Top 10 Cornish picnic stops

Cornwall’s outstanding coastline, rugged uplands and peaceful woodland areas make it the perfect place for a spot of al-fresco dining.

We have compiled our Top 10 favourite spots to ensure your next picnic is one to remember!

Kynance Cove, The Lizard Peninsula

Voted the West Countries favourite picnic spot by readers of the Western Morning News, Kynance Cove is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty located on the western side of the Lizard Peninsula. A popular beach resort since the Victorian era, Kynance Cove boasts clear waters, white sands and rare serpentine rock formations.

The cove is accessible via a set of steep steps with National Trust parking facilities available on the downs above. Please note that although the beach is dog friendly a seasonal dog ban is active between Easter Sunday and 30th September. Our top tip - arrive early if visiting in the summer.

Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth

Lying on the North Coast between Newquay and Padstow, Bedruthan Steps draws its name from the large slate outcrops scattered along the beach supposedly placed there to be used as stepping stones by the Cornish giant “Bedruthan”.

The cliffs at Bedruthan have experienced 1000s of years of erosion leaving several impressive volcanic stacks that form a series of columns stretching from Pendarves Island to Diggory’s Island.

Fancy a night-time picnic? Bedruthan Steps was recently voted as one of the top star gazing spots in the UK.

Access to the beach can prove difficult however is well worth the effort. A privately owned car park is located near the top of the cliffs. Please note dogs are allowed onto the beach however bathing is unsuitable at all times.

Cardinham Woods, Bodmin

Cardinham Woods is a beautiful 650-acre area of mixed woodland located in the valley of Cardinham Water river. Popular with walkers and cyclists of all levels there are four sign posted walking trails to follow with the Lady Vale Walk being one of the first walks to be awarded Millennium Miles status by the Fieldfare Trust.

A fantastic picnic area is located close to the river with public BBQs available to use free of charge. The Woods Café can also be found in the very heart of the woods serving delicious lunches, fresh bakes and steaming coffees.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Just a stone’s throw from the centre of St Ives, Porthmeor Beach is one of only a handful of beaches in Cornwall to hold the prestigious Blue Flag award and is popular with surfers and families alike. Overlooked by the iconic Tate St Ives building, Porthmeor Beach has all the facilities you would expect from a world class beach including the Porthmeor Beach café, a seasonal lifeguard service and the St Ives Surf School.

During the high season car parks in St Ives fill up extremely quickly so make sure you arrive early! Please note that although the beach is dog friendly a seasonal dog ban is active between Easter Sunday and 30th September.

The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno

A must-visit for anyone with a love of the arts. The Minack Theatre is Cornwall’s world famous open-air theatre carved into the granite cliffs overlooking Porthcurno Bay. Hosting its first performance in 1932 the theatre now attracts in excess of 100,000 visitors per year.

From March till September the theatre is open to day visitors from 9:30am until 5:30pm. The theatre is however closed to day visitors whilst performances are taking place so please visit the Minack website to avoid disappointment.

From October 31 until March the theatre is open to day visitors from 10am until 3:30pm. Free car parking is available for visitors and performance ticket holders.

Camel Trail, runs from Wenford Bridge to Padstow

There is nothing like a coastal bike ride to build an appetite! The Camel Trail is an 18-mile multipurpose route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders stretching from Padstow to Wenford Bridge via Wadebridge and Bodmin. The trail follows the route of an old railway line once used by the London and South-West Railway.

Bike hire is available in Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow with the 5-mile track between Padstow and Wadebridge taking approximately 45 minutes to complete. This section of the trail follows the south bank of the estuary, crossing the old iron bridge over Little Petherick Creek before reaching Wadebridge. More advanced cyclists may wish to push on towards Bodmin.

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey

Lost for over 70 years, the 19th century gardens are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. The 200-acre estate near Mevagissey is now home to an astonishing collection of plants, exotic glasshouses, a kitchen garden and an assortment of walled gardens. Heligan is also home to Cornwall’s only outdoor jungle garden and to one of the longest Burmese Rope Bridges in Britain.

A gift shop, licensed tea room and several picnic areas can also be found on-site. The gardens are open all year round except Christmas Day. Please visit their website for more detailed information on opening times and for a full price breakdown.

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Another Blue Flag status beach, Gyllyngvase is a 15-minute walk from Falmouth town centre. Gyllyngvase Beach is fantastic for water sports and is the largest and most popular beach in Falmouth. The beach is also home to the Gylly Beach café, bar and restaurant open all year round for coffee, cakes and lunchtime treats.

Please note that although the beach is dog friendly a seasonal dog ban is put in place between Easter Sunday and 30th September.

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, near Torpoint

Tucked away in the far south-east of the county, this extensive country park offers both formal gardens and open parkland, much of it with views of Plymouth Sound. Walks and cycle routes take you through woodland and across the ancient deer park to the smuggling villages of Kingsand and Cawsand.

Take your own picnic or choose to eat at either the Orangery cafe or up in the stable block.

Polly Joke Beach, Crantock

Polly Joke Beach (also known as Porth Joke Beach) is a small, quiet cove situated between Holywell Bay and Crantock Beach. Despite being only 5 miles from Newquay this hidden gem is relatively unknown and often overlooked.

Access to the beach is limited with a small car park being located half a mile inland. Please note dogs are welcome all year however the beach does not receive lifeguard cover.

Credit: James Spencer, Newquay

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