Shake off winter by spending a few days in Cornwall in spring. We’ve listed the Top 10 things to do in Cornwall in April that you might not have heard of. From Green Man sightings and banks of bluebells to steam engines and bottle-fed lambs, there’s something for every curious visitor.
We also give a mention to a top food festival, explore a smuggler’s museum and suggest where to join a traditional Easter egg hunt. So head on down on a vicarious trip to Cornwall with our fact-filled article of handpicked events and activities.
Stroll around Mount Edgcumbe Country Park
One of Cornwall’s best country parks is Mount Edgcumbe, looking across the Tamar Estuary to Plymouth. As well as a grand 16th century house, the estate has four miles of scenic coastline, formal gardens brimming with bright spring colour, a shopping village and a lovely sunny cafe in the Orangery. Take a the tour of the house, the former ancestral home of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. It’s packed with noteworthy artworks, tapestries, clocks and Boulle furniture. You can also ride a Segway, take an archery lesson, ride the Miniature Railway or walk through the gardens admiring flowering bulbs, azaleas, magnolias and camellias at every turn.
Celebrate Cornwall with a Foodie Festival
April sees the start of the busy festival season in Cornwall/a>. If you’re visiting in April, you’re just in time for the annual Porthleven Food Festival which is a three-day feast of Cornish food and drink held on the fourth weekend in April. It brings together a bevy of local and national chefs cooking up a storm around the harbour along with street music and entertainment. While you’re in Porthleven, download the Porthleven Town Trail and learn more about the history and heritage of the main landmarks such as the Old Custom House, Harbour and Dock Office and the Lime Kiln.
Spot the Green Man amid Garden Greenery at Heligan
The legendary Green Man commonly appears as a cheeky face disguised with greenery. Steeped in mythology and tradition, the Green Man is a symbol of fertility. He’s immortalised in stone or wood carvings in churches and cathedrals, on manuscripts and stained glass. You’ll also find him covered in lush green moss with a thatch of grassy hair at the award-winning Lost Gardens of Heligan. Enjoy a woodland walk and keep your eyes open for the Giant’s Head, the Mud Maid and the Grey Lady too. Of course, there’s plenty more to see and do at this award-winning garden attraction. Discovered beneath decades of neglect, the gardens have carpets of bluebells and some of the largest and oldest rhododendrons and flowing shrubs in Cornwall.
Visit the Smugglers Museum in Polperro
April is a great time to visit the quaint fishing village of Polperro before the summer crowds descend. An easy way to visit is to park at Talland Bay and walk along the scenic coastal path into Polperro harbour. Most of the village lanes are just cart-wide and traffic free. If you’re driving, park at the top of the hill next to the 13th century Crumplehorn Inn with its waterwheel. Stroll down the winding lane passing tea rooms, gift shops and pubs along the way to the harbour. It’s a place of idyllic charm with attractions such as the Ebenezer Gallery, Model Village and the Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing. Dine in one of the atmospheric old inns such as the Three Pilchards or The Ship and picture the old "sea dogs" that propped up the bar centuries ago.
A host of golden daffodils
Had Wordsworth visited Cornwall rather than the Lake District, perhaps his ode to "a host of golden daffodils" might have been written about Antony House instead! This enchanting National Trust estate is adorned with a multitude of flowering daffodils and narcissus. In April, the azaleas will be heavy with blooms around the Japanese pond while magnolias provide a stunning backdrop to the famous Mandalay Bell. Pale yellow primroses cluster at the foot of ancient trees – a sure sign that summer’s on its way.
Trevithick Day in Camborne
Born in April 1771, the life and engineering skills of Richard Trevithick are celebrated each year in his home town of Camborne on Trevithick Day. This festival takes place on the last Saturday in April. As Trevithick pioneered steam power in mining and transport, the festival includes a parade of ground-shaking steam engines, restored vintage vehicles, brass band music and children dancing their carefully rehearsed steps of the Bal Maidens and Miners Dance. Like all good festivals, there are fairground rides, street entertainers, clowns, buskers, dancers, street theatre and plenty of stalls selling food and drinks. Best of all, this late-April event is free to attend.
Enjoy a bike ride
There are miles of traffic-free bike trails in Cornwall and you can rent bicycles, tandems, kiddie trailers and carrier seats to suit all the family. The great thing about these former rail-trails is that they are generally flat and have a well-drained surface. The best-known is the Camel Trail, running 24 miles alongside the Camel Estuary from Padstow to Bodmin. The shorter 2½ mile Pentewan Trail runs from St Austell to Pentewan with stunning river and coastal views. Serious cyclists might enjoy the challenges of the Coast and Clay Trail (45 miles) or the Bodmin to Bude North Cornwall Trail. For more challenging mountain bike trails, head to Cardinham Woods.
Easter themed activities – eggs ‘n all
Easter usually falls in April and how better to celebrate that with an Easter egg hunt? Various attractions in Cornwall put on special themed events for families during the Easter school holidays, so they are worth checking out. In the past, Easter egg hunts and crafts events have been organised by Truro Cathedral, Trebah Gardens, Flambards and Camel Creek Adventure Park. The National Trust properties at Lanhydrock, Trelissick, Cotehele and Godolphin all put on special Easter events, so check their website and join in the fun.
Spring is the season of new birth and fields are alive with the sound of bleating lambs. There’s something rather heartwarming about feeding lambs and it’s all-hands-on-deck in spring when orphaned lambs need regular bottle-feeding. Take the family to Dairyland Farm Park for the day. There are plenty of baby animals to stroke, cuddle, bottle-feed and pet along with tractor rides, ziplines and a huge indoor play area in The Bull Pen.
Spring is a great time for birdwatching in Cornwall. Stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a popular resting point for flocks of birds as they migrate back to their summer feeding grounds. The Hayle Estuary is an excellent RSPB Reserve and is home to oystercatchers, curlew, teals and little egrets. Visit Lizard Point, home of the rare Cornish Chough along with puffins and razorbills. Within sight of St Michael’s Mount, Marazion Marsh has reed beds that are a habitat for many wetlands birds and April is prime nesting season. For a walk on the wild side with a wildlife ranger, book a boat trip to
Looe Island, now a managed wildlife reserve.
We’ll see you in Cornwall
Along with breezy beach walks and pubs with roaring log fires there’s plenty to enjoy in Cornwall in April. Now’s the time to book your holiday cottage in Cornwall and enjoy a well-earned spring break!