After three months of traffic jams, grossly inflated prices and a crowded coastline, the summer season is over for another year and life in Cornwall can return to normal again. As holidaying families load up their roof boxes and head back up the A30 in time for the new school term, this is the time for locals to seize the opportunity to enjoy their county to the fullest.
The early weeks of September also see the beginnings of a second, smaller wave of tourists heading down to the tip of the South West. Those without children, by and large, who have discovered something that the people living down here already knew: that autumn is really the best time to experience Cornwall.
There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but first and foremost has to be that the teeming crowds have all but dissipated. It is now possible to visit honeypot coastal towns like St Ives, Fowey and Port Isaac without having to wait two hours for a parking space; the shops and cafés have yet to shutter up for the off season; and while there is still a lively bustle to their high streets and harbourfronts, they’re practically serene compared to the mid-August bedlam. It’s cheaper to holiday at this time of year too, as hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks compete to slash the rates following a steep dip in demand for accommodation.
Then there are the beaches. A few weeks ago, perennially overcrowded favourites like Porthcurno and Kynance Cove would have barely a few square feet of sand showing for all the blankets, beach tents and sun loungers crammed in together. Now they seem blissfully deserted, and it’s not too hard to find a quiet corner all to yourself.
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There’s a good chance that the weather will be fine too. Maybe we have climate change to thank, but the summer warmth seems to last a little longer every year, and it’s not unusual to have beachgoing weather well into October. The sea, meanwhile, will be at its warmest after months of (mostly) high temperatures. That said, the RNLI lifeguards have stopped patrols on a number of Cornish beaches due to the end of the summer season, so it’s important to exercise a bit more caution if you’re entering the water.
It’s also worth pointing out that, while the sea may be warm,…