“ City: Newquay „
So, my husband and I love camping and surfing. This is why our annual holiday usually sees us heading down South and enduring the 8 hour drive to Newquay. Now, we are aged 27 and 34 but Newquay town centre isn't really our scene. If you haven't been, it's like being in Magaluf or similar - full of hen and stag parties with cheap bars everywhere.
We were trawling the web for a suitable campsite and stumbled across Porth Beach Touring Park. On arrival, we were delighted to see that we had discovered a little gem in the chaos of Newquay. So, Porth itself is a few miles out of the main town centre (thankfully), but it's only a couple of minutes drive away.
I have only ever camped here, so my experiences are purely based upon that. Our most recent stay was last week and we camped with a medium sized pitch (no electric) for 2 nights, which cost us £43.
The site itself is in a valley and surrounded by beautiful countryside. There is then a road with a lovely pub on it and you are then on the beach. Porth Beach is a lovely, large beach and there are plenty of rocks if you choose to explore the caves or fancy a bit of rockpooling.
Anyway, back to the site itself. The staff on arrival are really friendly and give you a sheet of paper showing how you should lay out your tent and park your car around your pitch. We have been visiting this site for 3 years now and have had pitches in various different areas - all of which are fantastic.
The toilet block is AMAZING for a campsite and the best I have ever come across. This is backed up by the fact that it has proudly won many 'Loo of the year' awards! In the ladies there are plenty of toilet cubicles, and a large, communal area full of sinks (there are also electrical sockets here incase you want to take your hairdryer or straighteners). There are several private cubicles which have sinks in, which are ideal for cleaning your teeth etc. There are around 10 showers, all of which are really powerful and spacious. There is an area where you can put your dry clothes and anything else as well as a hook on the door for your towel. Best of all, they are free - I have visited many campsites where you have to put 20p coins in to get the shower to run. All of these facilities are cleaned regularly and I'm sure they are one of the reasons that so many people return year on year.
Outside of the toilet block is a washing up area. There are 4 sinks (from memory), 2 are for washing up and 2 are for washing clothes. As I said, we have been for the last 3 years and have never had to queue to use the sinks. There is a launderette by the block as well, although I cannot comment on this as haven't used it. On walking past it though, it always looks very clean and there are ironing boards and irons available.
There is a child's play area available, but again, this isn't something I have used, so can't comment.
At the entrance/exit of the site there is a small shop which sells all essentials - milk, bread, drinks, etc. It's not TOO expensive and we usually end up paying a visit or 2 during our stay. The shop owner is incredibly friendly, which always helps!
The pub over the road - The Mermaid - is fab! If the weather is nice, then you can side outside at the back, which is practically on the beach. If not, then there is a bar area at the front for over 18s only, as well as a much larger bar/restaurant area. The pub accepts dogs. They have a juke box and a pool table and it always seems to have a nice atmosphere. The food is reasonable and really tasty - around £8-£10 for a main course. They have regular entertainment at the pub too, which can be anything from a pub quiz to a band. We have taken part in the quiz (which was free to enter) and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We tend to use the campsite as a base, and then make the daily pilgrimage to Watergate Bay (5 minutes drive). This is our preferred beach for surfing as it's a really large, beautiful bay and isn't quite as busy as Fistral and some of the others in Newquay. It's also only abour 10 miles from Padstow, which is a lovely fishing town and well worth a visit.
Overall, the campsite is ideal for us and we happily return year after year. It wasn't overly cheap for the 2 of us to camp this time, but we usually travel as a group of 5 and it normally costs us around £25 each for 6 nights, which is such good value. I would also argue that it's worth paying for the great facilities!
I would happily recommend this site to couples and families - they don't let single-sex groups stay, which keeps it fairly quiet.
The blurb on the home page of the Porth Beach Tourist Park, Newquay, states the following:
Porth Beach Tourist Park is situated in a valley surrounded by open countryside and yet is only 200 yards from Porth Beach. Down one side of the park there is a meandering trout stream, ideal for fishermen of all ages, but if fishing is too strenuous you can sit and watch the water flow and feed the ducks. The beach at Porth is ideal for families - very wide with lots of room to build the biggest and best sandcastles and then to explore the many rock pools. Porth beach is regarded as one of the safest beaches for swimming in the Newquay Area.
Ive included the comment above because it pretty much sums up what Porth Beach Tourist Park is all about, and now that youve got the general picture and a feel for the place, allow me to fill in some of the details!
In my opinion, Porth is the perfect place for a base in Cornwall, as it has excellent access to the rest of the County, and even into Devon, if you want to travel further up North. And Porth Beach is easy to find, even if you dont know Cornwall at all. If you can find Newquay, then Porth Beach is signposted from there. However, if you have any trouble at all, then all you need to do is follow the coast road out of Newquay, towards Padstow, and Porth Beach will be the first beach that you come to as you leave Newquay.
Picture the scene youve driven out of Newquay town centre, along a main road lined with some pretty ugly b&bs and a grand hotel or two You spot a signpost for Padstow, and take a left down a steep hill with houses and holiday flats on either side then when youre about halfway down the hill, the houses seem to fall away as you spot Porth Beach over the rooftops. Taking the bend in the road at a moderate speed, youll pass a nautically-named pub, before you get to the beach itself. Now that youve got the beach on your left (I hope the tide is in and the sun is setting, thats the best way to see Porth Beach, especially for the first time) you just need to make a right turn after the café and souvenir/surf shop, and youll be there. A word of warning the shops at the campsite are extortionately priced, as camp site shops usually are the world over!
If you were to carry on along this road, youd eventually finish up in Padstow, and Id highly recommend that you make this drive at least once. The views from the coast road are some of the best Ive ever seen, and Padstow itself is definitely worth a visit. However, right now were going to go back to the tourist park!
As you turn into the entrance of Porth Beach Tourist Park youll no doubt spot the large, modern detached house directly in front of you. Drive to it and park nearby! The entrance to reception is at the rear of this house and thats where youll need to go to book in whether youre camping, caravanning or staying in one of their own static caravans for your holiday
At this point, you might feel slightly deflated and put off at the sight of the huge, gravel and concrete car park that greets you at the entrance to Porth Beach Tourist Park. Dont be I promise you that the park itself is far more attractive, and you wont be fighting for space on the beach, either. Despite the car park that looks as if it could easily hold enough cars for a large supermarket, Ive never seen any more than a dozen or so people either in the car park, or on the beach, for that matter.
Set behind the car park, fenced off from the general public, is the camp site itself. The grass is lush and green, probably helped by the sheltered, valley positioning of the site. There are absolutely oodles of pitches to choose from even at high season you probably wont have very close neighbours on the camp site. Prices range from £9.00 per night at low season, on a standard pitch up to £30 per night for a serviced premium pitch in the high season. All serviced pitches have electricity, but the premium pitches offer all facilities plus satellite television.
And whilst were on the subject of facilities anyway, I imagine that now is probably the best time to tell you that the whole of the Porth Beach amenity complex has recently been renewed with state of the art appliances. The website states that the new toilet and washroom facilities include central heating, free showers, free power points, washing cubicles, baby bath plus amenities for the disabled. There is also a fully equipped launderette. Adjoining it, we have a washing-up area with plenty of hot water. The amenities at Porth Beach have consistently won loo of the year awards, including the award for 2004. The owners believe that they offer the most superb facilities on offer anywhere in the country and I have to be honest and say that I agree with them. The amenities on offer at Porth Beach are better than some that Ive encountered in posh leisure centres, and far, far superior to anything Ive come across in other camp sites. If youre at all concerned about slumming it when you go camping, then Porth Beach is definitely for you. Personally, I cant do without the comforts of home, and I honestly feel that I dont have to here, although you will still have to walk halfway across a camp site every time you need the loo!
If you choose to stay in a static caravan, then youll find that they are all large, clean and well kept. Every caravan has satellite TV, an oven and microwave, shower room and either two or three bedrooms. If you want to, you can hire an entertainment package for £40 per week, which includes a video, playstation, bed linen and refreshments package but I honestly dont think youll need one. If you have small children with you, you can hire a cot or a high chair, too, or even bed linen if you dont want to bring your own. The best aspect of the static caravans, however, is their layout. They are situated in a line along one side of the tourist park, with trees and bushes separating them from the rest of the campsite and allowing a feeling of privacy, but not impeding the commanding view over the valley from the caravan windows. This sense of privacy is something that I really enjoy, as Im not a fan of campsites where the occupants can wander inbetween the rows of caravans to get to their own. At Porth Beach, this isnt an issue, as all caravans are accessed from one, single road, and as each caravan has its own parking space right next to it, you can be confident that your car is secure, too.
Staying in a static caravan isnt cheap starting at £220 for a week in low season, rising to £660 per week for their best caravans in high season, and the site is open from March to November. Yes, you will find cheaper campsites locally, but personally I think that staying at Porth Beach is worth the extra money, for the close proximity to the beach and the cliffs, if nothing else!
There are no entertainments at Porth Beach Tourist Park, this is a place of peace and relaxation. They do, however, have a play park for the children, a computer where you can access the internet, should you be desperate, and their own trout stream, should fishing be your thing. The staff also provide a welcome pack full of brochures and leaflets for entertainments in Cornwall, which Ive always found very useful. Also, Porth is only a very short drive or bus ride from the heaving metropolis of Newquay, so for any party animals the bright lights of the night clubs are never far away. If youre an animal lover, youll be delighted by the wild rabbits, ducks and ever present seagulls that share the campsite with you. The ducks are absolutely fearless, and will often wonder into an open caravan in search of scraps, or wait outside your tent flaps, quacking gently, when they suspect youve got something edible in there!
Porth Beach Tourist Park will only take bookings from couples or families meaning that this is a quiet, relaxed place to holiday without any rowdy groups of cider guzzling youngsters, as youd find in some of the other campsites in and around Newquay.
Whilst you cant take a gang of mates with you if you want to stay here, youre quite welcome to take your canine friend with you on holiday! Pets arent allowed in the static caravans, but if you have your own accommodation then for £1.50 per night your dog can stay too. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, whilst in the park, and unfortunately dog-walking on the beach is prohibited for much of the holiday season. However, this is not the case for the coastal walk, which winds its way around the cliff tops at Porth many people walk dogs here just be very careful not to let your furry friend too close to the cliff edge.
Personally, the close proximity to not just the beach, but the cliffs at Porth are what make this campsite the perfect choice for me. I only need to walk across the car park to be paddling my toes in the sea, and the beach at Porth is recognised as one of the safest beaches for swimming in the Newquay area. There are cliffs on either side, which are an absolutely perfect place for watching the sun set over the ocean Alternatively, theyre great for fishing from, climbing on, or jumping off in the case of some utterly fearless children my husband and I watched diving from the clifftop into the water, last year There are also caves to be explored, rock pools to investigate and if all else fails you could always build a sandcastle! There are toilets by the beach, too, but you might prefer to use the super facilities on the camp site.
If youre tempted by the idea of a holiday in Cornwall, and you like the sound of Porth Beach Tourist Park, then you might like to check out their website:
There youll find plenty of information about the Park and the surrounding area and contact details should you wish to make an enquiry. Id highly recommend that you take a peek at the virtual tour of Porth on the website if nothing else can tempt you to holiday here, that will!
OK, though it pains me to do so, Ill admit right now that Im biased when it comes to this place - my husband and I spent out honeymoon here ten years ago (blast, Im giving away my aged status, again) and Ive got a very soft spot for it. However, I would still recommend Porth Beach Tourist Park without hesitation to anybody considering a relaxing holiday in Cornwall
I only wish that I could afford to go on holiday this year, because I know where Id be staying!