In the depths of winter, only the most committed surfers crack the thin layer of ice covering Cornish beaches like brittle glass, as they run down to the churning maelstrom of Atlantic swell.
Enjoying pounding surf on their own or with a handful of other extremists, the short brooding days of winter isolation are a marked contrast to high summer in Cornwall.
As we approach the summer months people descend to the beaches, making the most of long light days.
No matter the time of year, there’s something for everyone in Cornwall. The county’s rugged coastline, quaint villages and wild surf appeal to all.
From watching windy weather and waves crashing at cliff edges to browsing art in Cornish galleries; whatever your age, whatever the weather, people love our beautiful county.
Alongside its pure natural wildness and beauty, there’s a host of other activities to enjoy during the Summer. Here’s a handy list of the best of the bunch. (Psst: read on to find out if Dizzy Rascal is going to play at the Tregony Heavy Horse Show this year.)
© Louise Roberts
Port Eliot Festival: 25th - 28th July
Nicknamed “The Festival of Ideas”, the Port Eliot Festival offers a unique experience for families, couples and solo travellers alike to enjoy a diverse and varied weekend.
The Port Eliot Estate is owned by the 11th Earl of St Germans, Albert Eliot, who inherited the stately home and grounds when his grandfather passed away.
It was Eliot’s grandfather, the 10th Earl of St Germans, that founded this amazing festival. He offered guests the opportunity to share the Eliot’s home and celebrate the joys of life in the grounds.
The first Port Eliot Festival was called “The Elephant Fayre” and took place in 1981. At this point, health and safety was non-existent and somewhat sketchy shows and activities took place.
In the middle of a 55ft elephant replica, a cafe run by children, for children; jugglers that tossed livers, hearts and dead rats and a security guard dog handler with a dead dog on the end of the lead. Weird is an understatement.
Nowadays, the festival’s programme of events is much less eccentric but there remains a feeling of mystery and wonderment in the programme of music, art and literature. Expect the unexpected, especially after dark.
The festival’s website sums up the event best: “Port Eliot is a festival unlike any other. Whether you’re swimming in the estuary, picnicking under a 300 year old tree, rocking out at the Park Stage, canoeing on the river, catching an intimate gig in the church, watching a cooking demo in the Big Kitchen or dancing ‘til the wee hours in the Boogie Round – our home is yours for the weekend.”
Tickets can be purchased from the festival’s website here. Children up to seven years old go free.
Falmouth Week: Friday 9th - Sunday 18th August
Starting with a Pink Wig eventraising money for breast cancer, and ending with shoreside entertainment and dragon boat racing, Falmouth Week is an event not to miss if you’re visiting Cornwall in August.
There are various events taking place including: The Carnival, a hog roast and cider night, aerobatic displays and an 80s Vs 90s music extravaganza with Martin Kemp hosting.
So dig out your fluorescent socks, shell suits and bandanas and party the week away.
Tregony Heavy Horse Show and Country Fayre: 11th August
From the sea to the yard, the Tregony Heavy Horse Show and Country Fayre is a real Cornish country event.
The show features the parading and judging of the best heavy horses and Shetland ponies. For anyone with a big love of horses, this show is not-to-be-missed.
There is also a selection of craft stalls, music, refreshments, sheep shearing and more.
According to its Facebook page, the organisers did try to secure Dizzy Rascal to play this year after his Boardmasters appearence, but he said he's too busy that weekend.
There’s a Blondie tribute band though, so those wanting to dance won’t be disappointed.
Portscatho Regatta: 24th August
Portscatho Regatta is a traditional regatta with participants sailing in a variety of boats including 18ft yachts, working boats, dinghies and windsurfers across Gerrans Bay.
There’s a passage race from the River Fal, plus various water-sports such as swimming, canoeing and raft-racing. Beach-based activities including sandcastle-building and races on Tatam’s Beach for all ages.
The regatta also features an impressive line-up of live music alongside numerous stalls and games, a barbeque, tea and coffee stands all to be found along the Lugger.
St Mawes Carnival Week
St Mawes is a picture perfect, fishing village in an area of outstanding natural beauty, a special place that will be etched in your memories.
A mile from Falmouth by boat and 30 miles by road due to the large horseshoe bay, St Mawes hosts its Carnival week at the beginning of August.
The Carnival week begins with the 120-year old regatta and follows with harbour swims, beach events, paddleboard races and crabbing competitions.
Expect live music too. From traditional sea shanties to more modern groups and bands.
Visit the Harbour Gallery
For those rainy days that we can expect with any British Summer, a visit to one of the numerous art galleries across Cornwall will provide some welcome art and culture.
As well as the more obvious like St Ives’ Tate, there are many smaller galleries that feature well respected local artists using Cornwall’s dramatic landscape for inspiration.
The Harbour Gallery in Portscatho is highly recommended and features numerous local artists painting seascapes, yachts, wild flowers and other Cornish panoramas.
The paintings are a beautiful selection of some of Cornwall’s most iconic locations and very much worth a viewing. They may give you ideas of new places to visit once the sun comes out again.
You can also see some of the artists in residence work on the walls of Driftwood if you choose to stay with us.
Perched on the South West Coastal Path close to St Mawes and Portscatho overlooking the turquoise waters of Gerrans Bay, Driftwood is the perfect spot to visit all the above events across the summer. So book in with us now. You won’t be disappointed.