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 (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 back 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, 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. A half hour ride on bus 85 takes you to Holywell Bay, which fans of Poldark will recognise a regular backdrop for the the BBC’s popular series.
- For a great day out and a walk to this unusual beach, take bus 58 from Newquay bus station to Pentire Head and head round the corner (see map below) to the Fern Pit café. Climb down the flower-fringed steep steps to the wooden footbridge bridge over the River Gannel. At high tide in summer, a little ferry will take you over to beautiful Crantock beach.
- Follow the South West coast path from the far side of the beach around the headlands. After about five miles, you’ll reach 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.
- Bus 85 goes back to Newquay from here and stops on the way outside Newquay Zoo (see 2 below).
- Holywell Bay is one of many beautiful Cornish locations that featured in Poldark. Visit Cornwall have compiled a list of Poldark locations 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 85 from Newquay bus station stops on Edgcumbe Avenue at the entrance to the zoo.
- Show your bus or land train tickets when you arrive to get £1 off the entrance price. You get to avoid the seasonal parking charges too!
- See the penguins being fed, meet the meerkats and macaques, or learn about the lions. Cafe Lemur is the place to feed yourselves, offering Cornish pasties or ice creams, soups, salads and more.
- Or – back in town – see what’s cooking or pick up a picnic for the beach at Sprout health food shop and cafe (worth seeking out down little Crescent Lane, opposite Trespass, off Bank Street).