The festive season is over and we’re busy preparing for the usual influx of happy holidaymakers from March onwards. We love this time of year, getting ready for the fun to start and our lovely little town to fill up with families, surfers and revellers.

Right now it’s wild, windy and – for surfers – wonderfully messy. There’s always a load of cool things to do in Newquay, everything from special outdoor events to theatre, pub-based stuff and family fun. But what about taking the natural route and simply enjoying the extraordinarily beautiful surroundings? Here are some ideas for outdoor fun around our way during January.

Beachcombing in Newquay – Natural treasures ahoy!

We’re fortunate that Newquay’s beaches are brilliant for beachcombing, not least for seashells. You can easily while away hours down on the sands picking up natural treasures, and once you get your eye in it’s really hard to tear yourself away. Grab a book or download an app about sea shell identification and it’s even more fun.

This part of Britain is so good for shell collecting that some of the beaches around here, including Porthcurno on the south coast, are actually made from countless millions of finely ground up sea shells, and it’s this very special sand that gives our waters the most amazing turquoise colour.

As owners of one of the nicest bed and breakfasts in Newquay, we know our beaches are really special. You’ll discover some truly gorgeous seashells on the town’s beaches, along the tide line and in rock pools at low tide as well as scattered on the golden sand. Cornish sea urchin shells are some of the loveliest with their beautiful colouring and complex designs.

If you don’t find an urchin shell local fisherman tend to pick them up to sell to visitors, and they make great souvenirs. Try the harbours over at at Mevagissey, Portloe, Charlestown or Mousehole. Alternatively, if you want to create a dramatic collection, you can buy larger shells – both local and exotic – from gift shops in town and add them to your beach-inspired souvenir collection.

There’s much more than shells to find, of course. You can also pick up beautifully colourful dried seaweeds, and smooth pebbles rubbed by the sea which, when wet, reveal gorgeous colours. There are delicate crab shells to pick up and you occasionally find tiny, worn slivers of coloured glass in vivid greens, blues and reds.

If it’s been stormy, all manner of weird and wonderful items can wash up, from all over the world, some of which have been floating around for a hundred years or more before finally coming to land. Now that’s what we call a unique souvenir!

What to do with your finds?

Once you’ve made a collection of shells, pebbles and anything else that takes your fancy, what can you do with them? The obvious answer is to simply display them as they are in your home as a fond memory of your stay. But there’s more. Why not buy a plain wooden pencil box and decorate it? Use UHU glue and add a layer of clear marine varnish on top to make the stunning colours stand out. Or make a bigger shell box from a wooden box of any size. You can also put them in a pretty glass jar and add water to make the colours glow, your own mini-sea full of delights.

Message in a bottle

We don’t recommend putting a message in a bottle, of course. It’s not a very good idea to throw rubbish into the sea. But you might just find a message in a bottle left by someone else, a real thrill especially for the kids. Imagine the excitement when one recent visitor found a note inside a bottle that had been written by a couple from South Carolina, USA, which they threw in the sea when on their second honeymoon in 2014, in the Bahamas. Apparently the couple had sent off ten or more messages in bottles over the years, but this was the first to be found.

Walking the coast

You don’t need to collect things to enjoy yourself, of course. Our coastal paths are some of the most beautiful and varied walks in the country, and because the sea is different every day, so are your walks. Stay a week and you’ll get a different look, feel and atmosphere every day depending on the tides, the weather and the famous Cornish light, adored by artists.

Newquay might be chilly and windy in January. It’s equally likely to be bright, sunny and brisk – absolutely gorgeous. And there’s no such thing as bad weather here, just the wrong clothing! Wrap up warm, head into our great outdoors and enjoy one of the most lovely coastlines in Britain.

Give it a couple of months and our Newquay b&b near the town centre will be back in business, ready to welcome the spring and summer crowds. Until then, here’s wishing you a truly splendid time enjoying our great outdoors!