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Cornwall is beautiful through all of the seasons, but as the northern hemisphere begins to wind down into hibernation the Duchy comes into its own. Forget about your Cornish summer holiday and skip the crowds in the months of autumn for crisp air, delicious food and big clear skies. Here are just 12 reasons to visit Cornwall in the shoulder season.
If you’ve heard a Cornish man or woman talk about emmets, they are referring to tourists. The word emmet means ant in the Cornish language and tourists are called as such because they flock when it’s sunny and disappear when it rains. The end of summer means that these pretty villages which are usually rammed with buggies, and socks and sandals are empty, filled with only the locals pottering around their business in the peace and quiet.
But actually, the rain doesn’t tend to arrive with the start of autumn and September, October and even the beginning of November tend to be balmy with clear skies, beach days and evenings spent outside. There is a dramatically higher average rainfall in Cornwall from May to August than September to November so visiting later in the year is more cause for flip flops and shorts than in the summer holidays.
With great weather comes great walking conditions and there are hundreds of miles of footpaths to explore in the southernmost English county. Twin this with less people and you could have a stretch of coast path all to yourself.
During the summer most of the beaches in Cornwall are off limits to dogs, but as soon as the end of October rolls around these sandy stretches become your dog’s playground. This makes travelling with your dog much easier, and much more fun as they can bound around in the sea without a care in the world!
The weather may be warmer but shorter days means that nights are forced inside when the sun goes in and the temperature drops. This isn’t a bad thing though because fire places, beer, red wine and a community pub spirit are rife in Cornwall.
Just because summer is over it doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop and there are loads of festivals around the county to satisfy every breed of sybaritic. From the Oyster Festival in Falmouth to Oktoberfest in Truro, Looe Music Festival to the Great Cornish Food Festival, and of course, the wild and hedonistic Masked Ball which claims a theme park for its own Halloween wonderland.
With big waves comes big surf and for the experienced surfer autumn is the perfect time for hitting the water. The sea is generally still warm from the summer sun at this time of year too, so there’s no need for a full winter wetsuit either.
Autumn is prime hurricane season across the Atlantic and Cornwall is often on the tail end of some pretty violent storms. This regularly means that there are big waves to watch from café windows while you sip on sweet hot chocolates and some rare photo opportunities if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Autumn is the perfect time to go foraging in Cornwall and with so many different landscapes and environments for things to grow, there are a wealth of natural goodies to choose from. From burdock to wild garlic, fennel and gorse, you can create salads, wine, soft drinks and preserves all from the wild outdoors. There are plenty of foraging courses and walks to take part in, just look online.
Things settle down in autumn in Cornwall, which means that people are more up for a party than they usually are. Join a feast night in the countryside at one of the many that happen throughout the season for a night of good food and unwinding after a long and busy summer.
From the moors to the cliffs, Cornwall turns into a carnival of orange and red at this time of year. What is usually green or purple turns to fire and the whole landscape changes from lush to dramatic.
It almost always feels as though you’re on the verge of golden hour at this time of year in Cornwall, especially with so much sunshine burning through the clouds. Twin this with the auburn foliage and the whole of Cornwall seems golden. Great for photographers!