The best new things to do in Cornwall

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Categories : Travel news

Food and drink

Driftwood Restaurant
Cornwall's first Michelin star for a Cornish chef was won this year by Chris Eden at the Driftwood Hotel in Portscatho. Chris's dishes include fillet of mackerel with heritage tomato, pickled gooseberry and elderflower salad; seared john dory with cauliflower, vanilla, lime and curry; roast cod with samphire, brown shrimps, olive gnocchi, Fowey mussels and shellfish bisque. Three courses cost ?49.

Weekend foraging courses with Chris are available this summer, and include a morning of foraging for wild ingredients followed by a woodland picnic accompanied by Cloudy Bay wine (the New Zealand wine brand is sponsoring the weekends), a trip out to sea with fishermen to net some fish, a cooking masterclass and a three-course meal, with tuition on wine pairing. Four weekends are available in August and September for ?870 for two people, or ?700pp, includes two nights at the hotel, transfers, all meals, wine and activities.
• 01872 580644, (doubles from ?170)

Tregothnan estate
The grand estate of Tregothnan near Truro, home to the Boscawen family since 1335, has lovely gardens and its own tea plantation, and offers new tours, courses and retreats. A tour of the gardens plus tea tasting at the Scarlet hotel in Mawgan Porth, followed by a gourmet meal by the Scarlet's new head chef, Tom Hunter is available on 16 August for ?105pp (call 01637 861800 to book).

Or stay in one of the estate's holiday cottages (from ?399 a week, sleeping six) and Thom Hunt, the hunter-gatherer from Channel 4's Three Hungry Boys, will for ?95pp come and cook dinner at your cottage (selected dates, call 01872 520000).

The estate's Smugglers Restaurant and Tea Bar is now open from noon as well as in the evening (booking essential at night), offering lunch (maybe mackerel pate, or a Davidstow cheddar sandwich) and afternoon tea (from ?5.50, and ?12.50pp for the ultimate blow-out with a choice of teas and cakes) in a cottage that dates back to the 15th century.

Untitled by Robert Wright
Opened last February in Penzance, this restaurant serves tapas made from Cornish ingredients (Fowey oysters with merguez; white bean and chorizo stew) in a bright, white, art-filled space overlooking the harbour. It was recently awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, given to restaurants serving 'good food at moderate prices'.

This year the chef owner has been busy, not only has he turned 40, had a baby and got engaged, but he's opened the Newlyn Cheese & Charcuterie (1 New Road, 01736 368714, with a fab selection of Cornish and British artisan cheeses – from garlic yarg to a hard goat's cheddar and a bakeable sheep's cheese – and cured meats, in a tiny shop.
• Abbey Street, 01736 448022,

Porthgwidden Beach Cafe
This cafe was named best coastal restaurant 2012 by Coast Magazine. On the beach on St Ives' "island", it has a newly done-up decked seating area, beach hut decor inside, Mediterranean/Asian-influenced food such as crispy calamari with citrus white miso dressing and black spices, Cornish crab open sandwich or crab linguine with mussels, chilli and garlic. Its sister venue is the Porthminster Cafe (01736 795352,, also in St Ives, which rents out beach huts by the day.
• 01736 796791,

The Watch House
In St Mawes, a small fishing village on the Roseland peninsula across the harbour from Falmouth (a 15-minute ferry ride), the Watch House has just opened to offer reasonably priced dishes such as buffalo mozzarella with yellow nectarine, mint and rocket salad (?5.50), seared St Mawes scallops with peas, lettuce and onion (?7.50), Cornish rib eye (?16) or risotto of tiger prawns, mussels and chorizo with saffron and parsley (?12.50) – it also does takeaways such as posh fish tacos, plaice and courgette fritti and a crispy squid cone with chilli salt, garlic and lime. St Mawes ( is great for a fishing or sailing trip, a visit to St Mawes Castle, and the quiet beaches of Roseland.
• 1 The Square, 01326 270038,

Lewinnick Lodge
This modern British restaurant on the Pentire headland near Newquay has just added 10 light, airy guest rooms, and is offering surf, golf and tennis lessons. Non-residents can visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner (dishes include crispy twice-cooked duck leg for ?16, and Lewinnick fishcakes for ?11.50) or just to enjoy a beer on the terrace overlooking the sea.
• 01637 878117, lewinnicklodge, doubles from ?130 B&B

Rocket camping
We'll keep our fingers crossed on the weather front and let you know anyway about Rocket Gardens camping, a new site on the Lizard with "boutique tents" decorated with gas lamps and quilts, with private shower and toilet, barbecue and patio, set in their own acre of private meadow – they costs ?490 a week in summer, ?420 in September, or you could just pitch your own tent – ?5pp per night, kids ?2.50. Guests can pick salads in the garden (Rocket Farm does organic veg delivery boxes), collect eggs and sit round the campfire. The website has a handy section on what to do in the area, including a rainy days section – suggestions include Flambards theme park (01326 573404,, Poldark Mine (01326 573173, and Falmouth's Ships & Castles swimming pool (Castle Drive, 01326 212129,
• 01326 222169, ,

St Moritz hotel
In Trebetherick, near Rock, the St Moritz hotel has bright white modern rooms in a new 1930s-style building with Cowshed toiletries and an indoor pool. It now gives guests the keys to their own private beach hut – each has a nostalgic name such as Punch, Judy, Lolly and Pop, and comes with chairs, a table and blankets.
• 01208 862242,, rooms from ?160 B&B in July/August

Near Redruth, Heartlands is a major new free attraction with botanical gardens, the biggest free adventure playground in Cornwall, art galleries and an exhibition centre at Robinson's Shaft, a mine that was once a focal point of the tin mining industry. The site is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape world heritage site, and highlights the international importance of Cornish mining – at one time tin was the most sought-after metal on earth. Miners from Cornwall were at the forefront of the Californian goldrush, and they shared their skills miners in Mexico and South America. The Totem Circle is an amphitheatre hosting performances, there's a cafe, and a farmers' market every third Saturday of the month.
• Dudnance Lane, 01209 722322,

Tate St Ives
This summer Tate St Ives has a show by American artist Alex Katz until 23 September, and free family drop in sessions from 27 July-31 August from 10am-5pm, with games and activities.

Pentillie Castle
With views over the River Tamar and Dartmoor, Pentillie Castle in St Mellion, near Saltash, hosts outdoor theatre production throughout the summer, including the Importance of Being Earnest on 19 July, Macbeth on 2 August, The Sword in the Stone on 12 August plus vintage sports car event Pentillie Festival of Speed 25-26 August.
• Paynters Cross, 01579 350044,

Fish Factory Art Space

Since it opened last May, Fish Factory hosts public events and exhibitions, and anyone can attend the launch party for the summer exhibition on 21 July from 7pm – the show will then run until 22 September.

• Falmouth Wharves, North Parade, 07810 036 155,,,

World Bellyboard Championships
The highly silly World Bellyboard Championships are held at Chapel Porth beach in St Agnes on 2 September. All are welcome to show off their skills with an old-fashioned wooden board. Wetsuits are banned, and prizes are awarded for the best swimwear and hats (vintage is popular); there's also a bake-off, a film show and a bar.

Falmouth's first Splash festival takes place 7-16 September, with a book festival featuring Michael Morpurgo, Philip Moran and a "chick lit" evening, a sculpture trail and a British Surrealists exhibition at the Falmouth Art Gallery.

Electric Beach Festival
On Saturday 28 July, acts including The Nextmen, De La Soul and the Breaks Collective head to Watergate Bay in Newquay for a massive beach party.
•, tickets from ?24.50 adults, from ?12 under-10s

Near Helston on the Lizard peninsula, the National Trust's Godolphin, a romantic house with gardens unchanged since the 17th century, opened a special textured barefoot walking trail this spring. It aims to encourage "barefooting", said to promote wellbeing.
• Godolphin Cross, 01736 763194,

The Clay Trails
There are many traffic-free cycle routes in Cornwall (see for ideas), but one of the recently expanded collections is the Clay Trails, a 12-mile series of off-road routes around St Austell, taking in the Eden Project and a new section to Wheal Martyn Country Park. The Camel Trail has also been extended to reach a tearoom at the Wenford Bridge end, and into Bodmin town. Download a map at

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