Cornwall is increasingly known as a destination for serious foodies, but you don’t need to book a table at Rick Stein’s to have a memorable Cornish dining experience – you don’t even need to be by the sea. Instead, why not let the county’s spectacular landscape be the backdrop for a picnic to remember?
St Nectan’s Glen Waterfall
Close to historic Tintagel Castle there’s an equally magical and far quieter Arthurian landscape. Enjoy a picnic beside the 60 foot waterfall at St Nectan’s Glen, or look for a quieter spot in wondrous woods containing a hermitage, an arbour and mysterious rock carvings.
On the edge of Bodmin Moor is a beautiful 650-acre mixed woodland with a picnic area close to the river and free public barbecues. Alternatively, go further off the beaten track and find a spot amid the atmospheric ruins of Wheal Glynn mine, or by the ancient stone clapper bridge.
You can take your pick of places to picnic on Bodmin Moor, but Rough Tor offers the most spectacular views. Rising 400 metres above sea level, the second highest point on the moor offers uninterrupted views of a rugged landscape. It’s also close to a car park, making the ascent a little more manageable.
Another picnic high point can be found in the Tamar Valley – Kit Hill’s panoramic views take in Dartmoor, Bodmin and the ocean to the south. This is a quieter part of Cornwall and great for bird watching or exploring the historic remains of Cornwall’s industrial heritage like the solitary chimney stack at Kit Hill’s peak.
Carn Marth is one of a series of ancient hills that form Cornwall’s ‘backbone’, running down the centre of the county from Bodmin Moor to Land’s End. Make your way north from the village of Lanner and you’ll find a hilltop lake and a sheltered amphitheatre, which when not used for theatrical performances makes a peaceful and atmospheric picnic spot.
The Camel Trail
There are 11 official picnic spots to choose from on this former railway line that runs from Padstow Wenfordbridge, but you can stop and eat pretty much anywhere you want. We recommend laying your blanket at the delightfully picturesque Polbrock Bridge, or in Shell Woods, home to some of Cornwall’s most characterful oak, beech and spindle trees.
The ultimate Cornish picnic hamper
Many of Cornwall’s unique local delicacies make excellent picnic food. Cornish pasties, originally meant for a tin miner’s lunch, are purpose built to consume in the most rugged of landscapes. Other must-haves include a generous chunk of Cornish Yarg cheese, Newlyn crab sandwiches and a bag of saffron buns for pudding. Wash it all down with a bottle of Healey’s cyder, or a glass of sparkling Camel Valley wine
If you need further temptation, check out some of the wonderful takeaway options, from Rick Stein’s Deli in Padstow, Stargazy Cucina and Pantry in Penryn and Port Isaac’s Delibox.