Things to do in Cornwall in Winter19 December 2022
Some see Cornwall as a purely Summer destination. Perfect for sunny days on the beach and alfresco seafood feasts. But those who only visit when its warm are really missing a trick. Because heading west in cooler months sees you delighting in deserted storm-dashed beaches, enjoying a geothermal outdoor swim, and exploring a host of indoor and outdoor attractions without the crowds. Here are our top picks for things to do in Cornwall in Winter.
Beach & cliff walks
Watch the surging waves, feel the buffeting wind, taste the sea salt. The range of breathtaking beaches is remarkable, ensuring there are endless awesome things to do in Cornwall in Winter. To get the most out of your trip, bring Winter coats and wellingtons or waterproof hiking boots.
Porthcurno & Sennen Cove
You might head to Porthcurno, an impossibly pretty sandy bay, 9 miles south west of Penzance. From there you could motor 5 miles north to take in Sennen Cove, a delightful shore-side village framed by an expanse of white-gold sand.
Heading just 7 miles north again, brings you to rugged Cape Cornwall, a breathtaking headland crowned by a 19th century chimney stack. Those are just a few of the bewitching beaches – there are hundreds more to explore.
Stroll across the tidal causeway to St Michael’s Mount
One of the most memorable things to do in Cornwall in Winter is visit St Michael’s Mount. This iconic sight sits amid the graceful sweep of Mount’s Bay – a fairytale castle clinging to a rugged rump of rock. No boats run to the island in the Winter, so check the tides well in advance and set off to walk there along a snaking causeway that’s exploded a low water.
Once over the causeway, you can stroll around the harbour and village and visit the shop, Steward's House art gallery and cafe. It’s well worth paying to go inside the castle itself (National Trust members are free) to explore an impressive building that’s packed with history.
The St Michael’s Mount website lists times when it’s safe to walk to the island and back –check them out when you plan your Cornish Winter break.
Head for Eden’s toasty biomes
Thousands head to the Eden Project’s huge heated greenhouses each year. And a good percentage of those visit in the Summer months. But an even better bet is to go there in Winter. It not only means fewer crowds, but you also get to delight in the warmth of the Mediterranean and Rainforest biomes rather than swelter in it. As they’re heated to 9-25°C and 18-35°C respectively it can be quite a Winter treat.
The Eden Project is open for weekends in January, as well as some other dates. The venue will also open from February – exact opening times will be released nearer the time.
Go surfing – or watch others carving those waves
Winter tends to bring the best and biggest surf to the south west’s shores. Which makes surfing – or watching others surfing – one of the most exciting things to do in Cornwall in Winter. Conditions range from surging, churning seas and massive waves, to still days with set after set of clean waves rolling into shore.
Obviously, the cold alone makes conditions challenging, so those going it alone need to be experts. Or you can always take a lesson. A good number of Cornish surf schools operate in the Winter, others resume around mid-March.
Equally there’s much to enjoy in watching others get churned around in the waves. If the conditions are right, you stand a good chance of seeing pods of surfers carving up waves along the north shore. Top breaks to check out include Sennen, Porthminster, Perranporth and of course Newquay.
Geevor Tin Mine
West Cornwall features some of the country’s finest scenery and most interesting mining heritage sites. No surprise then that the BBC chose to film the period drama series Poldark here. The heritage comes alive in a cluster of mining sites on the northwest Cornish coast near St Just. Botallack, Levant and Geevor feature a mix of ruined mine workings and preserved features and buildings amid a compelling coast.
Geevor is also a great site to visit in wetter weather. Head inside the museum here to put on a hard hat and explore the tunnels of the underground Wheal Mexico Mine. You can also tour the Dry – an evocative miners’ changing room that’s largely unchanged since the last day of production in 1990.
Dip in an open air pool
Before you decide a dip in an open air pool is a crazy thing to do in Cornwall in Winter, consider Penzance’s Jubilee Pool. This gorgeous 1930s lido has a famously fabulous triangular design. Beloved by locals and visitors alike, it now has even more year-round appeal. Because they’ve added a geothermal section.
Some supremely clever engineering uses geothermal heat to bring part of the pool to a toasty 30-35°C. So park your kit in a changing cubical, dash down the chilly steps and sink into the wonderful warm waters. Of course, you can swim in the Jubilee Pool in the summer too. But darting from cold to blissful warmth and seeing the steam rise into the chill air adds extra spice.
You need to book tickets to the geothermal pool – sessions are popular so book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets for the second two weeks in January will be available from January 3rd. Tickets for other months will be released in phases after that.
Why Hotel Penzance is the perfect choice for your Cornish Winter break
So those are some of our favourite things to do in Cornwall in Winter. And Hotel Penzance is perfectly placed to ensure you have a simply superb seasonal break.
Luxury sea view rooms: Many of our boutique rooms have fantastic views of the sea and Penzance’s attractive harbour. So you can come back from your beach walks, get all warm and dry and still enjoy the Winter sea and storm scapes from the comfort of your luxury rooms.
An acclaimed in house restaurant: At Hotel Penzance you don’t even have to head outside into the cold for an exceptional meal. Our Beach Kitchen restaurant has panoramic view across to St Michael’s Mount. A perfect setting for classy comfort food - perhaps tangy pan-seared salmon, a piled-high plate of tagliatelle ala vodka, gourmet pizza or a flavour-filled galette.
A superb location: The Jubilee Pool is a 15 minute waterfront stroll away. Marazion and the causeway to St Michael’s Mount is a 4 mile walk along the shore or a 10 minute drive. The beaches at Porthcurno and Sennen are within 10 miles. Geevor Tin Mine is around 8 miles away, while the Eden Project is just over an hour away by car.
With so many memorable things to do in Cornwall in Winter – why not book your stay at Hotel Penzance today?