I don’t think I’ve ever really watched surfers. (Unless you count watching Point Break about 27 times as a teenager.) I’ve seen them, but I’ve never really watched them, and appreciated the dedication and passion that’s at the heart of surfing. That is, until I visited the Esplanade Hotel in Newquay.
As I sat in the big windows of The Esplanade Hotel, looking out over Fistral Bay, the sea looked like it was covered in birds – little black blobs bobbing up and down on the surface of the water. They were surfers though, lying in wait for waves. As I watched, I realised just how much lying in wait is actually involved. For minutes on end they bobbed, watching the waves, waiting for the one that would be worth it – all of that time for just a few seconds of adrenaline.
Our bedroom was pretty much directly above the big front windows, so we had a similarly lovely view to wake up to:
Things to do at The Esplanade Hotel in Newquay
The Esplanade Hotel is home to the Quiksilver Surf School, so you don’t have to just watch, you can take part too, whether you’re an experienced surfer or a complete beginner.
If you’re not really a surfing family, or just want something a little different to do in the afternoon, The Esplanade Hotel is set up with plenty of activities for families. It has a lovely clean, quiet pool, with a sauna and Jacuzzi, a soft play area, outdoor garden, and a whole host of workshops too. Watch a film, do some crafts, or even build your own teddy bear!
The focus on family fun at The Esplanade Hotel in Newquay is evident from the minute we arrive. The reception / lounge area – the bit with those classic big glass windows that all traditional seaside hotels seem to have – is full of toys, comfy seating, and families either admiring the view or playing games. The atmosphere is very welcoming, and I don’t feel at all out of place as a parent on my own with Belle. In fact, at dinner that night, I notice a couple of tables with single parents and small children.
It made me realise actually, how infrequently I notice single parent families in hotels like this. I know it can be tough to take kids away on your own, and knowing you’re going somewhere where there will be plenty to do, and where the staff and other guests will be welcoming, is really important.
Breakfast and dinner at The Esplanade Hotel were tasty and good value, as you’d expect.
A photo posted by Jo Middleton ☕️🍭✈️🍉🚪🌷👗🌿 (@slummysinglemummy) on
If you’re looking for a bit of rest and relaxation – perhaps while the kids are at surf school – pop down to the Fistral Spa, just a couple of minutes’ walk down the road at The Esplanade’s sister hotel. Guests get 10% off, as I discovered, happily, when I went for a hot stone back and shoulder massage. (In the name of research for this post obviously.)
I can confirm that it was delicious; the stones were amazing and the woman doing my massage didn’t hold back, getting right into my problem areas with her elbows. Lovely. There’s nothing worse than a feeble massage.
Accommodation at The Esplanade Hotel
There’s a really good variety of accommodation at The Esplanade Hotel, so there’s something to suit every budget. Opt for a standard room if you’re looking to save a few pennies, a family room if there are a few of you or, if you want to splash out, you can choose a room with fantastic sea views and your own balcony – ideal if you’re staying for a bit longer and want to make a main holiday of it. There’s even the Quiksilver suite if you’re a bit funky.
Things to do in and around Newquay
If she had her way, Belle would spend all her time on a mini break in the hotel room. She has a thing about wanting to be in the thing, whatever that thing may be – lodge, tent, tipi, hotel. I think she likes to feel she’s getting her money’s worth. I do try to drag her out though for a bit of an explore.
As it was just the two of us, and I didn’t have the casting vote of fiance for back-up, National Trust properties were vetoed by Belle. Boo! I personally love a National Trust visit on a mini break – pretty house, nice garden, cute cafe – what’s not to love? Still, Belle has a pretty forceful personality, and I didn’t want to argue.
Newquay itself is a classic British seaside town, and particularly popular with younger people who like a bit of a night out, so I’ve heard. The beaches and the surfing are obviously the key attraction, but there are other things you can do.
The Blue Reef aquarium
The Blue Reed aquarium is clearly a favourite with families in Newquay, especially in wetter weather, and we had to queue for quite a while to get in. it was worth it though, just to see this:
A video posted by Jo Middleton ☕️🍭✈️🍉🚪🌷👗🌿 (@slummysinglemummy) on
I’ve watched it again and again and it makes me smile every time :-)
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall
At The Esplanade Hotel you’re only about 15 minutes away from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall in Watergate Bay, so we decided it would be rude not to give it a try. (At lunch time obvs, I’m not made of money.) The location was lovely, and the views were fantastic. The restaurant is laid out really nicely, to give everyone as much of a view as possible, and we had a little table for two right by the window.
The food was good, and the children’s menu was decent enough value for money, although the main menu certainly wasn’t cheap. I don’t want to say it wasn’t worth it, as we had a lovely time, but you are probably paying a premium for the name and the view. Don’t go if you are in a rush to get back for a teddy bear making workshop. Service wasn’t fast, and our lunch took about two hours. Lovely for a lingering afternoon looking at the sea.
Kernow Chocolate Factory
One of our (my) favourite things to do when we’re somewhere new is to just drive about for a bit, get a bit lost, and see what interesting signposts we come across. It was by doing this that we found Kernow Chocolate. It’s not massive, but it’s a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so. They have a little cafe, where they serve amazing chocolate based goodies like this one:
— Slummy Single Mummy (@mummyblogger) 2 August 2016
The cafe also has a big window onto the little factory area, so you can watch the chocolate being made. I told Belle that if she could get one of the chocolate makers to wave to her, I would buy her some churros and melted chocolate. To her credit, she did – the teenage boy who waved awkwardly looked particularly uncomfortable, and Belle went very pink. She was not impressed when we got to the counter and were told they weren’t making churros that day…
We made up for it in the shop, where you can choose from a whole range of amazing flavours, all made on site. If, like us, you’re greedy enough to buy six bars, you can get them in a cool presentation box, so they look like a set of books.
— Slummy Single Mummy (@mummyblogger) 2 August 2016
If you’re looking to do a spot of surfing, or just want to explore the area around Newquay for a couple of days, the Esplanade Hotel is the perfect base. There’s plenty to do, particularly for families, and the views are beautiful – well worth a visit.
We were guests at The Esplanade Hotel in Newquay for two nights for the purposes of this review. All opinions our own.