The main surfing beach in Newquay, Cornwall.
We went to Fistral Beach (Newquay, Cornwall) briefly in February. It was windy; the surf looked great; but needless to say it was flippin freezing and there was no-one at all surfing.
We returned in the middle of August, and it was slightly different! This is what it was like.
Every time we go to Newquay, I always seem to miss the surfing competitions. Never mind, but I really wanted to surf there this year. We left the campsite early to be sure of a parking space, but accidently went the other side of the main car park and ended up at the Pentire side. This was perfect actually as for a start we managed to get a free parking space and we ate breakfast in the camper with a beautiful view over the bay.
The way down to the beach this side is steep stone steps, so I wouldn’t recommend it for pushchairs (though it’s fine the other way). You also have to be careful not to ding your surfboard here – especially going up afterwards if you’ve spent a lot of time wading out and your legs are wobbly. Half way up the steps there’s a little cafe and hire place for beginners and intermediate surfboards and body boards, all at reasonable prices.
In the summer holidays aim to go surfing at lunch time when the surf schools take a break. When I was there it was really frustrating that a massive surf school grouped in the only area on the beach that was getting any waves. The waves there were great though – coming in in clean sets. But there were a few massive jellyfish to try and avoid.
There were two sets of lifeguarded areas, which was great as it meant we didn’t have to walk for miles for the kids to go bodyboarding. The sand was lovely; it was less crowded at that end; there were a few rocks to climb on, but not many rockpools. The only thing the beach lacked (that most beaches in the area seem to have) was those sandy channels and puddles that retain warm water that are perfect for small children to play in safely. Not much of a complaint really.
Toilets were at the top of the steps, but I didn’t use them, so I’ve no idea of their condition. At the other side of the bay though, there are toilets, a restaurant and a couple of clothes shops too. (All of which are pretty expensive.)