Are you planning on visiting Cornwall in August?
Head down to St Ives and see palm trees swaying in the breeze, or visit South Cornwall’s beaches – Lantic Bay is a personal favourite of mine – for rugged white-sand coves.
August is the warmest time in Cornwall, with Great British summertime temperatures reaching around 25°C.
However, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best time to visit Cornwall.
In fact, personally, I don’t visit Cornwall in August – I’ll go into exactly why in this article.
What’s Cornwall in August like?
On the one hand, you’ve got the warmest weather of any time of the year, with plenty of opportunities to bask on beaches or take a dip in bright blue water.
But on the other, you’ve got higher prices than other times of the year, crowds and less of a local feel.
Let’s go into these in more detail!
Visiting Cornwall in August pros
The benefits of visiting Cornwall in August are:
This is a stickler; for many, it’s the only reason needed to sway you into a Cornwall August trip!
The weather can be extremely warm, bright and sunny in August.
However, the operative word is “can”.
It can also be rainy and a bit chilly – this is coastal Britain after all!
But the average temperature is around 19°C, with temperatures reaching 34°C in 2022.
This means that you’ll have a much better chance of being able to enjoy the Duchy’s glorious beaches than in say, April or October.
It’s likely you’ll have a couple of days in any week-long trip where you’ll be able to relax on the sands and swim in the sea (although depending on where you are, this can still be very cold – we took a dip in Porthgwarra Beach on a 25°C day a few years ago and it was like wading through just-melted ice!).
While the days in August aren’t as long as May, June or July, you’ll still enjoy lightness until around 8:30 pm; which gives you plenty of time to make the most of Cornwall’s fabulous outside attractions.
- On August 1st, sunrise time is 05:48 and sunset is 21:04.
- On 31st August, sunrise is 06:33 and sunset is 20:07.
Lots of events
August is a great time for events in Cornwall, largely thanks to the vast swathes of tourists that visit during this month.
Whatever time in August you’re visiting, there’s usually something going on; many of which are family-friendly.
Good surf conditions for beginners
While seasoned surf pros head to Cornwall in winter to tackle the waves, beginners and improvers will find the conditions to be most favourable in the winter months.
Visiting Cornwall in August cons
It goes without saying that when you’re visiting Cornwall in the school holidays, there will be crowds.
British school holidays extend the entire month of August, which means that it’s prime time for any families with children from ages 5-18.
If you’re visiting Cornwall as a family (or if you work in a school!) this might be the only feasible time to visit.
But, if you don’t like crowds and can avoid August, I’d recommend doing so – even the first half of July (before schools break up) is much quieter.
With crowds come price hikes!
Hotels are typically much more expensive in summer and tours and restaurants often have deals out of peak season.
If you’re looking for a lower-budget holiday, August might not be the month to do so – Uplift travel loans or similar can help with this, but do have a careful think before taking one of these out.
Again, with the crowds comes fewer options for accommodation, food and drink.
Restaurants in places like Padstow are booked months in advance and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to snap up a good-quality hotel last minute.
If you like being spontaneous when you’re on holiday, Cornwall in August may not be for you!
Something else to hammer home about visiting Cornwall in August is that the driving conditions can be awful. Cornwall’s home to a lot of narrow, windy country roads.
When they’re chock-a-block with vehicles, many too big to be on these roads, it can take forever to get anywhere at best; at worst, it can be dangerous.
This is largely why we decided one August to head back over the River Tamar to Devon; while the county to the east is still touristy, it’s much larger which makes the crowds more manageable!
Things to do in Cornwall in August
There’s a plethora of things to do in Cornwall in August, including:
Have a beach day
If you’re visiting Cornwall for the beaches, August is prime time to just kick back, relax and watch the world go by on its many delightful sandy bays.
But some beaches, like the many around Newquay, are rammed in the summer season. Here are some off-the-beaten-track beaches with fewer tourists:
- Poly Joke Beach, near Newquay: This is my dad’s favourite Cornish beach (he’s local), thanks to the fact that it remains somewhat local!
- Crackington Haven Beach: Situated in a tiny cove, Crackington Haven’s popular for geology students thanks to the unique Crackington rock. However, its isolation (it’s between Bude and Boscastle) means that it stays relatively quiet – that and the fact that there’s no phone signal in the cove!
- Gwithian Sands: Gwithian Sands is close to St Ives, but it’s long enough to mean that there’s always some space here! You could also check out Godrevy Point and Mutton Cove, one of the best places to see seals in Cornwall.
- Porthkidney Sands: Also near St Ives, Porthkidney Sands sits next to the Hayle Estuary and is a welcome retreat from the busier beaches in the area.
- Nanjizal Beach: One of my favourite beaches in Cornwall, Nanjizal is a short walk from Land’s End. Its remoteness makes it much quieter than others!
Cornwall’s synonymous with water, so what better than to take to the seas, rivers or lakes on your summer trip to the region?
There are tonnes of watersports you can try out while you’re in the area.
The most popular is surfing – and as I mentioned, the surf conditions are prime for beginners and improvers during the summer.
Head to Bude, St Ives, Newquay or Perranporth for surfing – or Praa Sands near Penzance is excellent for complete beginners.
If you’d rather have calmer waters, hire a paddle board from somewhere like Stithians Lake near Camborne or Port Quin, which is close to Port Isaac, and paddle around at a more leisurely pace.
Fancy seeing what’s under the water?
Don up in a diving kit and join a trip from the Falmouth diving school, exploring the best shipwrecks and sea life in the water around Cornwall.
The sea is fairly warm in August!
Hike the South West Coast Path
Cornwall and hiking go hand in hand; although, I would advise against tackling the South West Coast Path if the weather’s too hot.
In temperatures of 30+ degrees, the more remote sections of the path can be dangerous, particularly if you don’t have enough water.
However, easy sections of the coastal path, such as Polperro to Looe or Porthcothan to Newquay, are perfect for warm August days – and both of these options have great pubs where you can enjoy a well-deserved ice-cold drink afterwards!
Don’t fancy hiking in the sweltering heat? Head out on one of Cornwall’s cycling trails, which are a little breezier and shadier!
My favourite’s the Camel Trail, which runs from Padstow down to Wadebridge; although there are a few alternatives.
Hike on Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor’s another wonderful place for hiking.
In August, you’re likely to get days with good visibility, which is the only condition that Bodmin Moor should be tackled in.
In poor visibility, it’s easy to get lost on the moor!
Hike up Brown Willy or Rough Tor (Cornwall’s two highest points) for epic vistas over the panoramic surroundings, or trek to Golitha Falls.
If the weather turns, head back to the car and go over to Jamaica Inn, an entrancing ex-smuggling inn that Daphne Du Maurier stumbled upon (topically, when she was lost on the moor!) And that served as inspiration for her best-selling novel of the same name.
Enjoy Cornwall’s top attractions
Of course, there are countless things to do in Cornwall whatever the weather! These include the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Tintagel Castle, St Michael’s Mount, the Minack Theatre, Pendennis Castle…. And the list goes on.
All of Cornwall’s attractions will be open in August; but as it’s peak season, you might need to reserve your entrance tickets to some in advance.
Festivals and events in Cornwall in August
One of the best reasons to visit Cornwall in August is the range of events on offer.
Whether you want to boogie to some of the best modern music, find fun for all the family or raise a glass of one of the region’s best brews, you’ll love these fantastic events and experiences!
Taking place in Watergate Bay in Newquay every August, Boardmasters is one of the best festivals in the UK, on a similar level to popular events like Boomtown and Creamfields.
Taking place over four days, the festival plays a variety of modern music, all with a backdrop of the crashing Atlantic Ocean.
Cornwall Folk Festival
Taking place in Wadebridge, Cornwall Folk Festival is a traditional music event that boasts an array of incredible performers.
Falmouth Week Regatta
If sailing’s your thing, head down to Falmouth in August for a week-long homage to the sport at Falmouth Week Regatta.
Where to stay in Cornwall in August
There are two things that you should know about booking accommodation in Cornwall in August.
- It’s expensive
- It sells out quickly!
If you want to secure accommodation somewhere where there aren’t hoards of tourists, I’d recommend looking at hotels in Redruth, Camborne or Launceston.
These towns aren’t coastal, which makes them naturally less touristy than many other Cornish seaside towns. They also offer a slice of local life that you won’t find in beachside resorts.
They’re interesting towns to visit too; Launceston was the old county town of Cornwall and Redruth and Camborne were the heart of the Cornish tin mining industry.
I’ve visited both many times – Launceston isn’t too far from where I currently live in Devon and my family are from Redruth and Camborne – and I love the history and culture of both towns.
Where to stay in Redruth
The Penventon Park Hotel is a popular choice, with its luxurious rooms, outdoor pool, and award-winning restaurant.
The hotel is located in a quiet part of town, but still within easy reach of some of Cornwall’s top attractions.
Where to stay in Launceston
Eagle House Hotel is a charming option, with its Georgian architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens.
The hotel is located close to Launceston Castle and the Tamar Valley, making it a great base for exploring the surrounding area.
Caravan parks and campsites in Cornwall
Camping and caravan parks are in abundance in Cornwall, often providing cheaper accommodation than hotels or holiday rentals.
If you want to pitch your own tent up, you can usually find options relatively last minute (I use Pitch Up), or check out the following websites to find caravan rentals.
Caravan rentals raise in price with demand, so I’d recommend booking these as quickly as possible (as they can be quite pricey in August).
How to visit Cornwall in August
If you can only visit Cornwall in August, here are a few tips to ensure that your stay will be as hassle-free as possible.
- Book accommodation in advance: by doing this, you’ll get the best deals and be able to select your preferred hotel or rental.
- Leave early: If you’re driving, leave as early (or as late) as possible to avoid traffic when you arrive in Cornwall.
- Visit tourist attractions early in the day: Car parks often fill up during the morning, so visit early to ensure a space.
- Book tickets and restaurants in advance: You can reserve tickets to most attractions in Cornwall, and many restaurants can be pre-booked on their website or by phone.
- Visit less touristy spots: See my post about hidden gems in Cornwall for more information!
Are you planning to visit Cornwall in August?
Sunkissed beaches, foamy waves and enchanting sunsets make Cornwall in August an ever-popular destination.
The fact that it’s the busiest month of the year to visit makes many keen travellers (including myself) favour other times of the year, but if you can only visit in August, follow my tips to ensure a hassle-free and relaxing break!