HomeAway travel expert
Cornwall has many smile-raising qualities, which draw visitors back year after year; each season brings with it a different reason to explore the region, making Cornwall an ideal destination whatever month you're planning to visit. Winter is the best time for beachcombing, while spring brings a breath of fresh air and burst of new colour to Cornwall’s sub-tropical gardens. Summer, meanwhile, is the perfect time to explore the white sandy beaches, but it's autumn that brings a host of exciting festivals.
A perfect day out in Cornwall this autumn could include visiting gardens such as Trebah, before enjoying a delicious cream tea in the afternoon, strolling along quiet beaches where the remains of sandcastles wash into the Atlantic (now little architects have returned to school), and breathing in the sea air along the South West Coast Path. If you want something a little more structured for your visit, however, then it's worth knowing that Cornwall is a terrific place to enjoy festivals; and autumn’s offerings are particularly tempting.
I've been busy compiling my top five festivals in Cornwall during the autumn, each guaranteed to raise a smile.
Kelly's festival picks
The Newquay Fish Festival
Come during the right week in September and you can taste Newquay at the Newquay Fish Festival. Offering a chance to see chefs giving cookery demonstrations at the harbour, there are food, art and craft tents where you can shop for local produce. There are also all-day fish barbeques by the water, so come with an appetite.
Newquay activities: if you miss it, of course, you can still enjoy fresh fish at the great restaurants, and appreciate sea life at the aquarium (but no nibbling Nemo!). Whilst here, ensure you explore Lusty Glaze beach, the famous Fistral beach and the chic Watergate Bay, an area much loved by celebrities and foodies thanks to Jamie Oliver’s stamp of approval.
View autumn rentals in Newquay
The St Ives September Festival
Every September in St Ives you'll find the aptly named St Ives September Festival, an event that incorporates music and literature with a dose of Cornish culture. You'll be able to enjoy live music performances, art and literature events including exhibitions, talks, workshops, and book launches, as well as theatre performances and open studios in locations across St Ives. If you're a film buff, head to the St Ives Arts Club where you can watch a series of themed films.
St Ives activities: St Ives has lots of reasons to visit, including the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Tate St Ives and St Ives island (not a real island so don’t let the name fool you!). There are also some great guided walks hosted throughout autumn, which take you through the fishing history and life of art in St Ives.
View festival rentals in St Ives
Boscastle, Food Craft & Art Festival
Boscastle, Food Craft & Art Festival is held every October, and offers small demonstrations from skilled chefs: budding cooks, be sure to get a front row seat because it's delicious! The perfect place to pick up some delicious Cornish delights, there are many exhibitors in the food and drinks marquee, but you'll want to bring home some Cornish style after browsing through pieces in the art and crafts marquee. Be sure to keep an eye out in local shops and restaurants for festival weekend: special offers allow you to make the most of the area.
Boscastle activities: Boscastle is a terrific little spot on the North Cornish coast, close to Tintagel. Famed for its floods but remembered for its unusual Elizabethan S shaped harbour, it also has literary associations with Thomas Hardy, and a lively folk singing scene (which includes its own Boscastle Busker). Get out and explore to make the most this pretty town.
View Boscastle holiday rentals
Cornwall Food and Drink Festival
Truro’s Lemon Quay often hosts markets and events, but comes alive with the Cornwall Food and Drink Festival at the end of September. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, you can expect to see the usual cookery demonstrations, live music and celebrity chefs in pop-up kitchens, alongside some special additions. Little ones will love the Funky Food Zone, where they can take masterclasses in techniques such as crimping a traditional Cornish pasty!
Truro activities: there's a significant and wonderful portion of Cornwall which lies just inland. While the beaches should always have their limelight, don’t forget some of the pretty countryside towns like Truro. Idless Woods lie just a couple of miles outside of the town, and are a great place to enjoy a family cycle.
View rentals in Truro
Falmouth Oyster Festival
Every October, Falmouth holds its annual Oyster Festival. Celebrating the beginning of oyster dredging season and the quality of Cornish seafood, the Oyster Festival's an event to tickle the tastebuds. You will be able to join in with oyster shucking competitions and children’s activities, watch the town parade and browse local craft fairs; as well as enjoying fresh oysters, of course.
Falmouth activities: the final destination if you follow the A30, Falmouth's the perfect place to end a long journey. I've seen a pirate ship sail around Gyllyngvase Beach, watched vintage cars gather at Discover Quay, and glimpsed Rick Stein’s famed fish restaurant here: it really is a lovely place to visit. With its small, twisty streets offering glimpses of the quay, narrow alleys dotted with art galleries and pretty independent shops, and myriad traditional pasty makers, it offers plenty to do and see.
View Autumnal rentals in Falmouth
Cornwall Holiday Cottages
Relax in the hammock with a long cool drink and watch the tide come in !! Penpol View is a modern 4 bedroom house with views across the Gannel to Penpol Creek. Perfect for family holidays, you are situated in a quite, peaceful location yet just a ...
PierInn House is a 4 Star Visit England Rated house and is situated in a prime position on the original harbour wall of the historic fishing village of Polperro. This beautiful 17th Century cottage enjoys outstanding uninterrupted views of the har...
Minnies has been lovingly, tastefully and completely restored to a very high standard. Set in the heart of the beautiful historic fishing village of Polperro very close to the harbour in the traffic free 'Warren', this 2 bedroom, period cottage of...
Tycara is a beautifully presented cottage located in a truly superb position overlooking the picturesque fishing harbour of polperro on the sheltered coast of south east Cornwall. Famed for it's smuggling history polperro is arguably one of the mo...
Quay Cottage is a superbly presented 2 bedroomed period cottage and is located on the flat just 50 yards from the river and quay in West Looe. It offers a lovely open plan lounge/diner with log burner making it an ideal base for a Cornish harbour ...