6th August 2020
With two miles of golden, wave-lashed sands flanked by cliffs flecked with sea pinks and gorse, it’s little wonder that surfers, dog walkers and beach lovers flock here for the fusion of wild scenery, rolling waves and beachside restaurants.
A true haven on the edge of the UK’s surfing capital, Watergate Bay was once a hot spot for dedicated surfers awaiting the Atlantic swells. But in recent years it’s stepped up to cater for the well-heeled wannabe surf gang, who can hit the waves and return to the creature comforts of swanky beachside accommodation, and dine in some of the region’s foodie hotspots.
View Watergate Bay in all its glory when you walk from neighbouring Porth beach. Fuel up on coffee and deck yourself out in the latest coastal style at Roo’s Beach, then strike out along the rugged promontory of Porth Island – where you can find the remains of an Iron Age castle and witness the sea spraying from the blow hole at mid tide.
At low tide you can descend the steep cliff staircase at Whipsiderry and make sandy footprints all the way to Watergate Bay (just be careful not to get cut off by the tides). However, the best views are captured from the coast path, which hugs the cliffs and boasts breath-taking views of Newquay and the North Cornish coast.
Once you get to Watergate Bay, there are plenty of places to pause and immerse yourself in the surfy vibe. Try an array of watersports – from surfing to hand planing – at the Extreme Academy, and pop into the Shop on the Beach to get all the kit you need for a day at the seaside.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes down to places to eat with a sea view. Local food hero Emily Scott will be serving locally sourced produce in rustic dishes at Emily Scott Food. For something more laidback, grab a table at the Beach Hut for seafood and extreme hot chocolates with sandy toes. Or for a fusion of American cuisine and classic Cornish ingredients, opt for Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel. Also in the hotel is the Living Space, which is a divine spot for coffee, sharing platters and classic dishes with expansive ocean views.
Keep your eye on the local events calendar during your visit, as Watergate Bay has become a buzzing venue for all sorts of events and entertainment. As well as being the site for Boardmasters – Europe’s largest surfing and music festival, it’s also host to a drive-in cinema, SUP championships, a speed hill climb and a pumping New Year’s Eve party.
Being a vast, dog-friendly beach there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs and get away from the crowds. Wait for the tide to ebb and walk to the North end, where you’ll find turquoise rock pools teeming with blennies, crabs and other sea critters. Take the South West Coast Path north and you can follow two miles of eye-popping scenery to the next sandy runway of Mawgan Porth. Keep your eyes peeled for rare seabirds and dolphins at Beacon Cove – coastal wildlife flocks to this pristine and inaccessible beach.