Why winter is wonderful in Cornwall

November 16th, 2015

With the summer crowds having vanished, now is a fantastic and more affordable time to visit Cornwall.

And the reasons for visiting aren’t just simply that a trip to the south west is cheaper in winter – there are many pros to visiting at this time of year.

Obviously the county, which has been named the UK’s best holiday destination at the British Travel Awards for the past six years running, has plenty going for it all year round, so what are the winter highlights?

Bargain beaches and fantastic dog walks

While there may not be so much sun or summer heat at this time of year, Cornwall’s beaches are still beautiful. The good news is many of them become very cheap to visit for a winter walk. Many council-run car parks – including well-known ones such as Porthtowan beach and Kynance Cove – waive fees from November to Easter and others reduce charges. If you’re looking to stay at dog friendly holiday cottages in Cornwall, now is one of the best times to make the trip.

Sensational seasonal seafood

If you’ve tried Cornish crab in the summer, you’ve had it when it’s at its worst, says expert Cornish fisherman Calum Greenhalgh.

Calum sells his crab and lobster at Fresh from the Sea (01208 880849, freshfromthesea.co.uk) in Port Isaac and even supplies Nathan Outlaw’s double Michelin-starred restaurant in Port Isaac (01208 881 183, nathan-outlaw.com).

Between September and Christmas Calum is hauling in roe-rich female crabs, while in spring and summer, it’s the males. That means at the moment each crab is yielding around a cupful of brown meat, compared to just a teaspoonful in summer.

Stormy skies and seas

With Cornwall sitting on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, the county has a reputation as a fantastic destination for surfers in summer. However, in winter the Atlantic has a more dramatic influence, with dark storm clouds sometimes rolling inland.

When that happens there are plenty of sea front pubs and cafes where you can hunker down in front of a roaring log fire with a hot cup of coffee or a local ale and watch the spectacular show unfold.

Folky festivities

Cornwall hosts plenty of festive events every winter.

Perhaps the most famous is the switch on of the Mousehole lights, near Penzance. The village has a brilliant floating display in its harbour, inspired by an old wives tale which involved a cat saving fishermen’s lives. You can visit the display between December 12 and January 2 (mouseholelights.org.uk).

Another event not to miss is Jamie Oliver’s winter food fayre on November 28, where you can watch plenty of demonstrations of how to cook local produce (01637 861000; fifteencornwall.co.uk/winter-fayre).