Walk, cycle and lunch your way through Cornwall: The best trails with a café nearby
Some springtime inspiration for a day in the great outdoors
Whether you feel more at home on two feet or two wheels, Cornwall has plenty of fantastic walking and cycling routes for you to discove. From challenging off-road bike trails to family-friendly woodland walks, you’ll never tire of exploring the county’s wild and rugged landscape. Get inspired for a day in the great outdoors with our favourite walking and cycling trails in Cornwall, plus recommendations on the loveliest local cafés nearby.
Go off-road at Cardinham Woods
With its steep-sided valleys and high-climbing corners, keen mountain bikers will relish the challenging trails at Cardinham Woods in North Cornwall. Take to the wooded slopes and tackle the 12km Bodmin Beast trail as it steers you up into the trees, or take on Hell’s Teeth to be rewarded with rolling woodland views over the valley. Book ahead with Trailmunki and hire mountain bikes alongside your fellow thrill-seekers, or opt for a family-friendly stroll along the Ladyvale walk, a mostly flat route that’s great for dogs too.
Afterwards, duck into Woods Café for a spot of lunch as the children let off some steam in the playground just outside, or brave a paddle in the river as the sun warms the shallows.
Ideally located for exploring the best of Cornwall, Mill Barn sits on the edge of Cardinham’s picturesque fir-lined valley, sleeping 6-8 guests with availability for a blissful break. Plenty of day trips await, whether it’s a foodie afternoon at Trewithen Restaurant in nearby Lostwithiel, or a day on the dog-friendly beach at Daymer Bay.
Take in the view at the Lanhydrock Estate
A pastoral paradise for families, the sprawling country estate and gardens at Lanhydrock make it a popular spot for weekend bike rides and family walks. Take a wander along simple scenic routes crossing rivers and carriageways, venture across beautiful vast parkland with four-legged friends or hire a bike from the cycle hub and head out onto the woodland trails. Lanhydrock’s network of winding paths cater for a range of ages and abilities, from the easy Lodge trail to the trickier routes of Hart and Timber.
On the way back, pop in for barista-made coffee and a slice of homemade cake at Park Café, or pack a picnic and enjoy a well-earned break between trails. If those young at heart still have energy to burn, there’s a lovely wooden play park to keep them occupied while the grownups browse the plant nursery just opposite.
A tranquil base for countryside adventures, retreat to Callywith and embrace the Cornish way of life. Sleeping four guests, while away afternoons in the games barn, sunbathe on the lawn or feed the local pheasants as they wander the grounds, just a five minute drive from Lanhydrock.
Slow down the pace on the Camel Trail
One of Cornwall’s most beautiful and iconic stretches, the Camel Trail runs 18 miles from Wenfordbridge to Padstow, passing through the cycling hub of Bodmin and the pretty town of Wadebridge en route. Set off from Wadebridge and enjoy a leisurely stroll or a day on the bike as the trail leads you west past the striking Penqueen Quarry, before hugging the Camel Estuary as it flows gently into Padstow’s turquoise harbour.
A paradise for birdwatchers, the eastbound route from Wadebridge to Wenfordbridge curves 12 miles through pretty wooded valleys and along a disused railway line. For an afternoon pick-me-up or that obligatory cream tea on the return ride, stop off at the Snail’s Pace Café – an off grid bike café set in the delightful quiet valley at Wenfordbridge. Take a seat outdoors and surround yourself with nature as you browse the ever-changing menu, or head inside the flower-filled conservatory to rest a while.
With plenty of bike hire options on your doorstep, relax at The Watermill. Sleeping 2-4 guests for a last minute getaway, the characterful cottage is just 15 minutes from the Camel Trail.
Cycle from coast to coast on the Mineral Tramways
For those wanting to explore the best of the Cornish coast on two wheels, the 11 mile Coast to Coast Mineral Tramways track is a fantastic stretch combining magical sea views with off-road cycling. Passing through former mineral railways and punctuated by charming fishing villages on either side, the purpose built trail runs from Portreath on the north coast to Devoran on the south. Enjoy a gentle amble through ancient heathland towards the Poldice Valley and along the historic Chasewater Railway, or choose to join neighbouring routes like the Wheal Busy Loop and Tolgus Trail for a longer day out.
A handful of lovely local cafés along the way provide the perfect excuse for respite and refreshments. Serving homemade pasties and Roskilly’s ice cream, as well as freshly ground coffee and locally brewed cider from its beach hut style café, Elm Farm transforms into a sociable hub on sunny days, not far from some of Cornwall’s best-loved beaches. Meanwhile, The Hub at Portreath is a fabulous destination for cyclists, families and friends alike, with bikes available to hire and fresh food served in the coffee shop all day.
Whether it’s a cycling holiday with friends or an outdoorsy break with the family, Cardinham Barns provides a picture-perfect setting for a luxury staycation. Call 01208 895570 for more information or to discuss your stay with our team.