Top 10 things to do in Cornwall
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Whatever time of year you’re visiting Cornwall, you’ll find an array of restaurants, cafes and events celebrating the county’s food culture. The Falmouth Oyster Festival in October celebrates the oyster-dredging season in one of the last traditional oyster fisheries while, of all the fish festivals, Newlyn hosts the whopper on August Bank Holiday, in the home of Cornwall’s largest fishing fleet. Even the Isles of Scilly hosts a huge annual ‘Taste of Scilly’ food festival throughout September, while back on the mainland some of the annual foodie highlights include the Porthleven Food Festival in April, St Ives Food & Drink Festival in May, and the Padstow Christmas Market.
Rick Stein opened his flagship Seafood Restaurant in Padstow in 1975 but you need to book months in advance. Another great place to eat is Paul Ainsworth at No.6. Here Ainsworth spins bold, seasonal ingredients into modern British dishes. Also in Padstow, Prawn on the Lawn has made its mark with a seafood bar serving sustainably sourced lobsters, crabs and fish. Also try Trevisker’s Kitchen on the outskirts of town, where Henk De Villiers Ferreira’s mission is to dish up fuss-free, quality food. Topping the list in North Cornwall is Nathan Outlaw’s duo of Michelin-starred restaurants in pretty Port Isaac. The menus at both Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen (by the harbour) and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw (at the top of the hill), are driven by what comes in off the fishing boats on the doorstep.
If you prefer a more laid-back, beachside venue, wander the short distance from Port Isaac to neighbouring Port Gaverne to munch on the likes of mussels and mackerel at the waterside Pilchards cafe – an off-shoot of the stylish Port Gaverne Hotel. Or, watch the sailing dinghies beside the serene Camel Estuary in Rock, where Ainsworth took the reins of The Mariners in 2019.
As you cruise down the Atlantic Highway from Wadebridge towards the UK’s surf capital – Newquay – make a pit stop at Hawksfield and the trendy roadside cafe that is Strong Adolfos. Here you’ll find a unique mix of world flavours, motorcycle culture, Cornish ingredients and coastal life. Heading into Newquay, hipster hangouts such as Box and Barber, and the Sri Lankan-inspired Pavilion Bakery, are heading up a new wave of cool cafes. And if you’re looking for gluten-free cakes, vegan alternatives, the best coconut latté in town, and surfer talk, make sure you stop in at the Jam Jar.
18A Fore Street, Saint Ives TR26 1AB
At Beer & Bird, the free-range Cornish chicken is brined overnight, coated in their secret recipe, gluten-free breading and fried to perfection in a state-of-the-art pressure fryer straight from the USA. Alongside the tempting selection of indulgent burgers, wings, wraps, fries and sides, Beer & Bird offer a dedicated beer menu showcasing some of the World’s most innovative craft breweries. From big juicy IPAs to sweet creamy stouts, there’s something for every palate. Visit website
Riverside, Padstow PL28 8BY
Opened by Rick Stein and Jill Stein in 1975, The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow is famous for establishing an international reputation for the very freshest fish and shellfish, often landed on its doorstep. Head chef, Pete Murt and his team create simple seafood dishes with classic flavours using Rick’s recipes. Visit website
Mullion Cove Hotel, Helston, Lizard Peninsula TR12 7EP
At Mullion Cove, great food and drink are a way of life. The mission is to bring outstanding food to your table every day and make every meal exceptional. From Helford River Oysters to the finest Cornish fish; prime steak to excellent vegan dishes, the hotel takes no shortcuts in bringing you the freshest and best of the season. From the classic breakfast menu to romantic evening dining with the ultimate sea view, Mullion Cove is an experience to savour. Visit website
Wharf Road, Penzance TR18 4AA
The Old Lifeboat House Bistro is a fun-loving, dog-friendly seafood bistro with an uninterrupted view of Penzance Harbour. The bistro offers Cornish cream teas, coffee and cakes, light bites, an early bird menu and a full dinner menu. There’s also daily seafood specials, sourced locally and which vary depending on the catches landed at Newlyn that morning. In addition, you will also find a variety of creative desserts accompanied by local Cornish ice creams. Visit website
63 Trevarthian Road, Saint Austell PL25 4BY
Offering a new and interactive brewing experience, the Visit England accredited St. Austell Brewery visitor centre reveals the secrets behind its award-winning ales and the 160 year-old brewing process, with tasters included. Pop into Hick’s Bar and enjoy a hearty pub meal, including daily specials from the head chef, a pint of your favourite beer or simply coffee and cake – offering something for every size of appetite. Visit website
Cornwall nightlife venues
Cornwall cultural attractions
Image credits: ©Chris Tweten/Unsplash; Cobraphoto/stock.adobe.com; David Griffen Photography/The Seafood Restaurant; Elliott White/Beer & Bird; St Austell Brewery; Steven Joyce/Prawn on the Lawn