We’ve left no picnic blanket unturned in our quest to find the best spots in Cornwall for an alfresco feed.
The result is this definitive list of seven superlative places to picnic. So fill your basket (or let our Wild Café put a little packed lunch together for you), grab your rug and your thermos, and enjoy!
Polly Joke, Newquay
The short walk from Cubert Common to quiet, tucked-away Polly Joke Beach is a good way to work up an appetite for a beach picnic. There are some intriguing caves to explore and plenty of rock pools to investigate. Be warned – there are no public toilets so it’s wild weeing all the way here.
Cardinham Woods, Bodmin
A great place for an adventure picnic, Cardinham offers four walking and cycling trails as well as plenty of stray-from-the-path possibilities for those that fancy a more fairy tale experience. Or, you can just cheat and tuck into homemade sandwiches and cake from the lovely, organic Woods Café. Any which way is a winner. Remember money for the car park. There are public toilets for those who eschew weeing wild.
St Agnes Head and Chapel Porth Beach
Not one for a windy day, as it’s very exposed and your blanket might well blow away! In clement weather, however, this expanse of National Trust-owned grassland atop St Agnes Head has grand views along the north coast. A vast low tide beach and a sea of glowing heather make it hard to believe this area was once an industrial landscape. The enigmatic buildings perched on the cliffs provide a reminder, though, of St Agnes’ tin and copper mining past. Post picnic, you can go for a stroll around the network of paths at Wheal Charlotte, Wheal Coates or Trevellas to discover more of this World Heritage Site.
Lappa Valley, St Newlyn East
How about a locomotive picnic? At Lappa Valley Steam Railway near Newquay, there are three miniature railways running through a conservation oasis where wildlife thrives in a protected environment. It’s a great place to enjoy peace and quiet away from it all and there are picnic tables scattered about for you to enjoy a sit down alfresco meal. You can even leave your lunch in Lappa’s gift shop until you’re ready to eat, so you don’t have to cart it round with you, and there are plenty of toilets.
The Camel Trail, Bodmin
For a picnic with pedals, try this popular cycle trail that runs between Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin. You’ll find it’s more-or-less 18 miles of continuous picnic perfection. Choose a spot along the riverside, or an inland cove, and enjoy stunning views of the Camel Estuary while you munch. You can hire bikes with trailers to carry any children too young to ride themselves, and that means you can really load up your hamper as you won’t have to haul it around yourself.
Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth
Okay, so we’re biased…but we’re pretty sure you won’t want to argue with us once you’ve spread out your blanket, sat yourself down and feasted on your lunch and the view. Bedruthan Steps is just a short stroll up the coast path from us and isalso known as the Giant Steps – owing to the massive stands of rock scattered along the beach that at high tide look like the stepping stones of a giant. This one’s a winner for those of you who’d like to try a night time picnic, as it’s recently been named one of the best places to stargaze in the UK.
Carnglaze Caverns, St Neot
A picnic in a cave? Rude not to, we say, as these three man-made caves – part of Cornwall’s mining heritage – formed as part of a slate quarry in the Loveny Valley – are full of fairy magic. You can take a tour of the three gigantic caverns, which have a constant temperature of 10ºC – a welcome relief from excessive heat and great shelter from the rain. The lowest of the three caverns even has a lake. You can wander around 6.5 acres of shaded woodland until you find the enchanted dell, which legend has it is filled with faeries, guarded by loyal dragons and home to hobbits and other wondrous woodland creatures.