Watergate Bay is located two miles north of Newquay, with a large stretch of golden sand right at the Atlantic shore. It has not only hosted the English Nationals Surfing Championships, but also offer activities in and around the ocean and beaches all year round. Nearby Mawgan Porth is the best place to base yourself in, as you can find a large variety of holiday cottages and apartments as well as a supermarket, tennis courts, riding places and many restaurants and pubs, while it's still within easy reach of the comparatively 'big town' of Padstow and Newquay.
Near Watergate Bay, the Porthcovan and Treyarnon Beaches feature natural swimming pools and caves that are waiting to be explored by young and old. Mawgan Porth was listed as one of the top ten holiday beaches in Cornwall by The Times because of its majestic cliffs, rock pools and caves. The sheltered location makes it ideal for both swimming and surfing, although it is quiet enough for a relaxed family holiday.
The nearby village of St Magwan is full of historical traces from times long gone, such as the 14th century parish church, the Convent of Lanherne and the old bridge on top. If all of this wasn't enough, the area is also a good base to start exploring Carnewas Island or the mythical Bedruthan steps.
Culture & attractions around Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth
Visiting Mawgan Porth without doing any surfing is like visiting New York and not visiting the statue of liberty: surfing is the most natural activity and people flog from all over Europe to learn it from the excellent surfing schools that teach any level and age group. Don't worry about making a fool out of yourself ‐ they have probably seen it all and when you take a class with a bigger group or even your entire family, fun is guaranteed!
Those looking for adventure will love the Extreme Academy of Watersports at Watergate Bay, where you can learn kite Surfing, power kiting and waveskiing. You can even work on your teacher's qualification for these sports if you discover your talent and feel like it's time for a career change.
For some quieter sports, the area is home to many magnificent golf courts by the sea side, although anyone will enjoy playing Crazy Golf in the village centre of Mawgan Porth.
A surprising sight in Mawgan Porth is its Japanese garden, complete with a tranquil koi carp pond and a collection of bonsai trees, many of which are hundreds of years old.
Must-do highlights around Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth
Walking along the beaches, cliffs and countryside is the best way to explore the area, where you can find many unusual sights, such as Bronze Aga tumuli ‐ burial mounds, caves, lighthouses and the raw beauty of the Trescore Islands. The Camel Trail used to be a railway line, but now is a collection of 18 miles of routes that are open to cyclist, walkers and horse riders and lead through deep woodlands.
There's a large variety of animal species to be found outside, but on rainy days, especially young visitors will enjoy Newquay Zoo, which is home to over 130 different species, including meerkats.
The Bluereef Aquarium is home to creatures from all oceans, from the British coastline to alien looking creatures from the depths of the Pacific.
The Screech Owl Sanctuary in St. Columb Major gives you a chance to see many different kinds of owls and as part of a guided tour, you even get to 'fly' an owl through the falconry ring. Not so cute, but so much more delicious animals can be seen at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, where you can learn all about lobster hatchery ‐ and adopt one, if you like.
Need to let out all that pressure? Don't take is out one the owls or lobsters; visit the Clay Pigeon Shooting Club in Mawgan Porth instead!
Eating & drinking around Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth
Watergate Bay has become synonymous with Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall, a project that enabled young people with difficult backgrounds to start a career in the hospitality sectors.
But Fifteen isn't the only place for a great meal in the area! If you find they're fully booked and it's late, head to the Fire Cafe, Bar & Grill at the beach promenade at Mawgan Porth ‐ from breakfast until midnight, there's you'll always be welcome here.
Bre-Pen Farm is a traditional Cornish farm with its own farm shop and bistro, Jon's Bistro to be exact. It uses local ingredients, may of which are unusual to see on a menu these says ‐ fresh sardines and spelt, for example.
The most sophisticated restaurant in the area is The Scarlet restaurant in Mawgan Porth. Dishes are flavourful and the atmosphere elegant, but never pretentious ‐ an excellent 'date place'.
Accommodation around Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth
The charming village of St Mawgan offers holiday accommodation in a variety of historical buildings, such as Barn Cottage ‐ a converted barn that sleeps six guests and have been creatively furnished in a rustic seaside style.
At the prestigious Retallack Resort in St Columb Beech Lodge is a class of it's own: the five start luxury house has space for up to 8 people and includes parking as well as access to the resort bar, restaurant, pool and wave machine.
So that's our round up of things to do on a weekend around Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth. Have you ever been there? What would you recommend doing if someone went there for the weekend? Please share you experience with us…