Top Ten things to do in Cornwall this Winter
Welcome to our Top ten things to do in Cornwall this Winter. Empty beaches, dramatic seas, no crowds and cheaper prices on accommodation, what’s not to love? Here are our top ten picks of activities for your Cornish winter break in no particular order.
1) Startling Murmurations
Every winter (from November -March) thousands and thousands of starlings gather and take part in murmurations above their roosting sites around the country. We have a huge flock that gather by Roughtor just 20 minutes from Ekopod. From your pod you may well see the groups that feed around the site leave on mass to head over to Roughtor. If you go to Roughtor itself most evenings you will be able to watch the stunning aerial display of the mumuarations. You can find out more about Starling Murmurations here: Starling Murmuration- The RSPB.
We recommend being there an hour before sunset to make sure you catch them. They can move around slightly but normally if you park on Roughtor road (between the farm and the carpark) you should get a great spot. Wrap up warm, bring a flask of hot chocolate and sit on the bank beside your car to get the best experience! They do their murmurations above the forest beyond the fields in front of you, before eventually settling in the trees, to roost for the night.
Before the spectacle you could also do the walk up Roughtor itself. It’s one of the highest points in Cornwall and you can see both coasts on a clear day. Alternatively the carpark is also the start for the walk up Brown Willy which is the highest point in Cornwall. Click here to download the route for the beautiful circular walk that takes in both Roughtor and Brown Willy: Circular walk around Rough Tor and Brown Willy (iwalkcornwall.co.uk)
2) Christmas at the Eden project
At the Eden Project this Winter the Rainforest biome and Med biome will be lit up with twinkling lights and a big band playing making Christmas at the Eden Project number two of our top ten things to do in Cornwall this Winter. They also have the only indoor ice skating rink in Cornwall which will be running until February. They are closed from 14th -22nd November for a staff well being week. The perfect day trip from staying in a dome of your own at Ekopod!
The Eden Project is 45 minutes from Ekopod
3) Enjoy Christmas lights in Cornwall’s Harbour Towns
Number three of things to do in Cornwall in Winter is visit the Harbour Towns. Cornwall has many pretty harbour towns, which can get very busy in high season. The beauty of visiting in the winter is you have the space to really take it all in. On a stormy day the waves crashing against the harbour walls can be absolutely spectacular. Many also have stunning Christmas light displays. Our favourites are the Mousehole Christmas lights . Here you can see the beautiful inspiration behind the Mousehole cat come alive. This year they should be on from Mid December. Picturesque Boscastle also has a display and will be turning their lights on from Friday 26th November. They have a brilliant eco Christmas Tree made from old lobster pots this year.
Boscastle is 20 minutes from Ekopod and Mousehole 1.5 hours
4) Seal Spotting
The UK is home to around 40% of the World’s Grey Seal population. Spotting them is fourth on our list of the top ten things to do in Cornwall this Winter. Most grey seals are to be found in Scotland but Cornwall also has large numbers and you may well be lucky enough to spot them along the coastline. However, the best place to see them is at the Cornish seal sanctuary. The winter is the time to visit if you want to see baby seals as the sanctuary typically rescues over 60 during the winter. You can get tickets here: Tickets (sealifetrust.org) , the money from your ticket goes towards supporting all their hard work. Open 11am -4pm. Dogs are welcome at the seal sanctuary.
If you do see a seal on a beach you are on during the winter please keep your distance and never approach it, if you scare them back into the water it can use up valuable reserves of their energy or cause mothers to abandon their babies. If you see a seal in distress please contact The Cornish Seal Sanctuary on 01326 221361 and/or the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) team on 01825 765546 during office hours and then after 5pm on 07787 433412. BDMLR volunteers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Cornish seal sanctuary is 1 hr 20 minutes from Ekopod
5) Get active
Fifth of our things to do in Cornwall this Winter is to get active! Even in the winter there’s so many options to enjoy the great outdoors in Cornwall, so why not wrap up warm and take stunning walks along the Southwest Coast footpath, or across Bodmin moor. On cold crisp sunny day’s you’ll be rewarded with bright blue skies impressive views. Also with earlier sunsets and later sunrises there’s no late nights or early mornings needed to view them! For dog lovers the summer bans on some of our beaches are lifted over the winter so they can enjoy all your walks with you.
Follow these walks up with hot chocolates in front of log fires or Sunday roasts at one of the many of great pubs we have here. Our favourite roast is at The Rising Sun at Altarnun after a walk up to Roughtor. The Port William is set above the sea at Trebarwith Strand so our favourite for watching stormy seas.
Alternatively why not get in the sea (condition dependent) ? If it’s not too rough and you can brave the cold, the surf in winter is better than what you’ll find in the summer. New to the sport? There are some surf schools that stay open all year round if you want lesson or equipment hire check out Wavehunters at Polzeath who have lessons available all the way through to the New Year. Alternatively for those determined to stay cold water swimming all year round, there is Bude Sea Pool where hardy members of their friendly community can often be found even on the chilliest days!
Polzeath beath is 40 minutes from Ekopod. Bude sea pool is 25 minute from Ekopod. The Rising Sun is a 45 minute walk from Ekopod or a 12 minute drive You can see the walking route in our guidebook which you can download here in the walks section of our local area guide. Roughtor and the South West Coast footpath are both a 20 minute drive away, The Port William is a 25 minute drive away away make sure you book either pub in advance. Be aware the beaches are not lifeguarded in the winter and only ever get in the sea if the conditions are suitable for your standard of surfing/ swimming!
6) Get underground!
If the weather ends up not being good enough to hike, why not escape from it by doing the third of our things to do in Cornwall this Winter and explore underground in Cornwall’s Carnglaze Caverns? 150 meters into the hillside and created by local slate miners, there are huge chambers and an underground lake with crystal clear water to discover. Tickets are currently available until mid December
Carnglaze Caverns are a 30 minute drive away from Ekopod
7) Visit Santa by Steam train
This winter your children can take a steam train to Santa’s grotto. Number four of our things to do in Cornwall this Winter is Santa by steam train. Starting at Bodmin General station, on your hour long return journey on a beautiful steam train, you’ll get a visit with Santa, carols, presents and mince pies to really get you in the festive spirit! 1st December – 24th December. Check out the specific dates and more details here: Santa Special Trains Return to Bodmin & Wenford Railway – Bodmin & Wenford Railway (bodminrailway.co.uk)
Bodmin General station is 30 minutes from Ekopod
8) Explore winter gardens
We love how the changing seasons change the views around Ekopod and its no different with the wonderful gardens around Cornwall. So exploring gardens might feel like a summer activity, but it’s worth the trip to see them in the winter and so it makes our number seven of things to do in Cornwall this Winter. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are open every day except Christmas Day. From the 20th November there will be illuminations at night in their lantern trail. Find out more about the lantern trail here: Night Garden. It sold out last year so make sure you book tickets in advance if you want to go! The stunning gardens for Lanhydrock are also open in winter and are a bit closer at just 30 minutes from Ekopod. Dogs are welcome at both.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are 1 hour from Ekopod Lanhydrock is 30 minutes from Ekopod
9) Scare yourself at Bodmin Jail
For number nine is one of the best all weather attractions in Cornwall Bodmin Jail. As well as the normal self guided tours they have a range of after dark Panorama tours this winter to make it even more spooky. For Christmas they’re doing some Victorian Christmas specials which you can find out more about here: Spend Time This Christmas in Cornwall at Bodmin Jail
Bodmin Jail is half and hour from Ekopod
10) Tasty Treats
Number ten of our top ten things to do in Cornwall this winter is treating yourself to some delicious food and drink! We’ve got some famous restaurant’s nearby which can be almost impossible to get into in the Summer, but in the winter you have the chance! Our top tips for restaurants for a splurge are Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Port Issac (30 minutes from Ekopod) and Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 (1 hour from Ekopod). Closer to home if you want treats of a more alcoholic variety why not drop into our local distillery at Treguddick Manor. Just 15 minutes from Ekopod this distillery grows its botanicals in geodomes so a visit here is very complimentary to staying in our geodomes! They do gin and rum tours which includes tasters (take away miniatures are provided for designated drivers) and have some perfect products for Christmas presents!
Even if its just having the excuse to spend the day in your pod curled up in front of a fire, reading a booking with a hot chocolate or glass of wine, whatever you end up doing in Cornwall we at Ekopod hope you have a fantastic time! If you are inspired by this list and want more tips on what to do in Cornwall check out our online guidebook which can be found here: Things to do in Cornwall
Rachael and Matt X
P.S unless specified all distances are driving not walking!