by Janice Stringer
The Cornish sea-side resort town of Newquay is probably the most widely known of all the Cornishtowns and villages you could visit. It certainly is the one that can immediately divide opinion, which can be very strong, about its merits as somewhere to visit. This seems to fall into two categories, either you have visited and love the place or you’ve read about it and either can’t wait to visit or would not want to go there at all. In some ways Newquay became the victim of its own success and did develop a poor reputation that it certainly now seems to be shaking off. Depending on your choice of journal to read you will either be enthralled at the living, dining, cultural and leisure activities to enjoy, or avoid it at all costs because of certain behaviour trends. Fortunately for Newquay and its residents, the latter seems to be in decline.
Newquay was first recorded in 1439, probably as a small scale harbour, but in the early 19th century the harbour and wall were strengthened and further protection offered. This meant the area developed its fishing trade. The town further prospered for a while, when a tramway linked it to the mining and china clay industries, but towards the end of that century both mining and pilchard fishing declined. However shortly after this, the new railway line provided the next wave of regeneration for Newquay by delivering crowds of visitors who came to enjoy the spectacular natural setting and growing variety of amusements. The strong link to the sea continues as a common thread ,with the harbour today still being used by local fishing boats and the development of all seven town beaches as destination resorts, including some for world class surfing competitions.
Newquay is the UK’s premier surfing destination and probably the foremost tourist town and accommodation provider in Cornwall, servicing some 750,000 visitors per year, in a whole spectrum of provision. The combination of geographic location, historical influence and modern thinking has helped Newquay to develop a strong local distinct character. A walk around the town and its suburbs in any direction will afford every sort of guest accommodation, from the grand Victorian hotelsnow used predominantly by coach tour holiday companies, to state of the art cosmopolitan sea view apartments attracting buyers from around the globe. It is a very inviting offer, to be able to own a fully serviced holiday home, in a great location, and possibly with a sea view. Many of these dwelling successfully operate though an agency bringing in an income stream as well.
A continued modern day strengthening of the Cornish coastal areas is emerging, as a number of famous entrepreneurs have added to the universal attraction, by offering their brand of hospitality, whether café, restaurant or accommodation. It is quite heartening to see that Newquay and its surrounds, typify the Cornish mentality of exploring natural resources and then creatively generating an alternative way forward, when those expire.