Newquay on the North Coast of Cornwall is an extremely popular place to visit for families due to its perfect location on the dramatic coast and it’s many child friendly attractions. It’s had a bit of a varied reputation over the years, being popular for stag and hen dos and partying teens but recently I’ve noticed there are more and more things to do in Newquay with kids. I love visiting with my ten year old and we plan a trip at least once a year.
And yes, I was one of those teenagers who booked up a cheap rental and celebrated the end of my exams surfing all day and dancing in Sailors or Berties all night. But most of the same crowd have grown up a bit now and had their own children. The teen and young adult scene is very much still thriving in Newquay but it’s also now a delightful place to bring the littler kids.
It also has a thriving surf community which makes it a brilliant place for an active holiday.
All of these fabulous things to do in Newquay with kids are walkable from the town centre. I’ve also listed a few things to do near to Newquay which will require transport.
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List of Contents
- 1 Outdoor things to do in Newquay with kids
- 2 Things to do with kids in Newquay on a rainy day
- 3 Awesome things to do near Newquay with kids
- 4 Where to stay in Newquay with kids
- 5 Where to eat in Newquay with kids
- 6 When is the best time to visit Newquay with kids
- 7 How to get around Newquay
- 8 Where to park in Newquay
Outdoor things to do in Newquay with kids
Hit the beach
This has to be my favourite activity throughout the whole of Cornwall. Cornish beaches are just breathtaking, especially those of on the North coast with their epic waves and towering cliffs. Newquay has plenty of beaches to explore, but just be warned, they all get super busy during the school summer holidays.
Located to the west of town, out towards the Pentire headland. Fistral is one of the most popular beaches for surfers in Newquay. It’s a long stretch of pale soft sand, with rock pools, sheltered cliffs and plenty of watersports to keep the kids entertained. There are heaps of facilities, cafes and shops bordering the beach. This is a dog friendly beach year round.
Towan beach is right in the centre of town and easily accessible down the ramp. The water here is calm and shallow so perfect for visiting with kids. You’ll need to park in Newquay town centre to visit this beach and then walk for around ten minutes. There’s lifeguard cover over the spring and summer months. Dogs are allowed on Towan beach all year. The Blue Reef Aquarium overlooks this beach so it’s ideal for a day out in Newquay with kids.
Lusty Glaze is probably my favourite of Newquay’s beaches. It’s small and compact with a gorgeous beachside restaurant. At high tide the beach is only accessible via a steep set of steps so keep a close eye on the kids as you head down. It’s around a 25 minute walk from the centre of Newquay or a five minute drive to the pay and display car park at the top of the cliffs. This beach has a seasonal dog ban.
Please note Lusty Glaze is one of the few privately owned beaches in Cornwall. Although very rare, they have the right to deny access to the beach.
Another great beach just out of Newquay is Porth. This is a huge stretch of sand at low tide with plenty of craggy rocks, tide pools and caves to explore. There’s also a lovely pub (The Mermaid) right on the edge of the beach. Porth is a fab choice if you want to spend a full day somewhere. If you get bored of the sand there’s a delightful short walk around Trevolgue head which was once home to an Iron Age Settlement.
Porth tends to be a bit quieter than the other beaches in Newquay and it operates a seasonal dog ban.
Take a surfing lesson
Kids love surfing but it’s not easy to master on the first go. They’ll definitely benefit from a kid friendly lesson and Newquay has plenty of surf schools to try. We’ve always found the Fistral Beach Surf School to be excellent and they’re right on one of the best surfing beaches in the world.
Explore Newquay Harbour
The historic harbour in Newquay is home to a small beach and plenty of pubs and restaurants. It’s a lovely spot to watch the colourful fishing boats go back and forth. It’s here you can hop on a sea safari trip for seal or dolphin spotting. Newquay Fish Festival takes place in the harbour every September, the atmosphere is amazing and the fish is as fresh as fresh can be.
If the kids don’t fancy surfing or are a little too young then they’re sure to love body boarding. All of Newquays beaches are suitable for bodyboarding and it’s a free and easy activity that all ages can enjoy. It’s probably best to buy or hire a wetsuit if the kids are going to spend a while in the sea, it can be very chilly even in the summer months.
Take a boat trip
There are plenty of secret beaches and coves all round Newquay, and these are often best seen from the sea. Kids will love spotting seals and maybe even a dolphin or two from the water. Newquay Sea Safaris offer great value two hour trips for £30 per adult and £20 per child.
Walk the Pentire Headland
Another great section of headland to explore is Pentire, just past Fistral Beach. There’s a relatively easy walk around the top offering some amazing views across to Crantock and beyond. If you fancy a drink be sure to pop into the Lewinnick lodge which has a gorgeous outdoor terraced area.
Little animal lovers will love a visit to Newquay Zoo. It’s home to many different habitats and stunning animals including lions, monkeys and meerkats. It has a strong focus on conservation and education, kids are guaranteed to leave with a deeper understanding of the animals and a big smile on their faces.
Trenance Gardens and Leisure Park
Trenance Gardens is a gorgeous little park in the centre of Newquay. It has plenty of activities for all ages. There’s plenty of play equipment, crazy golf, a boating lake and miniature railway. You’ll also find a lovely tea room in the Gardens for when you need a sit down or a cake break.
Watch a sunset
Newquay is one of my favourite places in Cornwall to watch the sunset. On a clear day the colours can be absolutely breathtaking. We like to head up to the Pentire headland with a picnic blanket and drinks or across the tiny bridge to Porth island and find a bench.
Things to do with kids in Newquay on a rainy day
Even over the summer holidays the weather in Newquay can be wet or cold. So it’s always good to have some indoor activities on your Newquay bucket list. These are some of the best that both you and the kids will enjoy.
Blue Reef Aquarium
The Newquay Aquarium at Towan Beach is home to over 40 different habitats full of amazing sea life to discover. Kids will love the informative talks and daily feeding sessions. The resident sharks are always the highlight to any visit.
Oasis Fun Pool
If you still fancy a swim but the weather’s too bad for the beach, head to the Oasis Fun Pool at Hendra holiday park. It’s home to a river rapids, three water flumes, two pools and plenty of waterfalls and sprays to keep all ages happy.
Pirates Quest mini golf is no ordinary crazy golf experience. Here you’ll be putting through Cornish lore and legend. It’s based on a replica of a real 300 year old pirate ship. The sets are brilliantly designed, it almost doesn’t matter if you get a hole in one or not!
Newquay Trampoline Park
The trampoline park in Newquay is another favourite place of ours to escape the wet weather. They have plenty of trampolin nets, a fidget ladder, foam pits and performance walls. You can choose from a general jump session or for smaller kids a session in the soft play area.
Jungle Jacks Soft Play
If you’re visiting Newquay with toddlers or little kids then they will love a visit to Jungle Jacks Soft Play centre. Home to a 1,700 square foot play frame with climbing walls, netting, slides and crawl tubes. Plus a great cafe for the grown ups.
Eat all the seafood
Often when we’re travelling on a rainy day we simply find a great restaurant or cosy pub and enjoy a lazy lunch for a few hours. Newquay has some excellent ones to try. Newquay is THE place to try fresh seafood straight off the boat. Scroll down for my top restaurant recommendations.
Awesome things to do near Newquay with kids
Although you could easily spend a whole week exploring everything there is to do in Newquay with kids, there’s also heaps of family friendly activities to do within a short drive. For these you’ll need a car or taxi to reach them.
One of the most popular beaches on the North Coast, Watergate Bay has heaps of facilities to keep the kids happy. The beach itself has brilliant surfing or bodyboarding waves and you’ll find lifeguards on the sand over spring and summer. It has caves to explore in the cliffs, plenty of creepy crawly filled rock pools and some gorgeous eateries with views across the beach. Although you can walk across the cliffs to Watergate Bay from Newquay in around an hour and a half, if you’ve got kids and lots of beach equipment then it’s an easy 10 minute drive from town.
Wavelength drive in
Who doesn’t love a drive in movie. The Wavelength cinema located just out of Watergate Bay is one with possibly the best view in the world. Over the summer months the screen is erected high on the cliffs with the sea in the background. If you’re there for an evening show you’ll be able to watch your movie in front of a dazzling sunset. They have plenty of family friendly films, we opted for a late showing of Jaws, possibly the most atmospheric place to watch it!
The outdoor cinema is also home to a great bar, food stalls and a live music stage. Keep an eye of the Wavelength website for this years schedule.
Another fabulous family friendly beach near Newquay is Crantock. It has all the facilities you’ll need to spend a day at the beach plus the river Gannel which is a great place to try paddle boarding or sea swimming for first timers. Head to the far end of the beach and up to the cliff path at Vugga Cove where you’ll find the fabulous Bowgie Inn. A gorgeous pub with an outdoor terrace overlooking the sea. It’s another of our secret sunset spots!
Healeys Cyder Farm
Whilst the kids may not be able to sample the actual cider, they’ll still enjoy a visit to Healeys Cyder Farm just twenty minutes drive from Newquay. Whilst the grown ups will love the tasting experiences, kids are guaranteed to enjoy a visit to the onsite farmyard. Home to pigs, donkeys and pygmy goats. A family ticket costs just over £30.
Trerice National Trust
We’re huge fans of National Trust visits and try to squeeze some in wherever we are in the UK. Cornwall is home to a few National Trust properties. The closest to Newquay is Trerice. It’s a gorgeous stately home set in lovely grounds. They always have some family friendly activities like garden games or brass rubbing over the school holidays. There’s also a fabulous cafe onsite.
Dairyland farm park
Just twenty minutes drive from Newquay is the fabulous Dairyland Farm Park. It’s a dream destination for little one with plenty to do indoors and out. Of coarse there’s the farm yard where kids can meet various farm animals, visit the pet barn, take a tractor ride, enjoy the indoor soft play and play in the amazing outdoor play area. There’s also a woodland trail, meerkat manor and much more.
Where to stay in Newquay with kids
The Esplanade Hotel which overlooks Fistral Beach is very much aimed at family travellers. They have huge family sized rooms, a lovely indoor pool and plenty of kid friendly options in the restaurant. When we stayed they even left a “build a bear” welcome gift in the room. Lovely!
The Headland Hotel
The Times voted the Headland Hotel the best seaside hotel of the year in 2020 and I can definitely see why. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Newquay its probably one of the most iconic sights in town. This is total luxury with a gorgeous spa for the grown ups but also with plenty of child friendly features such as the fantastic play room and child friendly swim times. Kids will love that this hotel was featured in the 90s film version of “The Witches”!
The Bedruthan Hotel and Spa
For somewhere a bit further out check out the amazing Bedruthan hotel which overlooks Mawgan Porth beach around 15 minutes drive from Newquay. It’s one of the most family friendly hotels in Cornwall and offers all types of activities for little ones over the school holidays. Plus it has outdoor pools, a brilliant kids club and even an onsite surf school.
Read more: Review of the Bedruthan hotel and Spa
If you prefer a bit more flexibility and space with your accommodation then a holiday rental might be best for you. There are heaps of great apartments all over Newquay plus a few larger holiday homes. Have a look at what’s available on our favourite holiday rental site, Sykes Cottages.
Where to eat in Newquay with kids
If you’re after a restaurant with a view then head to the Lewinnick Lodge on the Pentire Headland. It has a great outdoor terrace and a laid back design. Staff are always super friendly and the food is absolutely delicious. They have a great kids menu with something for even the pickiest eaters.
Lusty Glaze Restaurant
This one is all about the location, perched right on Lusty Glaze beach at the bottom of the steps. During the day this is a super family friendly cafe serving the most amazing hot chocolate and indulgent cakes and in the evening it’s more of a bar with pop up restaurants. The food always looks amazing.
For more information on where to eat near Newquay, make sure you check out my post on the best restaurants in North Cornwall.
When is the best time to visit Newquay with kids
Most people visit Newquay over summer and if you are on holiday with preschool kids then I highly recommend a trip out of the school holidays. Newquay is always packed when the kids are off. That doesn’t mean you wont have a good time, just expect the beaches and bars to be a bit crowded and you’ll have to book activities and restaurants well in advance. May and October half terms are great times to visit, there is no guarantee with the weather down in Cornwall so you could easily luck out with a scorcher of a week and lower accommodation prices.
I actually love Newquay during the winter months. It’s very quiet, some places even close up for January. But nothing beats a brisk walk on the beach followed by a warming hot chocolate in a cosy pub. Find out just why I love Cornwall in winter, I may even convince you to grab a great accommodation deal when prices are at their lowest.
How to get around Newquay
Many of the best things to do in Newquay with kids are located within walking distance of each other. This means you won’t need to drive to take them all in. You’ll also find plenty of brilliant beaches which are walkable from the city centre plus loads of restaurants, pubs and shops.
During the summer there is a small land train which you can hop on and hop off to get around the city. Kids are guaranteed to love this form of transport, especially if they’re tired after a busy day on the beach.
If you want to explore further then there are some bus routes to nearby towns but these can be pretty unreliable.
Where to park in Newquay
Traffic can be an absolute nightmare in Newquay. The infrastructure is just not set up to deal with that much traffic. If you can, I highly recommend finding a parking space and spending the rest of your day on foot.
If you’re visiting Newquay for a day trip from else where in Newquay then there is an out of town park and ride carpark opposite the Hendra Holiday park on the outskirts of town. Pop the postcode TR8 4NY and you’ll find it.
Read next: What to do in Padstow with kids.
Have I missed off your favourite things to do in Newquay with kids? Let me know in the comments, I’m always after new family friendly ideas.
Make sure you check out this post on Cornwall with children for more great things to do in the region.
Make sure you pin for later to help you plan your next family holiday to Newquay, Cornwall.