Fistral Beach is the premier surfing beach in the UK, so it’s in its own category, and has a vibe all of its own. With the fairways of Newquay golf club stretching right up to the beach, the approach to Fistral seems undeveloped and relatively open, and the beach itself is hidden from view until the last moment – and then bam!! You see Fistral laid out, bookended by granite, the Headland Hotel looking every inch an enchanted getaway, and incoming lines as far as the eye can see.
The south end of the beach has a residential vibe, with a few hotels and apartments dotted along the pentire headland. It tends to have the mellower waves and attracts beginners and surf schools alike. There are rock pools that are great for kids to play in, just be vigilant of the incoming tides as they can catch you out.
The north end is a different kettle of fish, it’s dominated by the International Surfing Centre building which houses shops, restaurants, beach related businesses. There is also a huge RNLI building, which serves as the RNLI HQ for this region. The north end of the beach is also where you’ll see the pro surfers and local lads in the water, those who have been riding waves since infancy and can do it in their sleep. Don’t be fooled by how easy they make it look, the north end is a challenging stretch of water and no place for beginners.
Fistral Beach, a breathtaking coastal gem, awaits just a stone’s throw away from Newquay town centre. Although not directly adjacent to the town, it’s conveniently accessible within a pleasant 15-minute walk. You have the option to stroll through the bustling town itself, immersing in its vibrant atmosphere, or embark on an exhilarating journey across the picturesque cliffs of the renowned South West Coast Path.
For those seeking a more convenient mode of transportation, Newquay Bus station offers a hassle-free ride to reach the beach’s captivating shores. You can then either walk the 15 minutes to the beach, or jump on a Beryl Bike to make it even easier! Alternatively, if you prefer to drive, a dedicated paid-for car park situated right at Fistral Beach awaits, boasting ample space to accommodate up to 200 cars.
At the south end there is limited street parking, but it’s usually an area you’ll want to access on foot from Atlantic Road car park or even Pentire Headland car park.
The north end of the beach has the main Fistral beach car park, which recently changed its tariffs and is now reasonably priced with the first hour free. You’ll see a lot of online chatter about the car park being expensive, but this refers to the previous tariffs which were pretty hefty.
Other nearby car parks include Little Fistral, Belmont Long Stay and Dane Road. There is a cut through footpath across the golf club, so you can also park in central Newquay and walk across with relative ease.
Mon – Sun 08:00 – 00:00
1 Hour – £2.20
2 Hours – £3.80
3 Hours – £6.00
5 Hours – £8.50
12 Hours – £12.00
14 Hours – £15.00
The main Fistral Beach car park is right on the edge of the sand, so access is relatively straight forward, no steps, but a sloping sand bank down to the beach itself.
The south end has a steep flight of steps down to the beach, and along the length of the beach there is a footpath that runs behind the sand dunes. At several intervals there is a path that cuts across the sand dunes and down to the beach, this is again a sandy slope, not paved or tarmacked. Please do not stray from these designated paths as the sand dunes are a very delicate ecosystem with ongoing conservation projects to preserve them.
There is a Beach wheelchair / sand chair available from Fistral Beach hire, it is worth calling ahead to reserve it. Sand chairs are provided by Cornall Mobility in partnership with Disability Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.
Lifeguard Patrols 2023 (Check with RNLI for latest schedules):
Daily 01 April-29 October
Patrol times 10am-6pm
Stay within the black and white flags if you are surfing
Stay within the red and yellow flags if you are swimming or bodyboarding
If you are visiting the beach outside of lifeguarded hours then read the local signs and exercise caution in the water. If you find yourself in trouble in the water, stay calm and float to survive.
The north peak of Fistral is renowned as the locals spot, it’s the most intense place on the north coast to get waves. It’s predominantly right handers, and on its day can be as good as anywhere, it’s a world class spot.
In between North Fistral & Little Fistral is Headland Peak (it’s in front of the hotel), it breaks right and left. It’s super fun and best from mid to low and then low to mid tide.
The south end of Fistral tends to be a mellower spot due to the Pentire headland sheltering this end of the beach from the prevailing swell. The south end is usually the best area for beginner surfers. There is also a left hand wedge off the rocks at the south end between low and mid tide, and it can be fun at high tide when the swell is big. It’s a great option when the swell is huge as you can park at south Fistral and run down the rocks and jump straight in out back, so save yourself the paddle out.
In the middle of the beach there is a great peak giving right and left handers. It’s super fun and way less competitive to score waves than at the north end of the beach.
Immerse yourself in ultimate relaxation at Fistral Beach, where sunbathing takes on a whole new level of bliss. As you bask in the sun-kissed ambiance of the Costa del Cornwall, you’ll discover a 750-meter stretch of pristine sandy beach that invites you to unwind, roll out your towel, and simply let time slip away. With ample space for everyone to spread out, indulge in games, and revel in the joy of quality family time, Fistral Beach is the perfect destination for creating unforgettable memories.
Embark on captivating walks and immerse yourself in the scenic wonders that surround Fistral Beach. As a part of the revered South West Coast Path, this beach offers a gateway to glorious hiking adventures. Traverse the clifftop trails, leading you to the historic Huer’s Hut, a lookout point once used to spot pilchards. From this vantage point, be prepared to be captivated by incredible vistas that unfold towards Newquay town and gaze back upon the magnificent expanse of Fistral Beach.
Alternatively, set out on a picturesque journey across the River Gannel (at the perfect time of day!) and venture all the way to Perranporth. Along this beautiful path, you’ll encounter hidden gems such as Crantock Beach and Poly Joke, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the lesser-known wonders of Newquay.
Discover the allure of the enchanting sand dunes that grace the backdrop of Fistral Beach. Let your inner adventurer roam free as you run and play amidst these natural formations while soaking in the breathtaking views of the vast Atlantic Ocean. Lose yourself in the beauty of this unique landscape, where serenity and wonder blend seamlessly.
While Fistral Beach is renowned for its impressive surf breaks, making it a paradise for surfers, swimming is best enjoyed at other nearby beaches. However, during the summer months, you can still take a refreshing dip in the inviting waters of Fistral Beach, providing a delightful respite from the warmth of the sun.
Experience the exhilaration of the renowned Boardmasters Festival, the largest surf and skate festival in Europe, held right on the shores of Fistral Beach every August. Immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere as you witness awe-inspiring displays of talent and creativity against the backdrop of this iconic beach.
Prepare to be enchanted by the legendary Fistral sunset, a spectacle that graces the beach every evening. With its west-facing orientation, the sun gently descends into the Atlantic Ocean, painting the sky with breathtaking hues of warmth and tranquility. As you observe this awe-inspiring moment, you’ll witness the silhouettes of dedicated surfers catching their last waves of the day, adding a touch of magic to the already captivating scene. Let the mesmerising Fistral sunset become a cherished memory that lingers in your heart long after your visit.
Indulge in an extraordinary seafood experience at Rick Stein’s Fistral Beach restaurant. Renowned for its locally-sourced culinary delights, this dining destination is a must-visit. To secure a table, be sure to make your reservation well in advance and prepare for a gastronomic journey like no other.
Nestled within the enchanting Headland Hotel, The Deck offers a delightful al fresco dining experience with an Italian flair. Settle in and savor the picturesque views of crashing waves as you relish a delectable array of dishes. Choose from a tantalizing selection that includes refreshing salads, expertly crafted hand-cut pasta, and irresistible flatbreads. Every bite is a testament to the harmonious blend of flavors and the culinary expertise on display.
Prepare to be amazed by the culinary wonders of Dune Restaurant, widely regarded as one of the finest dining establishments in Newquay. With its awe-inspiring vistas of the magnificent Cornish coastline, this venue sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience. Indulge in seasonal cuisine crafted from locally-sourced ingredients, allowing you to savor the true essence of Cornwall’s culinary delights. Let every bite transport you to a realm of pure culinary bliss.
For those seeking a remarkable dining experience with a diverse menu catering to various dietary requirements, Lewinnick Lodge Restaurant is a must-visit. Sample a tantalizing range of dishes that span from classic favorites like smoked salmon and crispy squid to more substantial offerings such as cauliflower steak, roasted Atlantic cod, and confit duck leg. The culinary craftsmanship showcased here promises a memorable feast that will leave your taste buds craving more.
The Stable at Fistral Beach is a charming and inviting dining destination that perfectly blends delicious food with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Situated near the stunning Fistral Beach, this establishment offers a delightful experience for locals and visitors alike. The focal point of The Stable’s menu is their delectable range of artisanal pizzas. Crafted with passion and expertise, these pizzas feature thin, crispy bases topped with an array of flavourful ingredients. From classic Margherita to inventive combinations like pulled pork and pineapple, each pizza promises a burst of flavours that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Fistral Beach Bar is a vibrant and lively beachfront venue situated on the iconic Fistral Beach in Newquay. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning ocean views, it offers a perfect setting for a memorable beachside experience.
The bar provides a diverse selection of refreshing drinks, including signature cocktails, local craft beers, and a wide range of spirits. Whether you’re lounging on their outdoor terrace, soaking up the sun on the beach, or enjoying the cozy indoor seating, Beach Bar Fistral offers a relaxed and inviting space to socialize and unwind.
Immerse yourself in the timeless charm of the Headland Hotel and Spa, an iconic Victorian hotel that stands as one of the most sought-after accommodations in Newquay. With its impressive spa, surf school, and a terrace boasting breathtaking sea views, this enchanting establishment offers a truly unforgettable stay.
During the summer months, the Headland Hotel and Spa becomes a popular destination, allowing guests to bask in the beauty of Fistral Beach while enjoying the mesmerising vistas. However, it is equally captivating during the winter, offering a cozy haven for storm watching enthusiasts.
Indulge in the ultimate relaxation at the hotel’s exquisite spa facilities, which provide a serene oasis throughout the year. Whether you seek soothing treatments, rejuvenating massages, or a tranquil atmosphere to unwind, the spa is the perfect retreat.
Experience the epitome of elegance and modern comfort at the renowned Atlantic Hotel Newquay. This award-winning, four-star hotel seamlessly blends charming features with contemporary amenities, ensuring a truly delightful stay.
Upon entering, you will be captivated by the grandeur of the marble stairway and the shimmering chandeliers that grace the entrance. Every room at the Atlantic Hotel offers captivating sea views, while ensuring your utmost comfort with plush beds and lavish touches.
Gazing out over the pristine beauty of Fistral Beach, the Esplanade Hotel welcomes guests with its four-star accommodations, catering to families and couples alike. The modern and inviting rooms are adorned with ample natural light, providing a refreshing ambiance for a rejuvenating stay.
Indulge your taste buds at The Cove, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, where you can savor local seafood delicacies and classic dishes. Complete your evening with a visit to the cocktail bar, where skilled mixologists craft enticing creations to complement your stay.
Cornwall is home to some of the most exciting and diverse wildlife in the UK, with seal sightings daily and dolphins pretty regularly too; but in February 2023, Fistral was the scene of one of the most epic marine sightings in recent years. A young humpback whale was spotted cruising around Fistral much to the surprise and delight of the surfers in the line up. The humpback completed a leisurely loop of the bay, before heading south, around the Pentire headland and away down the coast.
This sighting beats, only just, another rare encounter during the summer of 2021, when an enormous and ultra modern super yacht rounded the headland and poked its head into Fistral waters. It turned heads and caused a hush to fall over the beach; onboard the yacht was Tom Cruise, probably the only man capable of silencing a beach the size of Fistral, a genuine mission impossible.
In November 2023 a huge 16m Fin whale was washed ashore at Fistral, and Newquay Activity Centre’s own Rob Barber was the first to discover it and report it to the authorities.