best time to visit cornwall

The Best Time to Visit Cornwall (Season and Things to Do) 

Cornwall’s a great holiday destination but the question is, when’s the best time to visit Cornwall? 

Located in Southwestern England, Cornwall is an area that stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by sea with a beautiful coastline wrapped around it, that covers 300 miles.

What makes Cornwall unique is that it is where the traditional southwestern extreme of Great Britain is located which is Land’s End.

Its geographical location and stunning landscapes make Cornwall a place worth exploring. The next question is when is the best time to visit Cornwall? Check out this complete guide to finding out!

Here, you will find out all you need to know about:

  • Best time to visit Cornwall 
  • Things to do in North Coast, Cornwall 
  • Things to do in South Coast, Cornwall 
  • Things to do in West Cornwall 
  • What to wear to Cornwall based on activity 
  • What to bring to Cornwall based on activity  
  • How to get to Cornwall
  • Where to stay in Cornwall 
  • What to eat in Cornwall
  • Frequently Asked Questions 
    • What is the hottest month in Cornwall?
    • How many days do I need to stay in Cornwall?
    • What is special in Cornwall 

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Best Time To Visit Cornwall 

The best time to visit Cornwall depends on four factors that is the weather, crowds, rates, and activities. 

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick look at the best time to visit Cornwall

Area of Cornwall Best Time To Visit 
North CoastMost popular for its beaches and sea activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, and sea safari Surfing, Paddleboarding, and going to the beach: June to AugustSea safari, and fishing: May to October 
South Coast Lots of outdoor activities that require one to walk Looe Island: April to SeptemberSeaside towns like Polperro: May to September Long scenic walks and hikes like Smuggler’s Way: April is most ideal or September
West Coast Most popular for scenic walks and hikes, and beaches St. Michael’s Mount: April to OctoberScenic areas and beaches at Land’s End, The Lizard, and Coasteering: May to September   Snorkel with blue sharks: May to October 

Now, let’s dive into the details!

Weather 

Usually, the best time to visit Cornwall is during the Summer months from July to August as the weather is at its warmest. Alternatively, you can consider the early months of Summer which is May and June, or Autumn which is September or October. 

Though there may be a higher chance of rainfall, the weather can get sunny and aside from the last week of May (which is when children break off for mid-term break), it’s quieter during this time. 

The Spring months of March and April are also the best time to visit Cornwall as this is when the weather begins to warm again. 

Crowds and Rates 

The Summer months may offer great weather but it is normally crowded during this period and the rates for accommodation are at their peak so it’s advised to book in advance or avoid the popular tourist attractions.

If you’re traveling by car, you may also want to consider leaving as early as possible to avoid traffic. 

If you want to go when it’s the quietest, there’s the Winter season from November to February. Accommodation and the cost of places to visit in Cornwall in Winter are generally cheaper so if you’re on a tight budget, this is something to consider. 

Activities 

What activities you intend to do when you visit Cornwall is also important in deciding when is the best time to visit Cornwall.  

The table below has broken Cornwall down into three specific areas and when the best time to visit these areas would be depending on the activities and places in these areas.

Things To Do In North Coast, Cornwall 

Surfing

best time to visit cornwall surfing

Surfing is a popular activity for the coastline is a magnet for big waves specifically at Fistral Beach, Newquay. It gets consistent waves all year round but the best time to go to Cornwall is during the Summer months specifically from June to August. 

However, if you’re a keen surfer, it’s been advised that February would be the best month to visit Cornwall because that’s when the surf is at its cleanest and the swell is high

Tourists are aplenty, especially during the second week of August which is when the Boardmasters Festival starts. This is when you may want to ask yourself is Cornwall worth visiting during this time of year if you don’t like crowds. 

Yet, there are also plenty of other beaches to explore and surf. The weather will be warm and the energy will be buzzing so the best time of year to visit Cornwall for surfing depends on your preference for waves and people on the beach. 

Paddleboarding

best time to visit cornwall paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding is another activity that is frequented by locals and tourists. The best time to travel to Cornwall for paddleboarding depends on your tolerance to the cold as you’ll be standing on a board for a long time. 

Summer months like June to August are ideal as the weather would be much warmer compared to Spring and Autumn. SUP in a Bag is a group that specializes in stand-up paddleboarding and offers lessons and tours for people and groups of varying ages and abilities. 

Sea Safari and Fishing

best time to visit cornwall sea safari and fishing

Newquay Sea, Safari and Fishing boasts a great reputation for providing the best and most sustainable sea safaris and fishing trips in Newquay. 

Consider late Summer (August) or early Autumn (September) if you intend to make this trip as the coastline is quieter and the waterways are clear. It’s been said that April to October is when you’ll be able to spot dolphins. 

Newquay Sea Safari and Fishing offers shark cage diving where visitors can potentially see blue sharks. The best time to go Cornwall for this activity would be July, August, September, and October. However, there’s no guarantee of what you’ll find at sea due to unexpected weather conditions. 

For further details and booking arrangements, you can get in touch with them here

Things To Do On The South Coast, Cornwall

Looe Island

best time to visit cornwall looe

Looe Island is an oasis of peace. It is now owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and maintained as a marine nature reserve where visitors can go bird spotting and see grey seals. 

If you’d like to explore Looe Island, then the best time to visit Cornwall England is between April (specifically around Easter) to end of September as that’s when the island is open for visitors. You can check back Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s official website here for the timetable of when the boat operates. 

Polperro

best time to visit cornwall polperro

Located a few miles along the coast from Looe lies a quaint fishing village called Polperro. Visitors can expect narrow cobbled streets and an isolated harbor with colorful boats and turquoise waters which gives the area a charming quality to it. 

If you’d like to see Polperro at its best, then the best time to visit Cornwall would be in the Summer months such as June to August or early September for that’s when we’ll most likely get more sunshine. 

May is also an ideal time to visit as it would be sunny and quieter.  Polperro is also one of the places to visit in Cornwall in Winter but visitors need to be mindful that some eateries have shorter opening hours. 

Smugglers Way

best time to visit cornwall smugglers way

If you’re a walking enthusiast, you will not be disappointed as Cornwall has plenty of options to choose from. However, the most popular walk is Smugglers Way which is a 58-kilometer long-distance walk. 

The best time to visit Cornwall if you’re planning a walking holiday would be Spring or more specifically April as it’s referred to as the driest month of the year and the winter wind will usually drop this time of year. Alternatively, you can consider September as it’s not too cold. 

Things To Do In West Cornwall

St. Michael’s Mount

st michaels mount cornwall united kingdom

Visiting St. Michael’s Mount will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another time and place. Situated in Mount Bay just off the coast from the town of Marazion, this island is an absolute gem! 

For places like this in Cornwall best time to visit would be from April to October. The skies are more likely to clear up so you’ll get more stunning views from the castle. It’s also more accessible to get to St. Michael’s Mount as the boats only operate during this period. 

However, the harbor, village, Sail Loft cafe, and St. Michael’s Mount shop are free of charge during the Winter season so that’s something to consider when deciding the best time to visit Cornwall. 

Also, the Castle Gardens are only open in April and on selected dates so do check in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Land’s End

lands end cornwall uk

Land’s End is the westernmost point of Cornwall and one of Britain’s most popular outdoor landmarks so the best time to visit especially if you intend to walk in April or September as it would be less busy compared to Summer and also not as chilly compared to the Winter months. 

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and its granite dome which forms the backbone of Cornwall, there are plenty of routes to choose from which are accessible for walkers of all levels. 

The Lizard

the lizard cornwall united kingdom

The Lizard peninsula, the most southerly part of the British mainland, is a stunning part of Cornwall that’s shaped by dramatic cliffs, white beaches, nature reserves, and wildlife making it the best place to visit in Cornwall. The most popular beaches here include Kynance Cove, Poldhu, and Gunwalloe

Best to go early if you intend to visit any of the popular beaches. In terms of weather conditions, usually, Summer is ideal as the weather is warmer. If you want to avoid the crowds, then you can go in May. 

If you intend to go on a walk, then Spring months like April or early Autumn like September would be ideal. 

Coasteering

best time to visit cornwal coasteering

This is a physical activity that requires one to mount and move and swim across rocky coastlines with their hands and feet. It’s hard to say when is the best time of year to visit Cornwall to go coasteering as the weather can be unpredictable but going in the Summer would be your safest bet. 

You can contact Kernow Coasteering who specializes in these tours for more information. 

Snorkeling with Blue Sharks 

best time to visit cornwall  snorkelling with blue sharks

That’s right, you can swim with blue sharks in Cornwall! The blue sharks normally visit the Cornish waters from May to October so it’s the best time to visit Cornwall is during these months. 

While they do have a high success rate of spotting sharks, there’s no guarantee you will see one so it’s best to manage expectations by not anticipating what you’re going to find. If you’d like to go snorkeling and see these blue sharks then it’s best to go with Blue Shark Snorkel

What To Wear For Walking or Outdoor Activities 

What To Bring For Walking or Outdoor Activities 

What To Wear For The Beach or Sea Activities 

  • A wetsuit and swimwear underneath are what you’ll be required to wear while doing any sea activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, coasteering, and snorkeling. 
  • Depending on the activity, the wetsuit will be available to rent at Fistral Beach, Harlyn Surf School, and Kernow Coasteering. Wetsuit options are available for men, women, and children.  
  • SUP in a Bag recommends renting them at Bathsheba Surf Shop.
  • Blue Shark Snorkel does not provide wetsuits but you can rent them here or here. Dark colors like black, green, and blue must be worn when in the water. 
  • This includes all swim equipment such as fins and snorkels. If your wetsuit has any colored patches, it needs to be covered with a long sleeve black rash vest

What To Bring For The Beach or Sea Activities 

  • The beach essentials are important such as a hat, a towel, sunscreen, and a picnic mat. 
  • For surfing, bring your surfboard (if you don’t intend to  rent one from the surf school)
  • For standup paddleboarding, a windproof jacket  and a pair of gloves are advised to bring and a SUP board (if you don’t intend to rent) 
  • Old trainers or wet shoes for paddleboarding and coasteering. Optional for the former but compulsory for the latter activity. 
  • For fishing, a fishing rod, bait, and tackle if you don’t intend to rent this during the sea safari fishing trip. 
  • For snorkeling, bring fins, wetsuit boots and socks, snorkel and mask, wetsuit hood, wetsuit gloves, and weight belt. You can call Blue Shark Snorkel and enquire about renting this equipment from them. 

How To Get To Cornwall 

The most popular route is the train line from London Paddington Station to Penzance, Cornwall. The journey takes around five hours and several trains operate from this station a day. If you’d like to compare and identify cheaper tickets, you can check out Trainline

If you’d like to rent a car, it’s advised to stop at Penzance train station, Truro railway station, or Newquay train station as these stations have car rental operators that can assist with the arrangements. Traveling by car is convenient as you can use the car to get around Cornwall itself. 

It’s been recommended to drive on the M4 motorway from London, or M6 from Manchester, and then the M5 to Exeter, and finally the A30 or A38 through Plymouth and Saltash into South East Cornwall. Alternatively, National Express and Megabus are said to operate coach services to Cornwall. 

Some planes fly from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Leeds, Bradford, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Dublin all year round. You can check out the airlines that fly to and from Newquay Airport, Cornwall here

One way to explore Cornwall is via a guided tour which includes accommodation and meals. Tour Cornwall is an operator which organizes multi-day tours which take you to several key destinations in Cornwall. 

Where To Stay In Cornwall 

The best month to visit Cornwall can depend on how much you’re willing to spend on accommodation as usually, the cost is much lower during the low season compared to peak season. 

If you intend to go during the peak periods, then it’s important to book your accommodation in advance. If you’d like to compare prices and the options available, you can also take a look at what’s listed on Airbnb. 

Besides price, if you have a car then choosing accommodation shouldn’t be a concern. Narrowing down the area can be determined based on what are the places you’d like to explore and then choosing accommodation that is strategically located to all these places. 

What To Eat In Cornwall

What you must try in Cornwall is their Cornish Cream Tea, Cornish Pasty, and Seafood. There really is no best time to visit Cornwall to try any of these as they can be enjoyed all year round. 

You also cannot visit Cornwall without trying their ice cream which is best enjoyed in the Summer. 

cornish cream tea

There are several places you can try Cornish Cream Tea such as: 

cornish pasty

If you’d like to try Cornish Pasty, you can check out:

seafood mussels

As for seafood, several places worth mentioning are:

cornish full cream ice cream

To satisfy your ice cream cravings, you can consider:

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Hottest Month In Cornwall?

July is the hottest month of the year in Cornwall, England. The temperatures can go up to an average high of 79°F and as low as 60°F. The winter period can last for about 3.3 months, from early December to mid-March, with an average daily high temperature below 36°F.

How Many Days Do You Need In Cornwall?

At least three days is the recommended amount of time to visit Cornwall so preferably over a long weekend. Having said that, an ideal amount of time would be a week as this will give you more time to visit more of Cornwall’s scenic sights and explore several of their key attractions. 

What Is Special In Cornwall

Cornwall is special mainly for its stunning coastline and captivating fishing harbors. There are plenty of beautiful beaches that offer plenty of watersports activities like surfing or paddleboarding. Not to mention, you cannot go to Cornwall without trying their delicious Cornish pasty and cream teas.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, the best time to visit Cornwall is usually July and August but June or September are also reasonable months as the weather is still good and there aren’t as many tourists.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Cornwall depends on what activity you’d like to experience and who you’re going with. Whatever it is, you sure will not be disappointed by what this quaint part of England has to offer!

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