Fast forward to fun! Fab things to do in Cornwall in 2022
As we emerge from our festive slumber, it's time to get some spring and summer fun organised. And guess what? As luck would have it, we can help with that. Here's your guide to a host of unmissable cultural highlights in the Duchy this year.
Fingers, toes and everything crossed that 2022 is more a follow on to 2019 and less 2020-too!
MUSIC: Eden Sessions, The Eden Project, May and June
May sees the first of the postponed Eden Sessions from 2020, with My Chemical Romance on two nights (16 & 17 May) before Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (15 June), Nine Inch Nails (17 & 18 June) Diana Ross (21 June) and Bryan Adams (29 June) join the stellar line up of stars who have appeared on the fast becoming iconic Cornish stage.
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: Creative Scilly, 13 – 22 May
This cultural festival celebrates the islands’ culture and creativity on a scale beyond anything hosted on the islands before and includes music, theatre, poetry, storytelling, visual arts and island life. Building on the foundations of the long established and well-loved Art Scilly week, the Creative Scilly Festival will feature an eclectic mix of events and hands-on workshops, demonstrations, public art displays, performances, gallery openings and fun nights out across the five islands.
MUSIC: Bude Folk Festival, Bude, 26 – 30 May
Bude & Stratton Folk Festival is a friendly festival by the sea in Bude, North Cornwall with the emphasis on enjoying & sharing traditional acoustic music.
ART: Cornwall Open Studios, various locations across Cornwall, 28 May – 5 June
There are many galleries large and small across Cornwall, where you can see the work of local artists but during this special event, almost 300 Cornish-based artists will open their studios to visitors. Some of these artists may not show in Cornwall at all, giving a unique chance to see their work in their workspace and to meet and talk with working artists around the county. Many artists are also offering workshops throughout the week and if you are looking to buy a piece of art, this is a great opportunity to see a range of work or possibly commission something. Participating studios will display an orange ‘O’ outside, so you know you are welcome to pop in and say hi, though opening times vary, so check the catalogue before making a special visit.
FESTIVAL: The Great Estate Festival, Scorrier, 2 – 5 June
“The most rambunctious Garden Fête!” Expect major international headline acts (Craig Charles and DJ Yoda have already been announced) and a mix of comedy, theatre, music and the arts, all within the beautiful grounds of Scorrier Estate, back on the usual weekend in June after last year’s rescheduling to August. Look out for the vintage fairground, woodland silent disco, secret gin garden, The Whispering Woods, burlesque sessions, Madame Wong’s House of Wrong, classical corner, glamping, hot tubs, The Sanctuary and the Swamp Circus and much more.
CULTURAL EVENT: Platinum Jubilee Weekend, 2 – 5 Jun
ARTS: Penzance Arts Festival, 3 – 19 June
Celebrate Penzance as one of the most vibrant and innovative artistic towns in the country with exhibitions and events relating to 1000 of its local artists – no details announced for 2022.
FESTIVAL: LostFest, Lostwithiel, TBC
LostFest is a quirky one day free festival in Lostwithiel with something for everyone! Still awaiting details for 2022…
EVENT: Royal Cornwall Show, Wadebridge, 9 – 11 June
The big one in the country calendar, the Royal Cornwall Show has been hosted for more than two centuries, and the inset days of the summer term are timed round it, and after being postponed in 2020 and 2021, everyone is looking forward to the return. As you’d expect from a traditional country show there are animals, entertainment, a flower show, and competition classes of all kinds.
CULTURAL EVENT: Golowan & Mazey Day, Penzance, 17 – 26 June
Penzance really knows how to throw a street party and Golowan is the traditional celebration of midsummer, marked with music, serpent dances, fairs, greenery and banners. Expect fireworks on Mazey Eve or bring the family to Mazey Day to see the parade of incredible, giant sculptures.
MUSIC: Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival, 17 – 19 June
After last year’s online virtual festival, everyone is looking forward to the usual weekend of performances by shanty groups from across the UK, Brittany and beyond including Cornwall’s own groups including The Fishermen’s Friends, filling up pubs and stages across the town with often free performances.
FESTIVAL: 3 Wishes Fairy Festival, Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, 17 – 19 June
Family-friendly fairy festival with daily optional fancy dress themes featuring more magic than you can shake a fairy wand at. Find the Faerie Garden, village and market, workshops and a circus, plus music, and camping under the stars.
NAUTICAL: Falmouth Classics Week, 17 – 19 June
Nominally a sailing regatta for classic boats (yours truly has raced in it) but also lots of fun to be had at the accompanying events, as well as watching the parade of sail.
MUSIC FESTIVAL: Tunes in the Dunes, Perranporth, 24 – 26 June
The UK’s biggest festival on a beach held on the white sands of Perranporth returns to its usual June weekend for 2022. The line up is still to be announced, but last year Tom Walker, Craig David and Richard Ashcroft were the headline acts over the three days and nights.
LITERARY: Penzance LitFest, Penzance, 6-9 July
Plans are afoot for this annual festival, although no details yet. Expect talks, workshops and more from writers and authors from Cornwall and beyond.
OPERA: Don Giovanni, The Minack, 11 – 16 July
The opera in two acts (music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte) arrives at Cornwall’s most dramatic theatre, carved into the rocks at Porthcurno.
MUSIC FESTIVAL: Tropical Pressure Festival, Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan, 15 – 17 July
A small, family friendly festival with a global theme, celebrating the rich music, dance and food of 3 Tropical continents, in the beautiful Cornish countryside. Enjoy an incredible line up of music, free workshops and amazing food.
MUSIC FESTIVAL: Leopallooza, Nr Bude, 22 – 24 July
Described as the UK’s greatest house party in a field, the Leopallooza Festival (25 mins from Bude) is (fingers crossed) back for 2022. The line-up for this cult festival focuses on new and breaking bands, with the likes of Bastille, Kodaline, Everything Everything, Jamie Lawson and Izzy Bizu making appearances here in their early days – the line up this year is still tbc. Family friendly (my kids love the kids activities, like Muddy Award winning Rogue Theatre, above) and lots of camping options, Leo is the hottest festival ticket in Cornwall.
FESTIVAL: Goonhilly 60, Goonhilly Earth Station, 23 July
As the UK’s gateway to space, and the world’s only commercial Deep Space station – Goonhilly Earth Station has been instrumental to space exploration for six decades, yet remains shrouded in mystery and closed to the public for over a decade.
For one day only, Goonhilly 60 offers a rare and exciting opportunity to set foot on the historic site to enjoy an interstellar programme of curated music, talks and educational workshops, on the Orbit stage, for all the family – set amongst the satellite dishes and backdropped by Goonhilly vistas and the breath-taking beauty of the Lizard Peninsula.
Unassumingly positioned in south Cornwall, Goonhilly Earth Station’s major satellites were named after Cornish legends such as Guinevere, Isolde, and Merlin – and Arthur, perhaps the most iconic was responsible for transmitting the historic TV pictures of the Apollo 11 moon landings to 600 million people globally.
NAUTICAL: Charlestown Regatta, 23 – 29 July
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, regatta week includes parties, celebrations, competitions and plenty of music and entertainment alongside the sailing – with the week culminating in the finale, Regatta Rocks.
FESTIVAL: Rock Oyster Festival, Rock, 29 – 31 July
Hosted this year by local chef Jack Stein and friends, Rock Oyster Festival, held at Dinham House near Wadebridge, is a north coast favourite (and in 2021 a total pleasure to attend thanks to our friends at Bottega Gin, who were serving up gin cocktails from a glam horsebox bar). Expect live music – including from headliners Happy Mondays, circus acts, yoga and a chance to try some of the best oysters, mussels, and artisan produce around. This family-friendly event also offers lots of fun for kids and can be reached by bike – straight off the beautiful Camel Trail.
NAUTICAL: Falmouth Week, Falmouth, 5 – 14 Aug
Falmouth Week is a major attraction for locals and visitors alike. With its origins in a local sailing regatta dating back at least far as 1837, the Week has evolved into not only a major sailing competition in the SW but also an opportunity for sailors and landlubbers to enjoy the many daytime and evening attractions in the town. Sadly last year’s parade of sail from the annual Tall Ships Race had to be cancelled, but expect fireworks and there’s usually a visit by the Red Arrows, too.
MUSIC FESTIVAL: Boardmasters, Newquay, 10 – 14 Aug
Cornwall’s big one! Headliners for 2022 include George Ezra, Disclosure and Kings of Leon. The live music and pro surfing on the stunning Cornish coast is hosted across two beautiful locations, and while it’s a must on the teenage bucket list, don’t let that put you off. The festival site sits on the cliff top at Watergate Bay, home to arguably the world’s best festival view. Expect twelve stages, with a collection of acts ranging from local acoustic talent, to mind-bending visual performers, to international headliners. Oh and over at Fistral there’s one or two things too … pro surf comps, skating, BMX, live music, the Surf Village and much more.
KIDS: The Great Steam Engine Rally, Stithians Showground TBC
Family friendly weekend at Stithians to celebrate the 67th anniversary of the West of England Steam Engine Society. Expect, well, Steam Engines and plenty of vintage vehicles, plus fairground and rural animals including shire horses, plus a dog show.
NAUTICAL: Fowey Royal Regatta, 14 – 20 Aug
In addition to the sailing there is a carnival, procession, fireworks and music on the quayside.
MUSIC: Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge, 26-29 Aug
The bank holiday weekend is all about folk music in Wadebridge, with four nights and three days of concerts, sessions, folk clubs, dancing, workshops, craft fairs and children’s events in the beautiful market town.
EVENT: Cornwall Pride, Newquay, TBC, usually August bank holiday weekend
Cornwall Pride is a celebration of diversity in Cornwall. This traditional Pride event includes a colourful and vibrant parade from Towan Beach, Rainbow Fest with an afternoon of live music at Newquay’s Killacourt and a ticketed evening ‘Moonbow’ party.
EVENT: Unicorn Derby, Jubilee Pool, Penzance, TBC
The Jubilee Pool’s famous unicorn derby is always a fun day at the end of August with inflatable races across the pool, unicorn fancy dress and entertainment. Win swimming passes, cafe vouchers and more. All inflatables can take part but only unicorns can win in life!
KIDS: PlayFest, Truro Cattle Market, Truro, TBC
PlayFest (part of National Playday) is a two-day festival to celebrate children’s right to play at the Cattle Market fields in Truro – although 2021 has yet to be confirmed after 2020 was cancelled due to Covid. Activities and fun include, circus skills workshops, have-a-go sessions, circus performance shows, entertainers, a variety of arts & crafts workshops, stalls, face painting, music, dance, yoga, fairground rides and more. Entry is free of charge. Some of the activities require an Activity Pass (£3), adults go free with accompanying child. Rides and food charged separately.
FESTIVAL: SkyBar, Polzeath & St Agnes, TBC
SkyBar takes the best of the aprés ski vibe and turns up the heat to create the highlight of your summer. Building on the amazing sell-out successes of recent years, with excellent music and plenty of drinks to compliment the awesome sunsets, in some beautiful South West locations, look out for 2022 dates.
HISTORY: Heritage Open Days, various locations, 9 – 18 Sept
Expect open days at various unique or interesting historic buildings and land across the Duchy, all free. Details TBC.
ARTS and MUSIC: St Ives September Festival, St Ives, 10 -24 Sept
With the summer rush of holidaymakers over, St Ives draws down art and music lovers from all over the country for a whole host of exhibitions and cultural events.
MUSIC: Looe Live! Festival, Looe, 16 -18 Sept
Looe Live! Festival serves up three days of superb live music in a magical setting on the stunning Cornish coast. A ‘grown-up’ music festival where camping isn’t a prerequisite, where you can visit for the day or the weekend, stay in comfort and eat like a king – the mainstage and BBC Introducing stage will be ticketed and on the beach – with a new-look free-to-enter community and food zone in Buller Quay carpark. Headliners are Soul II Soul, The Lightning Seeds, Reef, Those Damn Crows, Tankus the Henge, Mellowmatic, Ferris & Sylvester with more acts to be announced!
LITERARY: North Cornwall Book Festival, St Endellion, 22 – 25 Sept
North Cornwall Book Festival brings together readers and writers (and a few choice musicians) for a half term holiday of literature, narrative, craft, workshops and concerts in a site of outstanding beauty, between the holiday resort of Polzeath and the fishing community of Port Isaac. Events are yet to be announced but watch this space – booking opens 1 July.
FOODIE: Falmouth Oyster Festival, Falmouth, 13 – 16 Oct
Falmouth’s Events Square will again play host to one of Cornwall’s biggest and best loved specialist food events, The Falmouth Oyster Festival. The annual festivities celebrate the start of the oyster dredging season, the native Fal Oyster and the diversity of Cornish seafood, with four days of feasting, cooking demos, live music, food and craft stalls.
FOODIE: Padstow Christmas Festival, 1 – 4 December
Part food festival, part Christmas party and annual fireworks display, the Padstow Christmas Festival sets off the Cornish festive season, with all the traders carefully hand-picked, so you can look forward to finding an extensive collection of handmade, locally produced gifts, arts and craft as well as some of the region’s finest locally produced food and drink.
EVENT: City of Lights Parade, Truro, TBC
Last year would have marked the 25th anniversary of the first City of Lights Parade in Truro, but was sadly postponed – so something to look forward to in 2022.
Yes, there are Christmas lights in towns all over Cornwall but these are the particularly special and famous ones. In Mousehole the harbour and town is lit up with everything from sea monsters to star gazey pie and Angarrack’s display depicts the twelve days of Christmas.
CULTURAL EVENT: Montol, Penzance, 21 Dec
Montol is Cornwall’s traditional festival of midwinter on 21 Dec (the Winter Solstice) in Penzance. Dancers in full disguise, called Guisers, parade the streets, accompanied by music from peccadillos, drumming and burning torches.
EVENT: Cotehele’s annual Christmas garland, Cotehele
Made out of 30,000 dried flowers grown on the Cotehele Estate and painstakingly created by volunteers to create a 60-foot garland that hangs in the Tudor Hall, the garland truly is a sight to behold. Open daily (runs to 5 Jan).
CULTURAL EVENT: Tom Bawcock’s Eve, Mousehole, 23 Dec
We always spend an evening in Mousehole at Christmas time, to see the amazing light display but Tom Bawcock’s Eve is the biggest celebration. Every year, the school children and locals parade lanterns and sing the traditional song and Star Gazey Pie is served up in The Ship Inn on the harbour side. This is all in honour of Tom Bawcock, a fisherman who according to legend, risked his life to go out fishing and feed the hungry people of Mousehole, one especially stormy winter.
SADLY MISSED IN 2020 & 2021, LOOK OUT FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR 2022
Bikelights, Wadebridge & Bodmin
Running for five years, the Circus themed adventure in 2019 was bigger and better than ever – with more than 700 bikes and a host of newly commissioned artists’ bikes on the theme of Flying Circus – featuring elephants, flying trapeze, fire sculptures and magnificent illuminated creations of all shapes and sizes. This is the most enormous fun, not only do you get to create brilliant illuminated bikes, but you also get to go on an unforgettable bike ride in the dark with your family, surrounded by the most enchanting glittering lights and laughter.
2022 JUST MISSED…
JAN – FEB
BALLET: Tchaikovsky’s ballets, Hall for Cornwall, 20-22 Jan
St Petersburg Classic Ballet returns to Hall for Cornwall this new year with two spectacular productions of Tchaikovsky’s best-loved ballets: perennial favourite, The Nutcracker, and the elegant Swan Lake.
COMEDY: Ed Byrne – If I’m Honest, Launceston Town Hall, 2 Feb
Ed Byrne is one of the most successful comedians performing in the UK, regularly appearing on TV and touring to sold-out theatres. Originally from Ireland, he now lives in Essex with his wife and two children, but comes to Launceston with his new show If I’m Honest – when he’ll be taking along hard look at himself to work out if he has ANY traits that are worth passing on to his children.
ART EXHIBITION: Kenidjack A Cornish Valley, Kurt Jackson, Jackson Foundation, St Just, until Feb 2022
St Just is the most westerly town in Britain, it is on the edge, faraway, ‘isolated’; archetypically Cornish and distinct in its identity, geography and heritage. It has two valleys, one on either side: Cot and Kenidjack; Cot is the tamer of the two, Kenidjack is the wilder and less accessible. In 2017, Kurt Jackson showed with great acclaim a body of work based on Cot Valley, now it is the turn for Kenidjack – hosted at the Muddy Award winning Art Gallery, The Jackson Foundation.
KIDS: The Great Winter School Fete, Wadebridge, 12 Feb
A fantastic family friendly event at the Royal Cornwall Showground with fun for everyone, including demos and workshops, entertainment, food, shopping, free activities, inter school competitions and much more.
CULTURAL EVENT: St Piran’s Day , 5 March
St Piran’s Day, the national day of Cornwall, is celebrated each year across the county on 5 March. Saint Piran was the patron saint of tin miners. Traditional ways of celebrating included parades and processions, with almost every community marking the day in some way. Bude, Falmouth, Bodmin, Perranporth, Launceston, Penzance, St Ives and Truro are among the bigger parades – check locally where you are if you want to watch one.
Don’t miss the Trelawny Shout, an annual tradition where the county unites in harmony to recite the Cornish national anthem, at 9pm on St Piran’s Day – look out for gatherings in pubs across the county.
FOODIE: World Pasty Championships & Cornish Pasty Week, The Eden Project, 5 March
After a year off, the World Pasty Championships returns to The Eden Project to celebrate its 10th anniversary – with competitors coming from all over the UK and the world, as well as Cornwall, for the Duchy’s ultimate bake-off to bring Cornish Pasty week to an end.
KIDS: Ray Mears, Hall for Cornwall, 8 March
Ray Mear’s We are nature – an invitation to reconnect with the natural world tour reaches Cornwall in March.
FLORAL: Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show, Wadebridge, 2 – 3 April
The annual flower show returns to The Royal Cornwall Showground for an ever-more exuberant celebration of Cornwall’s early Spring with the largest horticultural show outside London, our ‘Chelsea of the South West’.
SPOKEN WORD: Hollie McNish: Slug (and other things I’ve been told to hate), SproutSpoken, Newquay, 6 April
Ted Hughes Award winner Hollie McNish is a poet whose live readings are not to be missed. Expect strong language and adult content ribbon wrapped in carefully and caringly sculpted poetry as Hollie reads from and chats about her much anticipated new collection: Slug…and other things i’ve been told to hate.
FOODIE: Porthleven Food Festival, Porthleven, 22 – 24 April
The Porthleven Food Festival brings people together to enjoy eats and beats around the stunning harbour of Porthleven with a national and international chef’s theatre, food stalls, street food, music by day and night and entertainment for all.
CULTURAL EVENT: Padstow Obby Oss & St Ives May Day, 1 May
If you fancy seeing some traditional May Day celebrations, Padstow and St Ives will (hopefully) be making merry the old fashioned way. In usual years particularly keen revellers in Padstow can be seen singing in the streets from midnight on 30 Apr but the main Obby Oss celebrations begin the next morning with local people parading and dancing with their Obby Oss’ (hobby horses). St Ives’ May Day celebrations were revived relatively recently but involve choirs, brass brands, dancing round the may pole and the crowning of a May Queen and King.
CULTURAL EVENT: Flora Day, Helston, Sat 7 May
The people of Helston have been celebrating the ancient tradition of Flora Day for hundreds of years. It is a spring festival to mark the end of winter and arrival, vitality and fertility of spring. The shops and houses are decked out with bluebells, laurels, gorse and other greenery and the dancing begins from seven in the morning, continuing all day. Eighty couples dance through the streets – as well as several shops and houses – to drive out the darkness of winter and usher in the light of spring.
LITERARY: Fowey Festival, 6 – 14 May
A nine-day literary festival based in Daphne du Maurier’s beautiful hometown of Fowey, Cornwall. Featuring a wide range of guest speakers with talks, panel debates, workshops and concerts – further details TBC.
FOODIE: St Ives Food & Drink Festival, 13 – 15 May
Prepare for a weekend of culinary treats on the sands of beautiful Porthminster Beach – back this year in the usual May spot. There’s always a great line-up of local and national chefs putting on demonstrations, which in previous years have included Tom Brown, Aine Carlin, Simon Hulstone, Jude Kereama, Hersha Patel, Chris Eden, and Ben Tunnicliffe. There’s usually a large selection of the best street food on offer plus plenty of traders with delicious produce for sale in the Artisan Tent.