This article was published prior to the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and many of the events listed will be cancelled. Please visit the event website for updates.
With another busy season just around the corner it is time to look at what is lined up for your (and our) entertainment this year. Cornwall always offers an incredible mixture of arts, food, traditional and downright wacky events and 2020 looks to be no different.
Whether you’ll be here to walk the coast path, enjoy the beaches or are one of the ones lucky enough to live in Cornwall, here are some of the best events and festivals to look forward in 2020.
All photos courtesy of the official festival sites.
Porthleven, 17-19 April
Now in it’s 11th year the ever popular food fest is back with more mouth-watering dishes, top notch chefs and quality bands. Expect cooking demonstrations from the region’s best chefs, streets packed with locally produced food and a few surprises too.
The lively harbour town, featured in many of our walking itineraries, has become one of Cornwall’s must-dine locations and rightly so.
Padstow, 1 May
Perhaps the most famous of Cornwall’s festivals, the ancient May Day celebrations can draw crowds of over 30, 000. A lot of music, a few pints of ale (Doom Bar any one?) and fantastically decorated streets provide the backdrop for the famous ‘Obby ‘Oss. One red, one blue, the ‘osses are released from their stables and twirl through the town accompanied by musicians and dancers dressed in white.
Yes it can be cramped in Padstow’s narrow streets but where else can you see an ‘oss, let alone two?
Helston, 8 May
One of Cornwall’s most ancient living festivals, Helston Flora Day is a traditional celebration of spring. It starts early with the morning dance at 7am, followed by the traditional Hal-An-Tow, an old Mummers’ Play telling the town’s story. If you want a later start, you can catch the famous Furry Dance at midday – definitely worth seeing. The celebrations actually continue throughout the day and for some a good way into the night.
It can be a busy day and parking can be difficult so if you can, why not make your way their on foot?
Porthminster Beach St Ives, 15-17 May
Another opportunity to enjoy the region’s fantastic cuisine. St Ives boasts some of Cornwall’s top restaurants (not surprising considering it also one of the county’s most successful tourism hubs) and the town celebrates this on the stunning Porthminster Beach every May. Wirth cooking demonstrations from top chefs (seer the festival site for full details, stall after stall of tasty food, local artisan products and entertainment, this is one not to miss.
The majority of our walks start from St Ives and we can certainly recommend planning your holiday around this. Add a rest day to make the most of it.
Penzance, 19-28 June
Golowan is a mid-summer’s mad celebration of with added Penzance eccentricity. The revived ancient festival warms up over a week of art and enterntainment before reaching it’s crescendo on the final Saturday, Mazey Day. Expect a lot people, a lot of food and a lot of celebration.
If you are staying in Penzance ove rthis period you can’t miss the festival as it spreads right down to the coast path on Penzance promenade.
St Just, 3-18 July
Down in the far western corner of Cornwall, there is a thriving art’s scene. Painters, sculptors, photographers, weavers – you name it and you can probably find it around St Just. The lively Lafrowda celebrates this rich scene over two weeks, culminating in Lafrowda Day. With traditional and more modern entertainment, parades and plenty of opportunity to purchase some of the wonderful art and craft it is definitely worth popping in to St Just for a pint and a pasty.
Fistral Beach Newquay, 5-9 August
If you’d like to catch this famous festival, you’ll need to plan well in advance – it’s not an event you can simply stumble upon. However, we couldn’t leave out Cornwall’s legendary beach party, with its combination of surf and music.
If Boardmasters isn’t your scene, we still recommend a walk that takes in Fistral Beach, where you can admire the surfing skills or simply have a spot of lunch…
St Ives, 12-26 September
Just as the schools start back, St Ives keeps the season going with its arts festival. There is a real buzz to this event, offering everything from workshops to gallery viewing, fascinating local film to tours of the town. Expect some big name performers and some real local talent.
This also happens to be one of the best times of year for walking on the coast. The weather can be great, the heather is still colouring the moors and the crowds have thinned.
Events Square Falmouth, 8-11 October
Unless you’ve had oysters and a pint of Betty Stogs in a tent, while a bunch of local blokes sing Trelawney at you, you haven’t experienced Cornwall. OK, this is a slight exaggeration; but honestly, the Falmouth Oyster Festival is a marvellous occasion. You don’t even have to like oysters.
Falmouth’s a welcoming place all year round; and our epic nine-day walk to the lively university town is a superb way to get to know West Cornwall.
Fancy dancing behind a horse or shucking an oyster or two? Get in touch with us, and we’ll try to tie your walk in with one of these wonderful Cornish celebrations.
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