With its temperate climate and stunning coastal scenery, Cornwall is really rather special in the winter. There’s a feeling of calm and tranquillity at this time of year, and if you love country walks and empty, windswept beaches, this is the perfect place for you.
The best Cornish beaches for winter walks
Those sweeping stretches of sand seem even more vast in the winter – sometimes, you can even have the beach to yourself. A great bonus of spending time in the South West in the winter is that practically all of the beaches allow dogs (here’s the latest information about dog-friendly beaches), so your pooch can enjoy a seaside scamper with you.
To be honest, we love all Cornwall’s beaches, all year! The best winter beaches include Harlyn Bay near Padstow, Widemouth Bay in North Cornwall and in the west, an unusually empty St Ives. Pick up a takeaway hot chocolate and enjoy that invigorating ocean air.
Winter woods in Cornwall
A woodland walk is lovely at any time of year, but there’s something especially magical about the woods in the winter. Plus, they provide a bit more shelter on a rainy day than a coastal walk…
Our neighbouring Kings Wood is a great place for a stroll before a traditional Sunday roast, or make the short drive to Cardinham Woods where there are plenty of paths and trails to explore. The National Trust’s Penrose Estate (near Helston) is always a favourite, or head down to Tehidy Woods near Hayle, where you may be lucky enough to catch an outdoor performance by the incomparable Rogue Theatre.
Special places and spectacular views
What we lack in snow, we make up for in drama. The sea puts in its own performances in the winter, and one of the best places for storm-watching is Porthleven, near Helston. Waves permitting, it’s also a good place to admire the skills of the hardiest surfers. Just please – stand well back from the water, as no selfie’s worth being swept away.
One of our favourite winter walks in Cornwall is around Godrevy east of Hayle, where the seals shelter in the winter months. There are gorgeous views along the coast and across to the lighthouse. We also love a good stank (Cornish for a brisk walk) on Bodmin Moor on a sunny winter’s day.
Our favourite wintry towns in Cornwall
There’s always plenty to see and do (plus local food and drink!) in two of our largest towns, Truro and Falmouth. Look out for Christmas markets (please check what’s running in advance) and gorgeous displays of Christmas lights.
Smaller towns that become picture-postcard cute around Christmas include Mevagissey, Fowey, and west of Penzance, pretty little Mousehole. Explore the winding streets and picturesque harbours, while dotting in and out of the independent shops and cafés.
Winter attractions in Cornwall
If you’re thinking of a winter break in Cornwall, there are plenty of year-round attractions. Just down the road from The Cornwall, the Lost Gardens of Heligan run a winter programme, as does the excellent National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth – and definitely pack your National Trust card. Lanhydrock near Bodmin is one of the closest properties to The Cornwall, and its sweeping parkland is a joy to explore.
The Eden Project near St Austell pulls out all the stops in the winter, with its own rink for ice skating, surrounded by appealing takeaways selling mulled wine and hot chocolate. The biomes are beautifully lit up and there’s a lovely, festive atmosphere. It’s a five-mile drive from The Cornwall to Eden, just up the A390.
Please check the websites before visiting any of these attractions during the winter months for opening times, any restrictions, and pre-booked tickets.
What’s on in Cornwall Winter 2020
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, things are a bit different this winter. Please check whether places are open, and you’ll usually need to pre-book before visiting attractions or places to eat. And of course, local travel restrictions may apply.
If you’d like to know more about Cornish winter breaks, please get in touch with us at The Cornwall. We have cosy beds, warm open fires and an irresistible menu of local comfort food.