Fistral Beach, Cornwall

4th April 2013

The name Fistral is synonymous with surfing. This famous beach has a long-held surfing culture going back to the 1960s when surfing first became big news in Cornwall and Fistral developed into the hub of all surf-related activity in the county. Facing west, swell from the Atlantic piles into Fistral, giving it its reputation for having the most consistent swell on the coast. It’s why this beach hosts numerous surf contests through the year, including Boardmasters in August, which draws surfers from all around the world to this corner of the south west.

Fistral is divided into three distinct sections – Fistral Beach, South Fistral and Little Fistral, a small, rocky cove that is only really visible at low tide. When the surf is cranking, look out to sea and at the north end of Fistral you’ll spot a reef called the Cribbar creating huge waves. Surfing the Cribbar is a rite of passage only the most experienced surfers attempt; with waves sometimes reaching 25 or even 30 feet high, it’s no surprise that the Cribbar has been nicknamed the Bone Cruncher and the Widow Maker.

Fistral is backed by steep sand dunes, giving it a remote feel that belies its location just a fifteen minute walk from the shops, restaurants and attractions of Newquay, one of Cornwall’s most well-known seaside resorts. At the north end of Fistral is a beach complex with all the coastal favourites on offer – an ice cream parlour, fish and chip shop, a relaxed coffee shop and a beach bar with big screens for sports, live music and a great view for a sundowner.

There are all kinds of ways to keep kids entertained in Newquay if a rainy day means the beach isn’t your first choice. The Blue Reef Aquarium has a giant ocean tank with an underwater tunnel; as you look up turtles, sharks and rays swim past above your head. There’s a zoo, indoor waterpark and steam railway, plus there are five separate beaches encircling the town, each with a unique feel and all with good facilities for families. With every street in Newquay filled with independent shops, cafes and restaurants, there’s always somewhere new to try.