Top Reasons to Spend Autumn in Cornwall

Autumn is a special time of year to visit Cornwall. As seasons change, so do the tone and atmosphere of the Cornish landscape. The autumnal colours bathe the countryside in a golden hue; while big swells and storms whip the Atlantic into wild and exhilarating seascapes. Autumn is the perfect season to get out and about and explore new corners of the county and get a totally different sense of space in this sensational season.

Here are our top reasons to visit Cornwall this autumn:

Autumn Colours

You don’t need to go all the way to New England to see spectacular displays of autumn colours. Here in Cornwall, we have wonderful woodlands and marvellous moors where you can get your fix of many shades of golds, browns and reds.

One of the best places to see autumn leaves in Cornwall is the 900-acre estate at Lanhydrock near Bodmin. The grounds at this National Trust property have diverse pockets of woodland and themed gardens to roam, including the Great Wood with its myriad of colourful trees and a grand avenue of beech trees leading up to the main house.

autumn leaves close up in Cornwall

Nearby Cardinham Woods is also a great place for a woodland walk. This tree-filled valley, managed by the Forestry Commission, is lovely in the autumn when the deciduous fall creates a wonderful kaleidoscope for visitors.

Up on Bodmin Moor, the russet moor grass and faded purple heather provide depth and colour to the rolling hills topped by rocky outcrops. It’s a lovely area for a stroll for fine autumnal views over the Cornish landscape.

Autumn Festivals

Sadly, most of the big autumn festivals have been cancelled in 2020 due to Covid restrictions on public gatherings. If you’re visiting Cornwall on holiday in the autumn in other years, there are usually some great events to attend including some yummy food festivals. 

You can enjoy fabulous food and drink at the Falmouth Oyster Festival. This annual event celebrates the start of the oyster harvesting season and the rich diversity of Cornish seafood. There’ll be cookery demonstrations, live entertainment and plenty of chances to sample oyster inspired dishes and other local delicacies.

Falmouth Oyster Festival

Take your holiday reading to the next level by attending the North Cornwall Book Festival. This event takes place in St Endellion – a small village between Polzeath and Port Isaac – and attracts a collection of renowned authors for talks, readings, workshops and live music acts.

Beer lovers should plan their visit for later in the season when St Austell Brewery opens its doors for the Celtic Beer Festival. There’ll be many ales, lagers and ciders to sample, including over 60 varieties brewed on the site, plus live bands.

Autumn Activities

There’s no shortage of adventurous ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Cornwall. You can explore the stunning coastline on land and on the water, and discover the county’s countryside, forests and moorland on adventure-filled days out.

The best place to start is walking on the South West Coast Path, which allows you to explore sandy beaches, secret coves and high cliffs for revitalising vistas over the Atlantic Ocean.


Most people associate this time of year with wrapping up warm and protecting yourself against the elements so it may seem crazy to recommend surfing as an autumn activity. However, the post-summer months can be the perfect time to go surfing as the waves are more consistent and the water temperature is still bearably warm. There are many great surf schools to choose from in the local area for fun times in the waves.

Autumn is also a lovely time to explore the county on two wheels. There are many scenic bike rides all over Cornwall, including many family-friendly off-road cycle routes such as the Camel, Clay Country and Coast to Coast trails.

Autumn Attractions

There are always loads of things to do in Cornwall. This autumn, you can expect a warm welcome at many of the top Cornish tourist attractions. These include family-friendly places to visit for exciting days out during October half-term week.

You can witness nature’s seasonal transformation at Cornwall’s garden attractions. See the autumnal glow at Heligan, Glendurgan and Pencarrow gardens. Or head to the award-winning Eden Project to celebrate the autumn harvest.

forest giant at Heligan

Another great way to enjoy the fall in Cornwall is with a visit to one of Cornwall’s castles. Restormel Castle, for example, sits on a hill overlooking trees and Cornish countryside. While breathtaking sea views can be had at King Arthur’s Tintagel Castle or St Michael’s Mount in Marazion.

Autumn Food

With the autumn harvest comes an abundance of food and drink to enjoy at the county’s eateries. As well as the daily catch of fish and seafood, and quality local meats, the best local restaurants use fresh, seasonal vegetables to add colour and taste to their dishes.

harvest- festival vegetables

If you’re staying in the Padstow area, pick up some fresh local supplies from Padstow Farm Shop. Alongside the meats and deli items, you will find a colourful harvest of freshly picked vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, cabbage, broccoli and courgettes.

A lot of this produce will find its way into the local restaurants and pubs, many of which have seasonal specials at harvest time. Try the Old Customs House or Greens of Padstow, or head out to the local villages for great food at Appleton’s at the Vineyard or the Cornish Arms.

Stay With Us this Autumn

If we’ve inspired you to take a break in Cornwall this autumn, we’d be delighted to help you find the perfect accommodation for your stay. Follow this link to search for holiday home availability in the Padstow area or give us a call on 1841 533402.

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