10 things to do in Cornwall in winter  holiday cottages

10 things to do in Cornwall in winter

Sarah P 13 November 2020

The air might be colder and the weather a little unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate until spring. In fact, winter in Cornwall can be just as enchanting as any other season, and you’ll probably find you’ll have much more space to explore than you would at the height of the summer season. 

With empty beaches to roam and top attractions remaining open, there is plenty to do in Cornwall in winter, and we’ve picked out 10 of the best, to inspire your visit to Cornwall in winter.

Embark on winter walks in Cornwall 

When it's crisp underfoot, and the air is fresh, it’s often one of the best times of the year to go walking in Cornwall. Not only will you escape the summer crowds, but you’ll stumble upon dramatic coastal scenes and miles of waves crashing against the empty shore. With 300 miles of the South West Coast Path to explore in Cornwall, you won’t run out of wintery coastal walks in a hurry. Bright sunny winter days on the Cornish coast are known to deliver breathtaking sunsets too, so it could be an opportunity to capture atmospheric sunset photos when there’s no risk of someone wandering into the shot. Keep yourselves warm with cosy socks, woolly hats and a flask of soup or hot chocolate for well-deserved breaks.

Investigate Cornwall's museums 

Image credit: Royal Cornwall Museum on Instagram


If the weather takes a turn or you’re feeling the chill, head indoors to one of Cornwall’s fascinating and unique museums, featuring interesting items, intriguing stories and a wealth of captivating history that will inspire adults and children's minds alike. With over 70 museums of different sizes in Cornwall, there is plenty to investigate. Some of our favourites include the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Charlestown Shipwreck & Heritage Centre, the Royal Cornwall Museum, the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth and the UK’s only china clay mining museum, Wheal Martyn Clay Works.

Warm-up at a brewery or distillery

Image credit: St Austell Brewery on Instagram.


Whether gin is your tipple or you’re more of a beer drinker, there are plenty of distilleries and breweries in Cornwall for you to warm up in during the winter months. You can book full experiences, detailed tours and hands-on tastings of gin, beer and cider brands that are born and bred right here in Cornwall. These include recognised names such as Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, Colwith Farm Distillery and St Austell Brewery. You can easily spend a few hours indulging in the full experience, and you may even find there are a shop and café to keep you warm too!

Feel refreshed with a winter surf 

It’s no secret that Cornwall is one of the most popular surf destinations in the whole of the UK, but did you know that for seasoned surfers, winter can be the most thrilling time? Of all the Cornwall winter activities, this is certainly one that will delight the biggest thrill-seekers! While it may be a little cooler in the water, the buzz is electric, and the waves are huge. It might not be the time for beginners to try their hand at surfing, but it is worth pulling up at one of Cornwall’s best surfing beaches with a mug of hot chocolate and watching the pros do their thing!

Enjoy crowd-free cycling

Winter is a good time for keen cyclists to pedal the usually bustling cycling routes through Cornwall such as the beautiful Camel Trail. The 18-mile trail from Wadebridge to Padstow takes in some of the most beautiful scenery in North Cornwall including the Camel Estuary, a Site of Special Scientific Interest where you’re likely to spot wading birds and, if you're lucky, maybe even an otter. The great thing about the Camel Trail is that it’s mostly flat and completely traffic-free, so it’s great for families, and at a quieter time of year, ideal for youngsters who might have received new bikes for Christmas to build up their confidence!   

Discover a different side to Cornwall’s gardens 

Image credit: Trebah Garden on Instagram.

Due to Cornwall’s sub-tropical climate, sheltered coves and tight valleys, many plants continue flowering much further into winter than other parts of the UK. Even on the coldest winter days, Cornwall’s spectacular gardens can look even more beautiful when a thick white frost transforms them into a scene that resembles a magical winter wonderland. With some gardens offering year-round colour, and estates and parkland that are full of life, there’s still plenty for visitors to see during the winter. Some of Cornwall’s gardens even offer special winter passes and reduced entry fees so that you can make the most of these stunning attractions for less.

Let your canine run free on the Cornish coast 

If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your faithful canine pal behind, then winter is a great time to take them on holiday too. Seasonal dog bans on Cornwall’s beaches are usually in place from March - September, giving your canine the run of the coast for the whole winter season. Together you can explore to your heart's content and, with our dog-friendly cottages, you can ensure that Fido has everything he could possibly need for a memorable winter break in Cornwall.

Go below ground at a Cornish mine experience 

Image credit: Geevor Tin Mine on Facebook


If the weather takes a turn for the worse, the best way to escape it is to head beneath ground and experience one of Cornwall’s underground attractions and learn about the major role Cornwall played in the mining industry. There are several attractions in Cornwall where you can take a tour of these well-preserved mines and caverns, as well as museums, displays and exhibitions that tell the story of Cornwall’s mining heritage. Visit the former slate mine of Carnglaze Caverns, follow in the steps of Cornish miners at Geevor Tin Mine or discover the only complete underground mine open to the public in Cornwall at Poldark Mine – and that’s just to name a few.

Explore Cornwall’s coastal towns

When searching for places to visit in Cornwall in winter, you’ll want to simply soak up the character and charm of Cornwall’s most beautiful coastal towns and villages. Whether it’s during the buzz of Christmas celebrations or the quiet lull of the new year, there’s plenty to see and enjoy, even on the coolest and crispest of winter days. If you wait until after Christmas, you can enjoy some peace and quiet in some of Cornwall’s most popular coastal towns such as Falmouth, St Ives, Padstow and Fowey – all offering a wonderful array of boutique shops, cosy cafes and welcoming pubs.

Try your hand at ice skating at the Eden Project

A typical winter activity that’s popular at Christmas, the award-winning Eden Project opens up its ice rink every year from early December well into February. It’s a lovely opportunity for families to enjoy something different during their winter trip to Cornwall, and a chance to explore the Eden Project too. Whatever the weather outdoors, Eden’s Rainforest Biome is warm and welcoming, and it gives you chance to experience four of the world’s rainforest environments – who doesn’t want to be transported to tropical islands, South East Asia, West Africa and tropical South America in the depths of winter? With tonnes to see and do at the Eden Project in winter, ice skating is just the tip of the iceberg!

Book a cottage in winter

Have these things to do in Cornwall in winter inspired your off-peak break to the coast? Winter is a magical time to visit Cornwall and, with these fabulous things to do and places to go, you’ll be sure to get the very best from your time away. Book a cosy Cornwall cottage for winter from our collection of fabulous farmhouses, coastal cottages, fisherman's cottages and seaside apartments.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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