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June 30, 2023

Destination: Devon & Cornwall


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Top 10 Things to Do in Cornwall in October and November

Cornwall is fabulous all year round, but even more so outside of the summer months when the crowds and soaring prices can make it more stressful than it needs to be. In fact, wherever you go in the UK during the Fall, you’ll be in for something special.

If you’re an outdoorsy person – and even if you’re not – Cornwall is a treat in October and November. As the temperatures cool, outdoor activities are more manageable, the wild weather only adds to the rugged landscape, and there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy.

From the many and varied things to do in Cornwall in October and November, here are our top ten.

1. Go Rockpooling

Cornwall beaches are superb in the October and November months. They’re much quieter than in the summer, making it far easier to park up nearby.

Rockpooling provides endless fun as you explore among the rocks to see what hidden sea creatures you can find lurking in the cracks. Grab yourself a bucket and maybe even a line with some bait attached, and head to one of our favourite rock pooling beaches:

  • Castle Beach, Falmouth
  • Port Isaac
  • Kennack Sands, Lizard Penninsula
A crab on a beach in Cornwall
A crab on a Cornwall beach. Image: Lawrence Bywater

Just beware of slippery craggy rocks and be sure to put rocks wildlife back where you found them!

2. Get on Two Wheels for a Cycle Tour

Cornwall is a treat for cyclists, with its winding country lanes, challenging hill climbs and stunning ocean vistas, but October and November are a perfect time to enjoy a cycle tour of the area. 

The roads are less busy, the temperatures are more manageable, and the shorter days mean that you can focus your routes before finishing up in a warm cosy pub in the late afternoon.

Riding to catch a glimpse of the sea does usually involve some climbing but when the views are like this, its well worth it! Image: Active England

You’re spoilt for your choice of route, and the empty roads mean you can pedal away happily without worrying too much about traffic roaring past. Our favourite routes include the new West Kernow Way Bikepacking trail, the Piran Trail from Padstow to Newquay or Truro, or the Bissoe Cycle Trail from Devoran to Portreath.

3. Get into (Foodie) Festival Mode

Over the last decade or two, Cornwall has become one of the UK’s top foodie destinations, and there’s no better time to celebrate the local cuisine than in October and November (and slightly earlier in September too!).

There’s the Newquay Fish Festival slightly earlier in September, The Cornwall Food and Drink Festival in late September, the Bocastle Food, Arts and Crafts Festival and the Falmouth Oyster Festival in October.  You’ll get to potter around the stands, watch cookery demos and sample some of the local produce.

4. Go for a Long Beach Walk

Cornwall has some great beaches, but during the summer months, they can get packed out with sun-seekers.

Walking on a beach near St Ives, Cornwall. Image: Nicola Monfort

If you’re looking for a stroll along a long sandy beach, we’d recommend Perranporth, Upton Towans, or Watergate beaches, or there are shorter strolls along beaches such as Porthcurno, and Pedn Vounder or Porthminister beach at St Ives.

5. Go Foraging

Fall is a great time for foraging in the UK, and Cornwall is the perfect place to try it.

It’s mushroom season, but unless you’re an expert, it’s worth foraging with a guide to avoid poisoning yourself. October and November are also a great time for nettles (perfect when made into soup) and sloes (infuse these in gin to make a great Christmas aperitif).

6. Eat, Drink & Be Merry

On the subject of food and drink, Cornwall is brimming with top-notch restaurants and pubs to welcome you in for a bite to eat. Stumble across any restaurant offering fresh local produce, exquisite seafood, and great views, and you’ll be in for a treat.

Chef Rick Stein has put Padstow on the map with his Seafood Restaurant, but there’s also Mussel Box and Greens of Padstow.

In Port Isaac there’s the Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Truro has the Hidden Hut with views over  Porthcurnick beach,  there’s The Mariners in Wadebridge, Ugly Butterfly in St Ives and Kota at Porthleven.

We’d advise booking in advance, although during October and November, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making a reservation.

Fancy staying overnight in somewhere luxurious? Check out the best luxury hotels in Devon and Cornwall.

7. Go Storm-Hunting

If you’re in Cornwall during October and November, the chances are you’ll witness at least one of its mighty storms. October, the month the UK experienced hurricane force 12 “Great Storm of 1987”, is a good time for storm-hunting.

Porthleven Beach during a storm
Porthleven on the south coast always catches the worst of the storms. Image: Brian Aitkenhead, Unsplash

Lizard Point, Porthleven, Penzance Promenade and Sennen Sands are all great spots for watching immense Atlantic storms. Just be careful not to get too close to the waves, and stay away from the edge if you’re viewing from a cliff edge. Better still, find a cosy bar or cafe and enjoy the storm in comfort!

8. Take Your Surfboard, Kayak or SUP on the Water

Believe it or not, the Fall is the best time to go surfing in Cornwall. During the summer months, the surf is relatively underwhelming compared to the consistently immense waves during October and November. Better still, the water isn’t too bracingly cold at this time of year, making it a great time to grab your board and get surfing. The best surf spots include Fistral Beach, Newquay, Perranporth, Polzeath and Gwithian beach.

Or, if surfing’s not your thing, why not try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding? Try calmer stretches of water like the stunning Kynance Cove or Nanjuzal Bay where you can paddle around the caves.

9. Take a Coldwater Swim

And whilst we’re on the subject of water, October and November are the perfect time to challenge yourself to a bracing cold water swim. Cold, yes. But not freezing. The Cornish waters still retain much of the summer heat, and so the water is much more inviting than in, say Spring, when the temperatures are around five degrees cooler.

Best swimming spots? Our top ten include Cawsands, Lantic Bay, and the Bude Sea Pool.

10. Visit the Galleries

If you’re in a cultural indoorsy mood, Cornwall isn’t short on artsy spots. Padstow is full of art shops and boasts The Drang Gallery where you’ll find plenty of contemporary art exhibits including works by Banksy, Tracy Emin, David Hockney, and Damien Hirst.

Alternatively, St Ives has  The Tate and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden as well as other smaller galleries along the streets.

Scattered around Cornwall are several other galleries, including the Four Crows Gallery in Porthleven, Avalon Art in Marazion and the Cliffside Gallery in Port Isaac.

St Ives, Cornwall
St Ives is good in summer, it's brilliant in Autumn and Winter.

There’s so much to do in Cornwall in October and November. Whether it’s a wet and windy stroll along the beach, sampling the delicious seafood and other local produce or perusing one of the cute galleries, there’s something for everyone.

As November turns to December, and the winter truly arrives, Cornwall is still a great destination to head to. Wrap up warm with our guide to seeing Cornwall in winter.

But if you’d like to combine your trip with a walking, cycling or swimming tour in Cornwall, feel free to get in touch and we help find you the perfect trip.

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