The best festivals and events in Cornwall 2024 holiday cottages

The best festivals and events in Cornwall 2024

Deborah Caine 30 April 2024

As we keep all of our fingers crossed in the hope that the weather will finally warm up and we can start to think about long summer days and lighter nights (please!), we take a look at some of the best Cornwall events and festivals coming up for the rest of 2024. 

Whether it’s a family day out or a camping stayover, there really is something for everyone and for all generations. From the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge to Newquay’s Boardmasters, to the Mayday ‘Obby Oss’ in Padstow, there is a hugely impressive scope of events and festivals in Cornwall to enjoy. 

With such an extensive schedule of events, Cornwall is the place to be in 2024! Please sit back, relax and take a look through our finds to see what catches your eye ... 

Cornwall events in:

May events

Obby Oss, Padstow 

Photo of one of the Padstow Osses

If you’re in the area come 1st May Day, Padstow Obby Oss, this ancient and raucous celebration parade of the Celtic festival of Beltane is not to be missed. Taking centre stage are the two ‘osses’ (stylised horse effigies). At 10am, the ‘Blue Oss’ appears and an hour later, the ‘Old Oss’ is let loose upon the town too, with their mischief-making ‘teazers’. Padstow is adorned with flags and flowers and the fun and wacky parade advances with costumed revellers, musicians and a maypole. The beat goes on until midnight.

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Free
  • Where and when? The backstreets and harbourfront of Padstow, 1 May
  • Stay nearby: Harbour Watch | sleeps 4 

Cornwall Pride, various locations and dates across Cornwall

Pride parade with sign which reads Love is Love

Cornwall has been celebrating Pride in multi-coloured glory for the past 16 years. And from Saturday 27 April to Saturday 5 October 2024, there are 11 LGBTQ+ Pride Cornwall events scheduled across the county – most of which are planned for Saturdays during summer. As well as the parade main event, there will be activities and food stalls and naturally, a welcome-for-all vibe! 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Free
  • Where and when? Camborne Pride, 11 May | Redruth Pride, 12 May | St Austell Pride, 18 May | Penzance Pride, 1 June | Bodmin Pride, 15 June | Isles of Scilly Pride, 7 July | Newquay Pride, 20 July | Bude Pride, 27 July | Cornwall Pride (Truro), 31 August | Saltash Pride, 14 September | St Ives Pride, 5 October

June events

Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge

Photo of cattle at an agricultural show

One of the long-standing Cornwall events, the Royal Cornwall Show has been running since 1793 and champions the best in Cornish agriculture. As such, this Cornwall event is a staple of the Duchy’s calendar. In the main ring, you’ll find stunt shows, livestock parades and equestrian events. There’s music and dance on the show’s two stages, while the Countryside Village offers expert demonstrations in traditional countryside skills. There are lake skills as well, plenty of shopping stalls and food to sample. 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Any one day: Adult £23.50, child (4–15 years) £6.00, family (two adults and two children, 4-15 years) £50.00. Late entry tickets available. Free for children under 3 years. Free parking on site. Dogs to be kept on leads. 
  • Where and when: The Royal Cornwall Events Centre, Wadebridge, PL27 7JE. 6-8 June, 8.30am–6pm (7am for ticket holders). 
  • Stay nearby: Poppy Cottage | sleeps 6 + 2 dogs 

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival

Photo of guitarist on a music stage

There’s nothing quite like a hearty sea shanty to rouse the spirits! Founded in 2004, Falmouth Sea Shanty is one of the relatively newer events in Cornwall. Acapella Moonshine, Aggie Boys Choir, C Birds, Cadgwith Singers, Back Beach Boyz and the Barnacle Buoys are just a selection of the 70+ groups scheduled to perform across different locations in Falmouth this June. With each group offering something different from the next, this soulful Cornish festival is free to attend and supports the vital work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Whilst in the area, why not make a day of it and check out our favourite things to do in Falmouth

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Free. 
  • Where and when? Various sites around Falmouth, 14–16 June
  • Stay nearby: The Stables at Glen View | sleeps 8 + 3 dogs 

Golowan Festival, Penzance

Golowan festival paradePhoto credit: Golowan Festival

This 10-day street festival is the second largest in the UK. Celebrating Penzance’s arts and culture, the theme for the Golowan Festival 2024 is, ‘Together We Shine.’ Another Cornish festival with ancient roots, Golowan celebrates midsummer. Though the festival was lost to Penzance for a while, it was revived in 1991. So, what does this midsummer celebration entail? Well, there’s the Mock Mayor election, serpent dance, feasting, bands, Madron Midsummer Eve bonfire, fireworks, Mazey Day parades and generally much community merriment!

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Free. 
  • Where and when? Various sites around Penzance, 21–30 June
  • Stay nearby: The Old Chapel | sleeps 6  

July events

Rock Oyster, Wadebridge

Stage at Rock Oyster FestivalPhoto credit: Rock Oyster Festival

The Human League, Sugababes and Bombay Bicycle Club are some of the acts booked for this awesome, family-friendly music, food and wellbeing festival, which spans several days along the scenic banks of the River Camel. As well as the sounds, delicious food offerings and top-chef demonstrations, there are massage tents, sound bath sessions, meditation, yoga and mini-yoga if you need a little calm. Water lovers can try a surf lesson or stand-up paddleboarding, while little ones will be kept busy with crafts and stories, and can practice their circus skills and den-building! Rock Oyster Festival is an all-round fantastic family-friendly festival in Cornwall.

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone! Under-18s need to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Price? For various ticket and package options, visit the website.
  • Where and when? Dinham House Estate, St Minver, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL27 6RH. 25–28 July.  
  • Stay nearby: Wren | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

August events

Boardmasters Festival, Newquay

Main stage at Boardmasters at nightPhoto credit: Will Bailey and Boardmasters

One of the most anticipated, coolest festivals in Cornwall – Boardmasters is a heady fusion of surf and music washing over the UK’s surf mecca of Newquay every summer. The international surfing competitions attract pro-surfers from across the globe to ride the waves of Fistral Beach in the Boardmasters Open and Boardmasters Longboard Pro competitions. Meanwhile, the Boardmasters Junior Open showcases the best up-and-coming talent. The ticketed music festival and camping ground is at Watergate Bay and 2024 performers include Stormzy, Becky Hill, Chase & Status, Sam Fender and The Streets.

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone – particularly surfing enthusiasts and music lovers! Those who are 16+ can rock up without an adult (ID required on request).
  • Price? It’s free to watch the beach surf competitions. The music festival and camping are ticketed, so head to the festival website for pricing etc.
  • Where and when? Newquay, 7–11 August
  • Stay nearby: High Meadows View | sleeps 4 + 2 dogs  

Fowey Royal Regatta and Carnival Week

Photo of regatta race in the water

During August each year, the Fowey hosts the celebrated Fowey Royal Regatta. As well as the programme of sailing races over the week, there’s the annual carnival and crowning of the Carnival Queen, live music on the Town Quay, Pirate Day, crab catching and swimming competitions. There’s a torchlight dingy procession and let’s not forget, the giant pasty ceremony! The 8-foot-long pasty makes its way by boat over the harbour to a medley of musical madness and is then apportioned out to the children present. 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Free – though some events may be ticketed, so check the website for the latest info
  • Where and when: Various sites around Fowey, PL23 1AT. 18–24 August
  • Stay nearby: Portingales | sleeps 6 + 3 dogs 

September events

St Ives September Festival

Aerial photo across St Ives

There’s a packed events schedule for this 15-day celebration of music and the arts in St Ives. The foundations for this festival started with a congregation of artists and musicians in a kitchen in the town’s Teetotal Street in September 1977, with the first festival held in 1978. Today, the St Ives September Festival has grown exponentially to include music, art and film, comedy, poetry, exhibitions, talks and guided walks. Different activities take place throughout the town during the period and with both free and ticketed events, there’s a lot going on indeed.

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone!
  • Price? Many events are free. Head to the website for the programme and ticketed events. 
  • Where and when? Various sites around St Ives, 14–28 September
  • Stay nearby: 8 Chy an Eglos | sleeps 4  

October events

Falmouth Oyster Festival

Photo of a lady eating an oyster

A feast for the senses! This is one way to describe the festival Cornwall celebrates to mark the start of the oyster-dredging season and promotion of the native Fal oyster, which uses the traditional harvesting methods of sail and oar. The Falmouth Oyster Festival, which spans four days, promises music and feasting, cookery demos, the annual shucking competition, a boat race, a parade and drinks. Because what pairs beautifully with oysters? Why, champagne of course. 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone - but particularly oyster fans!
  • Price? Historically daytime events have been free. Tickets to concerts etc. are required after 6pm. Keep an eye on the website for updates.
  • Where and when? The waterfront in Falmouth. October – dates tbc.
  • Stay nearby: Chestnut Cottage | sleeps 4 + 1 dog 

We can’t forget the spookiest time of year which has its own dedicated guide – if you are visiting Cornwall over Halloween, check out our guide to the top Halloween events and activities taking place throughout the county.

November events

Heligan Night Garden, Pentewan – November until early January

Photo of light display at Heligan Gardens

If you go down to the woods today … you’ll find a magical night-time garden trail with lights, lanterns and fantastical installations, set within The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This late autumn and winter Cornwall event is a family favourite and Heligan Night Garden was actually named Tourism Event/Festival of the Year at the 2023/2024 Cornwall Tourism Awards. Details for the next event are well underway, so check the website for updates, including ticket prices. 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone – but particularly families!
  • Price? Ticket pricing is to be confirmed
  • Where and when? The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St Austell, PL26 6EN. 15 November-5 January.
  • Stay nearby: Trelawny | sleeps 4  

Throughout November and into early December, Cornwall is also home to some of the best Christmas markets and events in the country. Discover our Cornwall Christmas markets guide for inspiration.

December events

Montol Festival, Penzance

A parade at Montol FestivalPhoto credit: Montol Festival - Ian Mayou Photography

Another of the ancient festivals Cornwall has re-embraced in more recent years, Montol is the Cornish word for Winter Solstice and this lively festival fires up the season on 21 December – aka Montol Eve. With pagan roots, the festival was honoured up until the 1930s and then brought back to life in 2007. Nowadays, it’s a union of the old ways and Christmases past and present. Think music, dancing and folklore, some carol singing, and processions of masked revellers in wildly wonderful costumes. 

Good to know

  • Who is it for? Everyone! Families earlier on … adults after that.
  • Price? Free 
  • Where and when? Various sites around Penzance, 21 December
  • Stay nearby: The Old Sunday School | sleeps 4 + 1 dog 

Stay with us in Cornwall

If you’re feeling inspired to sync some Cornwall events and festivals with a Cornish holiday or mini-break, then we have plenty of cottages and holiday lets across the county. Check out our listings for Cornwall accommodation, including pup-friendly staycations.

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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