A guide to visiting Cornwall in the summer
Are you planning to visit Cornwall in the summer? Or perhaps thinking about doing so? We can hardly blame you, with our lovely southwest county providing so much to look forward to. Whether you are young or old, travelling with friends or children, or for a romantic break, Cornwall caters for everyone. The beautiful countryside, spectacular coastlines, and laid-back vibe never fail to entice those searching for a well-earned break away. If you have found yourself contemplating a holiday to Cornwall, this summer guide to the county will provide you with some helpful tips, recommendations, and information to help with your planning.
Summer activities in Cornwall
There’s a multitude of fantastic Cornwall activities to look forward to during the summer months, no matter your tastes and preferences.
Visiting the beach
What holiday to Cornwall would be complete without some time spent at the beach? Even if you are not into sunbathing, the Cornish coast is a lovely place to relax, go for a stroll, swim, or enjoy a spot of rock pooling. There are also water sports in abundance, and Cornwall is renowned for being home to some of the best surfing spots in the country. There is no shortage of beaches to choose from in the county so no matter where you are or what you are doing, a few hours spent on the beach is easily done. From the likes of the lively Fistral Beach and picturesque Looe Beach to the golden sands of Perranporth and the quiet retreat of Lansallos Beach, there are plenty of options depending on your mood.
When in Cornwall you should certainly take the time to bask in the summer sun while enjoying a lovely coastal walk. There are some wonderful coastal trails to take advantage of, such as the beautiful Polperro Heritage Walk, taking you through glorious headlands and pretty fishing villages. There are spectacular views of the camel estuary near Padstow, and an idyllic stroll from Looe to Talland, and the famous South West Coast Path (England’s longest waymarked footpath) as just a few examples. So, make sure to pack your walking shoes and enjoy the amazing sights and restorative sea air.
READ ALSO: The best coastal walks in Cornwall
There is a wonderful collection of family-friendly attractions in Cornwall, helping to provide parents and their children with plenty of entertainment during their summer holiday in Cornwall.
One of Cornwall’s most popular attractions, and for good reason, is certainly the Eden Project, a beloved eco attraction that immerses its visitors in nature as they explore the fascinating biomes in the iconic bubbles, gardens, and exhibitions. There’s so much to learn and experience at the Eden Project, making it the perfect educational but fun day out.
Hidden Valley Discovery Park
Hidden Valley Discovery Park is a top option, particularly for families with children. Offering mazes, treasure hunts, a forbidden mansion, a miniature railway, and play areas, there’s plenty to get excited by.
Claire, from the travel blog, Tin Box Traveller, has been to Hidden Valley Discovery Park and recommended the attraction as her top summer recommendation when speaking to us: “One of our favourite places to visit in Cornwall is the Hidden Valley Discovery Park. It’s full of puzzles, challenges and magic for the whole family. Even your dog can come with you.”
Claire has also offered a top tip for those thinking about their first Cornwall summer holiday: “My top tip for anyone visiting Cornwall for the first time this summer is don’t underestimate how narrow the roads can be if you are seeking out the best beaches. Expect single-track lanes and get ready to test your reversing skills.”
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan is another brilliant attraction to visit when in Cornwall. These 19th-century gardens are some of the most popular in the UK, featuring 200 acres of history and romance, and were only rediscovered 30 years ago.
Cornwall-based family lifestyle blogger Rachel Bustin loves The Lost Gardens of Heligan and told us that those new to Cornwall should add the attraction to the top of their to-do list: “If you are visiting Cornwall for the first time, you definitely need to go to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. It’s a wonderful place to visit with the whole family. There is so much to see over the 200 acres of gardens, farms and woodland. In the school holidays, they always have fun activities for the children (which are almost always included in the entry ticket!) It takes a minimum of four hours to explore! There are many trails which are signposted for all abilities, a rope bridge, historic lost gardens and much more!”
With so many wonderful attractions to visit in Cornwall, from Saint Michael’s Mount and Tintagel Castle to Land’s End and The Minack Theatre, boredom just simply isn’t an option.
READ ALSO: Unique and unusual attractions in Cornwall
Top attractions to visit in Cornwall in the Summer
- Eden Project
- Hidden Valley Discover Park
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan
- Tintagel Castle
- Saint Michael’s Mount
- Land’s End
- The Minack Theatre
- Newquay Zoo
- Flambards Theme Park
- Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Summer events in Cornwall
Summer is a great time to visit Cornwall for many, many reasons but one of them is certainly the exciting line-up of events taking place during the warmer months. Some of the top events that take place in Cornwall over the summer typically include:
- St Endellion Summer festival
- Rock Oyster Festival
- Boardmasters Festival
- Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
- Fowey Regatta and Carnival Week
- Penzance Literary Festival
These are just some of the many awesome summer events you can expect to enjoy in Cornwall but there are loads more to discover, along with current dates and info over on Visit Cornwall.
Eat like a local
When spending time in Cornwall, you will do well to enjoy some of the delicious local grub that the county is known for. Perhaps most famous of all is the iconic Cornish pasty, perfect for a light lunch or a snack while exploring a local town.
You can’t get away with a trip to the Cornish coast without having some tasty fish and chips. Of course, you can have them anywhere really but enjoying a takeaway from a local chippy while staring at the dramatic Cornish coast elevates the experience to another level.
You can sample a Stargazy Pie, a buttery pastry filled with white sauce, eggs, potato and pilchards. Or how about a slice of Cornish Yarg, a lovely local cheese, wrapped in nettles that are picked from Cornish hedgerows. Pick a dish or two and sample a taste of local life during your summer holiday.
READ ALSO: 9 foods you must try in Cornwall
Where to stay
Many choose to come to Cornwall for their summer holidays to enjoy time on the coast, away from the hustle and bustle of big towns and cities. If this sounds like your idea of a great Cornish break, then perhaps a caravan park in Looe will be the choice for you. Looe is the perfect location to choose, being a charming little coastal town, situated around a picturesque fishing harbour on the southeast coast.
Kiara, from the travel blog, Gallop Around the Globe, has spent time in Looe and shared her love for the town when speaking with us: “What I loved most about Looe was that the town felt real and authentic. It started life as a trading and fishing port in pre-medieval times and still retains a small fishing fleet today. If you’re awake early enough, you can watch the fishermen hauling in catches of mackerel, bass and pollack. The town is also steeped in history. It’s home to an array of 16th-century buildings and one of the oldest pubs in the UK.
“Some of my favourite things to do in Looe itself were wandering the ancient streets of East Looe, chilling out at East Looe beach and Banjo pier and taking a stroll to Hannafore Point. But if you want to explore a little further afield then it’s possible to take a scenic train journey along the Looe Valley line or walk to Polperro along the South West Coast Path.”
Kelly, from the lifestyle blog Until Another Day, has enjoyed her time in Looe as well and spoke to us about why people should look forward to visiting: “Looe is a picturesque town in Cornwall that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Looe Beach is the perfect family-friendly summer spot for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the rock pools.
“There are plenty of cafes and restaurants serving up fresh fish caught just off the Looe coast. This little fishing village will leave you wanting more and more. With plenty of quaint shops, you’ll be sure to find a souvenir for yourself or gifts for loved ones back home. Visiting Looe is not complete without stopping for a cream tea or picking up a tasty Cornish pasty.
“Of course, Looe is busy in the summer months, but this little town makes for the perfect quiet winter vacation destination if you’re looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of city life.”
Things to pack for a Cornwall summer holiday
Packing for a Cornwall summer holiday is like packing for many other beachside destinations at home or abroad.
You will of course want to make sure that you have brought plenty of swimwear and beach towels for those days spent relaxing at the beach. And while Cornwall may still be subject to the unpredictable British weather, in the summer the temperature can definitely crank up so make sure to bring lots of sun cream.
Hats, sunglasses, and shorts will all be welcome summer attire, as will other seaside accoutrements such as windbreaks, beach games, and body boards. If you are a keen surfer, you will want to bring your own board with you but, for those who fancy trying it for the first time, there are plenty of locations that offer lessons and board rentals.
Make sure to bring some comfortable walking shoes for those picturesque coastal walks and perhaps even a pair of wellies as there are numerous wooded areas to go exploring.
If you fancy enjoying a caravan holiday, packing the requisite cooking equipment, food, toiletries, and entertainment will certainly be advised. You might also want to consider bringing some camping chairs along for sitting outside your caravan on those warm summer evenings – they can also be taken to the beach as well so they will receive plenty of use.
READ ALSO: Tips for first time caravan holidays
You should also look to include jackets, jumpers, and raincoats in your suitcase. While you will hopefully never need to touch them, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, the coast can be a windy place so those spectacular clifftop walks might be well accompanied by a light jacket or sweatshirt.
Cornwall weather in summer
Cornwall can experience some incredible weather in the summer. When the sun is out and the temperatures warm, there is no better place to be in the UK.
The average high temperature in Cornwall during the summer is around 19°C, perfect for enjoying the outdoors, exploring attractions, and having fun on the beach. Of course, summer temperatures can greatly exceed this figure, with the record in the southwest of England reaching 34°C.
Heat waves are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea and can be frustrating rather than enjoyable, especially for those with young families. Those travelling with children might be happy to know that the south-easterly airflow off Mainland Europe keeps the edge off when those temperatures begin to rocket.
Rain is not unheard of in the Cornish summers, as with everywhere else in the UK, but with the abundance of top indoor attractions available, there is no shortage of entertainment and no reason a holiday can’t still be enjoyed until the sun decides to reappear.
A summer holiday to cherish
We hope this guide to visiting Cornwall in the summer has been helpful. As you can see, a summer holiday in the county of Cornwall is an exciting prospect, a beloved family destination, a romantic getaway, and a surfers’ paradise. With amazing attractions, top-tier beaches, and spectacular scenery, Cornwall will draw you back time and time again for your summer hols.
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