The ultimate guide to Newquay’s Towan Beach – everything you need to know to maximise your visit
Towan Beach is the centre of our world; it’s our home, our playground and where Newquay is at its absolute best. It’s got the looks to send you starry eyed and the sense for adventure to get your blood pumping. Get ready to fall in love with the best beach in Newquay.
Location matters and Towan Beach hits the spot on so many levels. It’s right in the heart of Newquay so you can be browsing the shops one minute and feeling the sand between your toes the next, it’s within striking distance of the town’s car parks and its gloriously easy access. Yes, it’s at the bottom of a sloping hill but wheelchairs and buggies love it and being nestled between the harbour and Great Western Beach, it is lovely and sheltered. Some mistakenly call it Town Beach and thanks to its awesome central location, it’s easy to understand why. If you want a live view of the beach, why not take a look at our Towan Beach Webcam.
The Beach Itself
Golden, sandy, clear blue waters; Towan has got all that you could ask for in a beach and more.
It’s the only beach in the area with hard, flat sand so is great for walking on and is in poll position when it comes to conditions for group activities. Families are attracted by its safe bathing waters which are protected by RNLI lifeguards from May to October. They come armed with buckets, spades and fishing nets, while everyone from adrenaline seekers to those looking for a quiet sanctuary can find a patch of the beach to suit their mood. And it’s a pretty exciting place to be if you’ve got a wet nose and waggy tail, for Towan beach is dog-friendly year round – perfect for a game of fetch!
There’s also three caves to explore, a tunnel over by the harbour wall and rockpools aplenty. Plus, if you visit at low tide you’ll experience Towan as it connects to the neighbouring beaches of Great Western and Tolcarne to become one huge sandy expanse.
Towan’s most iconic feature, ‘the Island’, or Jago’s Island to call it by its full name, is one of Cornwall’s most famous landmarks. Surrounded by water when the tide is in, this tiny island is connected to the mainland by a 90ft high suspension footbridge that dates back to 1902 and is home to what has got to be one of the most impressive beach houses. Once owned by Dr O’Flaherity, a reclusive Irish Canadian eccentric, as well as among others, Alexander Lodge, the inventor of the Lodge Sparking Plug, it has enjoyed stints as a tearoom and art gallery. Nowadays it is in the hands of Lord and Lady Long and the keys are available to hire as a holiday home through Boutique Retreats for the most amazing getaway.
The Sea Pool
Salty and as fresh as the ocean but sheltered from waves and currents, Towan sea pool is nestled at the foot of The Island. Topped up twice a day by the waves of the Atlantic and warmed by the sun it has been a popular haven for children for decades. In recent years, it has sadly fallen into disrepair but with a campaign to restore it to its former glory we’re looking forward to its future update.
To the left of Towan Beach and accessible by a walk across the sand at low tide is Newquay’s bustling harbour. Offering a glimpse into Newquay’s heyday as a Kingpin in Cornwall’s thriving fishing industry, the harbour is still a hive of activity today. Whether it’s local fisherman hauling in their catch, boat trips taking visitors off on coastal cruises or watersports enthusiasts making the most of the flat-water conditions (keep an eye out for the Cornish gig rowing teams), there’s always something to see and do.
Visit the harbour at the beginning of September (normally around the second weekend) to catch the annual Newquay Fish Festival when there’s cookery demos, seafood tastings and in true Newquay style, a good old celebration of Cornish food and drink. And if seafood is your thing bagsie a table at The Harbour Fish & Grill where what comes out of the kitchen is as fresh as the setting.
But it’s the super cute colony of resident Wild Grey seals that get the most love. They’ve made the harbour their home and spend their days basking in the sun, lounging on the rocks and perfecting their puppy dog eyes in the hope of being thrown some fish.
Lusted after for its on-trend beach huts that rock a rainbow of colours, Towan Promenade is an Instagrammers dream. It’s one big glut of deliciousness where you can grab a milkshake or something freshly squeezed from Blue Bird Juice Bar, pick up cakes, Cornish pasties and more from the Beach Bakery, or enjoy an obligatory beachside indulgence from the Kelly’s of Cornwall ice cream van. There’s also a new fish and chip shop and a soon-to-open bar, and if that doesn’t satisfy your hunger nip across to Barefoot on the Beach which sits in a raised position overlooking Towan Beach from the left (top tip: Newquay Activity Centre customers can flash their discount card here to get a tasty wedge off their bill!).
Towan Promenade has also got it covered when it comes to all the usual beach clobber. For buckets and spades to discounted surf wear call into The Point Surf Shop, and if it’s deckchairs, surf boards, stand up paddleboards or kayaks you’re after, Towan Surf Hire will fix you up on an hourly to weekly basis. These guys also have a handy locker system so that you don’t have to worry about your valuables while you’re enjoying the beach and – what every salty skinned and sandy pawed beach goer wants – warm showers.
On a site above Towan Promenade that started out as Treffry Fish Cellar and later became a laundry and then theatre, now sits the awesome Blue Reef Aquarium where you can come face to face with loggerhead sea turtles, reef sharks and shoals of colourful fish. It’s home to 40 naturally-themed habitats and will take you on a journey from the Cornish coast to the exotic seas. There’s also rockpool encounters, a chance to meet Red Bellied Piranha’s and a busy schedule of feeding experiences. One for the kids (and big kids)!
For incredible views head to the Killacourt, a grassy expanse overlooking Towan Beach which takes its name from the Celtic Killas, meaning grove and Quoit (aka burial place). When the sun is shining, this is Newquay’s ultimate chill out spot. Grab a place on one of the many benches or shake out a blanket and as you take in the uninterrupted views that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, you can almost see the Newquay of old with its fish cellars, where freshly caught pilchards were salted and packed into barrels, and busy boating build works come to life before you.
Towan is unique in its appeal for surfers as it has something for all abilities. Sitting in the shadow of Towan Head, the beach is protected from big swells and benefits from shelter to strong winds, which can spoil the shape of the Atlantic swells. If you’re learning to surf this is a huge bonus as the waves are more manageable, making the process of catching them and jumping to your feet easier. For surfers of more experience there’s the left hand breaking wave known as ‘Kiddies Corner’. Catch it at low tide at the southern end of the beach where it breaks off the rocks close to Newquay harbour’s north quay. As the tide pushes in towards mid tide there is a wave called ‘Bothwicks’ after the rocks of the same name in front of the island. This is popular with locals and offers a great option during medium sized three-to-four foot swells. Also look out for the unique ‘Habour Left’ wave which can be found on the other side of the beach at mid tide when the incoming swells ride up the side of the south quay harbour wall. At high tide the waves refract off the island and even bounce off the promenade wall. These refracting and wedging waves are popular with Newquay’s bodyboarders.
We’re in the thick of the action at Towan Beach, in fact, we make the action. Seven days a week, 360+ days a year, we’re squeezing every ounce out of Towan’s amazing location. Surfing, body boarding, coasteering, SUP, Super SUP, kayaking…we’re out there and loving it. Whether you want to dial up or tone down the tempo, we’re in sync with Towan and can create the lesson to suit you. Find us on Towan Promenade.
It’s fair to say that Towan Beach has earned itself a reputation for being a bit of a playboy. In its wild days of yesteryear, it played host to Newquay’s nightclub spillage but the party is over; Towan has grown up and like the rest of Newquay has cleaned up its act. It has rediscovered to its roots and thanks to £100k of investment by Wes Roux, the rights holder of the Towan area, has spent the last five years getting a fresh and vibrant revamp. Out with the rowdy and in with the cool. These days it spends its evenings basking in sunset glory and treating couples to dusk time strolls. It’s where families want to hangout and where the community comes together. This is the Towan we love.
See you on the beach soon!