Whether you love or loathe packing, the best way to tackle it is by working from a what-to-pack list, and this is more crucial than ever when it comes to a holiday to Cornwall, where the weather can be interchangeable, to say the least. Which means, even if the forecast looks reliable, pack a lightweight raincoat.
Despite Cornwall being much more remote than other holiday destinations, if you’ve forgotten to pack something it shouldn’t be too much trouble buying it with plenty of supermarkets and high streets in the county.
However, if you’ve a holiday to Cornwall on the cards our handy packing guide will ensure you’ve all basis covered so that you can have your best trip yet.
Just because you’re holidaying in England, doesn’t mean your skin doesn’t need protection. It’s likely that on your Cornwall holiday you’ll be spending hours down the beach, so reapply sun cream every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Your lips are skin too, so make sure you pack an SPF lip balm.
While most self-catering cottages will provide you with bath towels (all of Cornish Secrets properties provide high-quality linen and towels), you’ll need to bring a beach towel with you. We recommend the lightweight microfibre towels, such as Dock & Bay, which will take up little room in your suitcase and are easy to pack in your beach bag.
Wooden signpost on the coastal path at Carnewas at Bedruthan, Cornwall
Even if you’re visiting in the summer, we’d still recommend you pack walking boots or wellies, particularly if you plan on doing some coast path or woodland walking during your Cornwall holiday.
It’s a rumour that card payments haven’t reached Cornwall yet, but we’d still recommend packing some cash. Many car parks operate with coins only, and you may find some shops, bars or restaurants prefer cash too, so take some with you.
A holiday to Cornwall is the perfect excuse for some friendly competition! Many cottages in Cornwall will have a well-stocked games cupboard, so it’s worth checking first. A pack of cards is a lightweight alternative, great for taking to a traditional Cornish inn.
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean you can’t keep up greener living. Do your bit for the environment and pack a reusable water bottle and shopping bags. It’s likely that your Cornwall cottage will have its own coffee machine too, so why not bring your coffee cup along with you and take a coffee to the beach?
Guests are often so busy thinking about what they’ll wear each day that they forget to pack their medication. We also recommend taking a small first aid kit just in case, plus blister plasters – particularly if you’re embarking on some Cornish rambling – and antihistamines, and car sickness tablets. Prepare yourself against midges, mosquitoes and horseflies by bringing repellent and bite cream.
If you’re planning on diving into some watersports on your Cornwall holiday, then that’ll certainly add to the packing list. While you can hire most things, surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits, paddleboards, kayaks etc, hiring can become expensive so if you have your own equipment, and space in the car it makes sense to bring your own. Don’t forget a snorkel and goggles for underwater viewing!
Make the most of your time on Cornish sand and enjoy a beach game. If space is limited go for something lightweight such as a frisbee or bat and ball. If you have the space, boules and skittles can be fun to play in the garden at your Cornwall cottage.
Cyclamen in front of the house at Trerice, Cornwall ©National Trust Images Hilary Daniel
Even if you’re not planning to visit a National Trust site, there are lots of NT car parks in Cornwall where you can park for free if you have your membership card with you. If you’re a member to English Heritage it’s also worth bringing your card as there are a few iconic castles in Cornwall to visit, too.
If you’re bringing your dog with you on holiday, they’ll have their own belongings to bring, too. Remember to bring blankets, beds for your Cornwall cottage, but also a lead and bowl. Some beaches require dogs to stay on a lead, as does the South West Coast Path and some restaurants in Cornwall.
See our collection of dog-friendly cottages here
Cornish Secrets property Lower Hendra, near Port Isaac, has a fabulous games room
If you have a baby or young children, it’s worth check what your holiday cottage provides, such as a travel cot and high chair, so that you don’t double up on things. For older kids, many self-catering cottages have games consoles, too.
See our collection of family cottages here
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