For the adrenaline seekers, the nature lovers, the wild wanderers and the al fresco aficionados, Cornwall’s long list of open-air adventures will satisfy intrepid travellers and are guaranteed to thrill—and expand your entire outlook on Cornwall.
Go foraging for Seaweed, spot local marine life, donne helmets for scenic bike rides and embrace a slower pace of life on Falmouth’s Blue Flag Beaches. Discover some of our favourite outdoor activities based in the Falmouth and the Helford area.
Of all of the activities that locals relish, eating is right at the top. Cornwall’s new wave of fine dining restaurants and casually chic eateries offers a sensation for the taste buds. Since the pandemic, many local eateries have made the brilliant decision to upgrade their outdoor seating to accommodate diners wanting to enjoy their meals in the open air. Comfort and thoughtful touches have been added, from squishy chairs, warm blankets and plump pillows, to outdoor fires and covered shelters. Cornwall is more set up for year-long outdoor dining than it’s ever been. Our favourite eateries that accommodate well for al fresco dining are:
Some would say it’s an open and closed case, but we’ll let you decide if they’re the best pizza in Cornwall. Buzzing, vibrant and serving only the finest Neapolitan pizza, Pizza Pls in Bohl’s Yard, Penryn, is the place to go for neighbourhood dining and delicious woodfired pizzas for every palette.
Their oh-so -Italian cafe/pizza-style dining is informal and focused around friends sharing fine food and nice drinks. Their outside pergola with corrugated steel roof and outdoor fire allows diners to gather and eat outside in any weather.
Situated a stone’s throw from the beautiful bay that is Maenporth Beach, with its golden long stretch of sand and turquoise water, is Michael Caines’ picturesque coastal eatery, The Cove.
Its spacious terrace where diners are treated to uninterrupted views of the beach across the Roseland Heritage Coast, takes full advantage of its spectacular location. Heaters, warm blankets and a retractable roof allow guests the luxury to dine al-fresco all year round and share a glass of bubbly while soaking in the sea air.
Gylly Beach Cafe
Placed proudly on Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth, award-winning Gylly Beach Cafe offers beachside banqueting with unbeatable sparkling views
A seat on the heated terrace is the perfect place for a specialty coffee, rich hot chocolate or a big glass of wine. Calm waters, eager paddle boarders and soaring seabirds are just a few of the uplifting sights to soak in while dining at Gylly Beach Cafe, and during the day Gylly Beach Hut Bakery serves olive-laced focaccia, light brioche buns and classic fougasse a la Provencale.
With stunning views and food to match IndiDog serves high-quality food and a bouncy, social atmosphere. Dine to the clinking boats of Falmouth harbour and soak in the far-reaching views of the Carrick Roads towards St Mawes. Feast on beautiful brunches, sharing platters, sundown dinners and creative cocktails.
The Pandora Inn
Dating back to the 13th century, the historic Pandora Inn sits on a peaceful creek near Mylor, 4 miles north of Falmouth. Dining here is worth savouring as you’d be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque pub with such quaint charm and delicious food.
The Working Boat
Dining on the water’s edge has never looked so idyllic at The Working Boat in Falmouth. Nestled along The Greenbank Quay and looking across the harbour to Flushing, the pub focuses on good, honest pub grub and local brews.
If you’re seeking something more rustic and wild, discover our favourite local picnic locations.
Try A New Cycling route
Saddle up and get back to the basics with a blissful bike ride. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a cycling beginner, Cornwall has some pretty spectacular cycle paths to venture down. You can get further, faster, on two wheels than on two feet and the scenic trail from Devoran to Porteath only takes two hours each way for the average cyclist. At just 11 miles long, the Sustrans Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast is one of the shortest coast to coast rides you can do in the UK, is almost entirely traffic free and has a variety of all-important stopping places for a decadent lunch. If you’d rather leave your bikes at home, then Bissoe Bike hire have you covered.
Nestled amongst the old quarries, Bissoe bike hire have mountain bikes, hybrids with full mudguards, tandems, child tag along bikes, enclosed child trailers, tricycles and baby seats. All of their cycles are well maintained by a cycle industry trained mechanic and are new each season. Bikes can be hired on a daily rate and the price includes helmets, pump, locks, tool kit, backpack and free parking. Long term hire is also available for those seeking a cycle holiday in Cornwall.
Take To The Water
Ocean enthusiasts will be in their element in Cornwall. For something different, get out on the water this summer. Get to know the local marine life, experience the serenity of south Cornwalls glistening estuaries, see Cornish landmarks from a unique perspective and put your bravery to the test as you try out some adrenaline-inducing watersports.
August Rock Adventures
Highly rated by tourists and locals alike, August Rock Adventures will warmly welcome you onboard Harbinger for a trip that you and your family will never forget. A personal, bespoke service for small groups out on the water, friendly Skipper Iain will take you out on the rib, where dolphins and even whales can sometimes be seen in the bay.
Lap up the incredible views of The Helford and embrace the sea salt spray as you zoom across the river on Iain’s speedy RIB, with high-speed blasts around Falmouth Bay.
Clamber onto your feet with a brave wobble, stand tall above the water gazing back towards the shoreline, and embrace the bliss that comes with gliding steadily forward over the ocean under your own movement.
WeSUP stands for ‘We Stand Up Paddleboard’, they believe that everyone can and should stand up paddleboard, whether it’s for mindfulness, fitness, relaxation, exploration, friendship-forming or family time. From beginner one-to-one lessons, to sunrise tours across Gylly Bay, it’s a simple but exhilarating way to experience the ocean and explore Falmouth’s mesmerising coastline.
Take a 2-hour kayak adventure with Tom and Hetty on the peaceful inlet of Frenchman’s Creek, the inspiration of Daphne du Maurier’s novel. Koru Kayaking supplies guided tours of groups from 2-8 people on the north coast and the Helford River with friendly instructors.
All equipment is provided including kayaks, paddles, water bottles and buoyancy aids, with wetsuits also available for hire. Your guide will take photos of you on your kayak adventure, which can be purchased before or after the kayak adventure.
The beautiful thing about kayaking is that no two adventures are ever the same and that’s what keeps you coming back for more. If you are seeking an escape away from the bustling crowds and are looking for an experience that gives you a whole new perspective of Cornwall, Koru Kayaking is the activity for you.
Children’s Sailing Trust
Child-friendly adventures await at The Children’s Sailing Trust at Trevassack Lake.
Here, the small sheltered waters are ideal for learning the basics of dinghy sailing, kayaking and SUPing. Once the fundamentals of sailing have been grasped children from ages 8-15 years can take to the Helford River on their Improver Sailing Course. Taught by RYA Instructors through a mixture of formal and informal practical and theory sessions, the focus is on creating a fun environment where all students are able to develop at their own pace. With over 80 boats from go-fast Laser Pico dinghies, kayaks and rowing boats, there’s something for everyone.
View their timetable and get booked in here.
Forage for your own self-catering feast
At Cornish Holiday Cottages we are always on the lookout for unique ways to spend time in the Falmouth and Helford area throughout the seasons and it’s even more exciting when we find environmentally-friendly experiences that encourage us to connect with nature and learn more about Cornwall.
It was a delightful surprise therefore, to stumble upon the local seaweed workshops run by forager, author and guide, Rachel Lambert. On her wonderful foraging courses she not only introduces attendees to a huge variety of edible plants and marine algae (while teaching the best way to sustainably harvest them) but she encourages creativity in the kitchen through her eye-opening seaweed recipe ideas.
She starts each workshop with a chat about the reality of what’s happening to our seawater, our impact on our environment and how important it is to keep our seaweed in place, because they do so much for other mammals and sea creatures, and produce oxygen.
She then explains the best way to harvest them, how to recognise them, when not to pick them, how much to take, how to dry them and ways in which you can use them.
You will then sit down and eat tasters that she will pre-make into delicious things such as seaweed hummus with seaweed crackers and seaweed meringue with wild nori and praline.
If you’re seeking wellness or mindful activities to complement the Cornish lifestyle and your own need to unwind on holiday, a yoga session on Gylly Beach will help recharge and rebalance.
Spend dawn strolling along the peaceful oceanfront and taking a dip in the jade-coloured water before joining a sunrise yoga session that you won’t forget. From £25 per person join Lauren, founder of The Salt Sisterhood, a travel company organising yoga and saltwater retreat experiences for women, on Falmouth’s picturesque Gyllyngvase Beach for beach yoga and shoreline meditation.