Saturday, 13 August 2016

NEWQUAY



A glance at the 1967 edition of the Ward Lock Red Guide to North Cornwall reveals that in those days the nightlife in Newquay included dancing at the Blue Lagoon and Olde Tyme Music Hall at the Newquay Theatre.  Licensing hours in those days were 10.30 to 3.00 and 6.00 to 10.30 (12.00 to 2.00 and 7.00 to 10.30 on Sundays).  The town was described as “a bright and cheerful town possessing all the ingredients for a healthy, happy and interesting holday”.  Sadly, by the first decade of the present century Newquay had become a magnet for hedonistic teenagers fresh out of school, hell-bent on downing as much alcohol as their young bodies could take and more.  The resort possibly reached its nadir in 2009 with the launch of  “Newquay’s Biggest Bar Tour” which offered, for £16 a ticket, an alcohol-fuelled tour of some of the town’s rowdiest pubs.  On one particular night there were reports of a quiet residential street being invaded by hundreds of drunks committing lewd acts and terrorising the residents with their appalling behaviour.  This was also the year when two inebriated teens fell to their deaths from the clifftops in two separate incidents, almost inevitable given the town’s position strung out along the top of some very tall cliffs – part of its appeal along with the extensive sandy beaches.  

Needless to say, this situation could not be allowed to continue, and recently there have been encouraging signs of efforts to clean up the town’s image.  For example, clothing deemed to be offensive, such as the repulsive ‘mankini’, have been banned as part of a code of conduct for the Pubwatch scheme, which also covers the carrying of weapons and antisocial behaviour.  Which is good news, because Newquay has all the makings of the perfect resort, with something for everyone.  For the kids there is Newquay Zoo, with over 130 species ranging from cuddly favourites such as red pandas and meerkats to larger beasts such as African lion and zebra.  Trenance Gardens includes a boating lake, and the Blue Reef Aquarium has an underwater see-through tunnel.  Newquay boasts some of the country’s best surfing beaches, and there have been numerous international surfing competitions held there over the years.  Fistral Beach, which hosts some of the Boardmasters activities (see previous post)  is the main beach for surfing, and must rank as one of the best in Europe, if not the World.

One of Newquay’s best known landmarks is the tiny island just offshore, connected to the mainland by a private suspension bridge, and with a house proudly perched on top.  The house is currently available as a holiday let, but you’d have to be a banker or a politician to afford it – even in low season it costs nearly £2000 for a week for 6 people – mind, that does include a fully equipped bar, possibly a bit risky given the sheer drop down to the beach.  As for the suspension bridge, getting the luggage across to the property could prove interesting, and of course the guests would have to put up with the late-night parties on the beach below, which is apparently what drove the former owners, Lord and Lady Long, to put the house up for sale.  Another distinctive little building in the area is the Huer’s Hut, overlooking the bay on Towan Head, a reminder, along with the nearby harbour, of Newquay’s past as a fishing port.  The hut was used as a lookout where men would scan the sea for shoals of pilchards.  Just to the west of here, the Tea Caverns were excavated by miners in search of metal ores, and they were also used by smugglers for hiding contraband.

For a list of events in Newquay, see the Visit Newquay website. 

Webcam view of the Fistral Beach.

File:Newquay harbour town.jpg
Photo by Jaynie Bell, via Wikimedia Commons

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