Places to eat on the Helford
Hidden amongst the ancient woodland and quiet creeks of the Helford river are some brilliant places to eat. From top-notch restaurants in secluded valleys to quayside cafes and pubs where you can watch the world go past, as well as farm shops, delis and bakeries where you can get your mitts on the finest local produce, here’s a round-up of some of our favourite places to drink and dine on the Helford.
Cornwall isn’t short of beautiful waterfront places to eat, but the Ferryboat Inn in Helford Passage has to be up there with the best. This 300-year old pub, right off the beach, is the ultimate summer dining spot — grab a table out front and watch boats sail lazily past and children play on the beach just yards away. Their ‘farm to table’ policy in the kitchen means everything is as fresh as can be, with things like mackerel tacos, seafood linguine, and an unbeatable fish and chips on the menu. The South West Coast Path runs directly in front of the pub, making this a great refuelling stop for a pint and a plate of their legendary truffle chips. Parking is a short, sharp walk uphill.
Slap bang on the Helford with sweeping views up and downriver, The Shipwrights Arms in Helford village is a lovely pub for all seasons. Its outside terraces have plenty of room for eating when it’s fine, whilst the beautiful, cosy interiors with log fires are perfect for wintertime. The daily changing menu features the likes of Kynance crab, lobster, monkfish and mackerel, hauled onto the pub’s own slipway outside, and there are wood-fired pizzas and barbecue evenings on the terraces in the warmer months.
The Potager Garden Cafe
On the edge of Constantine on the northern fringes of the Helford, an abandoned plant nursery, rescued from dereliction 20 years ago, has been transformed into the Potager Garden Cafe (pictured above). Colourful, wholesome, feel-good vegetarian food, much of which comes from the extensive veg gardens, is served in the beautiful converted greenhouses. Outside, paths wind amongst the sprawling kitchen gardens, there are hammocks amongst the trees, chickens roaming about and flower gardens to explore. This is a real community hub, with artists’ studios and workshops onsite — visitors are welcome to wander in for a nose. It’s dog-friendly, too. Open Weds-Sun.
The Boatyard Cafe
At the head of the Helford you’ll find the lovely Boatyard Cafe in Gweek open daily between 9.30-3.30 serving light lunches, such as flatbreads, bagels and chunky sandwiches, as well as craft beer and wine, coffee and cake. The courtyard garden, right on the water, is a little suntrap — the perfect place to enjoy a coffee with the busy sounds of the boatyard and clinking masts in the background. Inside, it’s like stepping into someone’s living room, with sofas, low lighting and lots of plants dotted around. Cosy, casual and ever so comfy — we love it.
The Trengilly Wartha
For a small village like Constantine, it has more than its fair share of good places to eat. On the southern slopes of the village, the traditional, family-run Trengilly Wartha sits in six acres of beautiful gardens, watched over by Titch, the resident goat. The new chef hails from Indonesia, so the menu features plenty of fusion cooking as well as seafood dishes and all the pub classics. This is wonderful walking country so muddy boots and wet dogs are welcome. They have a couple of beautiful safari tents on the grounds for glampers, too — it’s that sort of place.
Slice of Cornwall
You’d be forgiven for missing this unassuming little place altogether, hidden as it is amongst the network of winding lanes just north of the Helford. The stylish, glass-fronted, wooden-clad Slice of Cornwall (pictured above) has become a bit of a local favourite, popular for its brunch, waffles and amazing cakes — dishes are fresh and packed with flavour. We’d recommend forgoing breakfast ahead of your visit — portions are incredibly generous. It’s a happy little place, with lovely staff, local textiles and pottery for sale on the shelves, and a terrace when the weather’s fine. Always busy so book ahead!
In our opinion one of the best Cornish pasty makers, 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.
New Yard Restaurant and the Pantry
The beautiful Trelowarren estate, just south of the Helford river, has been in the same family for 600 years. In the old stables at the very centre of the estate is the award-winning New Yard Restaurant (pictured). Its popular supper clubs (Friday and Saturday only) and Sunday roasts feature a daily changing menu, most of the ingredients for which come straight from the kitchen gardens or are foraged locally (its ethical and sustainability principles have earned it a coveted Green Michelin Star). On the other side of the pretty courtyard is a slightly less formal set-up — The Pantry offers bagels, cakes, pastries, wood-fired pizzas and small plates. Open Weds-Sat only, book ahead for New Yard.
As well as all the cafes, pubs and restaurants in the region, the Helford also has some brilliant shops and delis where you can stock up your cottage larder on local produce. Helford Stores has a bakery, deli and shelves stacked with local goodies, or head to Constantine Stores for an incredible choice of spirits, wines and beers, as well as local cheese, chutneys and snacks. If it’s fresh produce you’re after, make your way to Mawgan Stores in Mawgan-in-Meneage — great for locally-grown fruit, veg and baked goods.