The Lizard is Britain’s most southerly promontory, a wild peninsula in an almost forgotten corner of Cornwall. Despite its isolation from ‘mainland’ Cornwall — or maybe because of it — the Lizard has developed a thriving foodie scene that celebrates local flavours — find award-winning restaurants, quirky beachside cafes, brilliant pubs, farm shops serving up the tastiest homegrown produce and Cornwall’s top two pasty makers!
Poldhu Beach Cafe
Right off Poldhu’s beautiful arc of golden sand is this great little beach shack — its hot chocolates are legendary and change with the seasons (strawberries and cream in summer, gingerbread and caramel at Christmas). The friendly team serves light bites and ice cream through the hatch for you to enjoy on the picnic benches on the sand out the front, so you can dig your toes in as you tuck into paninis, burgers and pasties. Stay until dusk — the sunsets are spectacular. There’s live music and pizza nights during the summer. After you’ve refuelled, it’s time for a surf — handily, board hire is next door.
Fat Apples Cafe
Possibly the loveliest cafe you’ll come across on the Lizard, the family-run Fat Apples is only a few minutes from Porthallow beach. Choose from chunky doorstop sandwiches (try the Helford crab or goats cheese with marinated fig and walnut), frittatas, ale and mustard sausage rolls… But it’s the salads steal the show — fresh, crunchy, zangy, and all the colours of the rainbow. Parking is limited but it’s only a five-minute walk uphill from the beach carpark (pop some coins into the honesty box on departure). There’s a pretty bunting-strewn garden with stripy deckchairs under canvas awnings. It gets (understandably) busy in summer so book ahead.
The Lifeboat House
After it fell into disrepair in the 1980s, Coverack’s old lifeboat house (pictured) began a new life as a fish and chip restaurant — now one of the most popular places to grab a takeaway on the Lizard. Jutting out into the harbour, the building has one of the best views in Coverack (the views down the lifeboat launch ramp from the end window are particularly stunning). Freshly caught fish arrives daily at the quay before making the 50-yard journey to the lifeboat house, where it’s coated in the lightest, crispiest batter. Wednesday night is curry night, with Goan fish, prawn and spinach curry or roast vegetable Dhansak. Currently takeaway only (but you still get to step inside to see those views!)
Porthallow Beach Cafe
The village of Porthallow is the halfway point on the South West Coastal Path. Whether you’ve trekked 315 miles to get here or have just wandered up from the beach, you’ll find plenty of delicious things to refuel on at this brilliant little cafe. Housed in an old fisherman’s loft off the beach, here it’s all about the provenance of the ingredients — everything is local, from the Cornish mussels and fish that come straight off the fishermen’s boats, to the cakes, light bites and lunches made with ingredients sourced within a few miles, and cooked and baked on site.
New Yard Restaurant
South of the Helford river, Trelowarren is a beautiful 1000-acre estate that has been in the Vyvyan family for 600 years. At the heart of the estate is the New Yard Restaurant (pictured), housed in the old stables, which hosts supper evenings (Friday and Saturday only) and Sunday roasts, its menu changing according to what’s popping through the soil in the kitchen garden that very morning. Its sustainability principles have earned the restaurant a Green Michelin Star. It shares the pretty courtyard with The Pantry, a slightly more casual affair offering freshly made bagels, cakes, pastries, wood-fired pizzas and small plates. Open Weds-Sat (opening times vary so check ahead).
Ann’s love affair with pasties started when she was summoned in an emergency to help her mother make pasties at an agricultural fair. Nearly 30 years on, Ann has become one of Cornwall’s best-loved pasty makers, you won’t find a more authentic version in the region — all their producers are based within a 10-mile radius. They have shops in Lizard village, Porthleven and Helston but you’ll need to be quick — they usually sell out by lunchtime!
The Cadgwith Cove Inn
The Cadgwith Cove Inn (pictured) is in the fishing village of Cadgwith, a little way down the coast from Coverack. The pub is still the centre of village life, which still has a thriving fishing community. It’s right on the South West Coast Path, so it’s perfect for a well-deserved stop for walkers looking for local beer or seafood next to a roaring fire. Don’t miss the sea shanties from the local group every Friday. The pub tends to get busy when they sing, so be sure to arrive early to find a spot.
Rivalling Ann’s Pasties, in our opinion, for the best Cornish pasty award, Gear Farm is a lovely independent farm shop run by people with a real passion for local produce. The pasties are stuffed with ingredients from the family farm and neighbouring fields. They also sell a selection of fruit and veg from their farm, as well as homemade bread, sausage rolls and lots of other locally-made treats.
The Shipwright’s Arms
Nestled at the foot of the river The Shipwrights Arms in Helford is a pub for all seasons, with loads of space on the terraces for summer dining al fresco, and beautiful, stylish interiors with open fires in winter. This recently rescued pub, topped with its beautiful thatched roof, opens up a bit like a tardis within. The daily changing menu features the likes of Kynance crab, lobster, monkfish and mackerel, landed on the slipway right outside, as well as all the pub classics and wood-fired pizzas in the warmer months. Tip up in summer and you might catch one of their barbecue evenings.
The herd of Jersey cows, whose organic milk is used to make delicious, indulgent ice creams, refreshing sorbets and frozen yoghurts, has been farmed in the same way for generations. You can grab breakfast and lunch at The Croust House cafe, with wood-fired pizzas, salad bowls, soups and burgers — everything is made at the farm. Afterwards, have a wander round the farm — there are meadows to explore and farm trails for children.