Cornwall Events & Festivals

Take part in Southwest England’s greatest occasions

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Cornwall beachCornwall has established itself – particularly in the last decade or so – as one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations. Little wonder, given this southwestern paradise’s seamless fusion of rustic English country charm and spectacular coastlines. Ramblers and surfers can find themselves equally at home here, and with climates that more often than not top the rest of the country, it’s easy to feel like you’ve traversed overseas. As if these factors on their own weren’t enough, Cornwall also boasts one of the United Kingdom’s most hectic annual calendars, hosting a range of events that celebrate local and international culture alike. 

Cornwall’s events and festival schedule is nothing if not diverse. If sailing is your thing, you can take to the high seas; you can explore your Pagan side; or, if you prefer, you can simply fill your stomach with the region’s finest freshly caught seafood. The choice is yours, but our top picks may narrow down your selection.


Top five Cornwall events


Sporting events in Cornwall: Fowey Royal Regatta Sporting events in Cornwall: Fowey Royal Regatta

For 51 weeks of the year, Fowey is a fairly inconspicuous fishing town on the south coast – but for one week in August, the place bursts to life, with visitors keen to revel in the Royal Regatta. Sailing is, of course, the main event, but there are more than enough activities to entice those who haven’t quite found their sea legs. Children’s story time is an ever popular family occasion, as are the raft races that pepper the schedule. 

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The best in Cornwall food festivals: Newlyn Fish Festival The best in Cornwall food festivals: Newlyn Fish Festival

Another staple of the August schedule in Cornwall, the much beloved Newlyn Fish Festival is a hearty celebration of anything that can be found in the local waters – before finding its way to your plate, naturally. As well as delighting your tastebuds, you can also enjoy the festival’s other attractions, such as the musical frivolity of Busker’s Corner or the rowing championship. Children are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled on the Fishy Trail, and also to join in the fun in the aptly named Fish Tales tent.

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A pagan festival in Cornwall: Obby Oss A pagan festival in Cornwall: Obby Oss

At first glance, the bewildering scenes of Obby Oss seem like something lifted straight from the Wicker Man, but fear not; the locals are an altogether friendlier bunch than the residents of Summerisle. The Pagan traditions are the same, though: two teams of zealous musicians, led by front men decked out in horse costume, cascade through the streets of Padstow in honour of the Celtic feast of Beltane. The dancing lasts until midnight, at which point participants and bystanders bring proceedings to a close with a rousing rendition of the town’s very own May Day anthem. 

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Agricultural events in Cornwall: Royal Cornwall Show Agricultural events in Cornwall: Royal Cornwall Show

Britain understandably plays host to more than its fair share of agricultural events, but none quite on the scale of the Royal Cornwall Show. This is a tradition that dates back over 200 years, and with every passing show, the activities on offer expand dramatically. The main attractions are the animals, which range from rabbits and goats to exhibits showcasing the inner workings of a beehive! Everything a farmer could ever want is for sale here, but if your luggage isn’t spacious enough to accommodate a new tractor, you can always settle for perusing the cafés and market stalls.

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A traditional taste of Cornwall events: Golowan A traditional taste of Cornwall events: Golowan

Outlawed for several years before making a spectacular resurgence in 1990, Golowan is the honorary celebration to the Patron Saint of Penzance, St. John. Essentially a summer solstice party in nature, Golowan encapsulates the spirit of the community perfectly every June. The main event of the three-day fiesta is Saturday’s so called Mazey Day, when traffic is banished from the streets to be replaced by effervescent processions, fairs and craft stalls. As ever, more or less the entire occasion is set against a soundtrack of fine Celtic music.

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Image 1 by ATOM.UK
Image 2 by pandrcutts
Image 3 by Purely Penzance
Image 4 by madnzany
Image 5 by libertygrace

Cornwall Holiday Rentals

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