Cornwall in the winter is one of the UK’s best-kept holiday secrets. You’ll be surprised at the amount of attractions you probably associate with your summer holiday that are open all year round – and without the queues or crowds.
Throw in beautiful beaches where the dog can run free, a surprisingly mild climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream (daffodils in January!) and a cabin in the woods with an outdoor hot tub, and you might wonder why you’d never thought of it before. Here’s our guide to a winter weekend break in Cornwall; a blissful mix of adventure, freedom and renewal.
Friday night wind down
There’s no denying, it’s a good drive to Cornwall, but that’s part of the appeal – it’s a complete getaway. The good news is that our cabins at Deerpark are just over the border, easy to get to for a weekend break and still close enough to all of Cornwall’s attractions.
After your drive, it’s time to settle into your cosy home for the weekend. Whichever cabin you choose, you can enjoy a warm welcome, a host of pre-bookable treats and extras, and of course, some wind-down time in the hot tub. Make yourself at home!
Wake up to forest views and take an early morning stroll to the Forest Hub for a hearty breakfast, to set you up for a day spent enjoying Cornwall’s most popular tourist attractions - without the queues. At the Eden Project, the outdoor adventures are open every weekend throughout winter, for thrills and spills. After flying down the SKYWIRE zip wire, try the INVERSE – back the way you came but feet first! You can pre-book a package of activities or just turn up on the day and see where your nerve takes you. If the weather’s against you, explore the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, before putting your skates on and tackling the ice rink, which is open until 24 February.
That Gulf Stream effect is to thank for Cornwall’s many botanical gardens. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are a particular delight. The thoughtful year-round planting scheme and the mild Cornish climate add up to some lovely surprises, and the pared back gardens give the opportunity to ‘look behind the scenes’ at the clever thinking behind the beauty. Make time for a warming seasonal soup at the Heligan Kitchen and Bakery.
If you prefer not to take a chance on the weather, visit the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, which has 15 galleries taking you on a voyage of adventure and exploring the influence of the sea on the history and culture of Cornwall. Your entry fee covers you for the whole year, so you can come again on your summer holiday.
You’re never from the sea in Cornwall so a visit to the Bluereef Aquarium in Newquay is a great way to find out what’s going on beneath the waves. You can meet giant octopuses, sea turtles, pufferfish and more, when you take a stroll through the underwater tunnel.
Back at your cabin, meet up for a Night Vision Walk with the Forest Ranger (our Forest Ranger adventures are running throughout the winter), then take it easy with a Pizza Night Pack or a Burger Night Pack, delivered to your door.
Sunday at the seaside
Cornwall has hundreds of miles of coastline, so any weekend break, winter or summer, must involve a trip to the beach. A winter walk along the coast at Looe, offers a head-clearing, soul-cleansing feeling of renewal that can set you up for weeks to come. Reward yourself with mouth-watering daisy-shaped scones at Daisy’s Café in Looe, which is open from 17 January until the end of February half term, when it closes for a well-earned two-week holiday.
Of course, Cornwall’s coast is also a world-ranking surfers’ paradise and the waves in winter offer truly spectacular surfing – whether you’re out there on the waves, or simply enjoying the show from a careful distance. Fistral Beach at Newquay is the most famous spot, but exciting alternatives include Porthleven and Maenporth on the south coast and Porthtowan and Harlyn Beach, near Padstow, on the north coast.
After the fresh air and sea spray of a day at the coast, dinner at a welcoming, Cornish hostelry with log fires, real ales and amazing food is just the ticket. And the Plough Inn at Duloe is just the place. Then, it’s a quick 10 minutes back to your cabin at Deerpark, where you can round off a satisfying weekend by relaxing in your hot tub with the sounds of the night-time forest around you.
Monday morning goodbyes
On Monday morning, make time for a last visit to Polperro, an unspoilt harbour village, with independent little shops, art galleries and cafes, where you can pick up a souvenir of your weekend in Cornwall.
As you head home, relish the thought that this weekend you have seen a different Cornwall, a Cornwall that remains hidden to summer visitors, a special place that is all yours. No doubt we’ll see you again next winter…
Book your weekend break today and enjoy the luxury of Cornwall in the winter.