Fistral Beach is Newquay’s iconic beach, quite simply one of the most consistent and best surfing beaches in the UK and Europe. This beautiful beach is west facing, long and sandy and backed by rocks and cliffs. Fistral beach offers sea and surf combined with first class beach and seafront facilities including surf equipment hire, lessons and boutiques, showers, toilets, car parking, restaurants and cafes. Fistral Beach boasts a state of the art RNLI Lifeguard station for the lifeguards who work from May to September with voluntary lifeguard cover on busy weekends through the winter. The brand new facilites include a dedicated first aid room, storage, changing facilities and a large observational area from which the lifeguards watch the one of the busiest beaches in the country.
Fistral Beach is a European Designated beach which complies with Euriopean Water Quality Standards. The surf is consistent and at high tide the beach is shelving which can create a shore break. For surfers and watersports Fistral can be split between North and South Fistral:
North Fistral Works best at all tides when big swells are coming in. On low tide, some cracking barrels and peaks are produced. Mainly a right hander with submerged rocks and rips for lefts during high tide. Good for beginners although can get very crowded in summer.
South Fistral Usually left breaks here and best from mid to high tide. Best swell direction west southwest. South to southeast wind is offshore. Suitable for beginners although watch for dangerous rips.
Towan Beach is the most central of Newquay’s beaches lying just below the Killacourt and Beach Road. This beach is sheltered by Towan Head and provides either small waves, ideal for novice surfers or calm waters for safe swimming. At high tide the beach gets covered and people retreat to the Promenade with its shops and cafes or to the grassy slopes on the clifftops – Killacourt and Eathen, or to the terraces in between. Towan is a popular and often very busy beach, right in the centre of town. Good size of sand and rock, popular with both surfers and families.
Great Western is a popular family beach lying just north of Towan beach. It is comprised of several coves offering some degree of seclusion. The beach is backed by high cliffs and at high tide is just a small rectangle of sand. The best time to visit this beach is at low tide when it joins with Towan and Lusty Glaze to create a vast expanse of golden sand. Access is via a steep winding path by the Great Western Hotel. The beach is exposed to moderate Atlantic swells which can create surf – this beach is also ideal for novice surfers.
Tolcarne Beach nestles in a beautiful crescent shaped bay set against a background of cliffs. The beach offers soft sand, easy swimming, fun family surfing, exciting rock pools to explore at low tide, sea fishing and the unique ‘Tolcarne wedge’ for boogie boarding. It is an ideal beach if you are looking for organised activities and beach hire with plenty of amenities. Safe access for pedestrians either by steps or by a sloping roadway; tier upon tier of lock up huts and beach tents with sunbathing platforms; cafe, shop, beach trays, surf board hire; a big beach of dry sand above high tide mark,; some moderately high cliffs with a cave or two; firm sand at low tide. There are no parking facilities at Tolcarne but the beach is a short walk from the Town Centre, there is lifeguard cover from mid May to September. The surf school on the beach offers individual and group surf lessons for novice or intermediate surfer, is open all year with qualified BSA instructors with top quality equipment and suits.
Lusty Glaze Beach, a popular sandy beach, is a beautiful, horseshoe shaped cove, surrounded by high cliffs with direct access to the sea on the outskirts of Newquay on the north Cornwall coast. This is a great beach with fun activities for all ages and abilities and superb beach-side facilities. This beach ‘village’ is a first-class attraction with a lot going on. As well as the beautiful sandy cove to explore and enjoy, there’s a beach-side restaurant and take-away, a range of adventures activitiies and the opportunity to experience fantastic live music and events both during the day and evening.This private Newquay beach is surrounded on 3 sides by cliffs 150ft high creating the perfect setting for the only beach zip wire in Cornwall. For adrenalin junkies this Zip Wire is Lusty Glaze’s answer to bungee jumping. At 750ft long and 120ft high, this aerial runway is one of Europe’s longest, highest and fastest. The Zip Wire experience on this aerial runway is finished off with a 50ft free abseil down to the sand. Lifeguard cover is seasonal.
Porth Beach is a lovely sandy beach with a sheltered aspect being protected by headlands on both sides. Porth island to the east, which can be accessed by a narrow footbridge, has some impressive prehistoric defensive earthworks and the remains of a settlement. At the end of the island there is a blow hole which can be seen at mid tide, especially on windy days. The views from here are spectacular looking back towards Newquay Bay and to Park Head in the north. Porth, on the outskirts of Newquay is a narrow and shallow beach that has a long tidal drop. Like many of the local beaches it is exposed to Atlantic swells. Porth Beach is a 5 minute drive from Newquay or a 25-30 minute walk, there are cafes across the road from the beach and a pub on the beach – the Mermaid. There is no surfing permitted during the summer season when the lifeguards are on duty between the hours of 10am and 6pm.
Although there are steep steps to negotiate this beach is worth visiting at low tide as there is lots to explore; caves, rock pools and dry sand for sheltered sun bathing if the wind is blowing off shore. Whipsiderry can be reached by bus along the north coast road (just past Porth) or you can head northwards along the coastal path from Newquay. Whipsiderry is essentially a beach to visit at low tide when there is firm sand to to walk on and caves to explore. The finest caves are The Cathedral Cavern which has a large pillar, a pool of water and several tunnels leading off from it; and the great Banqueting Hall with other caves in the vicinity of Whipsiderry named the Boulder Cavern and the Fern Cavern, there are no lifeguards.
Crantock Beach lies on the River Gannel estuary and is a beautiful expanse of golden beach with good surf, ideal for all abilities. The beach has cliffs and rocks both sides and backs onto sand dunes. Crantock beach forms part of the expanse of sand between Pentire and West Pentire headlands. At the southern end of the beach are high cliffs providing some shelter from the wind. To the north is the mouth of the River Gannel which is a tidal river and is a popular and ideal spot with sheltered bathing. Crantock beach is a 15 minute drive from Newquay Town Centre, there is parking behind the main access to the beach in the National Trust car park or there is a gentle walk to the beach which takes about 45 minutes again from Newquay Town Centre. The beach is close to all village facilities including a pub and shops and there is a cafe on the Newquay side of the Gannel reached via a foot ferry that operates during the summer months. There are public toilets nearby, the beach has lifeguards from mid May to the end of September.