Enjoying a superb position on a knuckle of cliffs overlooking fine golden sands and Atlantic rollers, NEWQUAY is the premier resort of north Cornwall and England's surfing capital. The centre of town is a somewhat tacky parade of shops and restaurants from which lanes lead to ornamental gardens and cliff-top lawns. In the crook of the massive Towan Head, Towan Beach is the most central of the seven miles of firm sandy beaches that line the coast. The beaches can get very busy in high season, and are popular with surfers all year, particularly Watergate Bay and – west of Towan Head – Fistral Bay, the largest of the town beaches.
On the other side of East Pentire Head from Fistral, Crantock Beach is usually less crowded, and has a lovely backdrop of dunes and undulating grassland. South of Crantock, Holywell Bay and the three-mile expanse of Perran Beach, enhanced by caves and natural rock arches, are also very popular with surfers.
You can rent or buy surfing equipment from beach stalls and other outlets around town and there are plenty of opportunities for surf tuition (www.britsurf.co.uk). Surfing competitions and events run right through the summer.