Harbour Holidays

Why Visit Cornwall in the Autumn

Autumn is an enchanting time of year to come to Cornwall. As seasons change, so do the tones, textures and atmosphere of the Cornish landscape. Autumnal colours bathe the countryside in golden hues, 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.

Updated September 2023

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

The festival fun doesn’t come to a halt after the summer holidays; Cornwall hosts an array of buzzing events and food festivals in autumn. 

You can enjoy fabulous food and drink at the Falmouth Oyster Festival, an annual event celebrating 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 in November. 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

Come rain or shine, there are always loads of things to do in Cornwall in autumn, including days out at plenty of family-friendly attractions.

You can witness nature’s seasonal transformation and autumnal glow at Cornwall’s gardens such as Heligan, Glendurgan and Pencarrow, 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. Cross the causeway to the sea-bound St Michael’s Mount in Marazion, climb to the hill-top Restormel Castle which overlooks verdant Cornish countryside, and soak up breathtaking sea views from King Arthur’s Tintagel Castle .

For more autumn attractions in Cornwall checkout our blog on our favourite days out for October half-term.

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 or visit Padstow Kitchen Garden for just-picked produce from baby leeks and herbs, to kales and edible flowers. 

A lot of these delights will find their way from field to fork in nearby restaurants and pubs, where menus are focussed on seasonal specials. Try the Old Customs House or Greens of Padstow, or head beyond town to Barnaby’s at Trevibban Mill or Emily Scotts at Watergate Bay.  

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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