Whoever it was that said you need to spend big to have a good time obviously haven’t stepped foot in Newquay. There are no tall skyscrapers to gawk at or flashy neon lights to brighten the night, but Newquay’s gorgeous coastline, laid back pace of life and friendly community more than make up for it. Plus, Newquay has a slew of attractions that are sure to fill your sightseeing itinerary as well as your annual quota of culture, arts and science. We’ve compiled a sampling below to get your beaks wet.
Situated at the former RAF Hardened Aircraft Shelter hangar at Newquay Airport, the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre exhibits an incredible collection of classic military and civilian aircrafts, as well as commercial and light aircrafts. Guides tours, retro diners (serves real food) and trial flights on board a Piper PA28 or Cessna 152 are also available. For many of us, this will be as close as we’ll ever get to a jet fighter or bomber.
The advent of large-scale fishing fleets and on-site processing plants have almost caused traditional working harbours to go extinct. There are a few mainstays left hanging on though, such as Newquay Harbour. Originally built in 1439 to enable the shipping of precious lead ores from nearby mines, Newquay Harbour was the lifeblood of the town for almost five hundred years. Take a minute to mosey around the port to get a glimpse of the heritage of Newquay. Look out for gangs of grey seals hanging around boats looking for scraps and handouts from generous fishermen and curious onlookers. Don’t feel pressured to buy fish just to feed them, even if their mournful gaze can melt the coldest of hearts.
Considered by many as one of the finest military museums in the country, Cornwall's Regimental Museum is housed in a former 19th century keep and army barrack. The museum stores a comprehensive collection of uniforms, firearms, swords and decorative arts which narrates the creation, development and growth of Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry Regiment from the 17th century onwards.
Journey into the past aboard classic locomotive steam engines of Lappa Valley Steam Railway on the one-mile track spread between Benny Halt and East Wheal Rose. The children though might prefer the small, 7¼ inch gauge petrol locomotive that winds through (very safely, mind) a secondary forest. Once you get off the train, feel free to paddle on a canoe on one of the two lakes there. Alternatively, there’s a lovely 18-hole crazy golf course to keep you occupied.
Held during early summer annually, the ten-day Open Studios Cornwall draws exhibits from almost 300 painters, sculptors, potters, craftsmen and other creative artists. Held at the creative hub of Newquay, Krowji, the fourteen-year-old event is growing larger with each passing year. If you would like to experience raw, independent artistic expressions and designs, make sure to clear a space on your calendar next June!