Cornwall is a brilliant choice for a UK summer holiday, and if you have a break booked during July or August, you may be looking for ways to spend your time that make the most of your surroundings.

We’re sure you’ve already thought of some of the things the county is great for, like days at the beach and family walks in beautiful locations, but there are plenty of activities and events you might not be familiar with. Here are some ideas for activities and days out if you are visiting Cornwall over the school summer holidays.

Rock Oyster Festival

A family friendly event that is not only for families, Rock Oyster Festival runs at Dinham House from 25th to 28th July. The weekend sees over 50 live music performances, from headliners The Human League, the Sugababes and Bombay Bicycle Club to traditional sea shanties. Beyond a fantastic music line up, you will find over 60 activities which include yoga sessions in The Shankha tent with headliner Sarah Malcolm, axe throwing, bushcraft, archery and more. For the foodies, there are cooking displays and masterclasses from the likes of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen Matt Tebbutt.

There are several ticket options available for adults, children and teens that include weekend camping, non-camping and day tickets. Masterclasses, outdoor adventures (SUP, surfing, kayaking), feasts and massages are all at additional cost.

Date: 25th-28th July 2024

Location: Dinham House, North Cornwall

Magic in the Skies at Land's End Cornwall

Magic in the Skies

At Land’s End, the westernmost point of Cornwall, the skies light up over the summer in a series of stunning fireworks displays, all set to a soundtrack created especially for the occasion. The fireworks are accompanied by shopping, food and drink, live music and family entertainment, so it’s not just a night out – things get going at 10am on days that the event is running, with the fireworks starting after dusk.

Magic in the Skies runs twice each week throughout the school summer holidays and is the perfect way to end your trip to Cornwall.

Date: Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, 25th July – 29th August 2024

Location: Land’s End

Padstow Carnival

Padstow is always a great place to be (in the summer or otherwise!), but around the Padstow Carnival is particularly fun. The carnival parade itself will be held on Saturday 3rd August for 2024, going from the Lawn Car Park, along Station Road and around the harbour, before heading back up New Street.

The week before the parade (27th July – 2nd August) will also be full of events happening around the town to celebrate the local community and showcase local groups. If you’re in North Cornwall while it’s on, do make sure to plan some time in Padstow into your trip to soak up the atmosphere!

Date: Carnival week 27th July – 3rd August, with Padstow Carnival on 3rd August

Location: Padstow (various locations)

Boardmasters

The popular annual festival that celebrates music, surf and beach lifestyle is back once again in Newquay this year. Primarily held at Fistral Beach, visitors can expect live music, surfing, and skateboarding in abundance. As well as some of the big names in music who are headlining the main stage (the likes of Stormzy, Chase & Status, and Sam Fender), you can take part in surf and adventure workshops and soak in the atmosphere.

It is currently still possible to buy day tickets for Boardmasters, which would make a great day out for those staying in Cornwall while it’s on.

Date: 7th – 11th August 2024

Location: Newquay

Boardmasters surfing festival in Cornwall

Falmouth Week

Beginning as a sailing regatta in 1837, Falmouth Week is now a major Cornwall event with a mix of sailing events and races, as well as shoreside events in Falmouth Bay and the Carrick Roads during the days and evenings.

For 2024, Falmouth Week will run from Friday 9th to Sunday 18th August, with the opportunity to see yacht and dayboat racing with daily and series prizes. On the shore you will find live music, aerobatic displays, extreme sports displays, fireworks, and a comic, music and anime festival.

Some events are free to attend, with music performances being ticketed.

Date: 9th – 18th August 2024

Location: Falmouth

Steam Engine at the Great Steam Engine Rally at Stithians Showground

The Great Steam Engine Rally

Young (and young at heart) fans of all things trains will love this family friendly weekend event held at Stithians Showground, near Truro. The event is packed with steam engines, vintage vehicles and tractors, but there are a variety of other things going on too that make it a fantastic day out. Visitors can enjoy a traditional fairground, a dedicated countryside area where you can explore rural craft traditions like thatching, live music, and many craft and trade stalls to explore.

Date: 16th – 18th August

Location: Stithians Showground

Prideaux Place

An Elizabethan era manor house and gardens open throughout the summer months, Prideaux Place was first constructed in 1592 and has been under the ownership of the Prideaux-Brune family ever since. Around the grounds you’ll find a historic deer park, formal gardens featuring grottos and a walled garden, with guided tours of the house available five times per day (the first at 11am and the last at 3pm). Tickets for these can be purchased on the day.

Well behaved dogs on leads are allowed in the grounds, but not in the house. It is worth noting that wheelchair users are able to tour the house, but wouldn’t be able to access the library or Susanna room.

Date: Open from 1st April to 4th October 2024

Location: Padstow

Sea fishing in Mevagissey

If you’re into fishing or you just want to give it a try, don’t miss the opportunity to take to the seas when you’re in Cornwall. Aquila is a fishing charter company which offers a great experience, with the tackle you need included in the price, which starts from £21.20pp. You can fish for mackerel, tuna and even sharks, plus decide to donate the catch to food banks if you wish. The company owner, Chris Gill, is your skipper – and he has over 40 years of fishing experience, so you’re in good hands!

If fishing isn’t your thing, a private wildlife watching charter is an excellent alternative. Prices for this start from £250 for up to 12 people, with the trip taking 2-4 hours.

Date: Between Easter and the end of September.

Location: Mevagissey

Fishing boats in Mevagissey Cornwall

Camel Creek Family Adventure Park

With over 40 rides and attractions, Camel Creek Family Adventure Park is one of several great family days out in North Cornwall. As well as a whole host of rides and attractions, there is indoor play (perfect in the event of a typical summer downpour) and a wide range of animal attractions including a reptile house, the stables and a family of 6 meerkats.

This year they are holding Kids Fest with festival themed vibes and activities for the whole family. Some of the highlights include face painting, foam parties, festival stalls and live entertainment.

For 2024 the park has 3 new attractions including Merlin’s Magical Playground, Shipwrecks Shores Adventure Golf. If you don’t do everything you want in one day or if you just fancy returning to the park, you can return for free within 7 days of your first visit.

Date: Park opening days and time vary depending on the season, so check the website for the latest information. Kids Fest runs over the summer holidays for 2024.

Location: Wadebridge, North Cornwall

St Michael's Mount in Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount

Accessible via causeway at low tide or by boat at high tide, St Michael’s Mount is a historic castle and garden island with plenty to explore. There are views galore, with spectacular vistas on the North and South terraces, and a panoramic view of the coast from Marazion to Mousehole on the gun batteries. Visiting the castle itself is a must for history enthusiasts, for as well as being an opportunity to walk centuries-old corridors, it also houses a whole host of interesting artefacts, from a mummified cat to a piece of Napoleon’s coat.

To access the island you must have a ticket to the castle or gardens – or a combination ticket, which gives you entry to both. The walk up the mount from sea level is 200ft, so if you need to refuel, you can visit The Island Cafe for breakfast or lunch – or even book an afternoon tea.

Date: Closed on Saturdays, with the gardens closed on Sundays between 1st May and 30th August. Open 9.45am-15.45pm.

Location: Marazion

The Eden Project

It’s clear to see why the Eden Project is one of the county’s most popular attractions; a beautiful global garden with covered biomes, stunning outdoor spaces, and storytelling woven throughout. More recently, a natural outdoor adventure play area has been added to their outdoor gardens, which provides plenty of sensory play opportunities. Perfect for a family fun day, a visit to this attraction is suitable for children of all ages, who will all get something out of the experience and leave inspired to care for the planet.

The Eden Project is great day out in its own right, but also holds events such as live music with Eden Sessions, and Summer at the Eden Project, which will cater to children and families and run throughout the school holidays.

Date: Open daily, with Summer at the Eden Project running 27th July – 8th September and Eden Sessions on selected dates throughout June and July

Location: Bodelva, near St Austell

Ready for a summer holiday in Cornwall? If you’re yet to book your trip this year and are looking for holiday properties in North Cornwall to provide the perfect base, we’re sure we’ve got the one for you.