7 THINGS TO DO IN WATERGATE BAY
Discover the best things to do in Watergate Bay, Cornwall, including visiting Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant & surfing in the sea
Watergate Bay is more than just Cornwall's surfing hot spot. With stunning coastal views, Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall restaurant and plenty ofpicturesquepicnic spots on both the beach and surrounding clifftops, you'll wonder why youdon't visit for a weekend break more often, as WAYNE MORGAN discovers.
Reluctantly taking a break from the sprawling and unspoiled beach at Watergate Bay, I headed to a small wooden kiosk to get my morning caffeine fix. While waiting in the queue I overheard a smart looking chap in swimwear – not quite Daniel Craig but a good attempt – ask the young lady where he could buy a newspaper. Surprisingly, she turned and replied: You can’t, and why would you want to read the news here?’
She had a good point - you don’t just visit Watergate Bay, you involve yourself in it. So to make sure you too make the most of your time in the beautiful Cornish beachside town when you visit on holiday, here are some of my tips on things to do in Watergate Bay:
1 Go surfing in Watergate Bay. Just as much fun whether you’re a beginner bodyboarding or full-on surfing champion, though of course no lessons required with the bodyboard. The whole atmosphere in Watergate Bay is based on the surf, so it would be a crime not to join in.
There are a few surf schools (// /) to choose from in the bay. You will need a wetsuit - after all the Celtic Sea has never been known for being warm (wetsuits are available to hire from surf schools) and whatever time of year you visit and you absolutely must pay attention to the
2 Eat at Jamie Oliver's – after all, it has put Watergate Bay on the map. Located right on the beach, it's great for breakfast, lunch or dinner – the former two are great for families but there are a couple of restrictions for dinner and young children. The decor is great, the open kitchen really adds to the relaxed style of the food and the view over the bay is sublime. You will need to book any visit – unless you get lucky and can sneak a table for breakfast, which is unlikely during the peak season.
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3 Watch the sunset on the beach. This experience can be enjoyed on the sand or from the cliffs tops surrounding the bay. The beach is simply superb and the view accompanies it perfectly. It is of course a great idea to grab some fish and chips to fuel you in the spring/summer months (although you may have to travel outside of the bay to get them). There is plenty of parking on the cliff or down in the bay.
4 Have breakfast on the beach – in addition to Fifteen Cornwall you also have The Beach Hut below it, which doesn’t require bookings. Another good breakfast spot is The Watergate Bay Hotel’s new restaurant, Zacry’s, but whilst the view is still good, it’s partial and not on the beach itself.
5 Visit The Phoenix to hang out with the locals. It has a great terrace overlooking the bay and often has live music at the weekends. The bar offers a good selection of local beers and food at lunch time and evenings.
6 Walk across the cliff tops - though not too close to the edge of course; Watergate Bay is definitely a victim of coastal erosion. You can go left or right, the path being prepared if you head toward Newquay. As with everything about Watergate Bay, it offers stunning views.
7 Stay overnight if you can – there are a number of accommodation options in the Watergate Bay ranging from hotels (Watergate Bay Hotel gets great reviews) and Cornish holiday cottage rentals (see Holiday Lettings and Beach Retreats for more details) to serviced apartments, including Beachcombers and Waves.
After a short mid-afternoon siesta you’ll awake to appreciate that after the day-trippers have left, things are quieter and you have more space to explore Watergate Bay all by yourself.
Like this? Check out the restaurant review of Zacry's at The Watergate Bay Hotel.