Great summer days out in the South West

Brilliant blue skies, white fluffy clouds and the warmth of the sun on your skin… We can’t wait to get out and explore the best of what the South West has to offer this summer.

Here’s our pick of the upcoming events we’re most looking forward to.

Open Studios Cornwall (19 May – 28 May)

Paint tubes

Artists and craftspeople across Cornwall throw open the doors to their studios to the public for nine days at the beginning of summer. 2018 is the 14th year of Open Studios Cornwall, and it’s bigger and better than ever, with 329 artists, craftspeople and designers taking part.

As well as the opportunity to get an insight into the creative process of some of the most talented artists in Cornwall, there is also a range of workshops available where you can try your hand at everything from ceramics and stained class to Chinese calligraphy.

A great way to explore some different areas of Cornwall – plan a route stopping off at different studios on the way.

The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, Devon (8 – 10 June)

The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

Picture by Jim Wileman – The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, 2017

The Contemporary Craft Festival is a celebration of handmade crafts, featuring over 200 of the UK’s finest designer-makers. From silversmiths to potters, furniture makers, textile artists, glass makers, and jewellers, there’s a huge range of exhibitors.

The weekend will be brimming with live action including The Pottery Showdown competition, the Out of the Woods tent (which celebrates British woodland craft skills) and the magnificent Craft Cinema, hosted in a vintage Bedford Bus. You’ll also find a series of inspiring live demonstrations where you can watch the making of everything from delicate paper sculpture to boat building, silversmithing and surfboard making.

Out of the Woods tent - The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey

There is also a great range of craft workshops, a children’s craft tent, and The Den – a special area for teenagers with screen printing, digital vinyl cutting and jewellery workshops. You can enjoy live music from local performers throughout the weekend, plus family friendly entertainment and locally sourced street food.

Adult day tickets £9, weekend tickets £17.

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival (22 June – 24 June)

Shanty singers at Falmouth International Shanty Festival

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival is one of the highlights of the summer for us. The town’s nautical past comes to life as shanties drift down the streets and people gather to soak up the atmosphere and the sunshine. With 64 groups from across the UK, Brittany, Holland and Ireland performing in over 20 different venues across the town, there’s plenty to choose from – and it’s all free.

Port Eliot Festival, St Germans, Cornwall (26 – 29 July 2018)

Port Eliot Festival

Port Eliot is a smorgasbord of a festival, combining words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun in a setting that’s simply magical.

There’s plenty of room to roam and relax, from the vast lawns to the woodland gardens and the banks of the river Tamar. One of the best things to do here is simply wander – sometimes the best experiences are when you simply stumble across one of the tucked-away delights or pop-up happenings.

There are workshops going on throughout the weekend, and a range of outdoor adventures including everything from wild swimming to stargazing and Canadian canoeing. Wildlings Wood offers a space full of magic, stories, music and fun, ideal for children, while those in need of pampering can slip away to Lark’s Haven, a sanctuary of wellness and healing.

Weekend and day tickets available.

100: UnEarth at the Lost Gardens of Heligan (3 July – 22 July)

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

WildWorks theatre company has a well-deserved reputation for producing innovative immersive outdoor theatre productions. Their latest production, 100: UnEarth, takes place this summer at the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

100: UnEarth is set in the aftermath of WWI and explores the stories of the survivors, drawing inspiration from the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

With 200 acres full of history, mystery and romance, Heligan has plenty to offer. For a summer day out, we can’t think of anything better than an afternoon wandering the gardens and dinner al fresco from the Heligan Kitchen before the performance starts.