St Ives Harbour At Nightfall, Cornwall

The Best Times to Visit Cornwall

Want to know the best times to visit Cornwall? Our top picks of things to do each month will help you decide. Whether you want an idea for a springtime walk, love to seek out sailing regattas, or fancy observing one of the county’s quirkier events, certain months are best. For any events and venues mentioned, please check dates and opening times before travelling.

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St Ives Harbour At Nightfall, Cornwall

Visiting Cornwall in January

January is one of the best times to visit art galleries and museums in Cornwall. They are quieter than in peak season, so you can feel at ease to take your time.

Tate St Ives is a good place to begin. The gallery highlights how Cornwall has inspired artists over the last 100 years. For many art lovers the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens, formerly her home and studio in St Ives, are a particular highlight.

Or find out about Cornwall’s connections with the sea at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. With a host of galleries and exhibitions, there is always something to see and entrance fees are reinvested into projects including educational activities and conservation.

Log Burner At Chance Cottage In St Ives, Cornwall

Visiting Cornwall in February

For true romantics, wherever you stay and whatever the weather, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re with that someone special. However, Valentine’s Day or a romantic break in Cornwall in February is a wonderful idea.

Enjoy walks along the South West Coast Path, where at this time of year the waves and swells can be very impressive. If there happens to be one of Cornwall’s amazing storms out at sea, it can add to the drama too.

Then enjoy dinner for two out at a restaurant or traditional inn, or stock up at a local farmers’ market and whip up a romantic meal back at your luxury cottage. Book one of our luxury cottages with a log fire for an extra cosy winter break.

Trebah Garden In Cornwall

Visiting Cornwall in March

As spring begins to bloom, it’s one of the best times to discover the woodlands, countryside, coastal flora and gardens in Cornwall. From neatly manicured spaces to wild beauty, there is plenty to see.

Trebah Garden’s stunning coastal backdrop leads down to a beach and in March there’s every chance the magnolia will be blooming. Meanwhile, the National Trust’s Trerice House and Gardens reopens for the year in March. This Elizabethan house has a small but beautiful garden featuring an Elizabethan knot garden.

For something on a bigger scale head to Trelissick House where there are over 375 acres of woodland and gardens with formal lawns to explore, along with stunning views over the River Fal.

Food Stall At A Market

Visiting Cornwall in April

If you’re a fair-weather walker, April is a good time to dig out the walking boots and set off into the Cornish countryside. Spring has well and truly sprung and with a bit of luck you will have dry days to enjoy the seasonal highlights of daffodils and spring lambs.

If you would like to join guided walks and enjoy the company of others, the village of Boscastle’s Walking Festival offers tickets for walks with local guides to explore the Cornish coastline and woodlands.

For foodies, there’s Porthleven Food Festival, a three-day event that offers demos by chefs, tastings and local produce to buy. Or, if you’re a cider drinker, why not quench your thirst at Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm? A local producer of award-winning ciders, wines, spirits, juices, preserves and sauces.

Padstow Harbour, Cornwall

Visiting Cornwall in May

May is a good time to catch a quirky event in Cornwall. Padstow May Day, also known as ‘Obby ‘Oss Day, often attracts thousands. The streets, decorated with bunting, become the backdrop for the two ‘osses’ to prance through the crowd, being taunted by a ‘teazer’ as they go. Expect plenty of costumed characters, dancing, music and song.

Similarly, the centuries-old traditions of Flora Day are upheld in the market town of Helston. Shops are adorned with spring flowers; dancers dance into buildings to symbolise spring emerging and tales of the town’s history are acted out as part of a vibrant pageant.

Meanwhile, the Falmouth River Festival lasts ten days and offers everything from music and drama to arts and heritage to swimming and walking. Or, visit Looe Lugger Regatta, a bi-annual event that celebrates local fishing heritage with a spectacular race of Cornish luggers, traditional sailing boats with two masts.

A group of dairy cows in a green field

Visiting Cornwall in June

Summer is in the air and what better way to enjoy Cornwall than to visit the Royal Cornwall Show? It’s one of Cornwall’s biggest annual events with something for everyone, making it a fantastic family day out.

With a focus on farming and agriculture, expect everything from animals competing for best in show to a traditional steam fair, alongside music, dance, fantastic food and stalls selling everything from handmade furniture to local cheese, cider and fudge.

Meanwhile, enjoy one of the live Eden Sessions at Cornwall’s Eden Project and party the evening away to the music and hits of one of a number of well-known acts. Or, for something more serene, head to the Falmouth Classics Regatta to observe beautiful classic sailing boats racing for their place.

Picture Of Party People At Music Festival

Visiting Cornwall in July

In July there’s a smorgasbord of events in Cornwall. Bookworms should head to the Penzance Literary Festival. Held over four days, there is a wide variety of events and activities by authors, performers and poets.

For theatre lovers, the open-air performance season is in full swing at Minack Theatre. Catch a play at this unique outdoor venue by the sea, where seating is either on the grass or steep concrete terraces, for an experience to remember.

Meanwhile, the Rock Oyster Festival, hosts live bands, cooking demos from celebrity chefs, wellbeing activities such as yoga, kids’ activities such as crafts and more. There’s also Live in the Wyldes, a music festival held at an atmospheric venue in a wooded valley near Bude and the beautiful North Cornwall beaches.

The beach and harbour at St Ives

Visiting Cornwall in August

At the height of the summer holiday time, August is always a good time for family fun on the coast in the sunshine. Pretty much wherever you head you will find beautiful beaches.

Meanwhile, popular events in Cornwall include Fowey Regatta and Carnival Week for sailing races, along with a carnival procession and traditional events such as a crab-catching competition, the Fowey Harbour swim and a giant pasty ceremony, alongside firework displays and nightly music. Immediately before the event there’s Fowey Classic Car Show and a range of vehicles parade through the streets for all to see.

For something a little different head to Porthleven to witness or take part in the beautiful torchlight procession at dusk on the August Bank Holiday.

Stack Of Books Lying On Table In Bookstore

Visiting Cornwall in September

September is the month of the autumn apple harvest, so it’s a fitting time to sample some cider. One of the best ways to do so is to visit The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival where you can select from a huge range and enjoy live music too.

Keeping with the festival theme, there’s also the St Ives September Festival which is a two-week long extravaganza of music and art with events such as exhibitions and workshops held across the town. Or if you’re a bookworm, there’s the North Cornwall Book Festival in Port Isaac which welcomes some fantastic authors.

A person running into the sea with a surfboard

Visiting Cornwall in October

October is one of the best times for a walking holiday in Cornwall. The weather can still be mild compared to other parts of the UK, while the summer visitors are long gone leaving footpaths that little bit quieter than peak season.

Head off in pretty much any direction and you will find pleasant scenery and walking trails. Coastal walks have a draw all of their own as the Cornish seascapes are stunning whether it’s a sunny autumn day or the weather is more dramatic. If you prefer to be in the water on a surfboard, October can produce excellent conditions for surfing.

the domes at the Eden Project

Visiting Cornwall in November

Fancy strolling around tropical gardens in the UK in November? It might sound impossible but thanks to the Eden Project, you can. A former clay mine turned into a place of architectural splendour and botanical beauty, the Eden Project comprises huge, covered biomes filled with plants.

Enjoy a walk through the rainforest biome where there are species from tropical islands and South America, while the Mediterranean biome is beautifully fragranced with herbs, olive trees and vines.

If you are ok with heights, there’s an accessible canopy walkway for a fantastic bird’s-eye-view over the rainforest. Meanwhile, there are outdoor gardens to explore, along with contemporary artworks and storytelling to enjoy, as well as places to eat and drink, making it a fantastic day out for all the family.

The Best Times to Visit Cornwall

Visiting Cornwall in December

Many tourist attractions in Cornwall put on winter-themed and Christmas activities. So, you could book tickets for the music and light experience at The Eden Project, or if you have children, booking to see Father Christmas at The Lost Gardens of Heligan is quite magical.

Meanwhile, the village of Mousehole is worth a visit to see the annual display of festive lights around the harbour. Historic houses are adorned for Christmas too and every year Cothele’s Great Hall is decorated with a stunning, freshly-made, 60ft garland.

For last-minute presents, Truro holds a Christmas Market from early December to just before Christmas (usually open Wednesday to Sunday) where you can snap up an array of Cornish festive gifts, especially locally made foods and drink.

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