While Cornwall is undeniably a popular destination during the summer months, with beautiful beaches and breathtaking coastal walks attracting plenty of visitors, winter in the county presents a wilder side to the landscape—but it’s not just storm-chasing along the coastline that draws visitors and locals outdoors during the darker months, with plenty of food, drink, and entertainment on offer.
Whether you’re braving the coastal paths or admiring the festive lights adorning most of the county’s harbours, make time to warm up with coffee at the Roastery over the Christmas holidays. While our waterfront location in Porthleven is closed until the spring, we’ll be open at our headquarters just a short walk up the road. Our opening hours at the Roastery café are as follows.
21st-23rd Dec: 8.30am-5pm
24th Dec: 9am-3pm
25th-26th Dec: Closed
27th-30th Dec: 8.30am-5pm
31st Dec: 9am-3pm
1st Jan: Closed
2nd-6th Jan: 8.30am-5pm
7th Jan: 9am-5pm
8th Jan onwards: normal hours resume (Mon-Sat: 8.30am-5pm; Sun: 9am-4pm).
SEA DIPS AND SAUNA SESSIONS
Whether you’re looking to join the crowds on Christmas day or hoping to keep your daily swim going throughout the winter, there are plenty of reasons to seek that endorphin rush and get in the water this season. While hardier swimmers might settle for a tumbler of coffee or hot chocolate post-dip, there are a number of cool sauna pods that have set themselves up across Cornwall, presenting a tempting opportunity to take the plunge, and then warm up next to a wood fire. Embrace the wellness benefits of cold and hot therapies, and either drop in, or book a private session for you and a group of friends. For a sauna experience in Polzeath or Padstow, check out Saunas by the Sea; Rising Embers has a prime location in Penzance, celebrating the longstanding Finnish culture of hot and cold immersion; and Escape Swims offers three great swim locations at Carlyon Bay, Maenporth, and Hayle—alongside a mind-and-body warming experience in their pods, we love their workshops and wild water wellbeing courses, designed to promote safety and wellbeing.
EXPLORE THE NIGHT GARDEN AT HELIGAN
The Lost Gardens of Heligan captured hearts and imaginations in the 1990s when the long-neglected, derelict gardens were rediscovered, lost to time since WW1. Spanning 200 acres, the work became Europe’s largest garden restoration project and, today, attracts explorers, nature lovers, and garden enthusiasts from around the world. While the magic is undeniable all year round, imaginations young and old are lit up with the Night Garden. Walk an illuminative garden trail, with incredible displays of flora and fauna brought to life in collaboration with The Lantern Company. Installations and lanterns celebrate indigenous species that make the woodland and gardens their home. Take a winter woodland walk; get children involved in a lantern-making workshop; and warm up with classic winter staples, including mulled wine and cider. The Night Garden continues until Jan 2nd: find out more here.
EMBRACE THE ELEMENTS WITH A WINTRY WALK
When it comes to wrapping up and heading outdoors, there’s no end of choice for brilliant walks—from easy strolls, to bracing coastal paths. Whether you’re looking for a route with a welcoming pub at the end, a place to let the dog off lead and enjoy an expansive beach, or even hoping to catch some waves, Cornwall has a walk for everyone. Some of our favourites include St Michael’s Mount, Godrevy, and the stretch between Porthleven and Rinsey.
While the castle itself is closed for repairs during the winter months, the island café and a number of shops are open in the harbour village of St Michael’s Mount, which makes for a short yet impressive walk across the causeway when the tide is in your favour (you can check the causeway times here). It’s little wonder that Godrevy is popular with surfers, families, and dog-walkers alike, with a vast beach and impressive vistas; the lighthouse served the inspiration for writer Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse. For more of a challenge, you can take on the Porthleven to Rinsey (circling back to Porthleven) route, which promises moody and dramatic cliff views, iconic engine houses, and undulating stretches along one of the South West Coastal Path’s most popular walks.
LIGHTING UP THE DARK AT THE EDEN PROJECT
All year round, the Eden Project inspires and impresses, offering a unique invitation to explore our human connection to nature—but for the winter holidays, this incredible landscapes transforms with an immersive music and light experience (daily until December 23rd, then again from the 27th-30th). Explore lighting and soundscapes, taking place in the impressive biomes, and enjoy live music with a jazz twist, sure to impress all the family. As part of the seasonal entertainment, the ever-popular ice rink runs until February.
EAT, DRINK, AND GET CREATIVE AT HARBOUR VIEW HOUSE
St Ives is notorious for being busy during the summer months, and for good reason. With an iconic and inspiring landscape, one that’s drawn numerous artists to its coastline for hundreds of years, the town has an undeniable appeal—but if crowds aren’t your thing, then winter is a far smarter time to visit. This isn’t to say that St Ives won’t be busy—but you do stand a better chance of being able to browse the numerous independent shops, wander around the Tate, appreciate the coastline (the St Ives to Zennor walk is a must if you have the time and energy), and find a table for coffee and food. Among our favourites, is Harbour View House, a brilliant boutique hotel that’s as popular with residents as it is with visitors. The café bar always promises to be a hit of a Saturday evening, with live music from local musicians. And, alongside a beautiful brunch menu and well-crafted coffee, the venue is known for impeccable cocktails, tacos, and a host of thoughtful and creative events, including ‘Sip and Paint’ sessions, ideal for those cold and dark winter evenings. We’ll see you there.