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Newquay North Cornwall
Situated in the middle of Cornwall's north coast, the surfing beaches may be the most famous aspect of modern Newquay, but the town itself has a long and interesting history. Porth Island, to the north-east, was settled on as early as the iron-age. The town as we know it today began to take shape in the 15th century when the Bishop of Exeter sanctioned the building of a "new quay" in the area known then as Towan Blystra. Pilchard shoals provided a living for the town in the 18th century; evidence of this industry remains visible in the huer's hut, this white beacon still standing above the harbour echos with the long-ago cried calls of "heva!"

Fishing, and shipping of mining goods, were the town's bread and butter and it undoubtedly struggled with the collapse of these industries; there are more than a few tales of the infamous wrecking and smuggling to be heard. Nowadays the harbour is once again teeming with boats ready to whisk intrepid visitors off for a spot of fishing or dolphin spotting on the waves. The aquarium on the seafront offers a further insight into the local marine life, as well as those more exotic species.

The swinging sixties saw surfing hit the town in a big way, and indeed the world-class surf breaks continue to bring tourism to the area; businesses such as surf-schools are doubtlessly invaluable to the economy of Newquay. The surf culture is evident in both the shops (you can buy anything from a bikini or pair of "boardies" to a hand-shaped, custom-made surfboard) and in the laid-back party atmosphere to be found in the cafe's and bars. The town has suffered poor press over recent years but has worked hard to - and largely succeeded in - changing its image back to that of beautiful beach resort which it deserves. Many bars have been transformed into family friendly coffee shops and bistros serving great food by day and supporting live local music acts by night.

Without doubt, Newquay's main attraction is its array of beautiful sandy beaches, in fact you could spend 11 days in Newquay and pick a different beach for each day, from Holywell Bay, Crantock, Fistral, Towan, Great Western, Tolcarne, Lusty Glaze, Porth, Whipsiderry, Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth.

The town boasts several excellent fish and chip shops, essential in any self-respecting seaside town, including a new addition from Mr. Stein of nearby Padstow fame. The main highstreet offers shoppers a variety of well known stores as well as quirky, one-off vendors from which to purchase gifts, pasties, art-work, furniture, clothes, jewellery...the list is endless. If the shopping (or perhaps surfing) wears you out, Trenance gardens and boating lake on the inland side of the town provide a serene and relaxing break from it all. This area, close to the popular Newquay Zoo, is a great place to hire a pedalo or grab an ice-cream - and you're less likely to have to share it with the seagulls here too!

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