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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For the first time the Bude Blues, Rhythm and Rock Festival will be taking place in November, featuring Wishbone Ash, Focus and Thorbjorn Risager.
6th - 8th November 2020
Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm are hosting the only Christmas market in Cornwall which is set on a working farm. Browse Christmas gifts while soaking up the Christmas atmosphere on the farm.
Every weekend: 14/11/20 - 20/12/20
For a truely magical Christmas experience, take the kids to the winter wonderland grotto at Bedruthan Hotel. Journey through the forgotten ice caves with the elves and Nordic characters, Tomte and Astrid, on your way to meet Santa, before creating your own magical decoration to take home with you.
TBC November - December 2020
Board the Santa Express bound for Santa's magical grotto. On selected dates between the 8th and 24th December, children and their families can take a ride on the Santa Train to his grotto where they can receive a gift from Santa. There will also be children's entertainment, balloon making, Christmas card colouring and mince pies and mulled wine for the adults!
5th - 24th December 2020
Visit Santa and his elves at the magical grotto at Paradise Park on selected dates in December. Tickets include a gift from Santa and there's no need to book, tickets are on sale on the day from 10am.
5th - 24th December 2020 (selected dates)
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.
The West Cornwall Spring Show has been running for over 90 years and is a showcase for horticultural excellence within the area of Penwith.
The World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project is a great day out. With 8 different categories, many companies, professionals and amateurs from around the UK compete for the title of the best Cornish pasty.
Gool Perran Lowen - Happy St Piran's Day in Cornish!
St Piran's Day, celebrated on March 5th, is the national 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 celebrates St Piran's Day, with various celebrations held across Cornwall.
5th March 2021
The Falmouth Spring Festival is a wonderful early season celebration of coast, community and culture. 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 and spring clean days will see the beaches and towns tidied up.
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.
Held at Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, 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!
On this special weekend, Tregothnan will open its private gardens to the public. These secluded gardens on the banks of the River Fal have diverse trees and rare collections of flowers and plants. There are more than 100 acres of gardens to explore, featuring ancient camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons.
St Endellion Church provides a magical setting for this classical music concert, which features opera, choral and orchestral music over nine days.
This lovely little festival in the stunning Roseland Peninsula offers something for everyone, including music, art, films, walks and talks.
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!
Join in the celebrations at this community led festival of free entertainment. The annual event celebrates the engineering and mining history of the Camborne area, and is dedicated to Richard Trevithick, pioneer of high pressure steam power & inventor of Road and Railway Locomotives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Growing in size and popularity, the St Ives Food Festival features top chefs, quality Cornish goods, sandcastle competitions for children and food demonstrations.
Celebrating the life and works of this renowned author, the Du Maurier community festival in Fowey has grown into a popular annual event.
A ten-day festival celebrating life on River Fal. The not-for-profit event incorporates music and drama, arts and heritage, gig racing, swimming and lots more.
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 include a daytime pass to the Eden Project.
Find out more >
Nestled within wild meadows and ancient woodland, The Great Estate extends its portfolio of infamous shenanigans for 2021. Unveiling a series of weird and wonderful happenings, the festival guest list is overflowing with musicians, dancers, wrestlers, award-winning chefs and vintage car owners.
4th - 6th June 2021
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!
10th - 12th June 2021
This fun event is organised by Looe Boat Owners Association in support of Looe RNLI. Enjoy the fun by making and entering your own raft, or just come and cheer everyone on.
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.
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!
Celebrated since 1754, Mevagissey Feast Week is a celebration of food, music, dance and more. With a host of colourful events being held throughout the week, this is a festival not to be missed!
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.
7th - 10th July 2021
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.
12th July 2021
For two weeks only, Adventure 001, supporters of Cornwall Air Ambulance, will be bringing their helicopter experiences to St Ives! Choose from a 6 minute flight from £35 to a 30 minute flight from £96 and take in the incredible views across St Ives bay and beyond!
Dates TBC August 2021
Head to Mount Pleasant Eco Park to join in with the park's annual festival celebrating the rich cultures of Africa, Latin America and the caribbean. Enjoy live music, dance and food throughout the weekend.
16th - 18th July 2021
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.
From 4th July 2021
Enjoy a week of live music, watersports, competitions, pasty-making, children's sports, raft races and a carnival, all with the backdrop of the famous Georgian harbour in Charlestown.
Live music, performing arts, endless entertainment for kids, and of course fantastic seafood.
30th July - 1st August 2021
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.
6th - 15th August 2021
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 HM Coastguard helicpoters!
Be part of the UK's biggest surf, skate and music festival at this years 'Boardmasters', held in the popular seaside resort of Newquay.
11th - 15th August 2021
Join in with the carnival celebrations for a fun filled day of music, dance and competition!
The Fowey Royal Regatta includes sailing contests, a carnival, the crowning of the Fowey Queen, a pasty eating contest, and as per tradition, a giant pasty which is shared out among the community.
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.
31st August - 3rd September 2021
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!
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.
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.
Celebrate this special time of year at Heligan with an array of harvest-themed events! Enjoy produce tasting, food demonstrations, garden tours, corn dolly making and a harvest trail.
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!
The Mevagissey Shanty Festival is taking place across various harbourside venues. There will be lots of shanty and accapella groups from all over the Uk entertaining the crowds throughout the weekend. The event begins at 7pm on the Friday and will continue on the Saturday at 11am.The main stage will be at the Mevagissey Activity Centre where there will also be a Cornish beer festival going on at the same venue.
Celebrate Cornish farming and food at this free event! Get up and close to animals, try your hand at milking, kick off your Christmas shopping at the craft stalls and try some local food and drink.
The 2018 shout will feature more than 20 sea shanty groups for a fun weekend of shanty singing, sailor and pirate themed fancy dress and beer. This year's event will be raising money for Cornwall Air Ambulance and its New Heli Appeal and takes place in various pubs and venues in St Ives.
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.
Selected dates 4th - 30th December 2020
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.
TBC November 2021
Browse an impressive selection of Cornish crafts and delicious food on the Piazza in Truro. It's a great place to find special Christmas gifts for loved ones with plenty of choice from local artisans, artists and food and drink producers.
TBC, November 2021
Find unique Christmas presents and tasty treats at Flambards Christmas Craft Fayre. Stalls will be set up in various areas of the park, there will be Christmas music to get everyone in the festive spirit and a chance to meet Santa too.
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!
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!
Head to Fowey for a weekend of festivities! Get your Christmas shopping underway with over 100 local traders selling high quality food, drink and crafts, while enjoying some live music and entertainment.
The big Christmas lights switch on in Mevagissey will take place at 5pm, illuminating the harbour with sparkly lights.
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.
Dates throughout December 2020
Find the perfect presents for your nearest and dearest at Truro's Winter Gift Fayre. You can expect to find luxury food and drink, festive decorations and gorgeous gifts, with more than 80 stalls from local South West producers.
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.
Each year, the people of Penzance celebrate the Winter solstace with a festival of Cornish tradition, torch processions, and dancing.
21st December 2021
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 2021
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.
31st December 2021
Find out more about New Year's Eve in St Ives here>
Meet Father Christmas, decorate gingerbread, make Reindeer food and have a festive day out at the Milky Way Adventure Park near Bude. At the elf emporium, new for 2018, children can write letters to the North Pole and take part in other fun activities. Online booking essential.
5th-6th / 12th-13th December 2020