We all know that Cornwall comes alive in the summer, beaches fill with sun and sea chasers, there’s a hustle and bustle about our winding streets and the seagulls are getting fed more than ever.
While we’re sure many of you aren’t planning on moving too far from your beach of choice, Cornwall’s summer calendar is filling up nicely too. We’ve put together our top 10 not-to-be-missed summer events.
16-18 June, Falmouth
If you’re looking for a Cornish inspired event this summer, Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival is just the ticket. Over the weekend, more than 78 local, national and international sea shanty groups will perform in 27 venues, in what has become the largest free nautical music and song festival in Europe.
Mazey Day, Penzance. ©Mike Newman
16-24 June, Penzance
Golowan is a 10-day festival of arts, performances, culture and parades. ‘Golowan’ is the Cornish lword for the Midsummer celebrations in Cornwall, and it’s the UK’s second largest street festival. Its central event Mazey Day (23-25 June) now attracts tens of thousands of people to Penzance, the traditional celebration of midsummer is marked with music, serpent dances, fairs, greenery and banners and a host of fireworks.
This year visitors can feel the love in Penzance, as on Mazey Day on the iconic promenade there will be a kissing booth! Pucker up for a Polaroid instant photograph, taking away a fun joyous memory of Penzance on a hot summer’s day.
29 & 30 June, more summer dates to be confirmed, Carbis Bay
The first of many Summer Feast Nights at the prestigious Carbis Bay Hotel, next on the roster is all about the fish. Enjoy local delights such as Cornish oysters, lobster, hake, clams and mussels, while overlooking gorgeous Carbis Bay beach in a beautifully dressed promenade marquee. There will be canapes and arrival drinks, and diners will get to watch the talented chefs prepare the evening’s courses. Live Cornish music will set the mood for an evening of local feasting.
Tickets are £50 per person and include 6-courses with a welcome drink on arrival.
Leopallooza ©Matthew Hawkey
21-23 July, near Bude
If music, camping and good vibes is your thing then look no further than Leopallooza festival. A multi award-winning family-friendly music festival, it’s certainly not an event you’d stumble across as it’s hidden in a beautiful tree-filled valley in north Cornwall, but that really is part of the magic.
Taking place across three days and nights, there are multiple stages to hop to and from with over 100 great acts to see. Camping is free with your weekend ticket and Palloozaville, just follow your nose, has food options aplenty to keep you fuelled through the festival.
Day tickets from £60, weekend tickets from £140. See website for more details.
22 July until 3 September, St Austell
Cornwall’s iconic Eden Project is always a fun-filled day out, but what makes a trip during the summer of 2023 extra special is its unveiling of Nature’s Playground. One of the biggest outdoor play areas in the South West, Nature’s Playground covers an area of nearly 500 square metres of play – equivalent to two and a half tennis courts.
Featuring slides, swing sets, water play, suspended nets and even a miniature clay quarry. The centrepiece is the majestic Tree of Life tower that will stand at nine metres tall. Children will scramble, crawl and climb their way through and over the tree to the viewing nest at the very top, before shooting down the corkscrew tube slide.
27-30 July, near Rock
Fabulous food, sweet music, and an activity programme packed to the rafters, Dinham House near Rock, will be home to Rock Oyster festival hosted by Jack Stein and friends. In a unique setting against the estuary, the Oyster Stage will see all the musical action with acts including Groove Armada and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
You’ll also find Michelin-starred chefs, alfresco dining, and cooking demonstrations all weekend, festival goers can try mouth-watering tasters and signature dishes at the Chef Tipis, served by some of Cornwall’s best restaurants and chefs.
Day tickets from £59.50, see website for more details.
9-13 August, Newquay
Boardmasters festival returns to Newquay’s Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach for five days of frolicking fun and epic surfing under the Cornish sun. Not to mention the unbeatable coastal backdrop, this festival has ten carefully curated stages, with performers stretching from local acoustic artists, to international headliners. And this year’s headliners are not to be sniffed at with Lorde on the Friday, Liam Gallagher on the Saturday and Florence and the Machine closing on the Sunday night. You’ll also be treated to culinary delights galore, with plenty of local fare to keep you going.
Day tickets from £99.50, see website for more details.
15-18 August, Falmouth
The UK coastal town Falmouth will once again host the start of the prestigious Tall Ships Race, Magellan Elcano, for the first time in nine years. The Race will start on Friday 18 August, preceded by a Parade of Sail. Visitors will also get chance to board some of the historic tall ships for a self-guided tour as they will be sited within the A&P Falmouth Docks.
The Lizard Wireless Station at Bass Point, Cornwall. The timber structure was built by Marconi in 1900 for his wireless telegraphy experiments.
8-17 September, across Cornwall
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest grass roots heritage festival involving over 40,000 volunteers and 5,000 events. Providing free access to a range of heritage sites, make the most of your time in Cornwall and learn about Cornwall’s fascinating history.
9-23 September, St Ives
As the summer season draws to a close, St Ives September Festival keeps the flame burning with a two-week celebration of music and the arts. An area known for its creativity, St Ives September Festival is one of the leading cultural festivals in the UK, covering music, art and poetry events, exhibitions, galleries, guided walks and open artist studios.
Events are ticketed, find out more with the link below.