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Top things to do in Cornwall this autumn

Cornwall is not just to be enjoyed in summer, as the beaches, coastline and countryside are equally as beautiful in the autumn months. From cosying up on the beach with a hot chocolate to pumpkin picking in the countryside, there are plenty of activities perfectly suited for the slightly colder weather, so much so, many believe it’s the best season to visit one of the caravan parks in Cornwall. In this guide, we reveal some of the best things you can enjoy in Cornwall this autumn.

Pumpkins on a bench

Go pumpkin picking

Nothing will get you in the autumn spirit quite like pumpkin picking, which is a great activity, to be enjoyed by the whole family. You can try and find the perfect pumpkin at Trevaskis Farm, who welcome visitors to come and pick their fruits and vegetables all year round.

We asked Serena from the farm to reveal what to expect when you visit their 28 acres of countryside: “We welcome everyone pumpkin picking – which will start soon! Take a look at our Apple Day on 6th October – thousands of people flock here for Hog Roast and local cider as well as lots of activities for the kids. Pumpkin trail around the farm, face painting, bouncy castle – we have a farm trail where the kids can get up close to piglets, donkeys, ponies, cows and their calves, hens, ducks, geese, sheep and goats! It is such a fun day out for all the family.

“Once the kids are exhausted, why not grab a delicious slice of one of our 40 or so famous puddings and a mug of frothy hot chocolate or coffee or tuck into homemade burger and chips! Take home some fabulous local artisan products or fresh produce from the farm from our award-winning farm shop.”

Go for woodland walks

Sun setting through the trees

Cornwall has many beautiful gardens to choose from, and with the stunning autumn colours from the leaves, there is no better time to explore them.

Charlotte, who writes about her life in Cornwall on her blog Charlotte Rick, tells us: “I love Autumn walks – it’s the perfect time to explore new places without it being really busy. There are so many beautiful woods in Cornwall like Tehidy or Idless which are so pretty during Autumn when the leaves are falling.

You may even be able to spot some autumn wild berries. Poppy adds: “I love picking blackberries and sloes to make jam and gin. For me, it’s the best time to be in Cornwall, the calm after the summer and preciousness of the last sunny evenings before the clocks change.”

Have a picnic on the beach

Group of people sitting on the beach

Picnics, or BBQs, aren’t just to be enjoyed in Summer. Wrap up in a few extra layers, pack some camp chairs, blankets and delicious food and drink, and you’ll be ready to enjoy a cosy meal on the beach. We recommend choosing warming soup, bread and cheese.

Karen from Mini Travellers, a family travel blog, suggests other activities that can be enjoyed on the beach in autumn: “There are loads of things that you can do such as fly a kite, create sand sculptures, play football, go fossil hunting, etc. We would make sure we take a waterproof-backed picnic blanket and a couple of blankets to wrap around our knees for when we are sitting down.

Autumn beach trips are a popular choice. Poppy, the owner of the quirky gift shop Poppy Treffry, which is situated on the harbourside town of St Ives, tells us: “It’s the best time to visit the beach – the crowds are gone, September storms can bring in lots of interesting flotsam and jetsam, the sea is at its warmest (honest!) and the colours of the land, sea and sky are beautiful. You should bring a warm jumper and maybe a thermos, a pot for collecting treasures and maybe a bag to do a bit of a beach clean.”

Go in the sea

Beach and sea

Whilst you’re at the beach having a picnic, you may as well take a dip in the sea! This is also the best activity if you’re caught with a day of rainy weather – although you may want to invest in, or hire, a winter wetsuit!

Charlotte recommends: “Get in the water and try surfing or other water sports – during the Summer there are so many people in the sea and it can be quite difficult especially if you’re learning, due to lack of space. In Autumn, you can have all the space you need! Once you’ve got a wetsuit on, you don’t even notice the cold.

“You can’t beat having the beach pretty much to yourselves. Past September, beaches also become way more dog-friendly! A lot of beaches have dogs banned between Easter and October, so when the dogs are allowed back on the beaches, it’s the perfect season for walks.”

Get spooky at Halloween events

Carved pumpklins

Be sure to pack your fancy dress, as you’ll have plenty of opportunities to celebrate Halloween doing your visit to Cornwall. One Halloween event that’s great for a family day out is held at Camel Creek Adventure Park, which has everything from trick or treating to the house of horrors. We spoke to Keith from the team to find out more: “There will be games and activities for the whole family, from haunted train rides around the park to a visit to the Apple Jack Pumpkin Patch, where you can claim a free pumpkin to carve into a ghoulish Halloween lantern to take home.

“Whether you’re a fan of wolves, skeletons, witches or ghosts, families will have a chance to have their faces painted in a huge array of scary disguises, ready to fright and delight their friends. The brave and the bold will have the chance to visit Camel Creek’s scariest residents at the Reptile House and Crocodile Corner as well as an exploration through the House of Horrors. A specially created Trick or Treat game will also be available to visitors of all ages at the park’s show area.

“We cater for families of all ages and we’re planning to make this the BEST Halloween to date, with something for everyone.”

Go on a treasure trail

Even if the weather is looking a bit gloomy, you can still explore the many attractions and towns in Cornwall. Karen from Mini Travellers recommends going on a Treasure Trail – a self-guided themed walk. During easy-to-follow routes, you and your family can track clues whilst seeing some of the best local sights. The themes usually focus on murder mysteries, treasure hunts or spy trails.

Karen explains: “We enjoy doing treasure trails as a family which get you out and about exploring a local area. If the weather is not favourable, we wrap up warm and make time to stop off for a cup of coffee along the way. Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum is good any time of the year, although it is partly outdoors so it is better on a dry day. Autumn days are also great for exploring English Heritage sites and finding out about the history of Cornwall’s many castles. Making time for a warm Cornish pasty during the day is also a popular choice!”

Visit historic houses

Autumn woodland walk

There is no better time to visit some of Cornwall’s National Trust properties than in autumn, including Cotehele which has 14 acres of stunning landscape to explore.

We spoke to Dawn from the Cotehele National Trust team, who says: “We would definitely recommend visiting here in autumn as it’s a great time to come for a walk to see the best of the seasonal colour. The garden is ablaze with autumnal hues and the ground is carpeted with crunchy leaves.

“We’re holding our Autumn Market this year. This is the place to come for great local food and crafts, with stalls selling everything from Cornish pasties to modern jewellery. Our Winter Fair will be taking place on 2nd and 3rd November as well, so you could do all your seasonal shopping without hitting the high street this year!”

There are also exciting Halloween events happening in Cotehele: “We have Haunted Halloween week at Cotehele Mill from 19th to 26th October. There’ll be Halloween decorations around the mill, the team will be in fancy dress and a spooky trail to follow. We’re hoping to have Scary Baking here most days as well! Children will be able to have a go at pumpkin carving, leaf crowns, and making monsters. And it wouldn’t be Halloween without Fright Night at Cotehele – the one night of the year where you get to explore the atmospheric house in the dark and experience the spooky side of Cotehele!” Make sure to visit the Cotehele website to check the dates of each activity.

Whether you decide to take a swim in the Cornish sea or explore one of the historic gardens, be sure to make the most of some of these autumn activities whilst visiting a holiday park in Cornwall.

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