It’s no wonder Cornwall is such a popular destination with families with a myriad of beautiful beaches to choose from, delectable fish and chips, futuristic greenhouses, and picture postcard villages to meander around. And, because the tourism industry is such an important one to Cornwall, a host of events have sprung up to entertain the crowds which throng here every summer. So, choosing just a few to attend can be tricky. Here’s a round-up of some of the best and most unusual taking place in the upcoming weeks and months:
Polo on the beach:
While polo may be seen to be something of an elitist sport, holding a polo match on the beach adds a unique element of fun to this sporting occasion. At Watergate Bay on July 5 and 6, it’s free to attend and you’ll be able to see three matches across the two days, including the Cornwall vs the Rest of the World Fixture. As well as the polo, there are demonstrations, a horse stunt show and a beach hut barbecue and live music to entertain the audience.
English National Surfing Championships:
One of the UK’s longest running, and best, surfing competitions, the English National Surfing Championships, which run from May 3 to 5, are a must-see even for those who have never tried riding the waves. The championships showcase the next generation of surfing talents who battle it out against more seasoned pros at Newquay’s Watergate Bay.
Pirates on the Prom:
There are plenty of little ones who love nothing more than a pirate-themed party, or watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and this event is designed especially for them. On May 26, Penzance is hosting a whole day of pirate-related music, dance and mayhem, along with a world record attempt, which you can join in, for the most people dressed as pirates in one place. The only stipulation is your pirate costume must include at least two accessories like a parrot, a cutlass or an eyepatch.
St Ives May Day:
Celebrating the end of winter and the coming of summer is a tradition stretching back centuries and there’s no better place to carry it on than in St Ives. Festivities centre around the Guildhall at noon when the May Queen and King and their attending Prince and Princess are chosen in a ceremony known as the pee whip. This is followed by a parade to the harbour where you can watch May pole dancing, listen to brass bands and enjoy fresh fish from the barbeque. There’s also a lively harbour market where you can stock up on some of the region’s produce. So, if you’re staying in one of Parkdean’s nearby Cornish holiday lodges, you’ll be able to cook up a supper-time feast when you return.
Grand Medieval Jousts:
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to witness a real-life medieval jousting session, then Pendennis Castle is promising to take you back in time, without the aid of a Tardis, on selected weekends in July and August. Knights will be doing battle in a live-action show where you can see them clashing on horseback, cheering on the knight in your favourite colours. There will also be a court jester on hand to entertain little ones with plenty of laughs.
While many music festivals aren’t the sort of events you’d take your little ones along to, some of the smaller ones boast family-friendly atmospheres. Parklive 4, in Kimberley Park at the end of August has a jazz theme this time round and plenty of activities designed especially for children, including a storytelling tent, a circus skills workshop and an art wall where kids can hang their mini masterpieces.
Royal Cornwall Show:
A tradition since 1793, the Royal Cornwall Show offers not just a host of entertainment, but a fascinating glimpse into local, country life. From June 5 to 7, the event includes livestock judging, show jumping, a dog show, agricultural machinery and marquees dedicated to rare breed goats and poultry. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be the RAF Falcons parachute team who are dropping in on all three days of the show.
Electric Beach Festival:
For those travelling with older children, the Electric Beach Festival at Watergate is back for its third year on June 7 and 8. It’s a nice-sized event with around 2,500 expected to attend so offers a gentle introduction to the world of music festivals. Saturday will be more upbeat while Sunday will be devoted to chill-out music. You can also try your hand at surfing as O’ Neill is holding surf master classes on the beach, which can be booked on the day.
Whether you’ve heard of William Murdoch or not, the day devoted to him is well worth attending. Murdoch is credited with inventing domestic gas and spent much of his life in Redruth in Cornwall, where celebrations take place every year to honour the town’s most famous resident. On June 14, there is music and entertainment, a children’s art and dance procession, a street market, old-time fair and live concerts in venues dotted around the town. Best of all, every event is completely free.
Bodmin Riding and Heritage Day:
This event brings you face-to-face with Bodmin’s infamous beast. A celebration of Bodmin’s historic past, the day dates back to medieval times and was revivied in the 1980s. You’ll find the town’s main street lined with stalls on July 5 and local school children compete in processions through the town. All through the day, the theme is the hunt for the beast of Bodmin before he, she, or it, is finally captured and brought to trial in the grand finale at Mount Folly. Whatever time of year you’re visiting, you’ll find Cornwall offers a packed programme of events for all the family.