Bright blue crashing waves that are perfect for surfing, golden beaches to enjoy either from the coastal path or right on the sands, a hive of local restaurants, bars and shops within the town and plenty of all-weather attractions in the vicinity… it’s no surprise that tourists flock to Newquay year after year.
During the summertime, there’s nowhere quite like Newquay.
For many tourists, it resembles exotic lands like the east coast of Australia; the surf is up and the beaches are beautiful.
The entire town has a pulsating, buzzing atmosphere that you typically only find by the seaside.
Do you need a Newquay weekend away itinerary?
I’ve put together a Newquay weekend away itinerary to help if you’re planning a weekend trip here (of course, it’s suitable for midweek trips too!).
From the best beaches to hit up to exactly where to eat, here are my tried and tested recommendations for this beach town.
I’m a South West England tourism expert, my family is Cornish and I live about an hour away from Newquay; so I’ve visited countless times.
Follow this guide to spend a seamless weekend in Newquay!
kfast every morning. For additional details, click here.
Newquay itinerary day one
Your first day on your Newquay itinerary will include seeing the museums and sites of the town centre, then walking over to the iconic Fistral Beach and spending the afternoon there.
Newquay town centre
Dedicate your first morning to exploring Newquay town centre. Enjoy the picturesque harbour, visit the Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum or go shopping at some of its surf shops – I love Married to the Sea.
Then, head to Fistral Beach, Newquay’s crowning jewel. Parking’s a bit limited at Fistral Beach, so I’d recommend walking there via the South West Coast Path.
You’ll bypass the historic Huer’s Hut, a small building perched on the cliff where a lookout would scan the horizon for shoals of pilchards.
(Later, you can either walk back through the town, which is much quicker – although less scenic – than the headland or take a bus from Fistral to Newquay town centre).
Lunch at The Stable
If you’re hungry, The Stable is a West Country brand that serves slap-up pizzas and ciders.
I’ve not been to Newquay’s branch, but I used to frequent the one in Bristol when I lived there, and I’ve been to the Plymouth branch too!
They offer a range of burgers with veggie, vegan and meat options, and there’s plenty of West Country cider to sample.
Afternoon at the beach
Fistral Beach is one of the UK’s most famous (and arguably its best for surfing). Parking’s a bit limited at Fistral Beach, so I’d recommend walking (it’s not too far if you cut across the headland) or taking the bus there.
If you’re partial to a few waves, rent out a board (or bring your own!) and take to them independently, but if you have any reservations about surfing then I highly recommend a lesson – you can book these before you arrive on Get Your Guide (so there’s one less thing to worry about when you’re here!).
If the weather turns while you’re at Fistral, visit the iconic Headland Hotel, located on a clifftop overlooking the sands.
This grand Victorian hotel was used as a location for the 1990 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic “The Witches” and offers stunning views of the ocean.
You can visit for a drink in the Terrace Lounge, or enjoy a classic afternoon tea. If you’re eating scones, remember when you’re in Cornwall, the jam goes on first!
If the weather stays sunny, head to The Fish House Fistral (which I personally prefer over Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant at Fistral) and enjoy an al-fresco fish and chips.
Newquay itinerary day two
Your second day in Newquay itinerary includes gazing at the dramatic Bedruthan Steps and many of Newquay’s other phenomenal beaches, and then an afternoon trip to Newquay Zoo, Trerice or Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm.
On day two of your itinerary, I’d recommend heading to the iconic Bedruthan Steps.
These craggy stacks sit jutting out from the coastline; on a sunny day, when the water is a turquoise blue, you’ll feel like you’re in the Mediterranean.
You used to be able to walk down to the beach, but the last time I visited the steps were closed, but Bedruthan Steps are certainly worth marvelling at from the top!
They’re a 12-minute drive from central Newquay, but I’d actually recommend taking the 56 bus, which directly connects Newquay centre with the steps.
South West Coast Path walk
Then, you can walk back along the South West Coast Path.
It’ll take you 2-3 hours (or more if you stop at any of the beaches!), but you’ll bypass some of Cornwall’s best beaches on the way – and of course, you can stop at any that you particularly like!
You’ll go past:
- Mawgan Porth: A small beach town with a few amenities and a golden beach.
- Watergate Bay: This is where popular music festival Boardmasters is held each year, and is another top destination for surfing in Newquay.
- Porth Beach: A long stretch of sand with a popular pub, The Mermaid, sitting just behind.
- Lusty Glaze Beach: This beach is privately owned (but open to the public) and sits in a cove, with steps leading down to it. Visit when it’s windy elsewhere – the beach is protected and serene!
- Tolcarne Beach: One of Newquay’s main beaches, from here you can do paddleboarding and kayaking.
- Towan Beach: Famous for its island sitting out from the coastline, Towan Beach has been the subject of many photographers who’ve come to Newquay!
There are a few activities you could enjoy in the afternoon, depending on your interests.
One option is to visit Newquay Zoo, which is home to over 1,000 animals and 130 species from around the world, including lions, penguins, and red pandas.
A beautiful Elizabethan manor house boasting stunning gardens, Trerice is the ideal place to visit for anyone who’s interested in history.
As you make your way through the property and explore the antique furnishings and intricate tapestries, you’ll be transported back to the 16th century.
The house was home to the wealthy Arundell family, and the construction of Trerice began in around 1572. It was used as a family home over the centuries but is now owned by the National Trust.
Along with the historical interior, you can visit the traditional Tudor knot garden (sadly not an original!) and explore its vegetable garden.
National Trust members get free entry – see my full National Trust review here.
Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Fancy a tipple on your second day in Newquay? Head to Healey’s, home of Rattler’s cyder.
The farm is a working cider producer that has been in operation since 1986.
Take a self-guided tour of the factory, seeing how the cider is packaged and bottled, and visit the museum, the jam shop and even see the farm animals.
Of course, a highlight is sampling a variety of Rattler’s ciders, and there’s also the chance to taste whiskey or gin; which is made here from the waste products of cider. You can book a gin tasting to learn more about this!
Healey’s also has a bar where you can enjoy a few pints of Rattlers after your tour; as most of the cyder farm is indoors, it’s one of my favourite things to do around Newquay in the rain.
If you’re drinking, don’t drive: you can take the U1 bus to Healey’s or call a Newquay taxi on the number:
Dinner at The Boathouse
Finish your wonderful weekend in Newquay by enjoying dinner at The Boathouse!
This is my favourite place in the town; it’s a street food market where you can try anything from tacos to ramen to sumptuous desserts, while sitting on the sand by Newquay harbour, enjoying the sound of the waves crashing.
There’s also a licensed bar, so you can certainly toast to a fabulous weekend trip to Newquay!
I’m a little past my nightlife days now, but if you want to check out some of Newquay’s best bars and clubs, here are a few I’ve been to in the past:
This was the first nightclub that I ever went to (when I was definitely underage…). It has good music, drinks deals and is always buzzing throughout the summer, mainly with holidaymakers.
A quieter establishment, and somewhere that I’d still visit in my 30s, Tom Thumb serves up delicious fruity cocktails.
Cornwall’s largest nightclub, Bertie’s has three club rooms and seven bars – the perfect place for a night out if you’re kicking back on an evening in the city!
Best Day Trips from Newquay
If you’re spending a long weekend in Newquay, then I’d recommend using any subsequent days to check out some of the best day trips from the town! One of the best reasons about staying in Newquay is that a lot of Cornwall’s best attractions are around an hour (or less) away.
Port Isaac and Padstow
One of the closest day trips is visiting Port Isaac and Padstow.
Port Isaac is a picturesque fishing village that has retained much of its traditional character, with narrow streets and whitewashed cottages.
It’s famous for being the filming location of Doc Martin – you can even do a Doc Martin-themed tour to see some of the filming locations and learn some backstage secrets.
Padstow is a short drive from Port Isaac and is a bustling town known fine dining; it’s home to the original Rick Stein restaurant, along with a couple of restaurants by Paul Ainsworth.
I recommend Caffe Rojano, which is Paul Ainsworth’s Italian restaurant and is more affordable than the others!
Also in Padstow, you can take a ferry to Rock and walk along the River Camel or do a Padstow Sealife Safari to look out for dolphins and seals.
Perranporth and St Agnes
An easy day trip is Perranporth and St Agnes.
Perranporth is just a few miles from Newquay (you can even walk there on the South West Coast Path) and offers a wide, expansive beach and the UK’s only beach bar.
Then, visit nearby St Agnes for mining history and independent shops and restaurants.
If you’re looking for some adventure, head to the Eden Project, located about an hour’s drive from Newquay.
This unique attraction is home to two massive biomes that house thousands of plant species from around the world – one even has a rainforest copy walkway – and there’s also an outdoor garden and zip wire.
About an hour away, you’ll find St Ives, where you can stroll along the picturesque harbor and frequent its art galleries, TATE St Ives and Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Gallery.
In my opinion, Newquay and St Ives both have the best beaches in Cornwall – so if you explore both towns, you can go home feeling satisfied in terms of Cornish beaches.
St Micheal’s Mount, Penzance and Mousehole
ou could twin this with visiting the stunningly picturesque village of Mousehole.
How to get to Newquay
You can get to Newquay by car, train or plane (there are also bus options, but they take a long time and I’d only recommend them if you’re on a serious budget!).
I’ve written a whole post about how to get to Newquay – check it out here – but here’s a rundown.
- Car: Head to Exeter by taking the M3 and A303 (from London) or the M5 (from Birmingham, Bristol or other cities further north). Then, connect to the A30 and take the A39 and then the A392 to reach Newquay.
- Train: You’ll need to take a train from London, Exeter, Plymouth or Bristol to Par, where you can connect to a train to take you to Newquay. This takes around six hours. You can also take a night train from London to Cornwall; if you do this, I’d recommend staying on the train until Truro and then taking a bus to Newquay.
- Plane: Cornwall Airport Newquay is situated a 15 minute drive from Newquay town centre, and it connects to several UK cities.
Getting Around Newquay
Newquay’s a small town that you can explore on foot; although there are buses in the town centre, connecting Newquay with places like Perranporth and Truro.
There’s also a branch train line that connects Newquay to Par in South Cornwall.
Where to stay in Newquay
From budget surf hostels to some of Cornwall’s best luxury hotels, there are oodles of places to stay in Newquay.
For a luxurious stay, try Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, which has luxurious rooms with ocean-themed docr, from which where you can enjoy stunning ocean views. Enjoy dinner at the Dune Restaurant or work out in the gym. Click here to read more about it.
Geckos Rest if you want a cosy B&B set with practical, comfortable rooms. The beds have brilliant white linen, high-end tea and coffee-making facilities, and a flat-screen TV. You’ll enjoy a delicious Cornish breakfast in your rate. Click here to book your stay.
Looking for a relaxing hostel in Newquay that caters to backpackers with a love for surfing? Smarties Surf Lodge may be just what you’re looking for. Offering a variety of accommodation options including double rooms, triple rooms, and dorms, this hostel also boasts a communal area and serves up a tasty cooked brea
Are you ready for your weekend in Newquay?
While Newquay certainly isn’t a Cornish hidden gem, it’s popular for a reason – visit for golden beaches like Fistral and Towan, its buzzing town centre filled with shops and restaurants and its abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, surfing, paddleboarding – there’s something for everyone!).
Plus, Newquay’s relative accessibility means that it’s not too difficult to get to from elsewhere in the country and you can reach an abundance of other Cornwall attractions from the town centre.
If you’re looking for somewhere fun, beachy and attraction-filled to spend a weekend in Cornwall, head to Newquay.