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Cornwall’s best food & drink

  • Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

Cornwall is renowned for fresh and locally sourced food – attracting foodies from the world over.

Ingredients and flavours are strongly influenced by its coastal location and farming heritage. The region is especially known for outstanding seafood, with dishes such as fish and chips, crab sandwiches, and Cornish pasties being popular staples. It’s home to several artisanal cheese makers, producing award-winning cheeses such as Cornish Blue and Yarg, and produces the world’s best clotted cream.

In terms of drinks, Cornwall is known for its brewing and distilling industries, with a number of exceptional local distilleries producing award-winning spirits, beers and ales. The region also boasts a burgeoning wine industry, notably for award-winning still and sparkling wines, and excellent cideries.

Cooking styles vary from simple to exotic and environments from casual to smart, although the emphasis is on excellent produce, simply cooked, and served in a laid-back beach café or gastropub.

What to try

Cornish pasties – meat- and veg-filled pastry shells that started life as fuel for miners, and a Cornish cream tea consisting of scones smothered in jam and world-renowned Cornish clotted cream.

For drinks, don’t leave without trying the locally-made sparkling wines, ciders and artisan gins.

You can visit most of the farms, distilleries and breweries to see the produce being made. See our recommendations below.

Food markets

Whatever the season your sojourn, you can stock up on fresh goodies to eat or take home at a Farmers Market close by, with many hosting weekly events for much of the year.

Top picks include Sennen, St Ives, Bude, Pendeen, Helston and Truro. Fill your boots (and reusable carrier bags) with anything from the odd piece of art and craft to meats, hand-made farmstead cheeses, free-range poultry, eggs, fruit, vegetables and locally made fare such as chocolate, bread and cakes.

The dining scene

For top-notch eating and drinking, head to Padstow (which is home to four Rick Stein restaurants plus Paul Ainsworth at Number 6) or Falmouth’s Discovery Quay area. Watergate Bay near Newquay is usually a lively spot, with both Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and The Beach Hut, and there are other great beach cafés in Bude, St Ives, Sennen Cove, Falmouth, and on the Rame Peninsula.

Cornwall is liberally scattered with traditional pubs, many serving local ales, ciders and micro-brews. Newquay is Cornwall’s party town, but with a lairy, binge-drinking scene, it’s best avoided.

Who to go with: tour operators

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  • Bodmin, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Tour guide explaining about wine to tour group on the Camel Valley Vineyard

Bucket List Experience

Camel Valley Vineyard

This family-run, state-of-the-art vineyard, set in some of Cornwall’s most beautiful countryside, has been producing award-winning wines since 1989. With south-facing slopes and mild climate of the Camel Valley, conditions are perfect for growing grapes; the result – high-quality sparkling wines that have won numerous awards, including the Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2019.

Sparkling wines produced include their flagship Cornwall Brut and Pinot Noir Rosé Brut, and Annie’s Anniversary – a single-vineyard wine made from vines exclusively pruned by co-founder Annie Lindo for over 30 years. They also produce a range of still wines, including Bacchus Dry, Pinot Noir Rosé, and Atlantic Dry. All of their wines are made using traditional methods and are crafted with care, resulting in wines that are crisp, refreshing, and elegant.

Book ahead for guided tours of the vineyard and the chance to wine taste of some of England’s best wines. Well-behaved children are permitted.

Good for age: 18+

Chocolate-making workshops at Coco Kitchen

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

children making chocolate at cocos kitchen

Experience

Families and chocoholics will love these chocolate workshops, that see you designing, moulding and decorating a variety of chocolate treats (that you take home after). A brilliant group experience for all ages, with special activities even for the toddlers.

Adult price: £25

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 1 hour

When: Selected dates

Freq: Selected dates

Colwith Farm Distillery

  • Lostwithiel, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

vistiors take a distillery course at Colwith Cornwall

Experience

This plough-to-bottle distillery, owned and run by the Dustow family, has mastered the art of transforming their potatoes into award-winning spirits, notably gin. You can book in for tours of the distillery and gin tastings, and courses to make your own custom bottle of gin.

Good for age: 18+

  • Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

A man carries a tray of oysters at the Oyster Festival.

Bucket List Experience

Falmouth Oyster Festival

Since the mid-19th century, oystermen from Falmouth have earned a living dredging oysters in the Carrick Roads and surrounding rivers. Old laws still govern the practices of the oystermen to protect the natural ecology of the riverbeds and oyster stocks. Boats with engines are prohibited in the oyster fishery; instead sail-powered or hand-pulled dredges must be used.

This annual four-day foodie extravaganza, held at the start of the Falmouth oyster-dredging season, is a celebration of both Cornish produce and the traditional art of dredging by sail and hand punt.

Expect masterclasses from celebrity chefs, cookery demonstrations, a Falmouth Working Boat race, a town parade, live music, sea shanties, oyster shucking, shell painting, and marquees overflowing with Cornish oysters, seafood, wine and ale.

Good for age: 18+

  • Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Foraging guide inspecting wild food int he woods

Bucket List Experience

Foraging with Fat Hen

Professional forager, ecologist and cook Caroline Davey has been widely featured in the press and on TV – including the BBC’s Countryfile – such is the popularity of her wild food foraging and cooking school.

The courses, which include gourmet weekends for serious food lovers, can involve gathering seaweeds and seasonal herbs, flowers, salads and vegetables from beaches, cliff tops, woodlands and hedgerows, cooking modern dishes with professional chefs, and feasting together after.

There’s no minimum age but it’s unlikely to appeal to young children – but older kids with an interest in food, nature and cooking will love it.

Adult price: £45

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 2 hours - 1 day

When: Selected dates

Freq: Selected dates

Fowey Valley Cidery & Distillery

  • Lostwithiel, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Fowey Valley Cidery & Distillery

Experience

A small family-run cidery that produces a range of high-quality, award-winning ciders. The cider is made using a blend of locally sourced apples, including rare varieties, and traditional methods. Book in for tours of the orchards and pressing facilities, followed by cider tasting. They also offer cider-making courses.

Good for age: 18+

Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm

  • Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm

Experience

Cornwall is famous for cider, and Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm produces award-winning cider the old-fashioned way. The farm offers tours and tastings where you can learn about the cider-making process, and sample different ciders. They also have a farm shop and restaurant selling locally-produced treats.

Good for age: 18+

Knightor Winery

  • St Austell, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Knightor Winery

Experience

A boutique winery that produces a range of award-winning wines and spirits, including still and sparkling wines, vermouth, and gin. Book in for guided tours of the winery and vineyards, before a tasting of their products in the on-site tasting room.

Good for age: 18+

Origin Coffee Roastery

  • Porthleven, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Origin Coffee Roastery

Experience

Established in Cornwall in 2004 by a group of enthusiasts, Origin specialises in sourcing and roasting exceptional coffee. Book ahead for tours of their roastery in Helston, or head to their café at Harbour Head in Porthleven to sample the goods (with a slice of artisan cake).

Good for age: 18+

Potager Garden

  • Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Potager Garden

Experience

Vegetarians and garden-to-table advocates should stop by this organic garden, that prides itself on producing its own organic food. Explore the gardens then sample its produce in the café. The garden hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as music festivals, workshops, and markets.

Good for age: 18+

Roskilly’s

  • Helston, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Roskilly’s

Experience

This family-run organic farm produces a range of sumptuously delicious organic dairy products, including ice cream, yoghurt, and milk – using milk from their own herd of Jersey cows.

Visitors can explore the farm and learn about the farming and production processes, as well as tucking into some homemade food and drink at the on-site cafe.

The Croust House restaurant, in an old milking parlour, has a dedicated kids’ menu and 24 flavours of ice cream.

Good for age: 4+

St Austell Brewery

  • St Austell, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

St Austell Brewery

Experience

This family-owned brewery, founded in 1851, produces a range of award-winning beers and ales using local ingredients, such as Cornish barley and spring water. They offer guided tours of the brewery, teaching you about the brewing process, ending with tastings. The brewery also runs a variety of events throughout the year, including beer festivals and live music.

Good for age: 18+

  • St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

This popular annual festival showcases the best of local Cornish food & drink, in one of Cornwall’s loveliest towns.

As you’d expect, food stalls sell locally sourced and made produce, from fresh seafood to artisan cheese. There are live demonstrations from top chefs, plus live music and entertainment.

If you can’t make the festival, consider tackling the St Ives Food Trail instead. It lists local establishments in the town offering the whole range of Cornish produce and specialities.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 3 days

When: 2nd weekend May

Freq: annually

Tarquin’s Gin School

  • Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Tarquin’s Gin School

Experience

A highly-regarded distillery producing award-winning gin using only locally-sourced and organic botanicals, and a traditional copper pot still. Book in for tours of the production process, onsite tastings – and the chance to make your own bespoke bottle of gin.

Adult price: £85

Min age 18

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins

When: Thurs, Fri & Sat

Freq: Selected dates

Tea plantation on the Tregothnan Estate

  • Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Tea plantation on the Tregothnan Estate

Experience

Tea lovers should head to this, the only tea plantation in the UK. It produces a range of fine teas, grown using sustainable and organic methods, from classic black tea to innovative blends like Manuka and Cornish Earl Grey. You can book in for tours of the plantation and learn about the history of tea in the UK, before a tasting in the on-site tea bar.

Good for age: 18+

  • Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

Exterior of the red brick building home to Rick Steins famous Seafood Restaurant

Bucket List Experience

The Seafood Restaurant

Celebrity Chef Rick Stein’s Cornish empire now extends to four restaurants, three shops, a cookery school and an assortment of rooms in Padstow; a pub in St Merryn and two eateries in Falmouth.

This award-winning restaurant and Cornwall institution opened in 1975, is the big fish. It serves up an exciting selection of globally influenced dishes such as sashimi of Cornish scallops, salmon, sea bass and brill, palourde clams a la plancha and Singapore chilli crab – using the finest, freshest seafood, caught locally in Cornwall and the surrounding waters.

Adult price: £50

Good for age: 18+

Trevibban Mill Vineyard

  • Padstow, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

exteriro landscape shot of the terrace at the Trevibban Mill Vineyard

Experience

This family-owned winery and orchard produces a range of award-winning still and sparkling wines, as well as apple juice and cider. The offer guided tours of the vineyards and orchards, that end with wine tastings in the on-site tasting room.

Good for age: 18+

Truro Farmers’ Market

  • Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK)

View of the Truro farmers market in Cornwall

Experience

A buzzing weekly farmers’ market held every Wednesday and Sunday on Lemon Quay. Here you’ll find everything from fermented foods to raw chocolate, chilli jam to craft beer. A great opportunity to sample local Cornish produce, and snack on Cornish ‘street food’.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 4 hours

When: Wed & Sat am

Freq: weekly

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -