Fistral Beach – it’s one of the most famous and iconic beaches in the UK. It features in countless ‘Top 10’ lists of beaches, hosts the largest surf and skateboarding festival in Europe and is generally regarded as one of the world’s top surfing destinations.
To put it simply, Fistral Beach is a big deal.
Of the nearly six million people that visit Newquay every year, most will make their way up to Fistral Beach at some point during their stay. It’s one of those things that you just have to do when you visit the town.
Once you’ve had a Cornish Pasty – obviously!
Overlooked by the Headland Hotel, which is iconic in its own right, Fistral Beach is the perfect place for the entire family, with golden sand, rocks to explore, first rate facilities, and, of course, those incredible surfing conditions.
If ever you are in the area, and you haven’t already been, I would urge you to make time for a trip to Fistral Beach. It’s reputation is more than deserved, and you will find that there is plenty more to it than just the surfing for which it is so well known.
Let me tell you exactly why me and my family adore Fistral Beach, with all the information you’ll need to have the perfect day there.
How To Get To Fistral Beach
One of the many incredible things about Fistral Beach is that it is just outside Newquay Town Centre. The location dictates that there always feels like a crowd of people are making their way up to the beach – particularly in the summer months.
As you would expect for such a popular destination, the beach is incredibly well signposted throughout the town. The easiest way to walk there is to walk through the town centre and then walk up Fore Street. Once you get to a roundabout, with the Red Lion pub, you have a choice: you can head straight over, before taking the next left onto Headland Road, which will lead you all the way to the north end of the beach; or you can take the first left onto Tower Road, quickly followed by a right onto Toby Way. This will take you to a path which cuts through the golf course, taking you to the centre of the beach.
To be honest, parking at Fistral Beach isn’t great at all. There is a small, very expensive, car park right next to the beach, and a number of small car parks along Tower Road – however, these fill up incredibly quickly, especially if the weather is nice. You will need to get there very early to secure a spot, or consider one of the car parks in the town and walk the rest of the way. There is some street parking towards the south of the beach, but again, this fills up very quickly.
I very naively took my family for an afternoon at Fistral beach in our car last summer – it ended up with us abandoning our plans and having to find a different beach to visit as we couldn’t find anywhere close enough to park. Don’t make the same mistake I did!
Most people access the beach from the north end. There is level access to get onto the beach, and there are several sets of steps dotted along the top of the beach to access the sand from other points down to the south end.
Fistral Beach Facilities
It won’t surprise you that we are going to start listing the facilities on Fistral Beach with surfing. The two headlands at each end of the beach work as a funnel for the waves, which results in fantastic surfing conditions – it’s a great place to learn, and Fistral has got you covered here.
The Fistral Beach Surf School is based right there on the beach, and there are a whole host of other companies that can provide you with surf lessons in the area. You’ll see plenty of groups taking their first steps into the world of surfing all along the beach , so don’t worry if you are a novice – you certainly won’t be alone.
Right next to the surf school, at the north entrance, is the main complex – the International Surfing Centre. This is the main hub of, not just the beach, but of British Surfing. Here you’ll find everything you might need for a full day at the beach.
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to food and drink – fancy a quick pasty from Pasty Shack, or pizza and cider from The Stable? Maybe you fancy a beautiful sit-down meal at The Fish House or Rick Steins? Maybe a chilled out drink and snack at the Fistral Beach Bar?
All of that is available to you, with stunning views out to sea. The level of choice and quality of the food must be unrivalled on any other beach in the UK.
Forgotten your bucket and spade?
Don’t worry, there is a traditional Seashore Beach Shop there, selling everything you’ll need from towels to sunglasses. But that is far from it when it comes to retail at Fistral.
There is a Fat Face shop and an Ann’s Cottage shop, both selling trendy surf and skate wear – including equipment. There is even a lifestyle shop, Bon Bon, which specialises in really cool jewellery and clothes.
Finally, there is the surf and beach hire shop, at which you can get everything you could possibly need to maximise your enjoyment at Fistral – from wetsuits to sunloungers. Like I said – they’ve got you covered.
On top of all this, they also host incredible events at Fistral. The highlight being Boardmasters – the biggest surf festival in Europe which takes place every August. Fistral is just one of the venues, but it’s the main hub of the surfing action, as well as art installations, some live music and workshops.
Fistral is always rammed during Boardmasters, but it is an incredible experience if you can cope with the crowds.
Why We Love Fistral Beach
We love Fistral Beach for much the same reason that everyone else seems to love Fistral Beach – it’s simply one of the best beaches in the UK. It has everything.
Fistral isn’t just a beach that you might head to for a couple of hours to keep the kids happy – this is a beach that you can spend an entire week at without getting bored. You could have a different meal every day if you wanted to, and by the end of the week you would be a competent surfer!
It’s a busy beach, there’s no getting around that, and that might put some people off – but our family loves it.
There is such a pleasant atmosphere there, it’s so lovely to see families and children of all ages having such a great time – whether they’re heading into the sea with their boards or just burying their dad in a massive hole… The satisfying buzz of conversation and laughter all adds to the experience.
It’s no surprise to us that Fistral Beach has such a fantastic reputation – it is one that has been earned over the years, and they keep adding new additions to the hub to keep ahead of the game.
Take a trip to Fistral beach. You won’t regret it.
Alex is a full time writer who loves to travel. He has two young boys and as a family they love to explore all corners of the UK. Having spent a lot of time in his childhood in Cornwall and South West of England, Alex has a particular passion for travel writing about these sorts of destinations.