The best time of year to visit England or, more generally, the best time to visit UK elicits many responses. This is due to their quirky, unpredictable weather patterns. The answer you usually get is an ambivalent, “it depends.”
What part of the UK you plan to visit is one factor. Another is your preference for the weather. Do you like balmier climates? Does chilly cold appeal to you?
One thing is clear, regardless of the time of year and climate, the UK is spectacular and dripping with history. Whatever month you visit and which place you elect to explore, prepare for an overload of the senses. For instance, let us look at one of my favorites, Cornwall.
Cornwall is famous for its long golden beaches that attract surfers from all over the UK. You also have wild moorland, sub-tropical gardens, giant cliffs, and historic castles and ruins that seem to jump out of a storybook. Cornwall has it all with its appeal that is both rustic and refined, civilized and wild.
Adding to its global popularity is the hit TV series, Doc Martin. Port Isaac in north Cornwall is where the fictional village of Portwenn is set. I can see from the series why tourists have been coming to this Cornish homeland, as it is gorgeous. If you have convinced yourself for a trip here, the best time to visit Cornwall, England, most folk say, is early autumn.
September in Cornwall
Visit Cornwall this month, and you have several advantages. The tourist crowds will be gone, the streets will be quieter, and the weather and the sea will be relatively warm. It is also festival time for food, cultural, and sporting events, and since peak season is over, accommodations could be cheaper.
Places To See In Cornwall
1. Port Isaac
Port Isaac is a charming fishing village that looks like a postcard everywhere you look. Stroll on the tiny little streets and discover the coastal paths that link with the village itself. You could also go down to the harbor cove and watch local fishers haul in their catch.
Inviting restaurants and bars are in structures that are hundreds of years old, evoking village life of old-world charm. Who knows, you might even chance on a filming set of Doc Martin?
2. St. Ives
From the cold, cozy feel of Port Isaac, we go to the tropical vibe of St. Ives. This is a lovely town where you can hang out on the heavenly beach. I hear they also have the best scones in all of England.
While onshore, enjoy watching colorful fishing vessels coming in and out of the harbor. The cobbled ending alleys in the town are also lined with inns and old shops to explore.
Penzance is England’s most westerly town. It is a lovely port where you will see many granite-built Regency and Georgian architecture. Structures to see are the Egyptian House on Chapel St, or the art deco Jubilee Pool Lido, both built in the 1830s
Due to the milder climate, there are palms on the streets and a surprising number of subtropical gardens. For the gastronomic, there’s also a thriving foodie scene. Penzance’s modern galleries have likewise been receiving more appreciation from the art world.
4. St Michael’s Mount
Located half a kilometer from mainland Cornwall, St Michael’s Mount is the Cornish counterpart of French monastery Mont-Saint-Michel, off Normandy’s coast. The tidal island in Mount’s Bay Cornwall is a civil parish connected to Marazion’s town by a fabricated causeway of granite setts, passable during mid-tide and low water.
Arguably Cornwall’s most famous landmarks, the place is rich in history. There are breathtaking vistas across Mount’s Bay to Lands’ End. The Lizard has a picture-perfect harbor, not to mention a majestic castle, complete with glorious gardens.
In the castle, bend to enter ancient doorways exploring century-old corridors. Learn about the St Aubyn family, who have lived here since the middle of the 17th century. They manage the island along with the National Trust.
5. Land’s End
Land’s End is among England’s most special places and legendary Cornish destination. In ancient times, it was called “Belerion,” meaning Place of the Sun. It is celebrated for its distinct location and stunning views. Hike through its cliff top trails and soak in the beautiful scenery, visit the shopping village to find souvenirs, and relax at one of the restaurants or cafés.
There are many activities and places to visit here like a garden tour, a gallery or museum visit. Boat trips, surf schools, walking, and cycling trails likewise await the Land’s End tourist.
Found along Cornwall’s Atlantic Coast, this destination was voted “One of the Nation’s Favorite Seaside Towns,” as well as “Best Family Holiday Destination” by prestigious publications. Newquay has some of Cornwall’s finest beaches. It is also the surfing hub for the UK, due to its excellent waves for riding.
Newquay’s seven miles of sandy coastline is not only geared to surfing, as other tourists and their kids can play on the calmer shores. One can also take steam train trips and see animals at Dairyland or Newquay, or Farm World. There are also camping grounds and RV vehicle designated areas.
In Truro, you will find the Gothic Revival cathedral that dates back to the local diocese founded in 1876. Arguably the most handsome Gothic Revival church in England, Truro Cathedral was designed by John Loughborough Pearson, credited for reestablishing the Medieval art of vaulting in the 19th century.
This southernmost city on the British mainland is dotted with Victorian and Georgian architecture. Granite monuments built centuries ago house the Royal Cornwall Museum and the Hall for Cornwall, a performing arts venue.
Part of the appeal of Truro is although it is a city, there is a healthy and thriving countryside lifestyle. Boat trips, country parks, open farms, breweries, and cider presses are in abundance. You could also browse thru the many shopping streets like St Mary’s Street and Cathedral Lane for keepsakes.
Is Cornwall For You?
Cornwall may be a faraway destination, but the promise of folklore and legends, food feasts, and excellent surf has me wanting to pack my bags right now. They say the Cornish community spirit is warm and welcoming. Its culture, art, and storied history has me excited already. (Read How Many Days Should I Spend In Barcelona)