Funny thing is, you never really think of beaches when you think of the UK… We’ve got he bright lights of London, the historic lure of Edinburgh and even the rustic charm of the Cotswolds that draw people near and far but the UK is about so much more than these ‘obvious choices’.
This being said, it’s fairly general knowledge (amongst us Brits, at least)that if you’re in search of a good beach holiday in the UK, you should head down south to Cornwall… and British beach holidays certainly don’t come any more beautiful than at the Watergate Bay Hotel in Newquay.
Let’s take a steps back several months ago… Apart from knowing that Watergate Bay beach was where chef, Jamie Oliver opened his first Fifteen restaurant, I didn’t know too much about Watergate Bay. My friends who studied and/or lived in Cornwall however did and raved on and on about how special Watergate Bay is, how amazing the hotel is… etc (you get the picture).
Needless to say, after their rave reviews of it (and after seeing photos online), this very quickly became a holiday I was looking forward to for months before visiting!
They were totally right about how amazing it is, by the way. I’ve been to quite a few places in the UK over the years and this one ranks right up there with the best. I could go on and on about how amazing this place is, but instead of that, let me know what it’s like to spend a weekend at the Watergate Bay Hotel!
THE FIRST DAY…
Arrival – We came in on a direct train from London and caught a quick taxi ride over. The easiest ways to get here is actually to fly in Newquay airport, which is a really short ride away from the hotel. The most scenic way however would have to driving down as this area of the UK is actually quite beautiful and there’s a lot to see on the drive down. (I say drive down, you might actually be coming from the South… 😉 – doubt it though as Newquay is relatively quite Southern compared to most of the UK).
Arrival all sorted and check in complete, I went off in search of the room… which turned out to be suite.
And boy what a suite it was… just look at that bath!
As you already know, I’m very partial to a hotel room that’s so nice, it makes you wish for bad weather just so you can stay in…and this one definitely does the trick. 🙂
Alas, the beach called so I said a temporary farewell to the trappings at the hotel and headed down (all of a 60 seconds walk) to the beach…
The sun was shining and holidaymakers were out and about, which was nice enough (and the perfect opportunity to try out my new drone) but if you ever wanna do some prime people watching at the beach, it’s the surfers you need to look out for.
These guys and gals are incredible and make surfing look so easy! Newquay is THE surfing capital of the UK so you’re in the right place for it too.
Thing being said, watching them did make me nervous. Why? Well, the very next morning, we would be attempting to learn how to surf on the very same spot and I very much doubted my ability to even paddle board, let alone look as collected as slick as they did.
As you may already know, exercise and general fitness stuff is not really my forte – ice cream eating and wine drinking is more my kind of sport. If there was an Olympics in these, I’d win gold every time!
“It really needs core strength” my friend said, to which I nodded, still with no clue what this seemingly elusive ‘core strength’ was. (Surely, I have core strength just by being able to do general everyday stuff? FYI, if you’re like me – that’s far from the definition of core strength.)
Thankfully, I didn’t have to think too much about it as dinner called at Zacry’s (pronounce like Zack-rees), one of the restaurants back at the hotel and I certainly don’t waste time when it comes to food!
We met with some friends for dinner and started off with ham hock terrine, salmon and spicy prawns (the latter was definitely the star of the starters)…
…before moving on to the lamb and triple-cooked chips with chicken-salt (which I didn’t know was a think but it’s all I could think about after having it here).
Dessert came in the form of a deconstructed crumble and a chocolate Tanzanie served with ice cream!
THE SECOND DAY…
The very next morning, we maaaaaay have woken up a bit late for breakfast (which meant being late for surfing lessons) but I had no regrets! Those beds are amazing. Lloyd swore it was Egyptian cotton or something equally as outlandish (I remember as I write this now that I totally forgot to ask) but it was absolutely amazing.
*Random aside: Bad beds frustrated me (I stayed in one in Manchester which felt quite literally too, like sleeping on a rock) so when I get a bed as comfy as this one at the Watergate Bay Hotel, I take the time to give it all the praise it deserves! I really appreciate all these little things… 🙂
Breakfast, was a cornucopia of our favourite foods (and then some) but I skipped everything and made a bee-line for my favourite of them all – freshly made waffles! And not ‘freshly-made waffle but they’ve been sitting around for a few minutes’ either – actual ‘waffle-iron to plate’ freshness!
Fed, caffeinated and ready to face the day, we headed out to a rather dramatic scene on the Cornwall coast. It’d been drizzling and the sky was grey (it looked rather otherworldly) so I figured our surfing lesson would be cancelled but us Brits certainly don’t let a little thing like the weather stop us from having fun!
And boy was it fun! Thing is, it was fairly warm despite the drizzle but I thought I would be cold in the water but that never happened thanks to those wetsuits.
*Seriously, after a while, I wanted to take it off as it gets very toasty in them – which I am not complaining about – I like it warm and toasty.
We headed down to The Extreme Academy on the beach where our teacher Josh (a future Navy man) awaited us. Josh, by the way, was absolutely brilliant and in just a couple of hours, we’d learnt, not only how to paddle on the surf boards but also (after several attempts and falling over quite a bit) how to stand on the surfboard. I can now technically say I know how to surf!
It’s worth noting, one of my biggest fears of surfing here was not being able to handle the waves and flailing around but the beauty of the beach at Watergate Bay is that it’s actually fairly shallow for hundreds and hundreds of metres so you can walk in a fair bit to where the waves are and still be able to stand (waist deep) if/when you fall off your surfboard.
This took a great deal of worry off my mind when Josh explained this and meant that I was able to keep challenging myself and actually enjoy learning how to surf instead of being distracted by fear.
Surfing though is pretty hungry work and as noon hit, we bade Josh farewell and headed off to hotel to shower off the salt water and head down to for lunch at The Beach Hut.
The Beach Hut is just how it sounds, it’s a laid back restaurant right on the beach with wholesome, good food and a very fun atmosphere. If Zacry’s the elegant and sophisticated sibling, then The Beach Hut is definitely the effortlessly cool, surfer sibling. 🙂 Dogs are even allowed here and it’s just a fun place to spend an afternoon in and of itself!
We skipped starters and went straight for mains and dessert!
Steak for me, burger for Lloyd.
For dessert, I went with a crème brulee and Lloyd a sundae!
After a quick walk on the beach to burn off that deliciously satisfying lunch, we headed back to the hotel for an hour-long massage (I’d been looking forward to this all day – totally worth it when you’re here).
Thing about massages is that I tend to fall asleep right at the tail end of it and this was no exception! The good thing though is that I wake up refreshed and raring to go so instead of heading back to the room to relax, we decided to go down to the beach.
The sun, by the way, has been out since the early afternoon and was scorching by this point, which again was perfect drone weather! (Still getting the hang of using a drone but it’s so much fun to fly, camera or no camera).
Eventually, we headed off to the indoor infinity pool (the aptly titled, Swim Club) where we watch the sun slowly starting to dip through the sky in its daily attempt to hide underneath the horizon.
Now remember that bath in the room?
This is the perfect place to watch the sunset! Kick back, relax – perhaps even get yourself a drink, put some music on and watch the sky change its hues over and over again and the Cornish sun sets…
…after which there was nothing for it but dinner! *licks lips*
We headed off to The Living Space for dinner and unlike the other two restaurants, this one requires no reservations and is pretty much a ‘walk-in and find the cosiest seat to spend the rest of the evening’ kind of place. It’s the kind of place where you nestle within comfy sofa, while you eat dinner with your feet up. Sheer perfection after a busy day spent having fun!
Starters came in the form of squid (for us both), followed by steak for me (yes, steak again – don’t judge, I was just having a red meats kinda weekend 😉 ) and fish cakes for Lloyd.
Dessert was strawberries and cream (for me) and 3 helpings of ice cream (for Lloyd).
Now I never really watch TV on holidays (it kinda helps that most times I can’t speak the language on TV anyway) but remember I mentioned how comfy the beds here are? Well, I used that as my excuse to head back to the room early and catch up on my favourite TV shows (they’ve got Smart TVs here so Hello Netflix). What’s the point of having an amazing room if you never use it, eh?
THE FINAL DAY…
The next morning was definitely on of the laziest I’d had in a long time and one of my favourites. I woke up late for breakfast (but with enough time to make sure I could have several waffles) and spend the rest of the morning doing absolutely nothing in bed! Pure bliss…
Soon enough though, it was time to check out and bid the hotel farewell. The taxi would be coming to pick us up for the direct train back to London in less than an hour so the rest of that time was spent walking down Watergate Bay beach and promising to return again very, very soon!