A little history of Newquay

In the 1800’s Newquay (then known as Towan Blystra) was nothing more than an insignificant fishing village, comprising a small quay, a few fish cellars and a small number of scattered houses and thatched cottages. It’s population numbered approximately 500 and the main occupations were subsidiary to the fishing for pilchard (now gone), being boatbuilding and fish packing for the Mediterranean area. Farming and mining were also part of the towns industry but to a lesser extent. The mines around Newquay were not just the normal tin mines associated with Cornwall but also included lead mines with a small amount of silver also being extracted. However, the mining became uneconomical and a lack of funds caused the workings to cease.

Two piers forming the present harbour were built between 1832 and 1836. Larger vessels were now offered better shelter from the strong Atlantic winds and stormy seas. Consequently there was a sudden growth in merchant shipping which led to the coming of the railway, initially laid to the harbour as a mineral tramway. Soon the passenger line was brought into the town bringing in early tourists.

Newquay has seen many distinguished and famous visitors since that time. In 1911 the young Prince of Wales, later – briefly – uncrowned King Edward VIII, and his brother Albert (who was to become King George VI upon Edward’s abdication) stayed at the Headland Hotel. From the ‘pop’ world came The Beatles who visited Newquay on their ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ in 1964, staying at the Atlantic Hotel.

More recently, a frequent visitor is H.R.H. Prince Charles, owner a large percentage of land and property in Cornwall (known as The Duchy), whose business interests and affairs of state bring him into the County from time to time.

Today, Newquay is a thriving sea-side resort (population 20,500) with easy access by road, rail and air. Recently, the civil airport was extended to cope with the increase in air traffic. The airport services destinations across the U.K. and beyond, including Gatwick and the Isles of Scilly, with scheduled flights and there are special charters on occasion.

Newquay is one of the most popular resorts in the country. The latest figures show that of the 4.1 million visitors who stayed in Cornwall, 48% visited the Borough of Restormel and 20% actually stayed in Newquay. There is no shortage of accommodation though, as Newquay has probably the largest concentration of visitor accommodation in Cornwall.

Newquay boasts of being the jewel in Cornwall’s crown and when you visit, you can see why. It has been quoted as having “the finest coastline and beaches in Europe” and these make it the surf capital of the UK, hosting international surfing and lifesaving competitions. There is unrivalled entertainment for young and old, including clubs and disco’s, bowling (indoor, outdoor and tenpin), an indoor swimming pool with a fun pool, excellent golf facilities with an 18 hole links course, zoo, aquarium, tennis courts, horse-riding, crazy golf, a miniature railway, boating lake – the list is almost endless.

For attractions in other parts of the county, Newquay’s position at the heart of Cornwall means you have only a short journey to thrills and adventure at Flambards in Helston or at Land’s End with it’s ‘Last Labyrinth’ or to quiet and solitude in some of Cornwalls famous gardens, such as the National Trust properties at Trelissick, Lanhydrock and Trerice, or the famous ‘Lost Gardens of Heligan’ and the Eden Project as featured on television.

All this makes this one-time fishing village Cornwall’s premier resort and the perfect touring base to explore the history and legend of Cornwall.