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With its rolling green hills, spectacularly rugged coastline and turquoise waves lapping at golden sands, the Cornish coast is an unbeatable setting for a quiet pint of local ale or cider in tucked-away, centuries-old hostelries. Many of the region’s watering holes have barely changed over the years despite the masses of tourists who arrive by the coach-load every summer. And if these flagstoned inns aren’t enough, there are also funky beach bars for the full-on Cornish surf vibe and some serious sunset-watching.
A distinctly surfy vibe keeps the mood upbeat at this bustling beach bar/bistro. In summer, the terrace is the place if you want to watch stunning sunsets, but if the weather is foul, grab a table inside by the picture windows and dive into a steaming bowl of local mussels.
The villagers were worried that celebrity chef Rick Stein might turn their local into a gastropub when he took over – but it wasn’t to be. The menu is based around pub classics of ham, egg and chips or scampi in the basket, and you might even get a game of darts or skittles.
Whether you arrive by boat or ferry, the waterfront location of this 300-year-old pub is hard to beat. Owned by local oyster farmers, much of the shellfish served here is harvested nearby, with fish coming from day boats. Enjoy it all with a pint of St Austell ale on the south-facing terrace.
Next to a stunning and rugged coastal path, this stylish pub-with-rooms is just the place to switch off from modern life. In summer, grab a table in the garden and sup local beer or cider as you tuck into Cornish asparagus with poached egg or grilled local mackerel.
Run by an ebullient former opera singer, this 500-year-old whitewashed smugglers’ inn boasts stunning views across Mount’s Bay towards Land’s End. The hearty home-cooked menu changes daily and makes the most of abundant local produce. Sample fish chowder or seafood risotto with a foaming pint of Skinner’s Betty Stogs.
A smart wooden shack right on Tolcarne Beach, this buzzy bar is great if you enjoy soaking up stunning sea views and sunsets with a cocktail in your hand. In summer, booking is pretty much essential if you want a table for some local fish and seafood.
In a wooded valley between the picturesque fishing villages of Port Isaac and Boscastle, this former 18th-century corn mill is now a stylish pub-with-rooms. In the stone-built bar, local ales and a vibrant wine list accompany a daily menu showcasing produce from all over North Cornwall.
John Wesley used to preach at this handsome, 16th-century coaching inn located in the sleepy village of Mitchell. These days, however, it’s a light and airy rendezvous specialising in Mediterranean-inspired dishes using native ingredients including locally caught fish and fruit and veg from the village farm.
No TVs, no fruit machines and no mobile phone signal – if you’re looking for a timeless Cornish pub, this is it. Built in 1271 to house masons working on the church next door, this stone-built watering hole is a refuge to enjoy real ale, farmhouse cheese and locally caught fish.
A short hop from Penzance and close to the coastal path, this pretty village inn dates from the 12th century. Roaring fires and walls strewn with maritime memorabilia make this is an ideal spot to enjoy a crab sandwich or fish and chips accompanied by a pint of Doom Bar.