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Best picnic spots in Cornwall

There’s nothing quite like decanting the delights of your picnic basket onto a blanket stretched out over sand or grass, ready for you to tuck into delectable and local foodstuffs surrounded by spectacular scenery.

A family enjoying a wintery picnic on the beach at Hayle Towans in Cornwall

Imagine quenching your thirst with a cool glass of Cornish wine or pressé while casting your eyes over ocean, moorland, riverside or field of wildflowers before feasting on a locally-sourced banquet at your leisure as you spoil every single one of your senses.

Whether you want to polish off last night’s leftovers, pack a pile of pasties and cream teas, pick up a takeaway, or go all-out with a portable larder of Cornish produce (including some local chocolate for an extra treat), a picnic allows every catering whim to be relished at a pace and place of your individual choosing. It’s also a brilliant dog friendly activity to boot!

To help inspire you, we’ve compiled some of the best picnic spots in Cornwall where you can enjoy everything from fish and chips to your very own hamper full of Cornish delights.

Helford River

A pretty jetty surrounded by the pretty scenes of Helford River, one of the best places for a picnic in Cornwall

Situated in a National Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) nestled between The Lizard Peninsula and Falmouth Bay, Helford River is chock with prime picnic territory. Pick from Gillan or Frenchman’s Creek (keep an eye out for Daphne Du Maurier’s former house), or opt for ancient woodlands at the beautiful Bosahan Estate, which also presents its own sandy beach alongside gorgeous walking ground. Walk the riverside, take a dip off any of the secluded coves or beaches, and find a spot to claim as your own as you dine amongst placid waters and subtropical palms. You might also wish to explore the nearby green attractions of Glendurgan Gardens or Trebah, which both also provide plenty of oh-so pretty picnicking places.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

A statue of a sleeping woman at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The huge 200-acre estate in St Austell on the south coast is dotted with picnic spots and soul-stirring sights amongst its endless abundance of botanical beauty. Whether you wish to roam the estate, enjoy a picnic supper ahead of a seasonal event, join a wildlife-watching garden trail, or tuck into some of the heritage fruit and veg grown onsite at the Heligan Kitchen or Steward’s House, there’s oodles to see and do during what promises to be a top-tasting day out. The Cornish gardens are also dog friendly year-round, and home to Heligan Farm Animals and the East Lawn Adventure Play Area, making it a spoilsome visit for all members of the family.

Kynance Cove

Beautiful bright blue waters and the iconic cliffs and rock formations at Kynance Cove, one of the best places for a picnic in Cornwall

As one of the most Instagrammable places in Cornwall and beyond, Kynance Cove’s unearthly beauty had to make an appearance on our list. Located on the Lizard Peninsula, the iconic cove is one of the most picturesque picnicking spots imaginable. Striking sea stacks and islands, crystalline ocean and beautiful wildflowers comprise this magical destination. Lay your blanket out on the grass overlooking the cove and indulge in a Cornish cream tea, or sit on the sands for eye-level views over the water to take in the most dreamy of natural spaces. Should you need further refreshments, the eco-friendly café sources their food and drink as locally as possible for a winning combination of fresh al fresco eats and to-die-for views. Once you’re suitably re-fuelled and ready to go, there’s an array of walks on the Lizard Peninsula to enjoy.


People walking their dogs on Godrevy beach in North Cornwall

Affording spectacular views over the famous St Ives Bay, Godrevy is positioned to take full advantage of the three mile-long sweeping arc of sands stretching from Hayle to Gwithian in west Cornwall. Alongside the vistas, visitors will enjoy surroundings farmlands, cliffscapes, wildflowers and even a seal colony should you venture northeast along the South West Coast Path to Hell’s Mouth. Anywhere on the beach or headland will ensure the best picnicking - or if the weather turns or you run out of grub - the Godrevy Café or The Rockpool Beach Café are the perfect backups.

Golitha Falls

The rich green, moss-covered rocks and trees at Golitha Falls in Cornwall

Liskeard’s enchanted nature reserve is replete with woodland walks, hidden plunge pools and small cascades, making it an enchanted spot for a stroll with the dog or cooling dip followed by a picnic amongst the trees. The free car park is located on the River Fowey, where you’ll also find toilets and Inkie’s Smokehouse, should you be seeking somewhere for dinner after an exhilarating afternoon of exploration.

Tehidy Woods

A beautiful carpet of bluebells amongst the trees at Tehidy Woods in Cornwall

The largest area of woodland in west Cornwall, Camborne’s Tehidy Woods boasts over 9 miles of paths and 250 acres of tranquil lakes and woodlands to roam at your leisure. Situated in a National Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), visitors can pack a picnic and find a scenic spot on which to enjoy it – or attend any of the series of free activities that range from creative writing workshops to bushcraft, forest bathing and observational drawing. Free parking is available at North Cliffs, East Drive and South Drive (where the toilets, Visitor Centre and café are also located). Explore further afield with a circular walk to nearby Portreath – another beautiful spot for a picnic – or stay put to discover a wealth of wildlife, including a community of very tame squirrels!


Sweeping lawns standing over the water at Trelissick Gardens in Cornwall

A top choice for a day out with the family and dog, Trelissick’s alluring mix of 40-acre gardens, 375 acres of parkland, scenic woodland and winding coast path is a walker’s, nature lover’s and picnicker’s dream. What’s more, it’s tantalisingly close to Truro, so is conveniently situated in the centre of the Duchy for varied adventures. As well as waterside views, you’ll discover a gorgeous National Trust house, shop, Crofters Café and second-hand bookshop, so you can prolong your time here from a morning stroll to picnic lunch and afternoon tea, with a spot of keepsake buying thrown in for good measure.

Cardinham Woods

A sweep of buttercups lining the ground in Cardinham Woods in Cornwall

Stretching out across 650 acres of woodland, Cardinham Woods is a spacious place of peace amongst nature. Select a spot to suit – or head to the dedicated picnic area by the river, where a public barbecue can be used to create your own alfresco feast. Meanwhile, The Woods Café will serve up something fresh and locally sourced to eat in, outside or to take away, allowing you to continue to walk or cycle the myriad paths – or simply sit, relax and relish the wild beauty of mother nature.

Marazion Beach

Someone walking across the sand at Marazion Beach with St Michael's Mount in the distance

Drink in to-die-for views of the iconic St Michael’s Mount by laying out a blanket on Marazion Beach, which sits directly in front of the world-famous islet and castle. The village is home to a number of bakeries, cafés, pubs, delis and restaurants, so whether you fancy fish and chips on the beach, a pasty on a bench overlooking the water, or have forgotten your hamper - fret not! Alternatively, tuck into lunch or sup on a cocktail at The Godolphin Hotel & Restaurant outside on their water’s edge terrace, which sits pretty atop the beach.

Bodmin Moor

Cows grazing in the fields of Bodmin Moor

Bodmin’s gorgeous granite moorland gives visitors endless space to sit, wander and adventure amongst this special National Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), where you’ll stumble across everything from woodlands and waterfalls to lakes, fields, farmland, towering hills and ancient standing stones. Rough Tor rewards hikers with aerial-like views across the heath while providing the perfect place to rest with a picnic (there’s a car park at the base), while other noteworthy spots include Brown Willy, the Two Valleys, and the Cheesewring and Hurlers rock formations. A network of walking routes will satisfy the ramblers (and dogs), while there’s a host of things to see and do in the nearby vicinity. Take a scenic ride on the Bodmin & Wenford steam railway; visit attractions like Lanhydrock House, Bodmin Jail and the famous Jamaica Inn; explore Cardinham Woods; and arrange a stargazing session at Siblyback Lake, which is part of Bodmin Moor’s officially designated International Dark Sky Landscape.

With a little pre-planning (and some savvy holiday packing) combined with spontaneous opportunity making, you can turn your holiday – whatever the season – into its own mini food festival of outdoor dining. Simply pack a hamper, thermos, mat, blankets and even a pop up gazebo to create the eating out experience of your dreams. And if you love eating al fresco, explore our cottages with gardens for even more outdoor dining opportunities at your Cornish home-from-home.

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