We spend hours on the beach when we go camping in Cornwall. It's a bit of a no brainer. If you're going to the coast you can walk, talk and explore the local heritage all you want but, at the end of the day, there's no doubt you're also going to plenty of time down on the waterfront taking in the beaches of the area. When the sun's out, it's all about sandcastle building, sun bathing and, perhaps, taking to the wave on a surfboard. Not only is life on the coast about discovering the best beaches, though, it's also about complimenting them with truly special places to soak up the views and enjoy a good bite to eat. To help you make some speedy choices, we've picked out just a few of our very favourite seaside cafés for a light, lunchy bite beside the sea...
Godrevy Beach Café, St Ives
A sort of Chalet-cum-Café, Godrevy Beach Café (01736 757999) is a delightfully rustic little spot serving hearty breakfasts, doorstep sandwiches and lunch platters filled with fresh Cornish ingredients. This picturesque timber café combines beach house charm with tasty home-style cooking. Godrevy Brach Café is tucked away amongst the sand dunes of Godrevy Beach, a popular surfing location at the northern end of St Ives bay and conveniently located on the South West Coast Path. Stop in and sample the home-baked cookies, crisp gingerbread or simply a well-brewed coffee.
Porthmeor Café Bar, St Ives
Looking down upon St Ives’ Porthmeor surfing beach, Porthmeor Café Bar (01736 793366) matches amazing food with equally excellent views. Chill out on the deck watching the surfers with a cold beer in hand, enjoy classics from crab sandwiches to Spanish omelettes for lunch, or order a bottle of vino and graze your way through the tapas selection while the sun goes down. The conservatory-style café means that you’ll soak in the beautiful panoramas wherever you choose to be seated (and whatever the weather).
Blue Tomato Café, Rock
Offering spectacular views of Padstow across the Camel Estuary, this waterside café offers a varied menu of dishes, distinguishing it from its hungry competitors. Though you’ll find the typical burgers and nachos at hand, Blue Tomato Café (01208 863841) also offers goan-fried bream, Thai-style mussels and watermelon salad. This extremely well-situated café has a Mediterranean, Riviera feel that is nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the UK. Though it’s not the cheapest café on the list, its fresh food, unique menu, and dazzling views more than make up for those couple of extra pounds.
Talland Bay Beach Café, Looe
The Talland Bay Beach Café (01503 272088) is a delightful indoor/outdoor café, situated on Looe’s well-renowned Talland Bay Beach. You can dine on picnic tables on the beach itself or, alternatively, take a seat in one of its adjacent converted pastel-coloured beach houses and watch the kayakers and surfers do what they do best. The tempting Cornish menu includes staples such as toasted teacakes, cream teas, ciabatta paninis and 11 flavours of Roskillys Cornish ice-cream.
The Hidden Hut, Truro
The Hidden Hut on Porthcurnick Beach does exactly what it says on the, uh, hut. This low-key café can be found hidden amongst the sands, offering picnic tables for guests to dine in the idyllic sandy cove. The Hidden Hut offers English seaside staples such as Cornish ice-creams, warm pasties, and freshly baked cakes. For three or four evenings out of the month, they also put on an open-air feast night, serving up feasts such as lobster and chips, wood-fired seafood paella and more.
2 Fore Street, Mousehole
Elegantly sewn into the coastline of Mousehole, 2 Fore Street (01736 731164) is a bistro-style affordable café that boasts a vibrant and continental feel. The café offers a glimpse into the illustrious Mousehole harbour and even includes a secluded garden to enjoy warm summer days. Menus vary depending on the season but recent indulgent dishes include whipped Cornish goat’s cheese on toast, chicken liver parfait, and Dutch apple tart with clotted cream! 2 Fore Street is an excellent place to recharge your batteries after exploring the historic fishing village of Mousehole.
Porthminster Beach Café, St Ives
An elegant and palatial café dropped onto one of the most famous beaches in St. Ives, the Porthminster Beach Café (01736 795352) certainly goes out of its way to bring an opulent and Riviera-esque feel to the Cornish coast. This multi-award-winning restaurant specializes in seafood, serving up tantalising dishes, such as Cornish crab and seafood linguine, whole grilled Cornish lobster, pink roasted Cornish duck breast and poached Porthilly oysters. This luxurious eatery also offers plenty of vegetarian options, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not into the maritime menu!
Porthgwidden Beach Café, St Ives
This cute and cosy café-bar is nestled between the grassy slopes of St. Ives, offering a twist on the usual Cornish cuisine. The Porthgwidden Beach Café (01736 796791) offers an Asian twist on classic Cornish dishes, tempting diners with Thai fish curry, crispy fried squid and Thai salad. However, they also cater to more traditional English tastes too. A Blue Flag Award recipient offering breath-taking views of Godrevy Lighthouse across St. Ives Bay, the delightful Café Bar is not to be missed.
Twisted Currant, Porthleven
A traditional tea room situated by the Porthleven coast, Twisted Currant (01326 565999) specializes in good old-fashioned home baking. You’ll find luxurious home-made chocolate brownies, toasted tea cakes, and scones with clotted cream and butter! Being a tea room, you can also expect a wide selection of Cornish teas and cream teas, as well as Italian-style coffees. Twisted Currant also serves savoury options, including “Posh Toast”, a selection of toast and bagel dishes topped with avocado, poached eggs and local smoked salmon.
Tea on the Quay, Mevagissey
What would a small English business be without a clever name? Tea on the Quay (01726 844819) is a newly-established family-run tea room situated on the picturesque fishing harbour of Mevagissey. The tea room serves up traditional Cornish cream teas and coffees, as well as wholesome cakes, tarts, and scones that are all baked on-site using the finest seasonal ingredients.