UK Getaway: The Headland, Newquay Cornwall

The Headland

Absolutely visits The Headland, an elegant and impressive Victorian hotel overlooking Fistral Beach, Newquay

Words Pendle Harte


This imposing Grade II-listed redbrick Victorian building sits in an isolated spot at the top of Newquay’s Fistral Beach, looming over the landscape. There’s something very cinematic about it, and this was fully exploited by Nicolas Roeg, who filmed much of his 1987 version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches here. The building and its remote-looking location (in fact, central Newquay is a few minutes’ walk away) play an important role in the film. Today, while the interiors have been updated, they retain the grand scale and of course the sea views that dominate virtually every room. An intriguing if slightly spooky scale model of the building in lego takes over one of the grand landings. We feel that Wes Anderson would love it here.


Our family suite is at the very top of the building, commanding fantastic views of the beach. Comfortable beds, a spacious bathroom, an excellent shower and all the luxuries you’d expect make for a comfortable stay. We spend a happy evening watching The Witches from the concierge’s dvd library (they have multiple copies).

fistral beach


The north coast of Cornwall is full of beautiful beaches. We take a small trip to nearby Watergate Bay where Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant has a stylish outpost with marvellous beach views. A drive to Padstow is recommended for Rick Stein’s foodie offerings and the coastal path.

fistral beach


Fistral Beach is a surfer’s paradise. We wake up to see eager surfers taking to the waves at the crack of dawn: it’s a vast stretch of sand with endless crashing waves. The hotel can arrange surfing lessons; it also has a spa that’s one of the best in the region. Its two restaurants are high – Samphire is formal with a pianist, silver service and a two rosettes while The Terrace is more relaxed.

The Headland
Last minute double rooms from £230; for more information or to book, visit or call 01637 872211

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