Food and drink
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Not only does the south west offer some of the world’s best walking, it’s also a haven for foodies.
On your journey along the South West Coast Path, you’ll encounter traditional pubs, beachside cafés, delis, rooftop bars, pop-up street food vendors, Michelin star restaurants and everything in between. And if you’re looking to wet your whistle, we’ve got you covered there too!
If you’re coming to the south west, there’s a few things you simply have to try while you’re here.
You’ll spot this iconic afternoon treat being served up all along the Coast Path, but particularly in Devon & Cornwall where Cream Teas are more of an institution! Usually consisting of a pot of tea, two freshly baked scones, jam and lashings of indulgent clotted cream - you’ll need to walk a fair few miles to earn this one. But what to put first, the jam or the cream? A question that anyone local to either county is sure to have an opinion on. So that you’re in the know, in Devon the cream goes first and then the jam and in Cornwall it’s the other way around. If you’re not sure which county to side with, you’ll just have to try it more than once!
(Photo: The Walkers Hut, East Soar Farm, Devon)
Another south west specialty that has caused some friendly rivalry over the years, is the humble pasty. Both Devon and Cornwall lay claim to its creation, but wherever you are in the region, this savoury snack is guaranteed to hit the spot. A traditional pasty is minced meat, potato, onion and swede - all brought together in a flaky short crust pastry. In Devon these are crimped along the top and in Cornwall, down the side. There are many other takes on the traditional recipe such as Cheese & Onion or more exotic flavor combinations like Moroccan chickpea. Some eateries in the south west offer vegan pasty options too, so a great option for those eating a plant-based diet. More vegetarian and vegan options can be found at https://www.happycow.net/
Fish & Seafood
630 miles of coastline can only mean one thing, some of the best fish & seafood around! We’d recommend you start with a traditional battered cod or haddock, with ‘chip shop chips’ eaten whilst overlooking the sea (it really does make it taste better!). Mushy peas, gravy or curry sauce are all great additions on the side. Brixham is home to an award-winning fish market that is well known for some of the freshest seafood around, including famous Brixham crab bit wherever you are along the Path, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For a more sophisticated dining experience, check out on of the many Michelin star chefs who call the south west home such as Nathan Outlaw, Paul Ainsworth, Rick Stein, Michael Caines, Mitch Tonks or Simon Hulstone.
(Photo: Rockfish, Brixham)
Walking 630 miles is thirsty work but thankfully on the Coast Path, you're never far from a pub or café where you can stop and grab a refreshment.
In the south west, we’re incredibly proud of our local produce, and many businesses along the Path stock items that have been made just a few miles away. Buying local also helps to sustain that special link between the landscape and its harvest and is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. From coffee roasters to micro-brewers, our artisan producers take full advantage of the region’s lush pastures, microclimates and sheltered river valleys to bring you some of the best beverages you can find. You can sample Somerset scrumpy, discover craft gins from Devon, sip wine from a Cornish vineyard or kick back with fresh fruit juice from a Dorset orchard. Whatever your tipple, you’re guaranteed to find something you love.
(Photo: Polurrian on the Lizard, Cornwall)
If you’re looking to spend the day on the Path with a stop off for some well-deserved food and drink, check out our café walks and pub walks. We also love hearing your recommendations, so if you’ve visited somewhere special let us know! Search for places to get refreshment along the way here. Contact us here.
Tips for Eating and Drinking on your walk
A hearty, home-cooked breakfast is often included by your accommodation provider, so take advantage of this to make sure you are fully-fueled for a day of walking. Many also offer packed lunches if arranged in advance so ask about that when booking or at check-in. Don’t forget to take plenty of water and snacks with you – high energy snacks like fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola and energy bars are great for keeping you going and are light to carry. And if in doubt, ask your hosts for recommendations on where to eat or have a drink in the evening, locals always know the best spots!
Are you a food and drink business on the Path?
We welcome over 9 million walkers to the South West Coast Path every year and over 56% of people walking the Path will eat out at a pub, café or restaurant as part of their experience.
If you’re a food and drink business on the Path and would like to conenct your business to the Trail on our website and in our Complete Guide, find out more about becoming a Way Maker. Starting at just £25, you can boost the number of visitors you have and help us look after the Path.