A Weekend in Newquay
The last time I went to Newquay, I was 16, had just finished my GCSEs and spent a week in a caravan with a gaggle of girls from school, all of us drinking waaaay too much Smirnoff Ice and attempting to sweet-talk our way past burly bouncers. Safe to say, Newquay has a bit of a ‘Party-Town’ reputation, which, given my utter loathing for stag and hen parties, has never made it a ‘Must Visit Again’ destination on my bucket list.
However reader, I am ready to EAT MY WORDS. The lovely folk at Travelodge recently got in touch and asked if I’d like to spend a weekend down in Cornwall as part of their #SeaAndTheCity SURE, I said, any excuse to go and paddle in the sea is A-OK with me. So, we took a cheeky Friday off work, packed a picnic for the train (and when I say picnic I mean M&S GinInATins) and sped off towards Newquay.
Often Travelodges are located just outside of a town, making them great budget options for those with a motor. In Newquay however, for those getting the train, the location is the GODSEND. It’s literally over the road, right in the centre of town. We checked in and took a little snoop around our room which was just as we would expect from a Travelodge- clean, comfortable and simple. Just the ticket as a base for the weekend!
However, the real bonus was the STUNNING view over Great Western Beach. Check that out for a slice of seaside loveliness!
Great Western Beach is often overlooked in favour of the more famous Fistral Beach, but it was actually the UK’s first Surfing beach. It’s made of up several coves, all backed up by craggy rocks and a curving coastline, making it the perfect place to go exploring. Which we did immediately!
We paddled in rock pools, explored caves, clambered up on rocks and found thousands of wild mussels!
There were so many little nooks and crannies to explore, including this mysterious door in the wall (which I like to think was home to some Du Maurier-Esque SMUGGLERS back in the day).
Be sure also to check out The Island- a tiny island connected to the mainland via a bridge, with room for just one house (which you can actually stay in!)
As the sun started to go down, we climbed back up the hill, stopping on the way for a pint at The Slope Beach Bar, which had just flung its doors open to the public for the VERY FIRST TIME, which was super exciting!
Appetites whetted, we carried on up the slope and lucked out by grabbing a table right up on the cliff overlooking the bay at the Steam Bar. I mean, as views go, it’s pretty good, no?
We ordered a fresh seafood platter to share, and munched away just gazing at the sunset- I know I sound smug, but it really was as beautiful as it sounds!
The next day, after a cracking night’s sleep and a slap-up breakfast at the hotel (I mean ‘buffet breakfast’ is a phrase that really hits the spot for me, ya know?) we took ourselves off for a saunter through Newquay. I mean, there’s a lot of touristy bits and some sleazy looking clubs (they looked a lot shinier when I was 16 I swear!) however, we got the impression that the town is really trying to rebrand itself, with some swish new pubs, cafes and boutique type shops having sprung up.
Make sure you take a wander to the harbour, it is just TOTALLY CHARMING! LOOK!
Proper picture postcard stuff! The best way to see Newquay from every angle we found, was to do the Headlands Walk. Starting at the Harbour, it takes you up and round the coast, taking in the famous Headlands Hotel (you know, the one from The Witches movie?! BEWARE THE GRAND HIGH WITCH!) and onto Fistral Beach. Keep an eye out for the beautiful wild flowers as you climb up onto the path from the Harbour and get ready to gasp every few seconds at the views!
On your way round, you’ll find Huer’s Hut, a tiny, white building dating back to the 14th Century. It would have been home to a ‘Huer’ who’s job it was to watch the tide and sound the alert to all the fishermen whenever they spotted giant shoals of pilchards. Take the narrow set of stairs at the side of the hut (but omg be careful they are quite scary), clamber up onto the roof and take LUNGFULS of blustery sea air. YUM.
Serving up stone baked pizzas, hot, flaky pies, and SO MUCH CIDER, I was in love instantly. We immediately ordered a cider tasting board each, and hoed into pizzas topped with Njdua and jerk chicken, before taking out a slab of apple and ginger cheesecake out to the terrace, so we could watch the surfers at play. YUMMERS.
I’d love to say we did something WILD that Saturday night, but to be completely honest, we were so exhausted from the walking and the sunshine (yeah okay, and probably the cider too) that we grabbed some fish and chips from the chippy opposite our hotel (why does sea air make you SO HUNGRY!?) and settled into bed to watch a documentary about The Beatles. ROCK AND ROLL GUYS!
Our final morning rolled round, and we ventured out in search of caffeine. We found our perfect spot at The Brew and Tattoo– a cafe-cum-tattoo-parlour (as you do). I had proper interiors envy, and by the fact that our coffee was served to us with a little mini jar of broken biscuits- such a sweet touch!
The rest of the day followed with games of air hockey in the arcades, a sneaky cream tea, and a final pint overlooking the harbour in the garden of The Fort Inn.
I totally changed my opinion of Newquay during this weekend. It is STUNNINGLY beautiful, friendly, fun and is on the way to being super stylish. Hand on heart, it was one of the best little holidays I have ever been on. I’ll be back, make no mistake! Views like this are calling me back already.
Our stay at Travelodge was complimentary (thank you!), but all opinions my own. For ideas on planning your own Cornwall Adventure, check out this post from Travelodge for inspiration!