Watergate Bay Beach

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Away from the hustle, bustle and stag dos of Newquay Town Centre, there is Watergate Bay Beach – something that once may have been described as an uncovered gem, but is now one of the most popular beaches in the area. And you can see why.

The thing about Watergate is that it is so vast, that even when it is at its busiest during the summer, it doesn’t feel busy. There is plenty of room for you to have a quiet bit of sand, all to yourselves.

Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay beach rocks

This huge stretch of coast also provides some excellent surfing conditions, which is what its popularity has built from. You can partake in all kinds of water sports here, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is all Watergate Bay beach has to offer – there is plenty more than that as we will see.

My family and I cannot get enough of this beach. Whenever we are in the area, we make sure we spend time here, as it has something for all of us. In this article we are going to provide you with all the information that you’ll need to fall in love with it too as well as helping you to plan the perfect day at Watergate Bay.

Accommodation near to Watergate Bay

Best for a romantic getaway – The Potting Shed (sleeps 2) click here to view

Close to the beach – Beachcombers Apartment (sleeps 2 – 4) click here to view

Best for families – Hebaska (sleeps 6) click here to view

Best views – Gwillen (sleeps 7) click here to view

How To Get To Watergate Bay Beach

Watergate Bay beach is located around 3 miles north of Newquay – it would take you about an hour to walk from the town centre, or 10 minutes to drive. It’s close to Newquay’s small airport – if you decide you want to fly down!

To be honest, access to the area isn’t great. There is one road in and out, the B3276, which winds through the Cornish countryside before almost out of nowhere, the little bay appears before you with hotels and surf hire shops. It is a lovely little place.

Crucially, for beach-goers, there is a huge car park. Most people that visit the beach do so by car, simply because it is in the middle of nowhere. The remaining visitors will be staying in the hotels and apartments that overlook the beach.

Whatever the time of day, you will find space in one of the car parks. There is a lot of land nearby, and the fields surrounding the area are all used as car parks or overflow car parks, so you don’t need to worry about getting a space. Jus be aware that the later you get there, the further you may have to walk to get to the beach.

All the car parks seem to have independent coffee vans though, so you can pick up a drink before you head down.

The main car park, which is opposite the entrance to the beach, is the one we prefer. There are some public toilets located there (always helpful when you’re travelling with young children), but it is right on a nasty bend which can mean that it is difficult to get out of if there is a buildup of traffic – which can be the case at the end of the day.

You might be better using one of the car parks a little further away if you want a quicker exit.

To get on to the beach, there is a ramp that goes all the way down to the sand from the main road, which makes it easily accessible for people. You’ll see a lot of little trollies and wagons with families packing up all of their shelters, toys and snacks!

If you are walking, there are a number of coastal paths that lead to the beach, and you can head down to the sand further up the beach if you take one of these routes.

Watergate Bay Beach Facilities

As I indicated above, Watergate Bay is best known for its excellent surfing conditions. All year round, you’ll find enthusiastic surfers racing into the sea, hoping to catch the perfect wave.

Due to the position of the beach, facing to the West, Watergate catches some great Atlantic swells, which is why it is so popular with surfers. 

Watergate Bay beach when calm

If you are a novice, but are keen to get involved, there are three main surf instructor companies that are based down there by the beach – O’Neill Surf Academy, The Extreme Academy and Westcountry Surf School. You can just hire equipment if you don’t want to take part in the lessons, but if you are starting from scratch, a lesson will speed up the learning process.

It’s not just surfing that these guys can help you with – Watergate Bay is also popular with kite surfers, paddle boarders, wave skiers, bodyboarders and hand planers (don’t worry if you have to look up what some of those are – I certainly did).

You can get all the equipment you need to take part in any of these water sports, and have lessons with experts as well. It’s always advisable to book in advance, especially in the summer, as it can get very busy down there.

There is much more to Watergate than water sports, though. The main attraction is the sheer size of the beach – stretching two miles along the coast, with beautiful golden sand.

It’s the kind of beach that never feels busy, even when there are hundreds of people there. You can always find a little quiet spot for you and your family by just walking for a few minutes away from the main hubbub.

That area is where you’ll find all the main facilities, though. The Beach Hut is right there on the beach, a restaurant that serves relaxed, but excellent quality food and drink – it’s like a high-end cafe, offering everything from cooked breakfasts to salads and ‘fish of the day’ dishes.

It isn’t that cheap (you’re looking at between £15-£20 for a main meal), but it is of excellent quality, and the views of the beach are wonderful.

There are other options, though. At the top of the ramp that leads onto the beach, you’ll find a pizza bar. There are few benches there if you want to sit down, but they are all served ‘to go’, so you can take a pizza down to the beach, or pick one up after a long day to take home with you. They also serve some great beers and other drinks there.

Add to that the various coffee and ice-cream vans – there is everything you will need for a lovely day there at Watergate Bay Beach.

Why We Love Watergate Bay Beach

The main reason that I love taking my family to Watergate Bay beach is that it has something for everyone.

My wife and I have had surf lessons there, which were as fun as they were rewarding. The first time I stood up on a surfboard, albeit for about 2.3 seconds, was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life! In that moment I understood why people spend hours floating in the sea, waiting for the perfect wave.

My boys are too young to take up surfing, but they love this beach just as much as we do. Their favourite bit is a stream that runs down from the top of the beach into the sea. We take our spades to construct dams and pools off this stream, we race boats and balls down it and we paddle in it.

Then we grab an ice cream for the kids, and a beer for the adults. We sit on the beach, in a nice little quiet spot, and look out at the surfers, the kites, the swimmers, and the hundreds of people having a great time. Last time we were there we got chatting to families from Scotland and families from New York – without exception, everyone loved this beach.

Watergate Bay beach is a bit out of the way, which is why it works perfectly. It never feels as busy as the beaches closer to the town centre, and they have everything you need right there for you.

Have a day out at Watergate Bay – you won’t regret it.

Alex Whybrow author bio picture
Written by Alex Whybrow

Alex is a full time writer who loves to travel. He has two young boys and as a family they love to explore all corners of the UK. Having spent a lot of time in his childhood in Cornwall and South West of England, Alex has a particular passion for travel writing about these sorts of destinations.