Top 10 things to do in Cornwall in July

Few places beat Cornwall in July as this county embraces warm summer days and long light evenings. We’ve gathered some of the most fun things to do in Cornwall in July whether you’re visiting solo, as a couple or a family.

For starters, there’s the amazing clifftop Minack Theatre (and they do tours!) and the new bridge at Tintagel, legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Go cycling along the Camel Trail (we suggest a few stops along the way for food and amusement) or see cute baby seals at the Seal Sanctuary. Still on a seaside theme, there are fun activities at Charlestown Regatta, a huge gathering of sail-driven luggers at Mousehole and an underwater tunnel at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

For amazing Cornish food and drink, look no further than the Rock Oyster Festival or peruse the marquees at St Stithians Agricultural Show for some award-winning grub and ale.


Cross the bridge and visit a castle

In August 2019, Tintagel Bridge was completed by English Heritage and opened to the public. It spans the steep-sided gorge between the pretty village and the island with the ruins of King Arthur’s Castle on the clifftop. It’s an amazing experience to walk across the 70m span of this new cantilever bridge with a 58m drop to the river below. It saves the wicked climb up and down all those steps that were previously in place. Admission to the bridge is included in your ticket. Great for kids, engineers and history buffs.

Set on the rugged North Cornwall coast, Tintagel Castle is one of the most spectacular historic sites in Britain. Immerse yourself in history, myths and stunning scenery. Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur, for centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists, and even the brother of a king. Now it's your turn to be inspired.

Set sail

The quaint Georgian harbour at Charlestown is known for its Tall Ships and is often used as a setting for historic dramas from Poldark to Taboo. See how many areas you recognise when you visit for the Charlestown Regatta the last week in July. It’s the 50th anniversary of this local event in 2022 so there’ll be some special guests and activities making a big splash!

Events are held around the harbour, both in and on the water, and in Regatta Field. Look out for raft races, water sports, children’s swimming races, a floral dance, triathlon, pasty making and a Grand Carnival. The week winds up with a mega musical finale.

Charlestown village, a UNESCO world heritage site, takes centre stage as the week's proceedings wrap around the magnificent Georgian harbour.. Charlestown Regatta week is an annual tradition bringing together the local community and visitors alike to enjoy a variety of live music, competitions, pasty demonstrations, craft stalls, raft races, water sports and classic favourites such as the Children's sports, Grand Carnival, flora dance procession and Regatta Rocks.

Rock on!

You’ll find music and great seafood at the Rock Oyster Festival on the last weekend of the month. Tickets are advised as this is a sell-out event. As well as delicious seafood and oyster dishes cooked up by celebrity chefs, Rock (the town) rocks to the sounds of Rock (music) with a stellar line-up. In fact there are around 100 acts to keep you moving to the beat over this three-day event. Fancy a bit more activity? There’s stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, archery, circus school and storytelling. How’s that compare with staying at home?

The Rock Oyster Festival – where for three glorious days and nights each summer, you can be part of the bohemian party scene of North Cornwall. Set in beautiful Cornwall on the banks of the River Camel it's the party that three thousand in the know locals and increasing numbers of families and travelling revellers have been heading to for more than ten years. Expect family festival antics by day, live music and campfire delights by night, with heavenly food all weekend.

What a show!

Stithians one day Agricultural Show near Truro is a great way to get a taste of local rural life in Cornwall. Get ready to admire prizewinning farm animals, see local arts and crafts and skills demonstrated, sample yummy farm food, see vintage vehicles, show jumping, pets, dogs, horticulture and more. Kids have their own Sunflower Trail that takes them direct to hands-on activities and learning experiences tailored to inquisitive minds. Most fun is the Buskers Corner Pop-Up and live music on the Main Stage. It’s on the second Monday in July so save the date!


Admire the age of steam

Boconnoc Steam Fair turns back the clock to the slower pace of life when steam power was considered state-of-the-art. Steam was hugely important in Cornwall for operating mine pumps. It’s all on show on the fourth weekend in July at the beautiful Boconnoc Estate near Fowey. As well as cart rides and competitions, there’s a heritage fairground, stalls and plenty of vintage fun!

The Boconnoc Steam Fair is one of the largest events of its kind in the South West. Full size steam engines demonstrating heavy haulage and wood sawing, miniature steam engines, vintage tractors, classic cars, vintage motorbikes, commercial vehicles and various other displays. It really is a great day out for all the family on the beautiful Boconnoc Estate.

Sea Salts and Sail

The first weekend in July sees tiny Mousehole harbour and the sea out to St Clements Island awash with old sailing boats and luggers for the Sea Salts and Sail Festival. It’s a sight that was commonplace in Mousehole for centuries until trawlers heralded the decline of the local fishing industry. Seeing the re-enactment of a fleet of luggers heading out to the fishing grounds is amazing. Over 50 boats attend the festival from Falmouth, St Ives, Wales, Scotland and even across the Channel in Brittany.

Powered by wind and sail, these traditional wooden boats have tan sails and they tack around the island in a nostalgic display of times past. The village is packed with stalls, open-sided marquees and spectators. There will be storytelling, boat trips, seafood cookery demonstrations, local crafts, live music and more. There’s plenty of great food and The Kiddlywink Bar sells wine, beer and lager. All profits are donated to local charities so it’s well worth arriving hungry and giving them your full support.

The Sea Salts and Sail Festival wouldn't be the same without the spectacular boats who visit. Scores of historic and classic vessels are invited to fill Mousehole harbour, re-creating the sights, smells and flavour of what was once an important, vibrant fishing port. Traditional wooden vessels, (from Brittany to Falmouth) are rigged with spars and tan sails and line the harbour wall. They then set out for an impressive parade of sail over the three days, a sight that stirs the heart of even the most hardened land lubber!

Attend the clifftop theatre

Long evenings and warmer temperatures make July the perfect time to visit the open-air Minack Theatre at Porthcurno. It is totally unique and well worth getting tickets to see one of the excellent performances and concerts that are hosted at this jaw-dropping site. Carved out of the cliffs just four miles from Land’s End, the seating is on grass-topped stone tiers (bring a cushion!).

You get a great view looking down on the stage but the backdrop is the real the star of the show. It looks out across the horseshoe-shaped bay and is stunning at sunset. If you just fancy a visit without a attending a show there are gardens and behind-the-scenes tours available from the Visitor Centre.


Take an undersea stroll

The Blue Reef Aquarium at Newquay offers a fantastic experience getting up-close to the weird and colourful creatures that live beneath the waves. Wander through the ocean tunnel and you can see fish, sharks, loggerhead turtles and marine life above and all around. It’s surreal. Don’t miss the giant Pacific octopus in one of the 40 marine habitats and attend one of the interesting talks. When you’re done, get your feet wet for real with a paddle on nearby Towan Beach.


See seals and sealions

Still on a maritime theme, a visit to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek is more quirky and interesting than it sounds. The sanctuary relies on visitors to fund its work as a rescue centre for injured sealife, puffins and other needy creatures. However, it specialises in rescuing and rehabilitating grey seal pups that are common on the Cornish coastline. Many get separated from their mum and need feeding up before returning to their natural environment but others find a permanent home here. Kids will love the individual stories behind each animal.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is home to Cornwall's only Seal Hospital. You'll be able to follow the journey of the injured seals through their rescue from local coastal waters, through rehabilitation and eventually release back into the wild. Each year, they rehabilitate over 70 grey seal pups from local coastal waters and bring them into their specialist seal hospital. Once their injuries have healed and they have reached a healthy weight they're released back into the wild.

On yer bike!

Rent bicycles or bring your own and make a trip along the Camel Trail part of your Cornish holiday. This traffic-free trail runs for 18 miles from Padstow to Wenfordbridge as well as passing Bodmin and Wadebridge. Walk, jog, cycle or push a buggy or wheelchair along the relatively flat paved surface of this former railway. Stop for refreshments in Bodmin, the Old Quarry at Wadebridge or in Padstow.

There’s a bird hide for spotting birds along the Camel Estuary. Stop off at Bodmin Gaol for a tour or catch the steam train for a ride along the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Enjoy birds, wild flowers and the tranquility of Cornwall at its best from this excellent amenity that follows the River Camel for most of the journey.

We’ll see you in Cornwall

From seaside to countryside and festivals to theatre, you’re in for a great time when you book a holiday cottage in Cornwall in July!

What about next month? Here’s our guide to the top 10 things to do in Cornwall in August.

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