Some of the most beautiful days to spend in Cornwall are towards the end of the year. Missing the crowds of summer, you are now always able to get a parking space, a table at a restaurant and it is still warm enough to dip your toes in the sea if you really can’t bear the thought of packing your flip flops away for another year.
With Cornwall Airport Newquay receiving flights from London Gatwick and Manchester on at least a daily basis all year around and regular flights from Dublin and Leeds-Bradford, there are plenty of opportunities to be on the beach within just a couple of hours.
So here’s why autumn is best celebrated in Cornwall…and many of the options don’t cost a penny.
The beaches are deserted
Whether it’s bright and sunny or blustery and wild, there is nothing better than a long walk along the beach. With so many beaches to choose from you can spend all day there even in colder months.
Visiting Porthtowan beach at low tide (always remember to check the tide times!) allows you to walk along the beach to Chapel Porth, a small beach overlooked by the famous Wheal Coates engine houses. Stop for a hot chocolate at the café or head back to Porthtowan for some lunch at the Blue Bar. With long beaches up and down the county, and many with a handy pub or two to visit, there is no reason why you still can’t while away a day relaxing at the beach.
The surf is usually best in the winter
While you might see millions of boards in the water during the summer months, there are often very few waves to catch. And a lot of people to navigate around if you are in the sea.
Instead, try heading down to Newquay in the autumn and winter, when the surf is really pumping and catch some waves without the crowds. If you don’t fancy the rough north coast sea, you can still go stand up paddle boarding or kayaking around Falmouth or at Stithians Lake on the much calmer waters.
The sunsets are spectacular (and so are the storms)
One of the most special things about Cornwall is not necessarily the sea views or even the pasty, it’s the huge open skies. It doesn’t matter if it’s an amazing sunset at the top of Carn Brea or a storm rolling in across the sea, there is never a better time to see the majesty of Cornwall’s ever-changing weather.
The woods are at their most magical
Cornwall is not known for its woods but spots like Kennall Vale and Tehidy Country Park are a great alternative for a good stomp, even on a rainy day.
Cardinham Woods is renowned for providing a beautiful walk at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own in autumn. Popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders, there are miles upon miles to explore and it even has a beautiful café in the middle, Woods Café
You can spend a day looking at art…for free!
St Ives is well-known for its established art scene, but there are lots of towns and villages all over the county full of great art galleries. Penzance and Newlyn have some fantastic art spaces you can spend an afternoon, including Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Penzance.
Drive on up the coast and visit Marazion and Porthleven for more galleries to see creations inspired by Cornwall and spend time experiencing the places for yourselves.
We still have some great festivals to enjoy
Lots of festivals in the county are understandably focussed on the holiday market but there are still some gems to visit while on holiday in later months.
Falmouth Oyster Festival runs from 12th-15th October this year and attracts visitors from far and wide. Live music, stalls, bars, cooking demos and most importantly of all, a lot of oysters make for a great weekend.
Looking further ahead, Padstow Christmas Festival is running from 7th to 10th December. A mixture of Christmas Market and foodie extravaganza, the event again draws the crowds.
But it’s the demonstrations by chefs including Nathan Outlaw, Rick Stein, Tom Kerridge and Sat Bains that really sets this festival apart – really something to get you into the Christmas spirit while experiencing a bit of Cornwall.