Autumn in Cornwall

Autumn in Cornwall

With lingering sunshine, trees enrobed in bronze cloaks, and golden beaches void of footprints, the word “glorious” comes as no exaggeration to describe autumn in Cornwall. A wonderful time of year between the flow of summer and the slow of winter, it provides the perfect opportunity for dreamy retreats by glistening coastlines and copper-gilded countryside.

So you can savour all the best parts, we’ve curated a guide to autumn in Cornwall this year, including everything from the top places to eat to unmissable events in the county.

Places to Eat

Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Padstow

When it comes to the best places to eat in Cornwall this autumn, Paul Ainsworth at No.6 is high on the culinary agenda. Open since 2005, this Michelin star restaurant has become an established institution in Cornwall, well-known for the calibre of its cuisine. Reserve a table in advance and look forward to sampling award-winning dishes of well-honed classics and seasonal Cornish innovations. Among the foodie highlights are Paul’s signature ‘crabsticks and scones’ starter and mouth-watering apple pie dessert.

Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac

One of the top seafood restaurants in Cornwall, the Michelin Star Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen is a delicious destination for autumn feasts. Located within a characterful, fifteenth century fisherman’s cottage in the village of Port Isaac, it paints an impossibly charming picture for dining experiences. Book in advance to avoid disappointment and choose from the expertly crafted menus of Cornish seafood specials. With an emphasis on quality and sustainability, you can anticipate the finest, freshest flavours.

The Square, Porthleven

Whether you would like to draw out your day with a beautiful walk through Penrose Estate or head straight to The Square for foodie reward, gastronomical heaven awaits in Porthleven. An oceanside eatery located alongside one of the prettiest harbours in Cornwall, this must-visit restaurant is a superb choice for lunch and dinners. On crisp autumnal days, take a seat on the outside terrace to wave watch, or cosy up with a table inside and enjoy tantalising plates of modern cuisine composed of local Cornish produce.

Woods Café, Cardinham Woods

One of the cosiest autumn gems in Cornwall, the family and dog-friendly Woods Café in Cardinham Woods near Bodmin is a delightful hidden café in the heart of tangled wilderness. Beckoning for sweet and savoury treats, this woodland hub serves up all manner of feel-good fare, baked and cooked from scratch. For hearty replenishment, a selection of sandwiches, soup specials and seasonal lunches are available on the menu; while fresh cakes, traybakes and scones are always on display to tempt a sweet tooth.

Appleton’s, Fowey

Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the port town of Fowey is a natural choice for autumn escapes in Cornwall. Making it even more tempting is the promise of lots of places to eat, including the Michelin recommended Appleton’s on Fore Street. Spread over two floors, this inviting bistro combines contemporary and period décor and features a restaurant, deli, and cocktail bar. Take a seat and select from the menu of Italian favourites made with Cornish ingredients and look forward to food cooked from the heart.

Places to Visit

Cardinham Woods

With a final golden flourish before their leaves fall, the trees around Cornwall treat onlookers to amazing displays in autumn. Proposing some of the best walks in Cornwall to see these copper-hued beauties, the winding paths and riverside trails of Cardinham Woods twist and turn past trees parading deep reds, oranges and golds. Taking the breath away, the views here inspire all generations, and can be enjoyed on foot or by bike for memorable moments in North Cornwall.

Tehidy Country Park

A flowing stream running through Tehidy Country Park in Cornwall

Tehidy Country Park in West Cornwall is home to one of the most beautiful woodlands in the county and is a wonderful place for autumn adventures. Ideal for photographers hoping to take a unique capture of autumn beauty and woodland wanderers looking for a beautiful backdrop, it promises spellbinding moments in the crisp country air. Follow some of the nine miles of rolling paths through more than two hundred acres of woodland and soak up the peaceful atmosphere of Tehidy.

Glendurgan Gardens

The maze at Glendurgan Garden near Helford

Transforming the landscapes with autumnal embellishments, Glendurgan Gardens near Falmouth make for a magnificent place to visit. One of the best gardens in Cornwall for seasonal strolls and one of the county’s top dog-friendly gardens too, the attraction’s verdant tapestry comprises three tumbling gardens within a thirty acre woodland valley. Wander beneath its leafy gables, explore its two hundred year old maze, and meander the banks of the magical Helford River for fairytale retreats.

St Nectan’s Glen

A small waterfall flowing into a glassy kieve at St Nectan's Glen near Tintagel

One of our favourite places for autumn walks in Cornwall is St Nectan’s Glen, nestled within an area of ancient woodland near Tintagel in North Cornwall. Flourishing rich autumn colours and exuding an ethereal ambience, it’s somewhere that promises a unique experience in Cornwall and captures the imagination of all those who visit. Trace its flowing footpaths and follow its tree-lined tracks until you reach the glen’s sixty foot waterfall that cascades through a natural hole into a glassy kieve below and runs into the valley’s river beyond.

St Ives

A view over St Ives' harbour with boats in the water

For a magical autumnal day by the sea, head to the picture-perfect town of St Ives in West Cornwall. Reached either by car, a blustery coastal walk from Zennor, or an enchanting train journey from St Erth, it promises romantic adventure and breathtaking scenery. Walk along its cobbled streets lined with boutiques, explore its beautiful beaches (including one of Cornwall’s best secret beaches) and unwind with a bite to eat in one of its lovely eateries. For food and views, Porthminster Beach Café is particularly recommended.

The Roseland

Sunset at Hemmick Beach on the Roseland

One of the most beautiful pockets of the UK, The Roseland awaits for the dreamiest autumn spells. Residing on a sea-kissed peninsula in South Cornwall, it offers the best of country and coast for those looking for somewhere outside the ordinary to explore. Tread footsteps along empty beaches, take part in different activities, and visit beautiful landmarks, including St Anthony Head with its iconic lighthouse. When you’re ready to replenish your energy, fine dining restaurants, cosy cafés and welcoming pubs beckon, with The Quarterdeck Restaurant, The Idle Rocks, Da Bara Bakery, Driftwood and The Hidden Hut being particular favourites.

Things to Do


With the water still an inviting temperature and the swells getting larger, autumn is the perfect time of year to grab your board and paddle out in Cornwall. If you are still learning the rails, many of Cornwall’s surf schools operate in the autumn, so you can glean some expert advice and build your confidence gradually. Or, if you’re already a salt-tousled pro, you can head out at popular surfing beaches like Sennen, Perranporth, Fistral, Gwithian and Porthtowan ready for that perfect wave.


Foraging is a great way to engage with nature and gather delicious treats in return. Particularly fruitful, autumn in Cornwall proffers a variety of amazing foods that can be foraged in all sorts of places. From edible seaweeds to plump mushrooms to hedgerows thick with juicy berries, you can find plenty to fill your baskets. To help you on your way, companies such as Incredible Edible, Cornish Wild Food and Fat Hen host foraging events, sharing top tips and local secrets.

Wild Swimming

An aerial view of Jubilee Pool in Penzance

While summer is heralded the warmest month for ocean dips in the UK, autumn offers up surprisingly warm sea temperatures having benefited from months of sunshine. Often at their balmiest (providing storms don’t roll in early), autumn’s waters invite for invigorating dips and there’s no better place than Cornwall to oblige. Go for a swim at one of the best beaches in Cornwall or one of the county’s sea pools, including the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, and savour wild swims under open skies. Just remember to check tides and conditions before you go.


There are a number of great cycle trails in Cornwall offering the chance to explore the county on two wheels. The perfect way to pass through beautiful landscapes with ease, these paved cycleways come in all shapes and sizes and promise something for all generations and abilities. Highlights include the mostly level and traffic-free Camel Trail from Wenfordbridge to Padstow and the Bissoe Trail from Devoran to Portreath. For accessible offroad travels, Lanhydrock Estate’s mountain bike trails are a great choice, while the long-distance West Kernow Way is a popular option for road cyclists.


Ocean Film Festival

24th September 2024

The Ocean Film Festival has become a hotly anticipated event each year. Screened at selected establishments around the country, this year’s Cornwall showing is set to take place at Truro’s Hall for Cornwall. Portraying the beauty, power, and fragility of the ocean, it presents an array of independent films about the inspiring people who dedicate their lives to the ocean.

Korev Surfing Championships

A surfer surfing at Fistral Beach in Newquay

Dates TBC

The Korev Surfing Championships are due to be held at the world-famous surfing beach of Fistral in Newquay this autumn. A national competition, it promises an exciting tournament between some of the best surfers in the UK. Make your way down to the beach to grab a spot on the sand or the surrounding cliffs and watch the surfers take to the waves to battle it out for the perfect score.

Falmouth Oyster Festival

Mussels served Falmouth Oyster Festival

Dates TBC

The Falmouth Oyster Festival is a greatly anticipated festival that takes place each year in the harbour town of Falmouth in South Cornwall. “Devoted to the mighty mollusc”, it brings together fishermen, traders and chefs to showcase their knowledge and skills and draws visitors with a packed programme of events. Look forward to everything from live music to chef demonstrations to oyster shucking.

Shipwreck Museum Light Off Lantern Trail

Dates TBC

Shipwreck Museum Lights Off Lantern Trail is a family-friendly event taking place in Charlestown this autumn. Call upon your courage and wander down the dark halls and corridors of the Shipwreck Trail, following the shadowy lighting of flickering lanterns. With a ghostly soundtrack, family-friendly games, and a prize for the best Halloween fancy dress, this is one for brave souls of all ages.

NMMC Silhouettes & Shadows

26th October - 3rd November 2024 

If you are looking for a great family-friendly event in Cornwall for your autumn sojourn, look no further than the National Maritime Museum’s Silhouettes & Shadows exhibition in Falmouth. Held throughout the museum, the event welcomes all generations to enjoy shadow pirate puppet stories and songs, make-and-take activities, spooky museum trails, ghost ships and much more.

Fireworks at Lappa Valley

1st - 2nd November 2024

A magical way to celebrate autumn in Cornwall this year is with a captivating aerial display. Taking place in October, Lappa Valley near Newquay is hosting two nights of grand fireworks displays starring jaw-dropping rockets, fountains, candles and more. Bundle up in your cosiest layers and cast your gaze upwards as dazzling jets of colour shoot into the air and crescendo in the sky above.

Feeling inspired for autumn adventures? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall.

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