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Newquay harbour with some of the surfing beaches in the background.
Newquay harbour with some of the surfing beaches in the background.

The town should not be confused with New Quay in Wales.

Newquay (Template:Coor dm), (Cornish: Tewynn Pleustri) is a town on the North Atlantic Coast of Cornwall in the South West of the United Kingdom. It is bounded to the west by the Gannel River and its associated salt marsh, and in the east by the Porth valley. The town has been expanding inland (south) since it was founded.

The curve of the headland around what is now Newquay harbour provided natural protection from bad weather and a small fishing village grew up in the area. When the village was first occupied is unknown but it is not mentioned in the Domesday Book although a local house (now a bar known as "Trenninick Tavern") is included. By the 15th century the village was called "Towan Blystra" — "Towan" means sand hill/dune in Cornish — but the anchorage was exposed to winds from the North East and in 1439 the local Burghers applied to Bishop Lacey of Exeter for leave and funds to build a "New quay" from which the town derives its current name.

In former times the small fishing village was famous for pilchards and there is a "Huer's Hut" above the harbour from which a lookout would cry "Heva!" to call out the fishing fleet when pilchard shoals were spotted. The town's present insignia is two pilchards.

Newquay is now a major tourist destination, principally on account of the 10 long and accessible sandy beaches. The town has a resident population of around 22,000 but this can increase to 100,000 or more in the summer because Newquay has a large stock of holiday accommodation.

The resort styles itself "The Surfing Capital of Britain" with many surf shops, board manufacturers and hire shops in the town. Fistral Beach hosts major international competitions, and Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne Beaches nearer the town and nearby Crantock Bay also provide high quality breaks. Towan Beach is also the location for the proposed Newquay Surfing Reef, a somewhat controversial project that has polarised local opinion.

Newquay is also known for the "Run to the Sun" event, which always takes place during the public holiday on the last weekend in May. Multitudes of people descend on the town in Volkswagen Camper vans, Beetles and other custom cars.

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