Brings you the best marine ecotourism experiences in Europe

Bustling with life, Newquay is well known as Cornwall’s main tourist destination. Its town centre is a haven for surfers, party goers and those who want to enjoy themselves to the full. But walk a short distance from the centre and things quieten down and you can enjoy Newquay for its stunning beaches, its landscape and its water based activities.

Newquay is the main surfing centre for the UK, with Fistral Beach the place to be if you are anybody in the surfing world. That doesn’t mean you have to be an expert to take part. Newquay has a wealth of surf schools all ready to teach beginners how to hang five! And because of it’s choice of beaches’ there’s always one that is ideal for the beginner. But it is the aforementioned Fistral Beach that sees the best waves, the place to go to watch the best action, or even take part if you think you can tame the Cribbar!

When the sea is calm and surfers cannot get their way, there are several dive sites in and around Newquay or up the coast towards Padstow that suit different levels of divers. Newquay is one of the landmark destinations of the WILDSEA Atlantic Heritage Route (WAOH! Route) and offers great scuba diving opportunities. The harbour area and around to the old lifeboat slip are sheltered and easily accessible for those staying in the town itself. It’s also an area popular for kayaking and SUP, and you might even be joined by a seal or two.

For those with access to a boat or who want to join a dive school, the coastline and out to sea offers plenty of wrecks of ships attempting to make their way up or down the Bristol Channel or across to South Wales.

Up and down the coast from Newquay the beaches continue, many of them manned by lifeguards in the summer months. With an eye on the tides, its possible to take long beach walks, but just be sure you know where the access points are so you don’t get cut off. The South West Coast Path heads west towards Perranporth, crossing the low lying Gannel estuary before heading over sand dunes and AONBs. To the east, it’s an up and down walk over craggy headlands and past the villages of Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay with their world class hotels and restaurants, to the dramatic Bedruthan Steps. Here the erosion of the cliffs has created one of Cornwall’s most iconic landscapes as sea stacks rise up out of the golden sands.

It’s a complete contrast to the dynamic centre of Newquay, but that’s whats so great about this part of Cornwall: you can have the best of both worlds.