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Watergate Bay – home to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and much more

foodwatergateWith thanks to © missginsu on Flickr

watergatebeachsceneWith thanks to © Chris Marshall on Flickr

watergatedoggyWith thanks to © Charles Roffey on Flickr

Watergate Bay has become one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches thanks to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and Boardmasters. However, there’s a lot to explore, whether you want to lounge on the wide sandy beach, go for a surf, try some outdoor activities with Extreme Academy or enjoy a delicious meal at one of Watergate Bay’s bars and restaurants. Don’t forget it’s dog-friendly too!

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen moved into Watergate Bay in 2006, offering a bold seasonal Italian menu created by Andy Appleton, previously a top chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London. The food itself is mindfully sourced from Cornish producers, and given an Italian twist. The staff are well-trained and polite and the menu is varied and delicious, offering individual dishes in anything from an antipasti bar to 3 course meals. Check out the menu here. The food is no doubt delicious but it’s safe to say that with a big name comes a big price, so make sure you work up an appetite. Saying that, all profits go the Cornwall Food Foundation, which gives disadvantaged young people the chance to get behind the frying pan with some of the best chefs in the business. It is strongly recommended that you book in advance (you can book lunch a year in advance it’s that popular), so drop them an email on reservations@fifteen.co.uk or by using the online booking form here.

Zacry’s is the newest restaurant at The Watergate Bay Hotel, named after the rocky outcrop at the south end of the beach. The head chef is Neil Haydock who came over from Fifteen. Zacry’s is described as bringing together ‘Cornish attitude with a classic brasserie’, using locally sourced produce and cooking them in an American style – grilled meat and seafood is a large element of the menu. Zacry’s serves a two or three course dinner menu 7 days a week – it’s quite expensive but still not as pricey as Fifteen, so head down there between 6.30 and 9.30 to grab a table, make a reservation online or call 01637 861231.

Another place to check out when visiting Watergate is The Living Space, where you can relax on the sofas and gaze out at the view whilst enjoying a seasonal menu combining Cornish, British and European tastes. The Living Space offers a varied menu, including hearty dishes, sharer platters, salads and kids meals at very reasonable prices. The place is fresh and inventive, with an open kitchen. It’s open from 8am until late and it’s also great if you fancy a cheeky cocktail, coffee or cream tea!

Considered one of Cornwall’s best beachside hangouts, The Beach Hut lives right on the sand and serves food honest food at any time of day. It’s a classic menu, serving local produce and always has fresh Cornish fish, steaks, burgers and shellfish on the specials board. This place is great for all weathers – sit on the new wooden deck and bask under the glass surround, which is open in the summer for sun-lovers and closed in the winter to keep the heat in. Be sure to try out one of The Beach Hut’s iconic hot chocolates!

If you’re not that hungry and want to enjoy lunch while laying on your beach towel, then the Venus Café may be for you. The takeaway is open between 10am and 8pm in July and August and specialises in typical lunch food made with local ingredients including baguettes, pasties, burgers, chips and a fair few gluten free and vegetarian options too. The food is made to order and is at a reasonable price for the area. Check out the menu here.

The Phoenix is a typical local’s pub, popular amongst the town’s surfers and one of the few eateries that doesn’t belong to the Watergate Bay Hotel. It’s a great place to unwind, enjoy the sunset over a cold beer, play pool or lounge on the comfy sofas. It’s certainly a hundred times more laid back than other restaurants in the area, with live music from local bands and a reasonably priced varied menu – try BBQ ribs, salads and lots of Cornish ales and beers too!

Fancy braving the elements in an adrenaline filled adventure? At the Extreme Academy Surf School, you can get expert tuition in different watersports – go surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, paddlesurfing and even handplaning! If you can’t decide, you can always go for the ‘Extreme Day’, a pick and mix of fun activities, ideal for a group of friends, family or those on a team building day. Extreme Academy also hosts events including Polo on the Beach and Rip Curl Surf competitions – people flock from all over the world to see them, so if you’re around at the right time of year, it’s well worth a look!

If you want a nice walk, Watergate Bay can be found just off the South West Coast Path – it’s not too hilly, shows you some stunning views that you wouldn’t get in the car and it’s only an hour’s walk from Newquay town centre. If you fancy walking a little further, head to Mawgan Porth only a mile away. Alternatively, there’s lots of paid parking at Watergate, although it can get extremely busy at peak summer so be prepared for queuing on a very steep, bendy hill – certainly a fun start to your day at Watergate Bay!