Take time out from the beach and dip into our rich and diverse culture through a vibrant, year-round calendar of festivals and events in Cornwall. In St Ives alone you can enjoy the merrymaking of Lifeboat Day, May Day, the St Ives Literature Festival, the annual Raft Race, the Food and Drink Festival, the CAMRA Beer Festival and the September Festival. And as well as beachside music festivals, harbour-side fish festivals and countryside cider festivals across the rest of Cornwall, there’s also an array of age-old cultural celebrations including Helston Flora Day, Golowan and Padstow’s Obby Oss.
One of St Ives’ most popular events is the September Festival, during which the town’s streets and studios leap to life amidst an extravaganza of music, literature, culture and art. However, it’s during May that the town dances endlessly under the festival spotlight, with the Mayday Queen crowned and colourful parades followed by a week-long literary festival that lures writers, musicians, artists and poets to walks, talks, workshops and readings. St Ives still has its party hat on as the month of May draws to a close, when you can toast the start of summer and quench your thirst at the CAMRA beer festival.
The county’s biggest festival gathering to mark the onset of endless summer days is the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge, where award-winning cattle and show-jumping horses strut alongside foodie bounty and Cornish crafts. But it’s not the only event worth straying from West Cornwall for: Summer sees an unprecedented line-up of music festivals with big-name bands playing bang on the beach. Dance in the sand at Perranporth’s Tunes in the Dunes and Newquay’s Electric Beach festival, or tuck into a menu of seafood and songwriters at the Rock Oyster Festival. September’s Little Orchard Cyder and Music Festival is not only big on cider and sea shanties, it also hosts some of the best music bands emerging in the UK.
Being a gastronomic hotspot, it’s no surprise that food festivals are cropping up all over Cornwall, two of the region’s long-standing champions being the Falmouth Oyster Festival and Newlyn Fish Festival. St Ives has an alternative ‘Feast Day’ in February, commencing with the intriguing tradition of hurling a silver ball down the church steps to celebrate the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia in 1434.
Want to know what’s on while you’re in St Ives? Checkout our Carbis Bay Holidays What’s On Guide for the latest information on the hottest festivals and events in Cornwall.