I don’t know about you, but as soon as the Christmas tree is down, packed away and in the loft, I start looking at the diary and planning weekend breaks, summer holidays and days out. My husband fears flying; we’ve flown previously but not in nearly 15 years and not with our children! Apart from two Eurostar trips to Disneyland Paris, we have not ventured outside the UK. That is not to say I do not have the travel bug and wouldn’t be booking a flight tomorrow, one if I had the money, two if Thomas travelling doesn’t give us a tremendous amount of anxiety! This means we have our trips within the UK. The South West of England is the English Rivera, mainly because of its mild weather and beautiful beaches. This is why we should all be having weekend breaks in Cornwall.
Cosy cottage hideaways with log fires, long coastal walks, surf lessons, beach horse riding and shopping are just a few of the reasons why a weekend away in Cornwall would never disappoint.
I can think of nothing better than finishing work on a Friday, packing the car and heading to the Cornish coast. Whether you are a couple or a family, Cornwall is the perfect weekend destination, whatever the season.
Cornwall is the perfect place to visit any time of the year, but early-mid spring means lighter traffic, crowds are smaller, and the weather is just as stunning.
Attractions like the Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Tintagel Castle dates back to the 5th Century AD when Cornwall had its own rulers. Cornwall is immersed in so much history; perhaps gardens aren’t your thing, but you fancy a tour of Bodmin Jail and since April 2021 has been welcoming guests to The Bodmin Jail Hotel, or if you are more of an outdoor theatre fan, The Minack Theatre. There is something for everyone.
Summer is pretty busy in Cornwall, with visitors hitting higher numbers from May onwards until mid-September (don’t let this put you off). Cornwall knows how to accommodate large amounts of people, and with various road improvements over the last ten years, it has assisted in supporting a large number of visitors.
Like Spring, indoor and outdoor attractions suit all budgets and lifestyles. Various festivals, events, excursions and attractions from Padstow Vintage and Country Fair to Charlestown Regatta Week.
Autumn is all about the cider, with Cornwall being all about the cider. If you like a bit of cider, there are festivals from the end of September and into October, including Oktoberfest, Looe Music Festival and Great Cornish Food Festival, which are great for the foodies among us. The advantage of autumn is that the weather is still lovely, often better than the summer months, usually involving more rain. By September/October, the rain has subsided, and fewer tourists mean less crowded villages. Culture Trip has written about the 12 Reasons to Visit Cornwall in the Autumn. If that isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps you should consider hiring your very own holiday cottage, allowing you to choose the suitable holiday accommodation to suit your Cornish break.
By the end of November, early December, with holiday parks, attractions, and festivals closing. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a short break. The Eden Project has an ice rink until February. Cornish Pasty Week is a must for any pasty loving fan and not forgetting the shopping and coastal walks to be had and the surf. Dogs are also welcome on the beaches at this time of year, which makes travelling with dogs easier for any owners of furry little friends.
Different seasons will often mean different prices, with the summer months being the high peak season and high cost with the winter months being cheaper. But whether your choice is dependent on cost or the time of the year, Cornwall can offer something for everyone.
Places to Stay
It is fair to say that Cornwall has an abundance of towns, coastal villages and cities to stay in. You are sure to find the perfect destination, and I have included some in no particular order.
Looe is a busy fishing port with a popular family beach and a small coastal town filled with gift shops, bakeries, cafes and pubs. You wouldn’t struggle to find a place to eat in Looe.
Looe is located 20 miles West of Plymouth and 233 miles away from London; with a mixture of guest houses, Airbnb’s, hotels, holiday parks, B&B’s and villas to rent, you can find a type of accommodation to suit your needs and budget.
St Austell is an old market town just a few miles from the coast and located 10 miles south of Bodmin with a mixture of guest houses, hotels, B&B’s, holiday parks and a Premier Inn and a Travelodge. It is a small town with a deep history of mining, and the town has little to offer the enthusiastic shopper, sadly being one of the dying towns of Cornwall. Still, it is two minutes away from the Eden Project and the ideal centre for some of the loveliest beaches, including Carlyon Bay, its four-star luxury hotel and golf course, Duporth and Porthpean.
Charlestown has a lovely harbour, which has been used frequently for numerous films and television series. There are various museums, including Shipwreck Treasure Museum. Travel through time and marvel at artefacts found, including parts from Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose.
Newquay is situated on the North coast of Cornwall and is famous for its beaches which stretch from Mawgan Porth to Holywell Bay. With a beach to suit everyone from the leisurely walker to the wannabe surfer to the family-friendly lifeguards (May-September).
If the beach isn’t your thing, Newquay is famous for its nightlife, including bars, nightclubs, restaurants and a small cinema, all spaced within the town area for easy reach. Newquay is also perfect for families, with many things to do within easy reach. Newquay Zoo is a must-visit for any family!
Newquay is a good-sized town with many essential shops and various small and independent shops. There has been a great deal of investment in Newquay, seeing new restaurants and hotels over the last few years. Shops span from the high street to Cliff road, where there are an Aldi and a selection of surfwear shops.
When considering accommodation in Newquay, it has one of the widest range of places to stay, including four-star hotels, holiday parks, guest houses, air b&b’s, surf lodges, hostels, b&b’s, cottages and a large selection of self-catered properties all within an easy reach of amenities.
Whatever your requirements, Newquay has a variety of suitable accommodation for the perfect trip. Tripadvisor is my go-to site for checking out accommodation reviews or making a booking.
Located on the North Cornwall Coast, Perranporth is a coastal town with three miles of golden sands and famous surf, with visitors worldwide.
Whether you are looking for self-catered accommodation, guest houses, camping, holiday parks or hotels, Perranporth can cater for all your needs.
A small array of cafes, boutique shops and shops for convenience are all located a few steps from the beach. Perranporth is the ideal destination whether you are looking for a fun-filled break or a relaxing coastal break.
There is something quite magical about the city of Truro with its cobbled streets and traditional looking shop fronts. It is the only city in Cornwall and has the striking feature of the cathedral. Traditionally, Truro was a thriving market town and had a port dating back 800 years; however, the port has been mainly used for pleasure in recent years.
There are still farmers markets held in the city, and the major stores and chains such as Marks and Spencers and Primark; there are still many small individual shops adding to its character and charm.
Like most of Cornwall, accommodation is abundant, including hotels, campsites, holiday lets, guest houses, holiday parks and cottages to suit every taste and budget.
Truro feels less like a coastal town than the others, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t far from the beach, with St Agnes being one of the best and only a short distance. If you like shopping, art, and culture, then Truro is the perfect destination.
Padstow is a charming working fishing port and famous foodie destination. So it’s only fair that I mention Stein’s Fish & Chips and Cherry Trees, to name the most famous. You most certainly won’t starve in Padstow.
Padstow has a small abundance of independent boutiques, galleries and gift shops, so you are surely going to love strolling down the narrow streets any time of year.
It is not just a famous fish restaurant that draws people to Padstow but also many beaches and coves. Constantine Bay is a favourite with young families due to the sand dunes and rock pools.
Over the last few years, Padstow has seen an increase in tourism and has seen a sharp growth in accommodation options, including luxury self-catered apartments, hotels, cottages, guest lodges, campsites, B&B’s, caravans and glamping.
Would you believe that we’ve only recently discovered the delights of Falmouth! But in our defence, when we visited 15 or so years ago. It was blowing a gale and stormy, and I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful and what you’d expect from a cornish town. Falmouth is, in fact, one of the most expensive places to live in Cornwall.
Falmouth is known for its deep natural harbour on the Fal Estuary and two beaches, Swanpool and Gyllyngvase, both of which are within walking distance of the town centre, one of the largest town centres in Cornwall.
If shopping isn’t your thing, maybe a boat trip, or for the more adventurous, you could attempt to climb Jacob’s Ladder! There are 111 granite steps leading down to Falmouth’s main square, ‘the Moor’. It is worth it, just for the view. History says that the steps are named after a local businessman who merely wanted a quick route from his house to his business.
There are also gardens, the National Maritime Museum and generally reasons to walk around, including watching the boats or stopping for lunch.
Falmouth has a great choice of accommodation, from guesthouses to waterfront hotels and self-catered cottages. If something a bit more low key is your thing, there are also local campsites.
For more information
We have spent the last 19 years visiting various places in Cornwall. As students in the early days, it was a short weekend break at a Travelodge just outside Saltash, then various holiday parks, hotels and Premier Inns. Times have changed, two children later and a little more time and finances on our side, and we spend our annual summer holiday in Perranporth. We have stayed at Perran Sands Holiday Park for the last eight years, and I wrote a review of our 2019 trip if you would like to check it out. We have also been lucky enough for the previous few years to be awarded Haven Vouchers from the charity Family Fund; it had meant that we could still take our children away on an affordable break when things became more challenging for us. I wrote a blog post about how Family Fund is the lifeline to so many families. Holiday’s aren’t essential, but for some families with full time caring responsibilities, a change of scenery can support a family’s needs.
If the idea of a short break in Cornwall is something you are considering, please check out Visit Cornwall’s website for up-to-date information on upcoming festivals, accommodation, places to eat, things to do, and travel.
Do you visit Cornwall? Do you have any places you like to visit? Do you find Cornwall is becoming too overcrowded with tourists? Maybe you would like to share your tips. Please leave a comment below.
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