Cornwall is known for its sunny beaches and summer breaks but Cornwall in winter can be just as beautiful and some even prefer visiting over the winter period as there are less crowds and just as much to do. Of course, the beaches still provide a stunning backdrop anytime of the year and you can really blow the cobwebs away with a winter walk along the beach or cliff tops. Winter storms can be quite the experience along our rugged coastline!
There’s also plenty to see and do at famous attractions such as the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Also, don’t forget to visit Lanhydrock House, one of Cornwall’s most popular historic houses open all year round!
Here are some more of our favourite places to visit and things to do in Cornwall in Winter.
Cardinham Woods – Bodmin
Cardinham Woods near Bodmin is quite a sheltered place to go for a walk with the family and the dog. We find that even when it is raining it is quite a good place to walk as it does provide a layer of shelter from the elements. There are multiple walking routes to choose from depending on who you have in your party. I have even been able to walk the pram around on some of the routes.
Cardinham is dog friendly but they do ask that you keep your dogs on their leads. There is a car park with a parking machine and there are also toilets. Cardinham woods is a fantastic place for the whole family or a romantic walk. Go in all weather types and enjoy the amazing scenery, trees and river in these gorgeous woods.
The City of Truro
Truro is the only city in Cornwall and has so much to offer for a day out for a winter getaway. We do have a Truro guide if you want the full low down. Truro is a special place when it is lit up with Christmas lights and looks incredible on the high street with the Cathedral in view and the cobbled streets. There are plenty of shops to explore and on certain nights in December late night opening hours.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants too in Truro. Everything from cafes and bakeries to fine dining and amazing take away places. If you are strolling around Victoria Gardens is a beautiful place to walk too. You will also find The Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. There is a cinema and an escape room as well. Plenty to do on a rainy day in Cornwall. There are quite a lot of places to stay in and around Truro too. We have a selection of different options of places to stay in Truro.
Blue Reef Aquarium – Newquay
If the weather is not what you hoped and you are looking for an indoor activity the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are plenty of shops and bars in Newquay and you can tie a visit to the aquarium in with visiting this charming seaside town. Newquay is well known for being a bustling seaside resort but things do calm down in the winter.
Of course the aquarium is perfect for families but it is also ideal for couples or friends who want to see something a bit different. There are over 40 naturally themed habitats ranging from local waters to exotic seas. There are some incredible creatures from sharks, to Octopus to a Loggerhead Turtle. You can book online and the aquarium is open from 10 am.
Lanhydrock House is a famous country estate, house and grounds in Cornwall. Although the main house is not open until March the grounds are open for you to use and explore. There are beautiful cycling trails and walks that you can do in the winter months and the scenery that you can see is simply stunning.
There is a car park open for use and toilets too. The cafe is open 7 days a week and you can walk or cycle and then head to the cafe for something warm to refresh you. We recommend that you wrap up warm and embrace the weather but the scenery here is well worth braving the cold for.
North Cornwall Beaches
Perranporth is a brilliant place to visit in the winter. The beach is massive and has some incredible sunsets. The beach is a fantastic place to walk and explore with amazing views but there is also a coastal path all around the beach so you can plan a good old stomp if that’s what you want to do. This beach is also ideal for dog walkers.
There is even a pub right on the beach which is open all year round called the Watering Hole. This pub has inside and outside seating, shows sports events such as football and does a fantastic Sunday roast. Dog owners are also welcome here so ideal if you have been walking the dog in the cold.
Perranporth is a lively little town and there are shops and bars and restaurants to check out while you are here too. Perranporth is a short bus drive from Truro and not too far from Newquay.
There are also many other world-class coastal areas in the southwest such as rugged coastal walks around land’s end or the lizard peninsula, or to go storm watching at Watergate Bay or the famous Fistral Beach. It can be an epic experience to watch the waves crash during bad weather.
One of the most popular historical attractions in the UK is Tintagel Castle. The castle is open throughout the winter over the holidays but also Friday, Saturday and Sundays after that through the winter months. You can book online and check out the opening times there. The castle is an incredible place to visit with family or for a romantic day out as the views are simply stunning.
The castle and cliff tops are steeped in legend and linked with King Arthur. You will learn so much on your trip and the views will take your breath away. There are some incredible walks in this area too along the coast paths. This is a must-see when you visit Cornwall in Winter. The castle is an English Heritage property and free for English Heritage members. You can get more details by visiting https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle/.
Mevagissey is a picturesque fishing village and a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. During the summer months, it can get really busy and crowded. The winter months do mean that the weather is colder and some of the seasonal activities and shops may not be open but there will be the stunning harbour to explore which will not disappoint.
You will still be able to look in the shops that are open and there are cafes and restaurants that you will be able to dine in. Mevagissey is one of the jewels of the South Coast, for further information about Mevagissey itself please check out our Mevagissey Town Guide.
Christmas Lights in St Ives
St Ives hosts their annual Christmas lights switch-on during November which includes carol singing and an appearance from Father Christmas. This is a popular event, so if you’re planning on going it’s best to arrive early. The streets around the harbour come alive each year with Christmas lights including nativity scenes and other festive displays. The first switch-on was in 2008 and now attracts thousands of visitors every year.
There’s also a switch on for Newlyn’s Christmas lights, although this is more low-key with mulled wine and mince pies rather than an event of its own. Other places which often put up festive lights include Mousehole, Veryan, Lamorna, Porthleven, Penzance, St Just, St Buryan and many other villages throughout Cornwall. It’s also well worth taking a look at the lights in the cities of Truro and Plymouth. There are also many Christmas markets to explore around this time of the year.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
These are truly an amazing place to visit in winter when the plant life hasn’t yet sprung back into action. The gardens are also near Mevagissey and many other beautiful spots around the South Coast so you can make a complete day out of it. Visit https://www.heligan.com to find the latest information on winter opening times and special winter events.
The Eden Project
The Eden Project is one of the most famous attraction in the South West and is open all year round. While this is probably the most well-known and popular summer destination, if you are visiting Cornwall in Winter, this is also a must-visit. There are many winter events such as being able to visit Santa and his Elves or skating on the ice rink.
Planning to Visit Cornwall This Winter?
Fancy something special for your winter break this year. Why not check out our guide to luxury properties in Cornwall. We also have a guide to some incredible properties with private hot tubs.