Self catering in South Cornwall presents an interesting dilemma. On one hand, you have the busy, vibrant town of Falmouth with its rich maritime heritage and large student population; rent a holiday cottage here and you will never be far from the action, day or night. On the other hand, travel in either direction along the coast and you will soon find yourself forced inland by a waterway. This is what makes many holiday cottages in South Cornwall relatively inaccessible, but persevere and you will be rewarded by some of the most untouched and tranquil holiday experiences in the county.
Let the roads and lanes lead you where they will – this is what holidays in South Cornwall are all about – you never know what you might find!
There’s an almost endless range of sports and activities available for you to enjoy in Cornwall to suit all tastes, ages and abilities.
Cornwall remains a Mecca for surfers with surf schools available for those who want to give it a go or take their skills up to the next level. There are also many other watersports to try, including scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing or dinghy sailing.
Stay in South Cornwall, and you’ll be perfectly placed to visit the breathtaking Lizard Peninsula. This area of outstanding natural beauty is the inspiration for many artists and authors, and it’s easy to see why.
The Roseland peninsula heritage coast is another beautiful area of the South coast. It’s one of the most unspoilt areas in Britain, and as such is the perfect place to explore.
With the Helford River and the River Fal nearby, this area of Cornwall has a distinct character of its own, with many small fishing villages nestled amongst sandy beaches and lush countryside. By contrast, Falmouth is a bustling harbour town, which provides a great day out for all the family. From shark fishing to exploring the gardens of Trebah, you won’t be short of things to do.
Venture further North along the South Coast and you’ll be well placed to visit the famous Eden Project, the Lost gardens of Heligan, and the stunning Caerhays Castle, which are all well worth a visit, wherever you choose to stay on a self catering holiday in South Cornwall.
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A festival of light delights the crowds who line the streets to see a parade of giant handmade lanterns. All manner of samba, brass and pipe bands process alongside, accompanied by flamboyant dancers. Further outdoor music performances take place throught the evening and there are many a food and drink stall at which to pick up a tasty snack or warming drink.
31st January 2018
Held on the anniversary of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia in 1434 AD, Feast Day offers visitors to witness - and even join in with - some centuries-old traditions. A morning precesison led by the Mayor to bless the Well of St Eia. Following this, the Mayor will 'Hurls the Silver Ball' into a crowd of children who assemble on the beach below. The one who returns the ball to the Guildhall steps by midday receives a silver coin. In the afternoon the Mayor then throw pennies from the balcony of the Guildhall for children to collect.
5th February 2018
Gool Perran Lowen - Happy St Piran's Day in Cornish!
St Piran's Day, celebrated on March 5th, is the natonal day of Cornwall, named after one of Cornwall's patron saints. According to legend, St Piran, a 5th century Irish Abbot, was thrown into the sea in Ireland tied to a mill stone; somehow he washed up on the Cornish coast still alive. He made Cornwall his new home and became the patron saint of tin-miners after rediscovering tin smelting.
Today, Cornwall still celerbates his heritage. On the closest Sunday to St Piran's day, Perranorth hosts one of the largest St Piran's celebrations. Held at the dunes on Perranporth, a play is performed to re-enact St Piran's life. Spectatotrs are welcomed and encouraged to dress in black, white and gold, the colours of Cornwall.
Other celebrations will be held in various locations across Cornwall.
4th March 2018
Boscastle Walking Week is an annual event which has grown in popularity over the years. Organised by local people with local knowledge, everyone is welcome to join the organised walks for a small fee of £3-£5. You'll be guided on some of the most beautiful walks along the Cornish coastline, amid woods and streams and on rambles to secluded waterfalls. Celebrate the history of this stunning scenery as you learn about the famous author Thomas Hardy, who spent a year living in the area.
15th - 20th March 2018
Local suppliers and growers celebrate the start of the growing year showcasing everything from fresh fish to local meat, from store cupboard chutneys to artisan cheese and bread, it is all here!
Market located at Watergate Bay.
TBC March 2018
Falmouth town and its community will be celebrating spring with a range of events and activities throughout the week. The town will be painted yellow with daffodils and decorations; spring clean days will see the beaches and towns tidied up; a half-marathon will take plcae in aid of Cornwall Hospice Care; free games and fitness activities will be held on the Moor and Events Square will host a food and craft market. Whenever you choose to visit throughout the week, you're sure to find something to entertain you!
22nd March - 2nd April 2018
Held at Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, the 107th edition of the Cornwall Spring Flower Show is a real treat for gardening enthusiasts. The two day event features show gardens, competitive classes and horticultural stands. Enjoy the fabulous displays, pick up plants for your own garden and ask the experts for some tips and advice!
7th-8th April 2018
The small Cornish fishing village of Porthleven hosts its annual Food & Music Festival every April and encorporates street performers, a range of local produce, Samba dancing, theatre, beer marquees, hip-hop dancers, fireworks, Cornish singing & much, much mmore...the list is endless!
20th - 22nd April 2018
This annual event takes place on the Isles of Scilly over the May Day bank holiday weekend. With crews coming from all over the South West, races start on Friday,and finals take place on the Monday.
TBC April 2018
A colourful tradition that takes place on the first day in May in the quaint harbour town of Padstow. The locals decorate the town with flags, flowers, greenery and a flagpole. The crowds are greeted by the swirling and dancing 'osses' who parade through the town, followed by the 'Teazer' who dances along behind.
Expect lots of dancing, singing and performance.
71st May 2018
Bolster festival in St Agnes celebrates the demise of the legend of Bolster the giant. The community re-enact the life and downful of the giant as they parade through the streets and down to the cliffs overlooking Chapel Porth beach.
5th May 2018
An ancient annual event, Helston Flora Day includes craft stalls and traditional dances throughout the day, where crowds line the streets to watch the procession.
8th May 2018
Growing in size and popularity, the St Ives Food Festival features top chefs, quality Cornish goods, sandcastle competitions for children and food demonstrations.
12th - 13th May 2018
Celebrating the life and works of this renowned author, the Du Maurier community festival in Fowey has grown into a popular annual event.
12th - 19th May 2018
This free art exhibition sees over 200 art studios open their doors to the public in a week long event across the county. From sculptures, to photography, pottery, and artwork, you can be sure to find something that takes your fancy.
May - June 2018
A ten day festival celebrating life on River Fal. The not-for-profit event encorporates music and drama, arts and heritage, gig racing, swimming and lots more.
25th May - 3rd June 2018
A truly magical experience in Eden's natural amphitheatre. Previous performers include Jack Johnson, Paolo Nutini, Jessie J, Kaiser Chiefs, The XX and Eddie Izzard to name but a few. Tickets also includes a daytime pass to the Eden Project.
June & July 2018
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This three-day event is the highlight of Cornwall's agricultural year, showcasing the very best of Cornwall's rural lifestyle. The event is packed with activities, competitions, food and craft demonstrations and stalls, displays, music, and, or course, lots of animals!
7th-9th June 2019
Golowan Festival is an annual community arts event that celebrates local culture and the social and natural environment. 'Mazey Day' takes place on the Saturday of the festival and guarantees to be a very colourful affair!
15th - 24th June 2018
Polperro holds an annual 9 day festival with a craft fayre, live music, comedy nights and a procession. The festival is completely free to attend so make sure you visit to experience Polperro at its best.
16th - 24th June 2018
The Falmouth Sea Shanty was founded and is organised by Falmouth Shout. Sea Shanty events aim to preserve and promote the maritime heritage of Falmouth and Cornwall as a whole and are thoroughly enjoyable.
22nd - 24th June 2018
Live music, performing arts, endless entertainment for kids, and of course fantastic seafood.
6th - 7th July 2018
A three day event celebrating Cornwall's Maritime heritage, with traditional sailing vessels, live music, and craft and cookery demonstrations. Profits donated to local charities.
13th - 17th July 2018
Celebrated since the early 1800s, the Stihtains Show is a fine agricultural event showcasing animals, arts and crafts, food and drink, music and more. Don't miss the Countryside Area and Exhibition Ring.
16th July 2018
Every year Lusty Glaze beach hosts their Sundowner Sessions - an opportunity to watch your favourite artsits perform live in the stunning setting of the natural ampitheatre provided by the cliffs at Lusty Glaze.
22nd July 2018
Be part of the UK's biggest surf, skate and music festival at this years 'Boardmasters', held in the popular seaside resort of Newquay.
TBC August 2018
Henri Lloyd Falmouth Week is one of the largest sailing regatta's in the south west with more than 300 yachts racing over eight days.There is also a full events line-up which includes entertainment in Falmouth's Events Square and offsite activities such as outdoor film screenings and Red Arrow displays.
10th - 19th August 2018
A fun packed day hosted by the RNLI lifeboat Station. See the lifeboats on display and in action on the water with demonstrations featuring one of the Search & Rescue helicopters from RNAS Culdrose!
TBC August 2018
Newlyn Fish Festival is the biggest and best of its kind in the UK. Taste some of the finest seafood on offer and enjoy cookery demonstrations, live music and arts and crafts. Local fishmongers take part in the The Cornish fishmonger of the year competition and the popular 'Fishy Trail' is perfect to keep the kids entertained.
TBC August 2018
Top UK and international jazz, blues, swing and boogie bands make up the Bude Jazz festival, with over 120 events including street parades, late night jam sessions and a dance marquee.
28th - 31st August 2018
The World Bellyboard Championships is open to all ages and abilites and takes place at Chapel Porth, St Agnes. The only rules?... No wetsuits or surfboards allowed!
TBC September 2018
Celebrating the Cornish pasty and Cornwall's mining heritage, Redruth brings you a cultural three day event. Try your hand at pasty making, join the pilgrimage, and finish off with a concert to remember. Fun for all the family.
TBC September 2018
Now becoming a sellout event, this festival keeps attracting more and more visitors who come to enjoy a wide range of acts, including music, theatre, poetry and visual arts.
8th - 22nd September 2018
A three-day celebration of all things seafoodie! Barbecued fish on the beach; cooking demos from the best of the best; fish merchants selling the freshest seafood imaginable - ready for you to take back to your holiday home and cook up using your newly-learned skills!
TBC September 2018
The Looe Music festival takes place each year throughout the town, offering 3 days of music, entertainment and culture. With the main stage on the beach, and with amazing views, thousands turn up to enjoy the last of the summer festivals.
21st - 23rd September 2018
The largest food and drink event in the Cornish Calender, with masterclasses from professional chefs, over 60 exhibtors selling local products, spread over 3 days. A fun day out for the whole family.
TBC September 2018
Celebrate the start of the Oyster season at Falmouth's Events Square. Get involved with food demonstrations, browse local craft stalls and taste some spectacular seafood!
11th - 14th October 2017
Amazing local produce, delicious fresh food and cookery demonstrations by Cornwall's best chefs.
Market located at Watergate Bay.
TBC Autumn 2017
The Fal River Autumn Walking Festival has over 100 inspiring walks for all ages and abilities and aims to get people exploring the River Fal and enjoy the brilliant Autumnal colour in the area.
October 2018 TBC
Always a popular event, the Beer Festival takes places annually at the Princess Pavillions. Admission includes a commemorative festival glass and offers over 250 cask ales, 100 ciders and perries, fruit wines and bottled beers.
October 2018 TBC
This four day festival takes places throughout the town of Looe, with guest authors and speakers making it the perfect festival for book-lovers.
9th - 13th Novemeber 2018
Winter is perhaps the most magical time to visit the Eden Project. Not only can you explore the biomes, there's also the opportunity to go ice-skating, watch live storytelling and meet Father Christmas! Why not enjoy some tasty treats and do some Christmas shopping while you're there too? Evenings are a particularly spectacular time to visit the Eden Porjet.
25th Nov - 24th Dec 2018
Join Santa and his elves aboard his magical steam train as you journey through the Cornish countryside. Awaiting Santa on the platform, you'll be entertained with carols performed by Liskeard band. On the hour long journey, children will get to meet and greet Santa, recieve a present and have their photograph taken. The grown-ups aren't forgotten either - you'll recieve a mince pie and seasonal drink!
2nd Dec - 24th Dec 2018
Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw will be flying the flag for Cornwall at this year’s 10th annual Padstow Christmas Festival. For your chance to see chef demonstartions, head to the festival stage or to the Sharp's Chefs' Theatre - the demonstartions are all free to attend!
Why not make the most of your visit to Padstow and pop into the Chrsitmas market where you will find an array of food goodies and handmade gifts to purchase. There will also be a selection of live music to enjoy, and you can take the children to meet Santa in his grotto!
6th Dec - 9th Dec 2018
Created by Cornwall’s award winning highly visual Rogue Theatre, Winter Wood is an adventure for families and those who still believe in Magic.
Pass through the Woodland Gate and follow the twisting path. Let the faeries and woodland spirits lead the way with stories and songs. Follow the wandering path and meet Old Man Winter who will weave a tale and reveal the path to your fantastical destination, an enchanted celebration, and a wondrous festivity of wintry marvels.
8th Dec - 30th Dec 2018
Possibly the most well-known and popular Christmas Lights in the county, Moushole combines stunning displays against the backdrop of their gorgeous Cornish fishing harbour to bring real festive magic to all who visit at this special time of year.
16th December - 6th January 2017
The tradition of Tom Bawcock comes from the feast or famine lifestyle of Cornwall. The story goes that it was just before Christmas; there had been no fish for weeks, the boats couldn’t get out into the raging storm, the village was starving. One man, Tom Bawcock, dared to take his boat out of the harbour’s safety. He returned with enough fish to make fish pie for the whole village.
Today, a festival takes place each year to celebrate Tom Bawcock's bravery. During the festival, Star Gazey pies are eaten in memory of this famous event.
23rd December 2018
Spend New Year's Eve in St Ives for an unforgettable evening at the largest fancy dress party in the county. Ring in the New Year with an unbeatable fireworks display by the sea.
Sunday 31st December 2018
Find out more about New Year's Eve in St Ives here>
Popular with visitors and locals alike, this exciting festival celebrates everything literary, including spoken, written, recited and sung word. Take part in the reading and writing discussions and activities and enjoy the many performances.