Author Archives: sam

What’s new for 2019

It’s going to be a year of firsts at Watergate Bay. Find out what’s in store for 2019…

Watchful Mary: a new bar for the Bay

Look to the horizon as the sun slips from view. If you’re lucky you might see the Green Flash – a phenomenon one of Watergate Bay Hotel’s modern founders, Mary Ashworth, has seen several times. Views, drinks, small plates to keep conversation going and when the sun goes down, the music steps up. There’s nothing else like it in Watergate Bay.


Go to for the latest word on Watchful Mary’s opening.

In the meantime, you can find out more about the build, the name and the idea that has driven it in our magazine. If you haven’t received a Watergate Bay magazine by 6 January, email [email protected] for your copy.

Events in The Beach Hut

There are three things you need to know about events in The Beach Hut. There will be live music, a beach bonfire and, most importantly, food. From a Mexican feast to our famous five-course Lobster Friday.

Find out what else is happening in The Beach Hut in 2019.

Rock 2 Rock Let’s Rock

A running event, but not as you know it. Rock 2 Rock Let’s Rock is an evening of live music, fireworks and running. Set off for 2k or 5k along the beach, with a live rock soundtrack to keep you going.

Tickets for runners – and anyone more interested in the music than the exercise – are on sale now.

SUP Safari

Paddle to a part of Watergate Bay you’ve never seen before with Extreme Academy. “They give people the magical experience of going to an area you just can’t physically get to any other way.” SUP Safaris will run whenever the conditions are right. Warm weather, low wind and flat calm water.

For more information call the team on 01637 860543.

Cornish Cycling Classic

Cornish Cycling Classic: with Olympic Gold Medallist Amy Williams

From 26-28 April 2019, take your place in the first Cornwall Cycling Classic, a celebration of cycling in the South West. The weekend is a mix of riding, cycling-focussed side-events and active relaxation at Watergate Bay Hotel.

Find out more about the first ever Cornish Cycling Classic.

BSUPA Watergate Bay

Beach events calendar

Another year at Wategate Bay, another packed events calendar. From Legends of the Bay and Sandball to active breaks, beach cleans and the Watergate Bay speed Hill Climb.

See the full 2019 events calendar.

Warrior of the Surf

There’s a new resident at Watergate Bay. The Warrior of the Surf – a 15ft giant – now stands at the bottom of the sea lane, looking out to sea. Throughout the installation process, we caught up with the man behind the giant…

Cornish-based sculptor Richard Austin finds inspiration in all walks of life. Visit his ‘sanctuary’ – the Sculpture Workshop in Wadebridge – and you’ll be introduced to a gathering of characters, metaphoric as they are intricate.


His own pieces are punctuated by the clay work of his students. A proud sign reads: “Work created by participants of the workshop. All were creative novices.”.

The gallery is a whistle-stop tour of Richard’s lifelong reflection process. His work challenges the viewer from a hundred pairs of eyes. Some defiant and noble. Others grotesque. They reflect the fortitude of Paralympic athletics, question the state of Western habit and celebrate the art of a grandad-nap.


For the Warrior of the Surf, Richard found his inspiration at Watergate Bay. Using recycled milk bottle plastic he emulated the pensive, timeless ritual of a surfer watching the waves. The sculpture went on a pan-Atlantic tour, featuring in public places and temporary residencies around the world.

15 years later, on Friday 25 May 2018, Warrior finished its journey where it began: permanently fixed to the seawall at Watergate Bay.

Next time you visit Watergate Bay, don’t miss the opportunity to capture your own photos and use #warriorofthesurf to share them with us.

Richard is hosting his Sculpture Workshops at Watergate Bay this summer. Join him on the beach and learn the basics of sculpting from one of the leading names in Cornish sculpting.

Visit the Sculpture Workshop website to see more of Richard’s work.








Meet Richard and learn how to capture the likeness of a human face with Sculpture Workshops at Watergate Bay this summer.

A family holiday at Watergate Bay

Mum Nicola, Dad Ady and young daughter Élodie Rose stayed with us early in December. After seeing some of her photos on Instagram (@elodieramblingrose), we asked Nicola to tell us about her family and their time at the Bay. Here’s what she had to say.

Family Walk at Watergate Bay

We are an outdoorsy family from Bournemouth, Dorset. We love exploring the UK, long walks (preferably by the sea), nature spotting and baking/eating good food together.

Family stay at Watergate Bay

We’ve had a pretty tough year and Watergate was the perfect much-needed tonic for us all. We really did relax, recharge and regroup.

Family stay at Watergate Bay

The pool was lovely and quiet when we were with you. Ideal for daddy-daughter fun, daily hydrotherapy for Élodie, who has cerebral palsy, and a fab reading spot for me.

Family stay at Watergate Bay

The relaxed and outdoorsy ambience really suited us, as did all the extra touches that made travelling with a toddler that bit easier (the cot, high chairs, Ipad monitoring, kids’ dinners, excellent child care and so much more).

Family stay at Watergate Bay

We visited the first week of December, great for instilling that festive feeling. If you follow us on Instagram, you might remember the photo above, which Nicola shared with us from a festive Ocean Room.

Family stay at Watergate Bay

Wonderful windy walks along the beach and headland blew away the cobwebs (as well as our hats and scarves!).

Family stay at Watergate Bay

The toddler supervised session was a real treat, we really appreciated some adult time (chilling in the hot tub with views to die for) whilst Élodie loved the well equipped Kids’ Zone and the friendly caring staff.

Family stay at Watergate Bay

A huge thanks to all the staff for looking after us so well. Whatever the weather Watergate really has the wow factor. It is such a stunning and special place and we will definitely be back!

Thank you again to Nicola and her family. To see more of their photos find @elodieramblingrose on Instagram.

Find out more about your own family holiday at Watergate Bay. Check availability and book your stay.

Argentine Asado BBQ

On Friday 19 May 2017 we’re inviting you to an authentic asado (a traditional Argentine BBQ) right on the sand.

A night of live music, fireworks and interactive cookery with an authentic Argentine BBQ on the beach. Classic cuts of beef and lamb, cooked in Argentine style from our hay bale restaurant on the beach.

Argentine Asado Watergate Bay

Three course meal – 7.30pm Friday 19 May

— Share your evening with the polo players —
— Expert asado cooking with David Deadman and exec. chef Neil Haydock —
— Live music from The Big Sets and The Aaron Douglas Duo —

Glass of Champagne Jacquart
— Meet the polo players and chefs —
— Live music from The Aaron Douglas Duo —

Jugs of Aspall cyder and apple juice
Wood-fired Cornish lamb
— See the traditional Cordero a la Cruz (Argentine Cross) grill technique —

Colita de Cuadril (whole rump tips)
Asado de Tira (wood fired short ribs)
Chorizo Argentino (Argentine beef Chorizo sausage)
— Interactive asado (Argentine BBQ) techniques —
Morcilla sausage
Mollejas ox sweetbreads
Crispy potatoes and veggies from the Chapa (flat griddle)
— Live music from the The Big Sets —

Pineapple, rum and Treleavens ice cream
— Watergate Bay Sunset followed by fireworks —

Limited tickets £60pp available now.


Please contact the events team on 01637 861295 ahead of the event to make us aware of any dietary requirements. We can not accept dogs in the beach party area.

British Tattoo Art Exhibition

One of the things that makes Cornwall so special is it’s rich history. Nowhere breathes life into the past as well as the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

During your next visit to Watergate Bay, you could see the work of cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors at British Tattoo Art Revealed.

Until next January, the Falmouth based museum will play host to a new exhibition: “a genuinely ground-breaking and comprehensive history of British tattooing”.

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition

It tells a story that challenges long-standing myths and pre-conceptions about tattooing when it comes to class, gender and age, whilst at the same time giving a voice to and celebrating the astonishingly rich artistic heritage of tattooing as an art form in the UK.

Read on for highlights chosen by Co-curators Derryth Ridge and Stuart Slade of National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

1. The 100 Hands installation

Tattoos are a living and uniquely three dimensional form of art. The Museum has responded to this by commissioning an innovative installation which literally brings the art off the gallery wall to create a ‘sculptural map’ of British tattoo art today.

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition

Photo by Luke Hayes courtesy of National Maritime Museum Cornwall

The ‘100 Hands Project’, curated by Alice Snape of ‘Things and Ink’ magazine, is based around one hundred silicone arms, each tattooed with an original design by 100 of the leading tattoo artists working across the UK. As a whole, the quality and diversity of this work is astonishing.

This exhibit represents a major achievement for any Museum, and creates an important artistic legacy for future generations – an archival ‘snapshot’ of a form of art all too often lost to the ravages of time.

2. The Sailor Knight banner

Traveling tattoo banner. A rare surviving artefact from around the 1920s showing exquisite artistic talent. A precious relic of tattooing’s rich history.

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition

Photo by Paul Abbitt courtesy of Neil Hopkin-Thomas

The exhibition showcases the largest collection of original British tattoo objects ever displayed to the general public.

3. Aimée Cornwell’s commission

The exhibition also includes three major contemporary art commissions from three tattoo artists working in three very different tattoo traditions. Each artist will create a unique design on a hyper realistic body sculpture which will speak to the historic artifacts and artworks around it.

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition
Credit: Photo by Paul Abbitt courtesy of National Maritime Museum Cornwall

In response to stories in the exhibition about Captain Cook’s voyages to the Pacific, Tihoti Faara Barff’s work celebrates the modern revival of Tahitian tattooing; Matt Houston’s commission is a heroic celebration of the sailor tattoo; and Aimée Cornwell, a second-generation artist and rising star in the tattoo world, illustrates how tattooing is breaking down different artistic boundaries with her own form of fantasia.

4. Master tattoo artist Lal Hardy’s recreated studio

Tattoo artist Lal Hardy has lent some of his personal collection of tattoo memorabilia to the exhibition. Considered the ‘king of tattooists’, Hardy is known for his tattoos of the punk generation and still runs a hugely popular tattoo parlour in London today.

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition

Lal’s interest in tattooing began through his family who had tattoos, and was further ignited by the Teddy Boy & Punk Rock revival during the late 70’s/early 80’s. During this time Lal found the perfect niche in tattooing designs onto the flesh of large quantities of the London masses. Lal first opened the doors to New Wave Tattoo in 1979 and is still tattooing there today.

Photo by Luke Hayes courtesy of NMMC / Lal Hardy

5. Over 400 artefacts and artworks

British Tattoo Art Revealed features over 400 artefacts & artworks including memorabilia donated by Alex Binnie @abinniepaperandskin from his renowned shop ‘Into You’ which sadly closed in 2016. Photo Paul Abbitt

Maritime Museum Tattoo Exhibition

Photo Paul Abbitt

To find out more, visit the National Maritime Museum homepage.

For more things to do during your stay at Watergate Bay, see what’s on in the blog.

Interior style – Ocean Wing rooms

One thing we receive a lot of questions about at Watergate Bay is our interior design. In fact, our last interior design post is still among the most popular on the blog. So we’ve rounded up another lot of the main features, this time from our Ocean Wing rooms.

Interior design is one of those things. Some let it pass them by, a permanent, passive feature of their landscape. They’ll happily wander in it, not knowing any better, like a cleverly designed town plan or a starry sky.

Others have a keen eye for it, feeling fabrics and inspecting colour schemes as often as they might stop to appreciate Orion on a clear night. The “details people”, if you like.

In either case, whether you’re among the impassive or the impressed, it takes a thorough process to get it right.

Household Design, the team behind interior design at Watergate Bay, are unquestionably details people. We’ve worked closely with them to produce the hotel as you see it.

Read on to find out where they sourced the elements that bring our Ocean Wing rooms to life.

Interior Design Watergate Bay Rooms

One of our ocean wing rooms after a recent refurbishment. Keep reading to see the interior design features in detail.

Interior Design Watergate Bay Rooms

1. Anglepoise 1228 floor lamp with white shade. See on
2. Cushion fabric Antartic – Herring Gul from Olicana. Visit the Olicana homepage and click on “Horizons 3”.
3. Vinci Lounge Chair from UHS Contracts. See on

Interior Design Watergate Bay Rooms

4. Original BTC Task Solo desk lamp. See on the Original BTC homepage.
5. Noble & Wood Loop Mirror. See on
6. Chair, Vinci from UHS. See on
7. Console table; a bespoke design for Watergate Bay from UHS.
8. Side table, Granville also from UHS. See on

Interior Design Watergate Bay Rooms

9. Original BTC Short Task wall light in Putty. Original BTC homepage.
10. Mustard yellow throw, available in the Watergate Bay shop.
11. Cushion fabric Tasman – Herring Gul from Olicana. Visit the Olicana homepage and click on “Horizons 3”.

Interior Design Watergate Bay Rooms

12. Kinsale side table from PR Home.
13. Outdoor Savoy chair by PR Home.

See the rooms in full detail, take a virtual tour or book from the rooms page.

Let us know in the comments if you have any favourite features at the hotel.

The J Bay cocktail

When The Wrecking Coast Distillery came in with their Cornish clotted cream gin, our bar team in The Living Space set about conjuring up cocktails to suit. Enter the J Bay. Sweet and silky smooth, this feast of colour took the “distillers favourite” vote.

J Bay Cocktail Living Space

Serves one


35ml Wrecking Coast Gin
25ml Noilly Prat vermouth
17.5ml Pama pomegranate liqueur
1/2 lemon
25ml sugar syrup

J Bay Cocktail Living Space


Put the gin, vermouth and liqueur in a shaker.
Add squeezed lemon juice and ice.
Add sugar syrup.
Pour over crushed ice in an old fashion glass.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds and a lemon twist.

Find out more about The Living Space at Watergate Bay Hotel, serving the J Bay from Monday 28 November.

Penguins 2017 reading list

From gripping psychological thrillers to exciting debuts and new novels by literary greats, Penguin Books shared with us their top titles to read in 2017.

A guide to your next great read

The Top Four

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Arundhati Roy

26 June 2017; Hamish Hamilton hardback, £20.00

Arundhati Roy The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness

In 1997 Arundhati Roy won The Booker Prize for her groundbreaking novel The God of Small Things. Now the author returns with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, her first work of fiction in twenty years.

House of Names, Colm Toibin

25 May 2017; Viking hardback, £18.99

Colm Toibin House of Names

From one of the world’s greatest writers, House of Names is a brilliantly imagined story of a family at war with itself.  Clytemnestra eagerly waits for her husband, Agamemnon, to return victorious from battle. Before he had set out he had sacrificed their beautiful young daughter to the gods. When Agamemnon returns home his wife will be waiting for him, for his death, for her revenge. And so this story of heartbreaking loss and brutal reprisal begins: their son is sent into the countryside to escape the darkness but he cannot avoid the bloody violence that swirls around the court; their other daughter, meanwhile, plots her own course of retribution.

 Three Daughters of Eve, Elif Shafak

2 February 2017; Viking hardback, £14.99 

Elif Shafak Three Daughters of Eve

A sweeping tale of faith and friendship, tradition and modernity, love and unexpected betrayal set in Istanbul and Oxford, this is the eagerly–anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Forty Rules of Love and The Bastard of Istanbul.

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

5 January 2017; Viking hardback, £12.99

Yaa Gyasi Homegoing

One of the most exciting literary debuts of 2017, this is the profoundly moving story on the bonds of family and history. Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; the consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. 

The Ones to Watch Out For

Gone: a girl, a violin, a life unstrung, Min Kym

6 April 2017; Viking hardback, £14.99

Min Kym Gone a girl a violin a life unstrung

At 7 years old Min Kym was a prodigy, the youngest ever pupil at the Purcell School of Music. At 11 she won her first international prize. She worked with many violins, waiting for the day she would play ‘the one’. At 21 she found it: a rare 1696 Stradivarius, perfectly suited to her build and temperament. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a train station café, her violin was stolen and in an instant her world collapsed. She descended into a terrifying limbo land, unable to play another note. Gone is the deeply moving story of a child prodigy and her soulmate.

My Sister’s Bones, Nuala Elwood

9 February 2017, Viking hardback, £12.99

Nuala Ellwood My Sister's Bones

One of the most exciting debut thrillers of 2017, My Sister’s Bones tells the story of Kate: a war reporter who returns to the family home following the death of her mother to find a seaside town full of terrifying secrets.

The Witchfinder’s Sister, Beth Underdown

2 March 2017, Viking hardback, £12.99

 Beth Underdown The With Finder's Sister

It’s 1645. Alice Hopkins returns in disgrace, husbandless and pregnant, to her brother’s house in the small Essex town of Manningtree.  When she left, Matthew was an awkward boy, bullied for the scars that disfigure his face. But the brother Alice has come back to is like a different person. Now Matthew has powerful friends, and mysterious business that keeps him out late into the night. Then the rumours begin: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which Matthew is gathering women’s names. A mysterious historical debut.

Swing Time, Zadie Smith

6 July 2017; Hamish Hamilton paperback, £8.99

Zadie Smith Saving Time

From the multi-award winning, bestselling author of White Teeth and NW, Swing Time is the extraordinary story about friendship, music and true identity.

Available from all good retailers.

Sean Conway – guest blog

Sean Conway, free radical. The man who swapped a corporate existence for a life of adventure.

Sean Conway traded a fiver for a life of adventure


Words: Alex Wade

Many of us know the feeling. We go to work, because we have to, but we’re not happy. We feel trapped, but can’t seem to make a change. And each day we submit to the daily grind, a sense of loss gnaws at us. We miss our younger self, the person with dreams, the young man or woman who was going to climb mountains, surf waves and live a life of adventure.

Making a Radical Change

Sean Conway – now known around the world for a series of extraordinary feats of endurance – was one of us. “I’d just turned 30, and was living and working in London, with a successful career,” says the Zimbabwean. “I was a photographer, taking commercial portraits of up to 15,000 people a year. But I was miserable. I had bad skin and was depressed with the life I’d made. I kept thinking ‘why aren’t I trekking in a jungle in Peru, or doing something like that?’”

Sean was one of us – until he decided to make a radical change. “One day I walked into the office, and said to my business partner: ‘I want out’. I sold my stake for £1. I had no money, but I knew that I wanted to go travelling and vowed to fill my life with experiences rather than things from that day on.”

Breaking Records

And some. In just five years, Sean, 35, has amassed enough adventures for a lifetime. They include cycling around the world (with a fractured spine), setting the record for sailing the length of Britain (83 hours and 53 minutes, from Land’s End to John O’Groats) and walking from his mother’s house in Cheltenham to London – for less than £48.50, the cost of the train. Eagle-eyed visitors to Watergate Bay might even have seen Sean: he swam along the Bay, not once but twice, as he became the first and only man to cycle, swim and run the length of Britain, and this year set the bar yet higher in completing a 4,200-mile, 85-day continuous triathlon of the British coastline.

“As soon as I quit my job, I started to think about ways to finance travelling,” says Sean from his home aboard the Lady Sybil, a restored Second World War gunboat. “It struck me that if I could find a record, to be broken or set, I might be able to get sponsors to help fund it. That’s when cycling around the world came to me. I felt a real flame of excitement in my belly as soon as I had the idea.”

Sean was injured in the United States during his cycling trip, and so didn’t bag the world record, but the flame kindled within was undimmed. He set about challenge after challenge – “the more bonkers, the better”, as he puts it – and acquired a notable tagline: “Britain’s most inspiring maniac”.

Books about his exploits have followed, so too work as a motivational speaker. There is never a dull moment for the former commercial photographer, who is presently contemplating – as you would – running the length of Africa. He’s also got a keen eye on learning to surf – and reckons he’ll sign up for lessons at Watergate Bay. “It’d be fitting – after all, I’ve swum and sailed Watergate Bay. I ought to learn to surf there.”

Trading a Fiver for a Life of Adventure

It’s all a far cry from his former life in corporate London, but if ever he needs a reminder of what he escaped, Sean need only look at the result of a £4 investment he made on the day he quit his job. “I bought a frame,” he says. “It houses the £1 I got when I sold up.”

That £5 symbolises the way Conway changed his life, but it’s more than that. It tells all of us that it doesn’t take much to make a difference. What we do could be a far-flung adventure, or it could be something on our doorstep. Being radical is about being brave enough to make a decision, to decide to do things differently – and who knows, it might even cost less than a fiver.

Find your own adventure at Watergate Bay. Book online or call 01637 860543 for our availability.

Stephen Mangan – guest blog

Actor Stephen Mangan talks early holiday memories in Ireland, recent experiences in Cornwall and the finer points of learning to surf with the “legs of John Cleese”.

Stephen Mangan Can't Surf
Photo: Mark Pringle

Celtic adventures and sandwiches on tap

We didn’t go to Cornwall when I was a kid. My parents were Irish so all trips west were to County Mayo. It was a 24-hour journey. Drive to Liverpool, nine-hour overnight ferry to Dublin and then a six-hour drive to the west coast. It felt like we were travelling to the other side of the planet. We always stopped in the middle of the Irish leg of the journey for sandwiches, in Longford at the Longford Arms, and every year it was always the same – they weren’t serving food at the time we got there. “Can we have some tea and sandwiches?” “No, we’re not serving food now.” Every year.

Our never-varying trips to Ireland meant I never holidayed as a kid in Cornwall or Wales or Scotland. I still haven’t experienced many of the delights Wales and Scotland have to offer but I have spent quite a lot of time in Cornwall. And, do you know what? Despite the clear lack of Irish people and the weird all-day availability of sandwiches, it’s pretty good.

The wrong legs for surfing

We can leave London early Sunday morning and be swimming in the ocean by lunch. We were last at Watergate Bay in October and that meant I needed to wear a wetsuit which, let’s face it, is not a tremendous look for a middle-aged man like me. I looked like a bin liner full of yoghurt on legs. Very long legs. Ninety per cent of my height is legs. Legs of John Cleese, body of Warwick Davis. In fact, legs that mean surfing will never be for me. My nine-year-old took lessons every day and within minutes was standing up on the board. This is because he has reasonably normal proportions. My leg-to-body ratio means that bit when you catch a wave and you leap into a crouch on the board… That’s never gonna happen. With my legs it’s like trying to collapse a stepladder, throw it up onto the board, open it and then climb up it. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Luckily I had my six-year-old with me and so could pretend I was ‘only’ bodyboarding to keep him company. Once he’s old enough to surf I’ll be able to use our now one-year-old as the excuse and then we’ll just have to keep having more children at regular intervals to explain why I’m not surfing with the cool kids.

So if one day you see me at Watergate Bay aged 85 with a bodyboard and a five-year-old, you’ll know why.

Cornwall and Ireland, the best of both

I now split my spare time between the west coast of Ireland and the north coast of Cornwall – they are both utterly glorious. Ireland has the village pub in which I’m related to 80% of the clientele; Cornwall has Watergate Bay. It’s a win-win. Wales and Scotland will just have to wait.

Book your stay at Watergate Bay Hotel online or call 01637 860543.