Wondering when to visit Cornwall in 2023? Why not plan your visit to coincide with one of the year’s bumper festivals and events? Whether you’re into music, food, literature or maritime culture, there’s an array of festivals where you can dance with your feet in the sand, learn to cook like a master chef or rub shoulders with the literati. Here are some of our favourite events to work into your holiday calendar.
TBC, Eden Project
A day that celebrates the pasty in all its classic pastry-cased forms, with the familiar Eden Project domes as venue. Celebrated on St Piran’s Day, there are two categories – Cornish and Open Savoury – so expect weird and wonderful flavours alongside your standard steak. With comedy and music thrown in this is all set to be one tasty day out for pasty fans.
1-2 April 2023, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
Cornwall’s early spring is something to be celebrated. A temperate climate means that the county blooms into a colourful display of foliage ahead of the rest of the UK, which can be admired at the Cornwall Garden Society’s incredible annual flower shower. Described as the ‘Chelsea of the West’ for good reason, expect plenty of garden inspiration and stunning displays. Stay in St Issey for easy access to the showground.
21-23 April 2023, Porthleven Harbour
Porthleven’s annual food festival kicks off the holiday season with a mighty three-day feast of food, music and entertainment beside the harbour. There’s something for everyone – from chef demos, street food and family entertainment, to mindfulness workshops, dancing and live music.
1 May 2023, Padstow town centre
Nowhere celebrates Mayday like Padstow’s Obby Oss. In one of the county’s most famous festivals steeped in Celtic tradition, ribboned effigies lead a procession through the streets, accompanied by flowers, flags, drums and singing. A raucous, colourful day out, it’s a sight to behold and one of the biggest days in the town’s calendar. Check out our range of accommodation in Padstow to be here for the big day.
5 May 2023, Helston town centre
In another of Cornwall’s festivals to celebrate the onset of Spring, Flora Day sees hundreds of people take to the streets of Helston to dance in their finest frocks, top hats and tails. A colourful celebration that sees the town decked out in bluebells, gorse and holly leaves, the day includes a vibrant Hal-an-Tow pageant, a boisterous mummers’ play and formal dances, alongside a buzzing fairground and line-up of Cornish craft and food stalls.
12-20 May 2023, various venues in Fowey
The annual Fowey Festival was launched in honour of the region’s most famous author, Daphne du Maurier, and her legacy is still very much at the core of this celebration of words, art and music. As well as readings from some of the region’s finest authors, enjoy creative workshops, art and literature trails, secret gardens and live music from classical to jazz.
8-10 June 2023, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
Marking the onset of summer proper, Royal Cornwall showcases the country and farming lifestyle at the heart of the county. Here you can witness award-winning cattle, equestrian events and dancing tractors, alongside foodie bounty and the finest Cornish crafts.
16-18 June 2023, various venues in Falmouth
Fancy yourself in a scene from Fishermen’s Friends? Come and celebrate Cornwall’s rich maritime heritage with boot-stomping songs of the sea. In Europe’s largest, free nautical music festival, over 70 local and international sea shanty groups come together and perform in venues across this vibrant harbour town. Coinciding with the Falmouth Classics Regatta, it’s an all-out maritime fiesta.
25 June – 1 July 2023, Mevagissey town centre
There’s no better time to visit Cornwall’s ‘forgotten corner’ than when Mevagissey launches into full festival mode with Feast Week at the start of summer. Drop a crabbing line off the harbour wall, watch fishing boat races, dance through the streets, sing shanties and round up the evenings with fireworks displays.
7-8 July 2023, Lanivet
Set deep in the green fields of Lanivet, this fun festival showcases food, drink and music. Why panda? Because the area is known for growing bamboo that gets fed to hungry pandas at London Zoo. The festival also says it has a ‘commitment to showcase grassroots talent’ – get it? Bring dancing wellies and all your best party moves.
27-30 July 2023, Dinham House, near Rock
Hogging a prime location overlooking the Camel Estuary, the Rock Oyster Festival is a laid-back celebration of food and music and the perfect family festival. You don’t have to love oysters to enjoy the smorgasbord of live music, artisan grub, well-being workshops and interactive kids’ sessions including storytelling and bushcraft. Take a look at our cottages around Padstow or Rock for the perfect place to stay to access the festival.
9-13 August 2023, Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach, Newquay
Boardmasters is one of the coolest dates in the Cornish festival calendar having become a world-famous surf and music festival. By day international surf pros battle it out to be king of the waves, while in the evening big-name bands hit the stages overlooking the golden sands of Watergate Bay. With Florence and the Machine, Liam Gallagher and Little Simz amongst the headliners, this year promises to be the biggest party yet.
4-13 August 2023, various venues in Falmouth
You don’t have to like boats to make the most of this spectacular week in Falmouth that started out as a local sailing regatta in 1837. There’s plenty for landlubbers and maritime fans, as the whole town hits party mode for a week of sailing competitions, street parades, family entertainment and live music.
9-23 September, St Ives town centre
The well-known idyllic spot of St Ives is home to a fortnight of festival action centred around music and the arts. Cleverly scheduled to take place in September, when most of the crowds have left the county, the festival features poetry, exhibitions and even guided walks; a perfect way to kick off autumn.
12-15 October 2023, The Waterfront, Falmouth
Join in four days of feasting and festivities devoted to the mighty mollusc. Celebrating the fruits of the remaining traditional oyster fisheries still dredging under sail and oar, oysters and champagne are on the menu and there’s plenty of live music and entertainment.
December date TBC, Padstow Harbour
Lit up by fairy lights on the edge of Padstow’s pretty harbour, Padstow’s Christmas Festival is a veritable Christmassy outing for the whole family. Not only can you get your hands on Cornwall’s finest artisan foodstuffs and witness chef demos from the region’s greats such as Stein, Outlaw and Ainsworth, you can blitz your Christmas shopping at stalls showcasing the handmade arts, textiles, toys and trinkets. Check out where to stay for the festival.
Harbour Holidays has an array of holiday cottages in and around Padstow that make the perfect base to come and visit some of Cornwall’s vibrant events. Check out our collection of cottages and holiday homes and find your perfect festival bolthole in North Cornwall.
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