Car-free adventures aroundNewquayCornwall
Twelve sandy beaches, world-class walking, several scenic bus rides and a tropical zoo all make Newquay a great car-free destination. You can reach Newquay by train from Par, on the main Great Western Railway from London and then on GWR's scenic branch line (see 3 below) or by bus along the coast from Padstow (see 4 below). Summer is really busy in this popular town, but head off the beaten track and you’ll still find quieter coves and cliff paths to explore… Come in peaceful springtime to see dolphins in the harbour or lambs on the farm and in mellow autumn to explore the Luxulyan Valley's beech woods in all their golden glory. At any time of year, Newquay makes a great base for a staycation. Scroll to the end for tips on buses, bikes and places to stay.
1. Holywell beach (and Poldark Country)
Newquay’s dozen beaches are surprisingly different, from sunbathing in sheltered Porth on the north side of town to surfing on famous Fistral with its towering breakers. Family-friendly Towan beach, in the heart of Newquay not far from the railway station, features a holiday home on a tall stack of rock, accessed only by a private suspension bridge. The South West coast path, which links all the beaches, runs through the town along a disused railway and then round the coast. Along the way, you’ll cross a ferry and reach Holywell Bay, which fans of Poldark will recognise a regular backdrop for the the BBC’s popular series.
- For a great day out to this unusual beach, a half hour ride on bus 85 (all-year) or open-topped Sunseeker S1 (summer only) takes you to Holywell Bay with its wild dunes and secret low tide caverns. Arriving car-free, on foot or by bus, means (among other things) you avoid the queue for the National Trust car park that builds up on sunny days.
- Holywell Bay is one of many beautiful Cornish locations that featured in Poldark. Visit Britain have compiled a list of Poldark locations and Lucy Daniel Guide runs tours you can visit easily by public transport.
2. Newquay Zoo
Ring-tailed lemurs and free-flying jungle songbirds, lions, penguins, zebras, lizards and lynxes… you can see them all at Newquay Zoo, a leafy garden full of rare species and surprising corners. It’s about a mile’s walk from the centre of town, following the brown and white signs. You can also hop on the bus or summer land train.
- Bus routes U1, U1A, 25, 85 and 88 together provide frequent journeys from Newquay Bus Station or the from the Great Western Hotel, opposite Newquay Railway Station to Edgcumbe Avenue at the entrance to the zoo. Follow Good Journey’s directions.
- Show your bus or land train tickets when you arrive to get discount the walk-up entrance price (or get cheaper entry by booking in advance). You get to avoid the seasonal parking charges too!
- See the penguins being fed, meet the meerkats and macaques, or learn about the lions. Café Lemur is the place to feed yourselves, offering Cornish pasties or ice creams, soups, salads and more.