Fistral Beach

Fistral beach - Newquay
Fistral beach - Newquay © Ian Woolcock

Newquay's iconic Fistral Beach is renowned for its world-class waves, expanse of golden sands and lively vibe. The consistent swells here draw both beginners and seasoned surfers alike. But Fistral is also a place of great beauty; bookended by rugged headlands and backed by rolling dunes the beach can feel a million miles from the party town beyond.

About Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach is Newquay, if not Cornwall's, most popular beach and sits at the very heart of the British surfing scene. The Bondi beach of Cornwall, Fistral has it all - well maybe not the guaranteed sunshine!

The view from South Fistral beach - Newquay

Fistral beach is a wide expanse of golden sand with the headlands of Pentire and Towan to the south and north respectively. On the Towan headland, overlooking the beach, is the imposing victorian bulk of the Headlands hotel.

Surfing at Fistral Beach

The south end of the beach is a little more sheltered from the Atlantic swells. With its gentler waves, it is often a good spot for beginners, while the north end offers more challenging conditions that test the skills of experienced surfers.

Surfing at Fistral Beach - Newquay

For those really wanting to push their limits there is Cornwall's legendary big wave spot - the Cribbar. Set off the end of Towan Headland waves of up to 30ft have been surfed here.

Fistral Beach hosts several prestigious surf competitions throughout the year culminating in the Boardmasters Open in August. Running since 1981 this event attracts top surfers from around the globe.

To further cement Fistral's place as the UK's surf capital the International Surfing Centre was built here in 2003. Set at the northern end of the beach the complex is home to a variety of businesses. There are upmarket food and drink options rubbing shoulders with the surf shops and equipment hire.

Big surf at Fistral Beach

Beyond the waves, Fistral Beach is well-equipped with amenities that cater to locals and visitors alike. The northern end of the beach is home to a number of surf schools offering lessons for all ages and abilities, as well as rental shops where you can hire surfboards and wetsuits.

Fistral Beach - Looking north

There are also several cafes, restaurants, and bars offering a variety of dining experiences, from casual beachfront eateries to renowned restaurants like Rick Stein's Fistral and The Stable. All have stunning ocean views, making them the perfect place to relax after a day in the water.

Fistral is often divided up into three areas: South Fistral, the main beach and Little Fistral. The first two are fairly self explanatory, while Little Fistral is set among the rocky outcrops of the northernmost section of the beach and is only really accessible at low tide.

What does the name "Fistral Beach" mean?

It is suggested the name comes from Porth an Vystel which translates to the rather unappealing "cove of the foul water"

Visiting Fistral Beach

As with all of Cornwall's beaches it is important to check the tides when planning a vist. We would recommend aiming for low to mid tide as the beach size is much reduced at higher tides. See Fistral Beach tide times.

When is the best time to visit Fistral Beach

Where is Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach is located in the middle of Cornwall's North Coast, just to the west of Newquay town. It is seperated from Newquay Bay, and the other main beaches, by Towan Head which juts out at the northern end.

Backed by dunes and then the Newquay Golf Club, Fistral feels slightly removed from the rest of the town.

Nearest town: Newquay

Find accommodation near Fistral Beach


Fistral is fairly well sign posted so follow the signs. It's generally easier if you enter Newquay from the west.
For South Fistral follow signs to Pentire. You can usually park on the road above the beach and walk down the steps


There is a 250 space car park at Fistral, right behind the beach, with the charges varying throughout the year. Given the beach's reputation as one of the premiere spots in Cornwall we would advise arriving early during peak season to secure a spot.

In the event that the main car park is full there is further parking at the council-owned Dane Road car park around a 5 minute walk away. Another option is to park at the Towan Headland car park next to the Old Lifeboat House. Again this is around 5 minutes walk to Fistral but is right above Little Fistral.

Access - How to get down to the beach

There is easy access from the car park which has disabled spaces. Disabled toilets and sand chair available from Fistral Surf Hire Shop - 01637 850584

Is Fistral Beach dog friendly?

Fistral Beach is dog friendly all year round allowing pets to hit the surf along with their owners!

Does Fistral Beach have lifeguards

There is a full RNLI lifeguard service at Fistral providing seasonal cover every day between Easter Bank Holiday to end of October. The beach is patrolled between 10am and 6pm.

/public/photos/Fistral lifeguard jet ski

What facilities are there at Fistral Beach?

The northern end of Fistral is awash with facilities including the Surf Centre, toilets, cafes, surfboard and wetsuit hire and a nearby golf course.

/public/photos/Fistral beach shower flip flop

Things to do at Fistral Beach

Beyond surfing, visitors can enjoy a round of golf, beachside dining, and exploring nearby attractions. With Newquay being Cornwall's most popular holiday destination there are a host of things to see and do like the Blue Reef Aquarium just around the corner at Towan Beach.

Fistral Beach Reviews (5)

Family and dog friendly beach

Debs Bound

Aug 25th 2021

Lovely Sandy beach with kids and dogs playing together, everyone looked so happy and relaxed. I did not witness any dog poo on the beach, some humans had left their rubbish behind though.

We were lucky and arrived at low tide so walked from one end of the beach to the other. A pleasant place to be

Will definitely return for more visits. Please don’t ban dogs from the beaches it had a much better atmosphere with families spending time with their kids and pets

Beautiful beach


Jun 14th 2022

I love this beach and so do my dogs. For those saying dogs should be banned, there are plenty of beaches with dog restrictions in Cornwall for you to choose from. Personally I prefer dogs to unruly, screaming kids and their parents who think they should be inflicted on everyone else. Also humans leave behind rubbish. Great restaurants, also dog friendly, here too.

Holywell Bay


Jun 05th 2021

The first time I visited Holywell Bay I was about 12   and the place where we stayed was above the local shop which served ice creams, postcards and novelty items for the beach. The sand dunes we’re totally unspoilt and there wasn’t very many people which was perfect. Nobody left their rubbish about back then in ‘81.  Then the last time I went in “87 tourism had taken a hold of this once tranquil private place where rubbish blew in the wind. Humans are like locusts sapping the life and spoiling beautiful places ????????

Stunning beach and headland but watch out for the carpark


Jun 06th 2022

Deservedly famous beach that delivers on my childhood memories.
The only fly in the ointment is the rip off car park that charge you from the second you enter to the second you leave ( busy times it can take several minutes to find a space and several more to leave so you inadvertently don’t buy enough time and get landed with a £70 fine)
Best avoid the sharks ????

Dog shit on beach


Jun 24th 2021

This is really not good enough. Its about time dogs were kept off the beach in the summer season. Completely spoilt the experience of this otherwise wonderful beach.

Show all 5 reviews