15 Best Beaches in Newquay: All you need to know is here

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Let’s talk about the best beaches in Newquay, why you should visit them, how to get here, and where to stay. 

Newquay, Cornwall, is a gorgeous beach town in the southwest of England. It was once a fishing port, then a famous party town that attracted university students and pre-wedding parties.

Now, it’s been transformed into a tranquil surfing town with lots of great food spots and sandy beaches that attract surfers and families looking for a chill holiday destination.

View over Fistral, one of the best beaches in Newquay. The sea has big waves and a few people on the sand.
Stunning views of Fistral Beach, one of the best surf in Cornwall.

The town used to be more resort orientated, like Blackpool, so there are still areas that are a bit tatty around the edges, but many of Newquays’ neighborhoods have been reinvented and the natural landscape is some of the prettiest in the UK. For sure it has some of the most beautiful beaches on Cornwall’s north coast.

You might have heard that Newquay is the surf capital of Cornwall too, and that’s thanks to the town’s exposure to the west Atlantic swells.

Whether it’s your first time catching waves or you’re a pro, you’ll find beaches in Newquay with breaks to your taste – surfing in Newquay never disappoints.

Let’s get down to business, here are the best Newquay beaches to add to your itinerary.

The best beaches in Newquay, Cornwall

So, how many beaches are there in Newquay?

Overall, there are 15 main beaches in and around Newquay. None are more than a few miles outside of the town so they’re easily accessible by car or even on foot if you feel like taking a stroll.

As expected the Newquay nearby beaches are busier, but with no hassle, you can find a stretch of sand on a stunning beach to relax and disconnect. 

For those looking for surfing in Newquay, then you are up for a feast. From mellow waves to powerful swells, you can choose the beach that matches your surf skills or where you can take surf lessons.

The details and info of all 15 Newquay beaches are listed below, choose your favorite ones.

Towan Beach in Newquay has cliffs surrounding it and a rock island in the middle of the sand with a house on top and a bridge connecting to the mainland. It is one fo the famous beaches in Newquay.
Towan Beach and the Jago’s Island.

1 – Towan Beach

Towan Beach is right by Newquay’s town centre, earning it the nickname “town beach”. You can find the beach at the bottom of Beach Road nestled against the town’s harbour.

Cornwall can get pretty windy, so this sheltered golden sand beach is a real treat if you want to laze around. It’s one of the popular beaches among families as it’s just a stone throw away from town! The waves definitely aren’t fit for surfing though.

There’s a tall stack of rocks at the eastern end of the beach known as “Jago’s Island” that has a house built right on the top. Dating back to 1901, the house has been lived in by many prominent names, like Alexander Lodge who invented the spark plug, and visitors like Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote Sherlock Holmes!

You’ll be glad to know you can rent the house out for your holiday if you’re looking for a little luxury this summer.

Another top attraction is the Blue Reef Aquarium, positioned right on the beachfront.

Great Western beach and red valerian (Centranthus ruber) in Newquay, Cornwall UK.
Can you see the gentle waves?

2 – Great Western Beach

Found below the cliffs where Newquay was built, this vast beach is great for beginner surfers and sunset strolls. The beach is sandy and pet-friendly too – the perfect place to build sandcastles.

Curiously, this Newquay beach was named after the Great Western Railway that ran a train service to the town between 1876 and 1960. Continuing this theme, the Great Western Hotel was built on the steep cliffs that rise over Great Western Beach.

Pretty much everything you need is on the beach, like toilets, a few cafes, deck chair and surfboard hire, and lifeguards (but they’re only around in peak season!).

Another handy thing about this beach is there are two car parks on either side of the nearby railway station, so you won’t have to walk far to get there.

Photo of beach views. It shows Tolcarne Beach and the town in the background.
The Newquay coastline is stunning!

3 – Tolcarne Beach

It takes two hundred steep to reach the golden sand of Tolcarne Beach, but it’s worth it! The beach is a little further round the rugged cliffs from the Great Western Beach, but still within the borders of Newquay.

The views of the harbor from Tolcarne are gorgeous, and the easy-going gentle waves make this one of the best beaches in Newquay to try catching a wave for the first time.

The beach also has a crazy golf court you can go and try out if you get tired of lazing under the sun, and there’s a cafe, toilets, and shop nearby too – what more could you ask for?

If you’re traveling with your furry friend bear in mind they won’t be allowed on the beach over the summer.

Newquay, Cornwall, UK - Surfers carrying their boards on Fistral Beach.
Hands down, Fistral is the best surfing beach in Newquay.

4 – Fistral Beach

Fistral is one of the most famous places to visit in Newquay and in the whole Cornwall region.

And you might ask, what is Fristal Beach famous for? The answer is simple: epic waves!

If you’ve been wondering which is the best surfing beach in Newquay, you’ve found it.

The waves are pretty huge here so it’s often divided into three areas: South Fistral, the main beach area, and Little Fistral (the most northern tip of the beach, which disappears for the most part when the tide is high).

Many surf competitions happen here which makes it one of the most famous beaches in town and in the UK.

If you want to stay at one of the most luxurious beach hotels in Newquay, then check into a room at The Headland Hotel & Spa, this gorgeous Victorian hotel overlooks Fistral Beach and will give you the best views of any crazy surfers.

There’s a car park, toilets, a few cafes, wetsuit, and surfboard hire, and seasonal lifeguards. Pets are allowed year-round too. It’s a little far out of town so I’d recommend driving here.

Sunset on Lusty Glaze Beach at Newquay in Cornwall.
Low tide + Sunset = Spectacle!

5 – Lusty Glaze Beach

This little beach is tucked away between an amphitheater of cliffs, which makes it a more protected and secluded beach. Although, it’s still a popular spot and there’s an adventure center that offers everything from climbing to surfing so it gets busy.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or you’ve been looking for a great family beach, you’ve found your spot.

At low tide, you can actually walk between Tolcarne Beach and Lusty Glaze Beach, but if you’re visiting at high tide, you’ll have to tackle the 368 steps down to the beach from the clifftop.

You can park your car at the top of the cliffs, but if you’re visiting in summer, it’s worth walking there from town as it gets busy. There’s a great restaurant on the beach, toilets, showers, and a little beach shop.

6 – Porth Beach

This narrow and long beach is great for families. There’s enough space for the kids to get out a kite and run around without getting in anyone’s way.

At low tide, it’s ideal for walks too, when rock pools full of life are left behind by the receding sea.

The coolest thing about Porth Beach though is the bridge that connects it to Porth Island where an ancient fort and the ruins of the old settlement, Trevelgue Head, await.

There aren’t many facilities on the beach itself, but there are a few cafes across the road. Bear in mind you can’t surf here in the summer season.

Porth Beach is just 5 minutes’ drive from Newquay or a half-hour walk.

7 – Whipsiderry Beach

One of the quieter beaches in Newquay, Whipsiderry has a rising rockface in the center of it, which is incredibly steep on one side but has loads of rock pools and little caves on the other.

At high tide, there’s not much beach to speak of, but once the tide goes out caves, like Cathedral Cavern, are uncovered along the vast stretch of sand.

One drawback is there aren’t any facilities nearby, but that’s probably why the beach is so quiet.

Crantock is one of the largest beaches in Newquay with soft sand. There are many people on the sand.
Crantock is one of the largest beaches in Newquay.

8 – Crantock Beach

Just 15 minutes’ drive from town and bordered by sand dunes that form the Rushy Green area, Crantock is one of the largest beaches in Newquay with soft sand – ideal for an afternoon walk with the dogs, this beach is one for those seeking solitude!

Apart from the gorgeous beach itself, there’s also a cave known as Piper’s Hole on the western end of the beach that has carvings that are over 100 years old.

Wildlife enthusiasts will love this spot as the cliffs rising above the beach are a haven for seabirds.

There’s parking and a small beach kiosk, but not much else.

Wide Empty Beach at Porth Joke in Cornwall, UK.
That’s what we call a relaxing beach.

9 – Porth Joke Beach

Tucked away in a cove between rolling headlands, Porth Joke is just a little further north than Crantock Beach. Locals call it Polly Joke, and it’s just under 20 minutes’ drive from town.

When the town beaches get too cramped to be enjoyable, head over to Polly Joke for some tranquility.

There is a car park at West Pentire, but it’s still a little way from the beach itself so it’s not an ideal spot if you need to park right by the beach. There’s nothing in the way of facilities either, but it’s a dog-friendly beach in Newquay!

Photo of Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England, UK. It's a favored beach in Newquay for surfing, particularly for beginners.
Watergate Bay Beach and its awesome waves.

10 – Watergate Bay Beach

Watergate Bay is popular with surf schools that bring vans full of novice surfers to tackle the waves for the first time. You can also go kite buggying and kitesurfing here.

It’s just 10 minutes’ drive from town, near Porth Joke Beach. There are loads of dining options, plenty of paid parking, toilets, and a shop. It’s wheelchair-accessible and dog friendly too.

Sunset over Holywell Bay Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, England UK
If you are looking for a postcard beach, here it is.

11 – Holywell Bay Beach

Hidden behind tall sand dunes, Holywell Bay is surrounded by rolling hills that drop onto the coastline and boasts a mile-long stretch of golden sand.

The beach got its name thanks to the cave at the northern end of the beach that has unusual rock formations that fill up like miniature wells at low tide.

It’s a little out of town (about fifteen minutes’ drive), but that’s part of its charm. This popular family beach is the perfect setting for fun and relaxation. Bear in mind it can get busy though!

You can park in the little town by the beach, also called Holywell, and as it’s right by the beach you can head into town if you need anything whilst you’re here.

Beach at Mawgan Porth in Cornwall, UK. Huge cliffs in the background and crystal clear sea.
Mawgan Porth is ideal for a chill beach day in Newquay.

12 – Mawgan Porth Beach

Easy-going and cute, Mawgan Porth is ideal for a chill beach day in Newquay. There are some short walking routes along the cliffs that rise above the beach too.

It’s got everything you need in terms of facilities, and there are lots of rental cottages around the edge of the beach – in case you want to stay just meters away from the sea!

Mawgan Porth is its own little town outside of Newquay itself, but this more secluded and tranquil spot with a beach that offers great surf is no bad holiday option. Plus, it’s just a 15 minutes’ drive away from Newquay!

Perranporth Beaches in Newquay. Long stretches of sand and great waves.
Another great surfing beach in Newquay.

13 – Perranporth Beach

At low tide, Perranporth and Penhale Sands join together and leave three miles of glistening sand exposed. There are some pretty epic swells, so if you’re in Cornwall to surf keep an eye on the conditions at Perranporth.

Various cliff formations tower over the golden sand, leaving caves that were once frequented by smugglers open for exploration. Make sure to check out the natural saltwater pool and stunning views on top of Chapel Rock before you go.

Situated on the edge of the quaint seaside town of the same name, Perranporth Beach is located 20 minutes’ drive away from Newquay.

Newquay Harbour by Visit Newquay. The pier with small fishing boats and the town in the background.
The charming Newquay Harbor.

14 – Newquay Harbour Beach

Cute and quaint, Newquay Harbour gave the town, once known as Towan Blystra, its new name! Even if you decide not to jump into the sea, it’s worth taking a stroll and snapping pictures of this enchanting spot.

Watching the little fishing boats bob up and down to a backdrop of orange and pink hues at sunset is one of the most relaxing things to do in Newquay.

There’s a small patch of sand at the edge of the harbor, and the tranquil nature of the waves rolling in makes it a perfect spot for toddlers to splash around in, or for paddle boarding.

Some of the nicest restaurants in Newquay line the harbor, so come and enjoy evening drinks with the best town views.

Gannel Estuary Beach in Newquay is a great place to go kayaking and canoeing. The photo is in low tide, you can see a boat stop in the middle of teh water stream.
Gannel Estuary Beach.

15 – Gannel Estuary Beach

A great place to go kayaking or canoeing, the beach is also accessible by horse, bike and foot. Be careful about swimming though, as the estuary has strong currents that can be unpredictable.

It used to be an important arrival point by sea, and the old boatyards and moorings where ships bringing in coal and timber once arrived give Gannel a nostalgic feeling.

Where to stay in Newquay Beaches

Here’s a reliable list of hotels in Newquay for every budget! Choose the one that suits your budget and style, and for sure from your accommodation, you will be able to visit all the beaches in Newquay we mentioned above. 

Luxury Hotels in Newquay

The Headland Hotel and Spa situated on the cliffside above the iconic Fistral Beach has gorgeous outdoor swimming pools, a spa to relax in, rooms with sea views, a surf school, and its own golf course.

Another great option is the Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa which also overlooks Fistral Beach. It’s the only adults-only hotel in the area so it promises relaxation and intimacy. Plus, the town center of Newquay is just a mile away.

Mid-range Hotels in Newquay

The White House Hotel has quirky and unique rooms with sea views. It’s situated right in the heart of Newquay, just a five-minute walk from Towan Beach and on the doorstep to some of the best restaurants and bars.

On the other hand, there’s the grand but rather affordable Legacy Hotel Victoria, which has an indoor pool with sea views, old-fashioned rooms, and outdoor areas. It’s right by the Railway Station and shops and breakfast is included.

Budget Hotels in Newquay

Just minutes walk away from the old Great Western Railway Station, the Great Western Hotel rises above the beach of the same name. It boasts a cliff-top terrace and a perfect location.

Looking for something more central? Then the Tregella Guest House will be right down your alley. Simple and sweet, this Edwardian house is minutes away from the town center but still has cozy rooms with sea views. Another plus? Breakfast is included.

Wide view of Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall viewed from the grassy dunes on a clear, sunny day.
Most of the beaches in Newquay you can reach in less than 15 minutes.

How to get to Newquay beaches and around

Newquay Airport is a little far out of town, and from there you’d need to rent a car to get to town anyway so unless you’re coming to Newquay from abroad, I’d recommend getting a bus or train there or driving if that’s an option.

You can arrive via train to the Newquay Train Station, or take a National Express coach to Newquay’s Bus Station.

If you want to stay in the town and visit only the nearest beaches, you can explore Newquay on foot. Some of the beaches further afield though, like Perranporth and Mawgan Porth require a car, especially if you’re carrying a surfboard.

Public transport is limited in rural areas, so it’s best to rent a car if you don’t want to waste your valuable beach time.

Travel Advice:

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.

There are many insurances in the market, our picks are HeyMondo and SafetyWing. We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

 Newquay Beaches Wrap up

All in all, Newquay is a well-rounded beachside destination that has sunny summer weather, golden sand beaches, impressive waves, and a quaint seaside feel to it.

There are opportunities to do everything from sunbathing to surfing and snorkeling. There are beaches in Newquay that are family-friendly and others that are a paradise for experienced surfers. Just follow our guide to Newquay Beaches and you will find the perfect spot for you.

So, pack your swimwear and get ready for an idyllic beach holiday in Newquay.

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