Your guide to winter 2023 in Cornwall: our pick of things to do & see
With some of the best coast and country backdrops in Britain, what’s most magical about out-of-season holidays in Cornwall is how the landscapes change with the seasons.
Whilst it certainly won’t be t-shirt weather, escaping for a cosy winter break in Cornwall allows you to make the most of the great outdoors, festivities and other attractions — without the summer crowds. You might also be able to save a pretty penny on the way.
If you’re heading southwest this winter, we’ve got you covered with the top things to see, do and visit in Cornwall during the colder months.
The best things to do, see and visit in Cornwall during winter
Whether you’re breathing in refreshing wintry air whilst ambling above Fowey’s estuary, heading to Padstow for the Christmas Festival, finding your voice at the G4 Concert, seeing Pendennis castle or even slipping into a wetsuit, winter allows you to see a whole different side to this popular staycation destination.
Wrap up for a wintry walk along the South West Coast Path
With the summer crowds not due back until the spring, you can enjoy up to 300 miles of Cornish coastline in peace. Simply choose your route and pick a crisp, sunny day to pull on your walking boots, coat, scarf and hat. After a bracing walk, you can hang your hat back up again at one of our Cornwall holiday parks.
With so much choice, you might like a helping hand deciding which section you want to tackle… take a look at our guide to the best parts and sections on the South West Coast Path.
One part that looks particularly spectacular at any time of year, but particularly during winter, is Fowey. The panoramas offered by a walk around its world-famous estuary can hardly be bettered, with opportunities to cruise along cliff tops, National Trust beaches and past historic fortifications.
The 16th-century St Catherine’s Castle, Fowey.
Get that winter surf (or just savour a refreshing wintertime stroll)
For those willing to brace the cold, Cornwall’s empty beaches make winter a great time to catch a wave. While it’s not recommended to surf alone in the winter months as there are no lifeguards on duty, experienced surfers will enjoy soaking up The Atlantic swell without all of the newbies.
However, as any white water wave rider will tell you, the entire region is a treasure trove of fantastic pro-surf shores. We’ve even written a guide to eight of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall for all abilities.
Take an enchanting walk around The Eden Project (and check out the illuminated Halloween trail)
If the weather’s causing you a few issues, the incredible biomes of The Eden Project are the perfect place to stay dry, warm up and marvel and its world-renowned experimental gardens.
If you’re joining us at Sun Haven during the October half term with the little ones, we’ve got a family-friendly walk recommendation that will capture everyone’s imagination. Just head down to The Eden Project, where ‘Halloweden’ always promises a treat.
This year, the kids will have the chance to explore the gardens and biomes, uncovering 10 points along the mysterious Magpie Trail. Enjoy Halloween superstitions, traditions and the chance to see their iconic Rainforest Biome.
As well as a pumpkin patch where suitably spooky tales will be told, the little ones will also be able to ‘weave a web’ at the workshop and take a spin on a themed ice rink from October 2023 through to February 2024. Be aware that pre-booking is essential to bag your spot.
Get into the spirit at the Padstow Christmas Festival
Dates: Thursday 8th - Sunday 10th December 2023
What better way to get into the spirit than with a getting-into-the-spirit shopping trip? Luckily, the Padstow Christmas Festival is back this year and it’s set to be more magical than ever. One not to be missed.
With the promise of pop-up artisan stalls packed with goodies as well as cooking demos by some of Padstow’s most famous chefs — Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw — Padstow Christmas Market is set to be a full-on foodie affair. True to form, as the undoubted cuisine capital of Cornwall.
As one of Cornwall’s premier Christmas festivals, there’s all the other family fun you’d expect, of course — late-night shopping, firework displays, a Christmas market and even a hog roast.
When you’re full, you can head back to Padstow Holiday Village and cosy up in front of the TV with a hot chocolate.
Find that festive feeling at the Fowey Christmas Market
Dates: Thursday 7th - Sunday 10th December 2023
Nestled in the idyllic town of Fowey, this annual tradition transforms the cobbled streets into a winter wonderland, adorned with twinkling lights and artisanal treasures. Wander through charming stalls offering handcrafted gifts, savour the scents of mulled wine and festive treats, and enjoy live performances that fill the air with holiday melodies.
It's the perfect place for holiday shopping, indulging in culinary delights, and creating cherished memories beside a historic harbour
Even better, it's just a 2 minute ferry from Penmarlam Lodge Retreat which is open throughout December 2023.
Sing along at the G4 Christmas Concert
Date: 25th November 2023
Set to twinkly lights with a towering tannenbaum outside, Truro Cathedral is quite the venue for a festive concert, and who better to lead a seasonal singalong than G4?
If you cast your mind back to 2004, you may remember this classical vocal quartet coming second in the X Factor, but when Christmas comes around, you can find them performing at various UK historic venues. This winter, that includes Truro with the G4 Christmas Concert.
Enjoy an evening listening to and joining in as Jonathan, Lewis, Mike and Duncan treat us to all those seasonal favourites, including Silent Night, When A Child Is Born and All I Want For Christmas.
This event is known to sell out every year, so be sure to snap up your space on the ticketing website and don’t leave it up to chance. We can’t think of a better way to get into the Christmas spirit than belting out Christmas classics in the sublime, Gothic Revival surroundings of the cathedral.
Set sail this New Year on the Jubilee Queen
With a holiday to Cornwall, not only can you start the year by the sea, but also on the sea. Each year, the Jubilee Queen gracefully departs Padstow harbour on a New Year trip.
With fireworks in the pipeline as well as live music in Padstow harbour on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, this is not one to miss if you want to start 2023 with a bang, soaking up North Cornwall’s dazzling coast in luxury.
With dates yet to be confirmed, keep your eyes peeled on the Jubilee Queen website and Facebook page for the latest information when it drops. In the meantime, why not secure your New Year stay at Padstow Holiday Village?
Of course, you can enjoy a wintertime cruise on the Jubilee Queen even if you’re not around over New Year. With trips lasting around 1.5 hours (but weather dependent), be sure to check in on the Jubilee Queen Facebook page for details and updates on winter voyages.
Explore some history at one of Cornwall’s many castles
Cornwall’s world-famous for its splendid coast. In times past, this came with the need to defend it from external threats. Duly, there are no shortage of fantastic, mind blowing examples of fortifications of yesteryear decorating Cornwall’s coast.
Open year round, St Michael’s Mount and Tintagel Castle are perhaps the most famous of the mediaeval structures, but depending on your location, consider heading to Pendennis (Falmouth), St Catherine’s (Fowey) and St Mawes — to name just a few.
Even in land, you’ll find some fantastic fortifications to explore, including Restormel, Trematon and Launceston. Although they’re usually open year round, to avoid disappointment, be sure to check on the website before you head out.
For an equally historic day that’s not so castle related, Bodmin Jail is another fantastic year-round experience. Great for a wintertime day out when the weather’s not playing ball.
Head for animal-friendly fun at Newquay Zoo
Whilst the crowds may leave in winter, the animals aren’t going anywhere.
A trip to the zoo is always great fun for all the family, and Newquay’s waited to be visited throughout the year. As well as pretty much having the place to yourself you’ll be able to see different behaviours in the residents!
For more year-round animal adventure (but of the marine, aquatic variety), you can also head to Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.
Take a frosty walk through The Lost Gardens of Heligan
These gardens are fabulous in summer, but when the temperatures turn down, they take on a whole different, striking and equally beautiful complexion.
The Lost Gardens comprise over 200 acres of historic gardens, each different in style and design. In the run up to Christmas, you can even see the Night Gardens lit up in all their splendour, for an enchanting illuminations walk to remember through its atmospheric grounds.
Cornwall’s blessed with some incredible landscapes. If you’re nearby, Trebah Garden is also open all year round; another truly excellent destination for wintertime walks.
Escape to Cornwall this winter
With Christmas in full swing, the fires crackling and mulled wine flowing freely, Cornwall is a truly magical festive experience — and that’s not to mention that you’ll almost have its beaches and coastal hotspots to yourself. Who knows, you might even be treated to a spot of wintertime sun!
Join us year round at one of our four luxury holiday parks in Cornwall. Whether you’re camping, touring, booking a luxury lodge or even getting rustic in a shepherd’s hut, we offer a range of accommodation types to suit your family. Fido’s welcome, too — all of our parks are completely pet friendly.
Which park will you choose?
Fancy having Cornwall’s countryside, world-class coast and the wintertime magic of St Ives at your fingertips? Head to our Parbola Holiday Park. For world-famous cuisine, Rick Stein’s culinary delights and harbourside festive fun, you might like to escape to Padstow Holiday Village.
If you wanted to return time and again, you might also be interested to know that we offer holiday home ownership in Cornwall.