Newquay, a thriving seaside resort town in Cornwall, England, was officially founded as an ecclesiastical parish in 1882 by the Church of England. Historically and etymologically though, the term Newquay first entered into the books in 1439 when a new quay, or tewynn pleustri in Cornish, was built in the little unnamed settlement here to facilitate the delivery of mined lead and silver ores. The town is located on the north western tip of the United Kingdom, approximately 230 miles northwest of London.
Despite being inhabited for at least 3,500 years, Newquay’s status as a quiet fishing village remained largely unchanged for much of its recorded history. However, the parish was suddenly transformed towards the end of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution triggered a chain of events, primarily in the increase of middle income wealth, which led to the development of many coastal resort towns across the country to cater for a growing domestic tourism market. Newquay benefitted from massive amounts of investments from regional businesses, and by the turn of the 20th century, it emerged as one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in Southern England.
Alas, the domestic tourism boom ended in the 1960s with the arrival of commercial air flight, which provided British tourists with affordable access to beaches in the warmer climes of France, the Mediterranean and North Africa. As a result, local coastal resorts like Newquay began to lose its more affluent visitors, which led to the closure of luxurious inns, restaurants, and a slew of other establishments.
However, the residents and businesses of Newquay didn’t take the downturn lying down. Instead, a concerted effort was made throughout the 1970s by the private sector to rejuvenate the area. The key factor, or rather, appeal in their effort lies with Newquay’s twelve North Atlantic beaches, in particular Fistral Beach, which boasts of some of the best beach brakes (high and powerful waves caused by strong currents hitting a sharp underwater incline) in the country.
Newquay surprised a great number of people when it began to develop and host a number of sporting events based on surfing. “It’s like, this isn’t California dude!” was something someone might have said when Newquay hosted the inaugural Rip Curl Newquay Boardmasters tournament way back in 1981. Unbelievably, almost four decades later, the competition is now considered a world class event, and attracts some of the world’s top surfers – and is also the only professional event from Britain listed in the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour. Additionally, the nine-day extravaganza has now become the largest lifestyle sports event in the U.K. Take that Leo Carrillo State Beach (the famous beach where Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze were filmed duelling it out on surfboards in the 1991 blockbuster, Point Break)!
Powered by its new reputation as a water sports destination, Newquay experienced a revival as a premier seaside resort. The influx of tourists increased the demand for better accommodations, eateries and local sights – and the town has duly obliged. So much, the town’s population grows fivefold from 21,000 to well over 100,000 during summer months!
So, whether you’re thinking about moving to Newquay or spending the next summer holidays in U.K.’s party town, read on to discover the great local attractions to fill your days and nights.