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What to look forward to in Cornwall 2023

Old mines in Cornwall

Cornwall is a location of dramatic beauty, breathtaking views and stunning scenery, which makes it an ideal location for a staycation all year round. What Cornwall is also famous for is its plethora of unique events that run throughout the year and attract thousands of visitors to some of Kernow’s most famous towns and villages.

If you’re looking to holiday in the summer and camping in Cornwall is something you think you’ll enjoy, then keep reading to find out if any of these wonderful events will coincide with your travels.

Events in Cornwall in 2023:

  • Tunes In The Dunes
  • Run To The Sun
  • The Royal Cornwall Show
  • Golowan Festival
  • Boardmasters Festival
  • Fowey Royal Regatta
  • Christmas Day Swim

Tunes In The Dunes

12th – 14th May, Perranporth Beach

Tunes in the Dunes

Image credit: Tunes In The Dunes Facebook Page

A famous festival across Cornwall and known for hosting some huge names within the music industry, Tunes In The Dunes is a live music festival held on Perranporth Beach between the 12th and 14th of May. The three-day extravaganza is the UK’s only festival that is held on a beach and has been running for ten years to great avail. 2023 sees bands like Kaiser Chiefs, Reef, The Vaccines and James Bay taking to the stage for a weekend of summer, sand and sounds. If you want to experience one of the best beaches in Cornwall with some of the best music in the UK, then this is the festival for you.

We spoke to Rachel Bustin, who loves Tunes In The Dunes and told us a little more about her experiences at the Perranporth event: “There are lots of fantastic events to look forward to in Cornwall this year whether that be at the beach or in the local towns. One in particular that is special to me is Tunes In The Dunes at Perranporth Beach, taking place from the 12th – the 14th of May. Not only is it on my doorstep, but it’s also so much fun to see live music from great bands while dancing in the sand and watching the gorgeous sunset! There is no other experience like it. I feel with it being in May, it’s the real start to summer in Cornwall.”

Run To The Sun

27th May, Newquay

Run to the Sun

Image credit: Run To The Sun

Born in 1987, Run To The Sun, or RTTS as it is commonly referred to is a car event that takes place in Newquay that celebrates all things classic cars. Thought to be one of the South West’s best car events, there is so much to see and do. Now held at a new venue at a beautiful 50-acre site in St Mawgan, Newquay.

The event isn’t just a celebration of all things motors; visitors can enjoy a lineup of musical acts, delicious food and car competitions that the whole family will love. The show isn’t just for motor lovers but is an event that anyone can enjoy and is always a great day out.

The Royal Cornwall Show

8th – 10th June, Wadebridge

Royal Cornwall Show

Image credit: Royal Cornwall Show Facebook Page

The county’s biggest event of the year, The Royal Cornwall Show is an annual event that celebrates the best of the Cornish countryside. Spread across three days, the site in Wadebridge sees entertainment, food, drink, shopping and farming as well as entertainment to keep the whole family occupied.

Cornwall Living have reported about the show on their website, explaining a little more about the show and competitions you can witness: “Hot competition has always been at the very core of the Royal Cornwall Show with everyone chasing the coveted coloured rosettes. The show offers hundreds of competitive classes across a whole host of sections, from beef cattle to bees, ponies to pigs, and dogs to blacksmiths, as well as a strong horticultural showing in the Flower Show, thought to be one of the country’s best. Visitors can take a ringside seat for the hotly anticipated show jumping, and for the first time in its history, the Shetland Grand National will be at the event. Pint-sized ponies will be darting around the course with their young jockeys, having previously entertained crowds at Badminton Horse Trials and the Royal Windsor Horse Show.”

If you’re a lover of animals, creatures of all shapes and sizes can be greeted and petted, including prize-winning cows, sheep, horses, poultry and pets. If food and drink is more your thing, then head to the food tent and try some of the very best local produce and buy some souvenirs to take home as a treat. Whatever your passions, you’re bound to find something to entertain you at Royal Cornwall Show.

Golowan Festival

16th – 25th June, Penzance

Golowan Festival

Image credit: Golowan Facebook Page

Celebrating its 23rd year, Golowan Festival is a renowned event that takes place in Penzance under the June sunshine every year. The festival is a celebration of midsummer and is a real local event that brings communities together every year.

Familiar parts of this extensive festival include fireworks,  bands, market stalls and much more. Huge parades see handmade stalls, giant animals and exquisite fancy dress meander up local streets as passers by admire the craftmanship and effort.

If you want to immerse yourself in a real Cornish celebration, then head to Penzance in the month of June and experience a true local festival.

Boardmasters Festival

9th – 13th August, Newquay

Boardmasters Festival

Image credit: Boardmasters Festival Facebook Page

A famous music festival that sits alongside some of the greats including Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury Festival and the Isle of White Festival, Boardmasters takes place annually along the coast overlooking Watergate Bay. Home and host to world-renowned music artists, outstanding surf and laid back beach lifestyle, the five day festival has been running since 1981 and sees over 150,000 across two days festival fans walk through its gates every year.

The website Must Love Festivals explains a little more about the festival and what to expect: “This lifestyle festival is an annual event held in Cornwall, Southwest England, usually held over four days in mid-August. The event is a combination of live music and surfing/skateboarding competitions in and around the town of Newquay. The Fistral Beach site, where surfing in the UK began, plays host to the best in action sports including surf, skate and BMX competitions. The party expands to the Festival site at Watergate Bay. Known throughout the land as Cornwall’s festival; Boardmasters Festival delivers a laid-back festival atmosphere designed to bring out the inner surfer in everyone. This themed festival offers a tailored music offering across eight stages on arguably the most beautiful festival site in the UK.”

The 2023 line-up is better than ever, with highlights including Florence + The Machine, Little Simz, Liam Gallagher and Example, to name just a few.

READ MORE: Top events in Cornwall in August

Fowey Royal Regatta

13th – 19th August, Fowey

Fowey Regatta

Fowey Royal Regatta is one of the country’s most loved regattas and is a yearly event for people across the UK. Known for its famous sailing events, there is a full seven-day calendar of events that boasts everything from crabbing contests to Punch & Judy to fireworks, as well as a whole host of boating events.

The weeklong event is a real family affair and with a jam-packed itinerary, there is something to keep all ages occupied. Live music fills the air in the evenings as the days wind down and folks get excited for the activities the next day has in store.

Christmas Day Swim

25th December, Gylly Beach

Sunny Cornish beach

Christmas Day is a famous day in Cornwall and not just because Santa as visited, but because beaches across the county fill up with willing swimmers all looking to take part in the famous Christmas Day swim. A tradition that has stood for many years, beaches like St Agnes, Bude, Newquay, Polzeath and Sennen take part, but beware, some beaches have a wetsuit ban in place, so get ready to be chilly!

If you’re planning to visit Cornwall and want to know what events you can look forward to on your visit, then hopefully this guide has given you a little more information. For more articles and guides like this, be sure to check out our blog.

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