Cornwall is one of the most epic holiday destinations in the entire UK. Many people consider it to be the area of the country with the best beaches and, and it certainly has its own distinct culture that isn’t found elsewhere in England. This makes the beautiful county a popular staycation destination for people who are seeking something new without leaving the UK.
For all its charms, Cornwall is a very, very seasonal place to visit. It certainly stays warmer than other parts of the UK year-round – but it gets battered by storms in the winter, making it quite undesirable! In the summer, Cornwall frequently gets days of glorious sunshine, but doesn’t the population of England know – the resorts can get jam-packed, the roads at standstill traffic and prices skyrocket.
So when is the best time of year to visit Cornwall? I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time in the county over the years, and I think the best time to travel to Cornwall is spring for activities, and June if you’re after a summer holiday.
But read on for the breakdown, as well as some Cornish events that you might want to be in the county for!
When to visit Cornwall? The breakdown
Cornwall in Summer
In summer, Cornwall is busy – from the start of March onwards, each week closer to the summer sees hordes more people. The good weather makes it the best time to do a road trip around Cornwall and see its many outside attractions, so if you can avoid when it is super busy, it might be the best time to visit Cornwall.
Here’s what to expect in each month from late Spring.
Cornwall in May: the best time to visit Cornwall?
May is a beautiful time to visit Cornwall, as long as you miss May half-term (generally the last week of the month). The weather is generally warm and sunny – although you may still get cold and rainy days, so take layers and keep your eye on the weather forecast. Nonetheless, you’ll likely have good enough weather for beach time during your stay.
Cornwall in June
June is much quieter than July and August, making it maybe the best time to go to Cornwall to avoid the crowds but still have a high chance of hot weather. June has plenty of nice days, so if you’re after a beachy holiday, consider anytime this month.
Cornwall in July
Cornwall is quieter at the start of July, maybe slightly busier than June, but come school holidays (from the 20th), the county gets rammed. July is perhaps the hottest month in Cornwall, but the crowds certainly know this!
If you don’t have children and aren’t a teacher, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Cornwall from late July until early September.
Cornwall in August
Again, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Cornwall in this time. But if you are going to Cornwall with kids of school age or are a teacher and can only visit during this time, I would advise:
- If you are driving to Cornwall, make your journey either early in the morning or late at night, when you’re less likely to encounter traffic. Cornwall doesn’t have any motorways, and only a few dual carriageways – most of the roads are country roads, which can get backed entirely up with traffic.
- Book your accommodation in advance to get the cheapest deals. Check out my guide on where to stay in Cornwall, which has some hotel recommendations. You might want to book somewhere that is walking distance to the beach.
- If you are taking the train or coach to Cornwall, book these tickets early too for the cheapest rates.
- Increase your budget a little, as rates of nearly everything while you’re there will be inflated.
- Book tickets to Cornwall attractions like St Micheals Mount and The Eden Project ahead of time to avoid missing out.
Boardmasters Festival is a music festival playing Indie, soft rock, and electronic music. It is hosted in the second week of August each year in Newquay, with the beach’s backdrop.
The summer holidays are without a doubt the busiest time of year in Cornwall – luckily, it quietens down quite quickly in September!
Cornwall in September
This is a pleasant time to travel to Cornwall. You may be lucky to catch the tail end of summer, but should miss the crowds!
Cornwall in Autumn
Towards the end of September, the weather in Cornwall starts to turn. Some days can be pleasant and sunny – but you can also get unlucky and witness some tremendous storms at this time of year. We spent a week in Cornwall last October and 4/7 days were rained off.
Cornwall in Winter
You’re unlikely to see snow in Cornwall in winter, but the weather is stormy, wet and windy. Many attractions, holiday parks, and campsites are closed because of the weather and because they don’t have the same custom in the winter. On the plus side, you’ll be virtually the only tourist in the county!
Of course, Cornwall still sees its dry and even sunny days during this time, but it’s certainly not a given. If you’re into moody coastlines, you’ll see plenty of these during your stay – but steer clear of any cliffs during storms.
There are some museums to visit in Cornwall in winter, such as:
- The Eden Project in St Austell
- The Museum of Cornish Life in Helston
- The Bodmin Gaol (which is probably more atmospheric in these cold and dark months)
- Bodmin Keep
- Jamaica Inn
- The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro
Cornwall in Spring
As the dark winter subsides and the nights get a little bit longer, Cornwall emerges into the sun to become the beautiful tourist destination it is. Spring is a good time to visit if you’re looking for a quiet holiday but with some (hopefully!) sunny weather.
As expected, Cornwall gets busy during the Easter school holidays. It’s a quieter time than the summer months, but sold out tourist attractions, packed beaches, and horrendous traffic are all possibilities! Try to avoid this time if you are able to.
Cornwall in March
5th March is St Piran’s Day, who is one of the patron saints of Cornwall and the patron saint of miners. On this day you’ll find lots of celebrations, including processions, shows, and street parties. Cornish people are proud of their heritage, so this is a wonderful time to visit!
Cornwall in April
The weather starts getting warmer in April, and longer days mean that you’ll have more time for Cornwall’s outdoor activities. As long as you avoid school holidays, this month is one of the best times to visit.
With its epic nature and distinct culture, Cornwall’s a treat any time of year. Spring (out of school holidays) and early summer is probably the best time of year to visit Cornwall, but September is also pleasant, and if you don’t mind the storms, Cornwall in winter could be an option!