day activity!
Experiences at the Wax Activity Bar usually must be booked in advance – you can check out their website here.
Make a splash at Oasis fun pools
Another indoor swimming opportunity!
Oasis fun pools are located at Hendra Holiday Park, a seven-minute drive from Newquay town centre.
Non-residents are welcome to try the pools out (they’re bookable two days in advance).
Here, you can enjoy two heated swimming pools, a rapid ride along a crazy river and three water flumes: a relaxing slide, a 265-foot super flume and the aqua whiz flume!
Visit Newquay Zoo
This Newquay rainy day activity might depend on exactly how wet it is – but if it’s just a little drizzle, you could pull on a rain jacket and the weather shouldn’t bother you!
The zoo spans over 13 acres and is home to over 130 species and more than 1,000 animals, with creatures from all over the world. Here, you’ll find Asian short-clawed otters, gray slender loris, red pandas, meerkats and African lions!
With information about each animal, it’s an ideal place to visit to learn about each animal and its conservation.
Take a class at Newquay Sports Centre
Want to use a rainy day to get fit?
Newquay Sports Centre has a variety of classes, including box fit, core spin and glute lab, which you can book on a pay-as-you-go basis. Check out their full timetable here.
Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre
Cornwall might not be the first place that you think of when it comes to aviation history, but this museum, located close to Newquay airport, showcases more than 1,500 model aircraft including bombers, helicopters and fighter jets from World War II.
The centre also houses an extensive library and archive dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in Cornwall.
Some of the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre’s exhibition is outside, so take your rain macs and umbrellas.
Enjoy a cream tea
When it’s cold and wet outside, sometimes all you want to do is curl up with a hot drink and hearty snack, right?
Cornish cream teas consist of scones with lashings of strawberry jam and cream.
They’re served in both Devon and Cornwall, with one key difference; in Devon, the cream goes on first and in Cornwall, the jam goes on first!
Newquay’s in Cornwall, so make sure that you smear the jam on as a base layer before adding the cream.
(It’s a bit confusing – my family are Cornish but I live in Devon, so I never know which way to eat my cream teas!).
And have a proper pasty!
The other food item that you have to try in Cornwall is a proper Cornish pasty.
These are traditionally made with beef, swede, carrot and onion, and were popularised by miners who would take the pasty down to their place of work to ensure that they had a hearty meal.
Nowadays, you can find pasties in all sorts of forms, including vegetarian and vegan pasties. Although, my Cornish grandmother always denied that these were proper Cornish pasties!
Alternatively, there are high street brands in Newquay, such as the Cornish Bakery, Rowes and Warrens, all that serve delicious pasties of all varieties.
Head to the high street
As Newquay has made a name for itself as the UK’s ultimate surf destination, there are plenty of beach-themed shops where you can stock up on surf supplies, shop for beach-related fashion or just window shop!
These are my favourite shops in Newquay:
- Married to the Sea: a charming boutique store that specializes in surf-style clothing.
- The Wave Project: this store stands out from other stores by not only offering clothing and accessories for men, women, and children but also by raising funds for “surf therapy” programs aimed at helping individuals dealing with mental health issues. This innovative concept is truly remarkable and definitely worth supporting.
- Roo’s Beach: this is a trendy and fashionable store that features stylish clothing and accessories. Additionally, this store boasts its very own coffee shop, making it an ideal spot to shop and unwind.
Hang out at the best pubs and bars in Newquay
In true British style, if you’re on holiday and its raining, one of the top indoor activities is to hang out at the pub!
When you’re in a town like Newquay, time spent at the pub certainly isn’t time wasted, as there are plenty of local establishments where you can not only take in the town’s vibe but also try some local ciders and beers.
- One of the most popular pubs in town is Belushis, which serves up hearty pub food and delicious drinks.
- Another must-visit pub is The Red Lion, located in the heart of Newquay. It offers a traditional pub atmosphere, serving fresh food that’s caught every day and a selection of local beers and ciders on tap.
- For a more modern vibe, head to Tom Thumb, a trendy cocktail bar that serves up a range of delicious beverages.
Take a surf lesson
Cornwall and surfing go hand in hand. And it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference whether you’re surfing in the rain or in dry weather – you’ll be wet anyway!
You probably won’t want to surf in a massive storm, but you can certainly hit the waves if you’re just dealing with a bit of Cornish mizzle.
The North coast, where Newquay sits, is particularly well-known for its waves; and Newquay’s tourist industry has built up around its huge waves.
The best surfing beach in Newquay is Fistral Beach. This west-facing sands stretches for 750 metres and is often renowned for its epic swells and waves. Check out the Fistral Beach Surf School for classes.
Other surf beaches close to Newquay include Watergate Bay and Perranporth Beach; there are surf schools in both of these locations too.
Drink and be merry at Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Sometimes, when the weather isn’t so kind, all you want to do is kick back and have a few drinks, right?
Well, you can do that Cornish style by visiting Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm.
The home of Rattler’s cyder, Healey’s sits between Perranporth and Truro, about a 20 minute drive from Newquay (if nobody wants to be the designated driver, take the U1 bus and walk the last 2km).
At Healey’s, you can learn about the harvest of Cornish apples in the orchard and how the fruit is crushed and pressed to create bottles of delicious cyder.
There’s also a chance to taste each cider variety – by the branding, you might think that the ciders are extremely sweet (I certainly did at first), but they’re actually very smooth and fresh.
Once you’ve decided on your favourite, head to the bar to enjoy a few pints (you can even pour your own) and taste some delicious farm cooking (it’s a great place to try a traditional or savoury cream tea).
And although it might not seem it, it’s actually the perfect activity for all ages; if you’re travelling with kids, there is a small animal farm on-site, along with opportunities to try Healey’s jam and apple juice!
Visit Bodmin Jail
One of the eeriest attractions in Cornwall, Bodmin Jail is perfect for gloomy, moody days.
Sitting a 30 minute drive from Newquay (or you can take a train and bus!), Bodmin Jail is a historic Victorian prison that has been remade to showcase its past in an immersive way.
You’ll hear about crimes committed in Cornwall in the 19th century and take part in an immersive courtroom.
It’s a bit of a dark tourism attraction anyway, and most of it is inside. Plus, I always recommend it as one of the best things to do in Cornwall; so if you have a rainy day, definitely visit the jail!
You can do a self-guided tour of the prison or take a guided tour to learn about its history – or even to do one of its ghost tours to hear all about the supernatural!
And see Bodmin’s other museums
If you want to do an entire day trip to Bodmin while it’s raining, there are a few other museums you can check out in town too! Here are some of the other history museums to check out while you’re in town:
- Bodmin Keep: Bodmin Keep Museum is all about Cornwall’s military history. You’ll learn all about the British army and how it’s affected Cornwall throughout the centuries.
- Bodmin Town Museum: Bodmin used to be the county town of Cornwall, before Truro was made a city and also became its county town. This means that the town of Bodmin has a rich history, and this museum documents it all!
- Discovery 42: One of Bodmin’s most interesting indoor attractions, Discovery 42 is an interactive science and art museum.
Enjoy a drink and slap-up lunch at Jamaica Inn, a legendary smuggler’s hideaway!
While we’re in the Bodmin area, I’d also recommend calling into Jamaica Inn.
This is one of my favourite pubs in Cornwall; I actually spent the night here (in its most haunted room!) once, but you can certainly just pop in for lunch or a drink.
The pub is a historic coaching inn dating back to 1750 that turned into a smuggler’s hideaway due to its location in the middle of the moor – in 18th century Cornwall, it was largely inaccessible, making it the perfect place to hide contraband!
The inn was immortalized in Daphne Du Maurier’s book of the same name.
Today, Jamaica Inn encompasses an eerie smuggler’s museum, the Daphne Du Maurier Museum (a must for all literacy fans), a gift shop, a farmer’s shop and the atmospheric pub which has plenty of features from the novel; for example, you can drink at Joss Merlyn’s bar and stand on the spot where he was killed!
The food is pub grub, with plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans and people on gluten-free diets. Try their legendary cream tea, or opt for a hearty burger (meat and veggie options available).
You could easily spend a whole afternoon at Jamaica Inn checking out the best things to do – read my full guide here.
Side note: don’t go hiking on Bodmin Moor in poor weather
One thing I would recommend to NOT do in the rain, particularly if you have poor visibility, is to hike on Bodmin Moor.
This expansive moorland is a beautiful and unique place to visit in Cornwall, but when the weather’s poor, the clouds roll in and it’s easy to lose your way.
People have got lost on Bodmin Moor due to changeable weather conditions countless times, and if you don’t know the area and are unprepared, it can be very dangerous. So save this one for a clear day!
If you want to take in this Cornish landscape, you can do it safely from the viewing platform just outside of Jamaica Inn.
Learn about flora around the world at the Eden Project
One of the biomes has tropical plants from the rainforest, creating an indoor jungle experience, along with thought-provoking signs about what we can do to look after our planet. There’s even a rope bridge to walk over where you can enjoy jungle views below!
The second biome is Mediterranean-themed, with plants from Southern Europe, California, Western Australia and South Africa. There’s also a Mediterranean cafe and bar in this biome!
The Eden Project is fun for all the family – I’ve visited as a child and as an adult and loved it both times – and it’ll remind you about the importance of conserving the world’s wild spaces for generations to come.
At just a 35 minute drive from Newquay, it’s a fantastic place to visit in Cornwall when it’s raining.
Truro is around a half-hour drive from Newquay, and there are regular buses connecting the two.
It’s one of my favourite places to go for rainy days in Cornwall, because there are a few indoor attractions to enjoy here.
The most famous landmark in Truro is its cathedral – the only one in Cornwall. It’s relatively young as far as cathedrals are concerned (dating back to the end of the 19th century), but it’s one of the only ones in the country that has three spires, and it’s a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture. Plus, you can enter and explore for free.
The Royal Cornwall Museum is one of my favourite places to visit to learn about Cornish heritage and culture.
As my ancestors are Cornish, this is something I’m particularly interested in and proud of and the museum explains Cornwall’s uniqueness exceptionally well.
There are also quite a few high street shops in Truro, and I’d also recommend visiting Lemon Street Market which has some independent retailers.
Mining attractions in Redruth and Camborne
Another fantastic place for a rainy day trip from Newquay is Redruth and Camborne! You can get the 88 bus from Newquay to Redruth (then change to another bus or a quick train to Camborne) or it’s a half-hour drive.
Camborne and Redruth are two towns that sit right next to each other and you can easily see both on a day.
Both Redruth and Camborne are renowned for their mining heritage.
They aren’t really touristy places these days, but their history is fascinating; it was once the richest mining area in the world, the deepest mine in the world used to be active here, it was home to the last working tin mine in Europe and the Puffing Devil – the world’s first passenger-carrying road vehicle – had its first journey here.
With a history like this, who needs beach weather in Cornwall?
Both towns have heritage trails, where you can take in the 18th-century buildings and learn a little about their histories. I’d also recommend visiting Heartlands (home to the mining museum and Cornish Diaspora gardens), King Edward Mine Museum and East Pool Mine.
Finish your day in Redruth Meadery – this Medieval-themed restaurant serves mead (as the name suggests), along with slap-up portions of proper pub grub, with a Medieval twist (although there are still veggie options)!
My family is from Redruth, so I’ve visited both towns hundreds of times, and I think they’re among the best hidden gems in the region if you want to learn about the history and see the real Cornwall.
FAQs about visiting Newquay in the rain
Is Newquay Zoo good in the rain?
Newquay Zoo is worth visiting if there’s just a light drizzle, as you can wrap up with waterproofs and still enjoy seeing the animals! However, if there’s a lot of rain, you might want to opt for an indoor-based activity.
What is the best indoor activity in Newquay?
It depends on your interests, but the best indoor activities include storm watching, the Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum, Pirate Quest Adventure Golf and Wax Activity Bar – or go shopping or chill in the pub. You could also see the indoor attractions in Bodmin, Truro, Redruth and Camborne.
What is the best thing to do in Newquay in the rain?
One of the best things to do in Newquay in the rain is to go storm-watching at the Headland Hotel, perhaps with a Cornish cream tea. Enjoy the elements and magnificent coastline of Cornwall while being safe and cosy with a delicious warm drink!
Are you looking for Newquay rainy day attractions?
Even if the weather isn’t great, there are plenty of all-weather tourist attractions to enjoy in and around Newquay.
Whether you want to explore the town’s history, enjoy indoor sports or just kick back with some local food and drink, rainy days won’t go to waste when you’re staying in this iconic Cornish town!