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Unmissable Cornwall Events 2023

Unmissable Cornwall Events 2023

There are more Cornwall events in 2023 than you can shake a pocket organiser at.

Yes – while our peninsula is often painted as a sleepy, beach-heavy hideaway, we have our fair share of festivals, art exhibitions and concerts too.

It’s not all sand, surf and serenity, you know? Here's a full calendar of unmissable Cornwall events for those who prefer a packed itinerary.



The best Cornwall events in 2023 by month

March 2023: Penlee Inspired

What is it?: an art exhibition.

Where is it?: Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance.

When is it?: the show runs until Saturday 22 April.

Let's start with one on our doorstep. Penlee Inspired is an annual exhibition that celebrates a local landmark – the historic Penlee House.

Built as a family home in 1865, Penlee is now a museum, an art gallery and a bona fide Penzance institution. Penlee Inspired showcases artworks by the public, alongside choice pieces from the gallery's extensive collection.

Admission costs £6 for adults and £3 for 18- to 26-year-olds. Children can enter for free.



April 2023: Barbara Hepworth – Art & Life

What is it?: an art exhibition.

Where is it?: Tate St Ives.

When is it?: the show runs until Monday, 1 May 2023.

Barbara Hepworth was among Britain's most influential 20th-century sculptors. Here's your chance to see some of her best-loved works in the town she considered her 'spiritual home'.

Got a bit of spare time? Make sure to visit the Barbara Hepworth Museum too. It's only a five-minute walk from the Tate.

Tickets cost between £5 and £10.50. The event is free for Tate members.



May 2023: Helston Flora Day

What is it?: a unique, traditional celebration.

Where is it?: Helston.

When is it?: Friday 5 May.

Are you visiting Cornwall in May? Don't miss Helston Flora Day. It's one of the most unique Cornwall events you're ever likely to see.

Once a year in early May, the townsfolk gather to perform a series of historic 'furry dances'. Wearing their best clothes, they parade through streets and shops, watched by curious onlookers – some of whom travel many miles to see the festivities.

Helston Flora Day is free. Just to be sure arrive early to secure a parking spot.



June 2023: Golowan Festival

What is it?: A theatre, music and dance festival.

Where is it?: Penzance.

When is it?: from Friday 16 to Sunday 25 June.

We can't talk about Cornwall events without mentioning Golowan Festival. This Penzance staple sees the town transform into a patchwork of colour and creativity. As ever, this year's programme will feature top-notch local musicians, dynamic dance performances and vibrant parades.

Entry to the festival is free. Some events charge entry fees.



July 2023: Causley Festival

What is it?: an arts and literature festival.

Where is it?: Launceston Town Hall.

When is it?: from Friday 30 June to Sunday 2 July.

Attention bookworms – it's your turn to get excited. Causley Festival of Arts and Literature promises a stirring programme of events celebrating local arts and writing. Expect talks, walks and workshops, with a particular focus on the works of the late Cornish poet Charles Causley.

Most events are free, though donations are encouraged.



August 2023: Boardmasters Festival

What is it?: a surf and music festival.

Where is it?: Newquay.

When is it?: from Wednesday 9 to Sunday 13 August.

It's August. The summer sun is riding high and the waves are warming up. You know what that means – it's time to party.

Cue Boardmasters Festival, the UK's premier celebration of sound and surf. This year's event will see performances from titans like Liam Gallagher, Little Simz and Florence and the Machine. Plus, there'll be plenty of DJs for those who'd rather vibe through the night.

If you're a music fan, consider this among the 'must-see' Cornwall events of 2023.

Weekend tickets are sold out but day tickets will be available soon. Prices to be announced.



September 2023: St Ives September Festival

What is it?: a music and arts festival.

Where is it?: St Ives.

When is it?: from Saturday 9 to Saturday 23 September.

Boardmasters not your cup of tea? Stick the St Ives September Festival in your diary instead. This two-week gala celebrates all things poetic, musical and quietly marvellous. Expect toe-tapping gigs, historic tours and lectures you'll get lost in – all against the backdrop of the beautiful St Ives coastline.

Entry to the festival is free. Some events charge entry fees.



October 2023: Proms at the Minack

What is it?: a series of classical and contemporary music concerts.

Where is it?: Minack Theatre, Porthcurno.

When is it?: from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 October.

The BBC Proms might get all the press, but we'd rather get our classical fix at the Minack. Sure, the BBC has the Royal Albert Hall. But the Minack is a bona fide cliff-face theatre, carved into the rocks overlooking Porthcurno Bay. Breathtaking.

Tickets start from £10.



November 2023: Dawn French is a…

What is it?: a comedy show.

Where is it?: Hall for Cornwall, Truro.

When is it?: Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 November.

What's the funniest Cornwall event of 2023? Our money's on Dawn French's show at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. According to the programme, it will feature embarrassing real-life stories, lots of laughs and a title that's too rude to print.

Tickets range from £41 to £46.



December: Montol Festival

What is it?: a winter solstice celebration.

Where is it?: Penzance.

When is it?: Thursday 21 December.

Fancy a change from the usual Christmas market fare? Head to our hometown of Penzance on 21 December for a Cornwall event to remember. Described as a 'revival' of age-old Cornish Christmas celebrations, the Montol Festival promises to delight the senses with fire displays, spooky masks and traditional theatre.

Entry is free, but there are lots of interesting stalls, so bring a little pocket money.


Need a place to stay?

This is just a taste of the many Cornwall events in 2023. If you're planning to visit our corner of the UK, you'll find things to do around every corner.

And you'll need a base of operations. So why not book a room at Hotel Penzance and add a little luxury to your diary?

Our hotel offers the best of both worlds. You can rest and recuperate in one of Britain's most secluded towns while enjoying easy access to some of this year's most exciting Cornwall events.

Let's tot up the distances. Nine miles from St Ives and its world-famous Tate gallery. Nine miles – in the opposite direction – to Porthcurno, with its unique cliffside amphitheatre. Two minutes from the sea (and that's if you stroll).

So once you've devoured a dayful of fun, you can treat yourself to some seasonal fare in our acclaimed restaurant and rest your head in one of our sea-view rooms.

After all, you'll need a good night's sleep to tackle tomorrow's activities.