Not only does the north Cornish coast have miles of golden sands and crystal blue waters, it’s also got loads going on in 2016. So we’ve put together a list of our top things to do in the area when on your holiday, so that you’re in the know, up to speed and in the loop.
If you're heading down to Cornwall during March, then you're in for a treat as it's the best time of the year for mussels. To show off the best of the Cornish land and sea, The Cornish Arms in Padstow holds its annual beer and mussel festival where visitors can enjoy over 30 different beers and ciders from St Austell Brewery and Sharp's Brewery with a feast of different mussel dishes over the weekend. A highlight in the foodie calendar.
18th March 2016 to 20th March 2016
Celebrate the start of Spring with the annual St Endellion Easter Festival as a mix of amateur and professional musicians and singers take part in a week of music making. The festival has an international reputation with spectators and musicians coming from far and wide. And there is also the chance for members of the public who are wind or brass players to join in with the festival orchestra. Tickets go on sale at the beginning of February. Photo: Graham Topp
26th March 2016 to 3rd April 2016
Spend Half Term on the rocks with John Bray and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust exploring our amazing coastline. Great for big kids as well as little, participants can get their feet wet discovering the hidden lives of crabs, fish, anemones and a host of other animals that dwell under rocks and amongst the seaweed and barnacles. 10am-12pm, taking part costs £2 per person - which goes towards the Trust. But don't worry if you can't make it this time, the Trust will be running other rambles throughout the summer holidays and in October Half Term. Photo: Alastair Sopp.
5th April 2016 to 5th April 2016
Dance your socks off as Padstow's May Day ushers in summer. Held on May 1st, May Day (or 'Obby "Oss Day as it's known outside of Padstow) is one of the biggest dates in the Padstow town calendar. With thousands visiting the festival, the quaint seaside town is sure to be bursting at the seams. The event is a centuries' old tradition, involving music and dancing through the streets. Photo: Barry McCann.
1st May 2016 to 1st May 2016
The Royal Cornwall Show is one of THE dates in the Cornish calendar and not to be missed. On June 9th, 10th & 11th the county’s biggest annual event will be jam-packed with fantastic stands and activities offering entertainment, competitions and shopping, plus all that’s great in food and farming. The show is unique in retaining its natural character and sense of community, with everything from flower shows to heavy horses.
9th June 2016 to 11th June 2016
Local singing superstars the Fisherman's Friends hail from the pretty village of Port Isaac in North Cornwall. Despite their growing fame, the shanty-singing group of friends take time out of their busy schedules to perform in free open-air concerts on the slipway in Port Isaac harbour on Friday evenings throughout the summer. It's a great atmosphere with a BBQ provided by the RNLI, lots of humour and donations collected each week to a local charitable cause. Wear warm clothes and check their Facebook page for weekly updates.
1st June 2016 to 30th September 2016
The Rock Oyster Festival is the highlight of the year in the town, with revellers flocking to one of the newest additions to the Cornwall festival calendar. Expect a packed line-up of live music, circus acts and kids' entertainment as well as some of the best local producers around. The festival takes place in the grounds of the 17th century Dinham House, overlooking the Camel Estuary and is not to be missed - John Bray Cornish Holidays is even sponsoring the Big Top! Photo: Andy Grainger.
15th July 2016 to 16th July 2016
The three day Polzeath Beer Festival at The Point has refreshingly simple aims - raising a bit of money for charity, sampling some fine ales and listening to some local music. Now entering its 4th year, the festival has raised well over £5000 for local charities to date. As well as great live bands, there are lots of children's activities, a hog roast and BBQ and a raffle. £10 entry fee includes a beer glass, wristband and your first pint – and kids go free.
29th July 2016 to 30th July 2016
A fundraiser for Marie Curie Care that raised £67,111 in 2015, this charity swim is a one-mile course from Padstow to Rock, across the picturesque Camel Estuary. When you reach Rock you can join in the party celebrations, BBQ and licensed bar before returning to Padstow on the ferry for more entertainment. If you are all fired up for the challenge you will have to be quick, as registration opens on Tuesday 16th February 2016 at 12 noon and usually sells out within the hour!
31st July 2016 to 31st July 2016
In a similar set up to the Easter festival, the St Endellion Summer music festival is a week of excellent concerts with a chorus-line of wonderful musicians descending on Cornwall. The famous festival boasts a symphony orchestra and a chorus of 75 who, along with guest artistes, present a program that encompasses the classics from Brahms and Stravinsky, through to Broadway and brass bands. Photo: Phil Tizzard.
26th July 2016 to 5th August 2016
Junior Camel Week is the annual youth sailing regatta run by Rock Sailing & Water Ski Club and supported by John Bray Cornish Holidays. It’s a great week of fun junior racing. The races are open to participants from all over, with many entering from the thriving contingent of local juniors. Expect to see these youngsters racing everything from Toppers and Pico’s through to Lasers and Fevas.
28th July 2016 to 3rd August 2016
Bring your wetsuit and take part, or join the crowds to watch lots of brave souls, young and old, take to the water in this annual charity beach-to-beach swim event. There are four races throughout the day, ranging from a 300-yard swim for youngsters through to a 3-mile trial for the super serious. Once it's all over you can kick back and enjoy The Big Party, which follows the swim, on the Slipway at Port Isaac – completely free and packed with live music, great food and local beer – and sponsored by John Bray Cornish Holidays.
28th August 2016 to 28th August 2016
Camel Week is the annual sailing regatta run by Rock Sailing & Water Ski Club from its clubhouse in Rock. Following on from Junior Camel Week, the event is a hugely popular date in the North Cornwall calendar and with one race a day over the week there's plenty of time to take in the sights and sounds of the North Cornwall area as well.
13th August 2016 to 19th August 2016
Due to huge shifts in sand on Daymer Bay in North Cornwall, a 4,400-year-old forest has been revealed. John Bray is working closely with the Polzeath Marine Centre to deliver a special guided tour of the fossilised forest, allowing participants to learn more about the stumps, trucks and roots that have been unearthed.
21st August 2016 to 21st August 2016
2016 will be the 10th anniversary of Polo on the Beach, which is fast becoming one of the highlights on the Cornish event calendar. Visitors are entertained by a feast of polo set on one of the county’s best beaches. Alongside the sporting spectacle, there are beach activities and even a dog show, plus a large selection of delicious street food to enjoy. Photo: James Ram
9th September 2016 to 11th September 2016
Gig in the Garden is held in the grounds of the St Kew Inn. Enjoy good food and beer with performances from a fleet of popular Cornish bands, all to support local charities. The annual event is a highlight in the parish of St Kew and the charming gardens provide the perfect spot for a traditional Cornish festival – rain or shine, this event is a good'n!
10th September 2016 to 10th September 2016
The North Cornwall Book Festival is a three-day feast of books, writing and word-related pleasures. It includes author talks, discussions, book signings, workshops and music concerts for all ages. A seaside celebration of all things literary, the festival will publish a detailed programme in spring with some very exciting names. Tickets are available to buy online. Photo: Dan Hall
20th October 2016 to 23rd October 2016
The Padstow Christmas Festival is a pure Christmas delight – showcasing Padstow at its best. Think carol singing, delicious local delicacies and demonstrations from some of the UK's leading chefs, all congregated under one roof (if it’s raining!) to create a festival that truly captures the essence of Christmas. The weekend long event offers a chance to celebrate all things Cornish, as well as giving you a chance to find that perfect present for a loved one. From Friday through to Sunday, the entertainment doesn’t stop and has something the whole family can enjoy. Photo: James Ram
2nd December 2016 to 4th December 2016