With its golden beaches, glorious coastline and rolling countryside, it’s easy to think Cornwall is a destination solely for summer… but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Cornwall is a fantastic choice for a winter break, with bracing coastal walks, all kinds of festive activities and plenty of cosy pubs and restaurants to retreat to. Here’s our top 8 suggestions for things to do in Cornwall out of season.
1) Enjoy some quiet beaches
Cornwall has over 300 beaches, many of which are frequented by swimsuit-clad tourists during the summer. Winter, however, is a different story. The enormous swathes of sand are mostly empty, visited only by walkers and the odd surfer. A long walk along the beach, with a pale winter sky and bracing sea breeze, is the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs and get you in the mood for a warming roast dinner or a mug of hot chocolate on your return!
2) Visit Christmas markets
There’s plenty of Christmas Markets to visit in Cornwall during the festive season. From the Christmas Fayre in Truro to the Bude Castle Christmas Fayre, you’re bound to find one close to wherever you’re staying. Browse for the perfect gift, or simply treat yourself to a mulled wine and drink in the festive atmosphere.
3) Catch some waves
If surfing is your favourite part of your Cornish break, then you simply can’t afford not to visit during the winter months. The waves are at their best at this time of year, and the bays are often much quieter, so you can really make the most of it! The many surf instructors are still on hand to give lessons, and with modern equipment, you don’t even need to worry about the chilly water!
4) Make the most of the museums
Should the weather take a turn for the worse, there’s plenty in Cornwall to keep you busy. The many museums, for example, are sure to keep everyone happy during a rainy afternoon! The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth gives the chance to experience the world of the Vikings, while the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle houses the world's largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia.
5) Meet the seals
Autumn and winter is the time when female grey seals give birth to their young. These fluffy white seal pups are perhaps some of the most adorable residents of Cornwall’s coast. See them for yourselves with a guided boat trip, which ensure you get a good view without getting close enough to disturb the new mums. Trips run from St Ives, Penzance, Falmouth and many more. Winter is also pup rescue season for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, which means it’s a great time to visit to see this rehabilitation centre at its busiest.
6) Enjoy fantastic light shows
With the darker evenings, the cooler months are an ideal time to drink in the spectacle of Cornwall’s many light shows! From the twinkling lights of the many Christmas displays, to the much bigger dramatics of the Eden Project, you’ll certainly find something to dazzle you! If you’re after a more natural light show, Bodmin Moor was awarded Dark Sky Landscape status in 2017, making it a perfect choice for stargazing.
7) Take a dog walk
Cornwall is known for its dog-friendly beaches and outside of the busy summer months, your canine companion will have more than ever to explore! Many beach’s dog restrictions end of the 1st October, meaning your pet can run and play to their heart’s content. Play a game of fetch, watch them jump in and out of the waves and see what you can sniff out together! When you’ve had enough, Cornwall has no end of dog-friendly pubs to warm up in – many with log fires perfect for a curling up in front of!
8) Get a seat at foodie hotspots
Cornwall is known for its famous restaurants, from cosy tearooms serving tea and cake to Michelin-starred restaurants. During the busy time of year, you may have to book months in advance to ensure you get a table, but this is much less of an issue during the autumn and winter months. Of course, booking in advance is still required for the most popular haunts, but you definitely have a little more wriggle room when it comes to planning ahead!
If you’re starting to fancy an out-of-season trip to Cornwall, make sure to take a look at our charming Cornish holiday properties. From cosy romantic boltholes with flickering fires to luxurious properties with space for all the family, there’s something for everyone this winter.