Food Festivals And Farmers Markets In Cornwall




Updated on

It may come as a surprise to you, but jaw-dropping vistas and rugged coastlines are just one-half of what Cornwall has to offer.

Being the home to a staggering number of fishing harbours and lush pastures, Cornwall has an abundance of mouth-watering local cuisine. From mouth-watering seafood to thirst-quenching local ales, the English county has plenty to offer.

As such, there are several food festivals and farmers’ markets held throughout the year for you to sample the local produce. For vacation-goers and locals alike, these food festivals and markets present a unique opportunity to enjoy all that Cornish cuisine has to offer.

Let’s dive into the world of Cornish produce and find out what you can dig into during your visit to food festivals and farmers markets.

Food Festivals In Cornwall

1. Porthleven Food Festival

The Porthleven Food Festival is a 3-day event that is dedicated to bringing people together to enjoy food and music together. Held in the marvellous Porthleven harbour, you can find a chef’s theatre, street food, food stalls, live music, and much more.

Being a community-led event, the food and music festival is helmed by talented, energetic and dedicated local volunteers. And supporting them are event professionals who elevate their efforts to a whole new level.

The festival lasts up to 12-and-a-half hours each day, with its different areas operating at different times. You can enjoy its delicacies for the entire duration, whereas the chef’s theatre and craft and market traders end by 6 pm.

In the evening, you can immerse yourself in the dulcet tones or the energetic performance of a live band. Approach the Moors Field to partake in the live concert and experience a musical exhibition unlike any other.

Not only does the festival offer food, drink and music, but it also encourages growth awareness of the environment, nutrition and local food culture and production. The festival hopes to educate all visitors on the quality of local produce and the effort that goes into it.

This festival is partnered with several local and international brands to bring you a taste of the unique Cornish cuisine.

2. St Ives Food And Drink Festival

Live music, entertainment, local food and drink- what’s not to love about the St Ives Food and Drink Festival?

Held in Porthminster Beach, the festival is a gathering of top chefs offering a wide variety of locally produced food and drinks. The festival is a celebration of the best that Cornwall has to offer for everyone to feast on.

In addition to food and beverages, the St Ives Food And Drink Festival offers musical events and entertainment for the whole family. This 3-day free-to-attend event includes chef demos, an artisan market, street food, food workshops, artist galleries and more.

It’s worth noting that accessing the evening musical concerts requires tickets, so be sure to book yours beforehand! Find future musical stars performing their magic at the Lighthouse Stage during the evening, with the mesmerising bay serving as their backdrop.

Moreover, you can bring your dog to the event, provided that they are on a leash. Do note that the festival can become very crowded, and you may not find shaded areas as easily.

3. Falmouth Oyster Festival

Celebrate the beginning of the oyster dredging season at the Falmouth Oyster Festival! The festival is devoted to oysters, making it one of the largest specialised food events in Cornwall. Explore the diversity of seafood over the four-day-long celebration!

Oyster dredging season begins in October, which is when you will see this festival flourish. Explore the traditional Fal oyster harvesting methods that employ the humble sail and oar, helmed by the experienced oystermen of Falmouth.

The event has expanded vastly over the years to the point of requiring a larger venue to host it. Currently located at The Waterfront, the festival features the breathtaking Falmouth harbour as its backdrop.

Climb aboard the working boats that range between 22 to 30 feet in size, featuring an original gaff cutter rig. With the expert fishermen at the helm, you can witness oyster beds protruding from the water. 

Relying on the tides, the wind and their own skill, the fishermen dredge for oysters on the fishing waters. The oysters are then purified for a day and a half before they are made available for sale. 

If that doesn’t sate your appetite, you can watch or partake in the Working Boat Race in the Carrick Roads. This race includes boats that are far larger and more spectacular than a typical working boat, making for a particularly thrilling sight.

And of course, there would be no point in having the festival without purchasing or trying out a dish or two crafted by seafood experts. Savour the handiwork of culinary experts working with fresh produce that is of the highest quality for a taste that is simply out of this world. 

4. Bude Food Festival

The Bude Food Festival is held on The Castle grounds in Bude, combining Artisan Food Market with street foods. You can find all kinds of delicious grub to snack on at this festival, from locally-produced sausages to freshly-made cakes and bread. Combine them with a splendid selection of dips, jams and sauces to add a unique flavour to the foods of your choice.

You’ll find a large number of local exhibitors at the Bude Food Festival who bring you the best cuisine that the area has to offer. And you can approach the Kings Orchard Produce to get a taste of Cornish Honey, or find the Cookie Queen to taste hand-baked cookies and cookie sandwiches. 

After sampling your favourite snacks, top it off with a drink from Tor View Wines or get yourself a dessert from Polmorla 13. Handmade pasties and biscuits can be a fitting final portion of your meal.

The festival is held twice a year, so feel free to visit it during your family holiday in Cornwall!

5. Rock Oyster Festival

With the Camel Estuary as its backdrop, the Rock Oyster Festival is a premium food festival dedicated to the fine-dining experience. The festival is hosted by Jack Stein and his friends, who bring together a food experience straight from Michelin-starred chefs, alfresco dining and cooking demos.

Sample some of the best cuisine served by these top chefs on taster plates and watch them prepare their signature dishes before you. While demonstrating, the chefs will provide you with tips and tricks that can help polish your own cooking skills as well.

Take part in the open-fire cooking corner at Mussel Beach, where you can observe the Camel Estuary in all of its glory. Explore the local traders and find the purest and the most high-quality ingredients in Cornwall. 

Paired with music, activities and family entertainment, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Rock Oyster Festival.

6. Artisan Festival

The Artisan Festival of Redruth is a celebration of artisans from Cornwall and other regions. There is plenty of delicious local food and cooling drinks to sample here, which include gins, chocolates, jams, baked goods and more.

Feast on fast food and traditional delicacies that hail from all corners of the world. The festival features unique pizza flavours, vegan meals, Thai food and plenty more. As such, it’s best to come to the Artisan Festival with an empty stomach to sample all of these delicious cuisines without missing out!

This festival isn’t limited to just food and drink, though. You can browse through and purchase hand-crafted jewellery, soaps, textile art and more. With an extraordinarily large selection to explore, the Artisan Festival has something for the whole family.

7. Newlyn Fish Festival

One of the most unique fishing festivals in Cornwall is situated in the fishing port of Newlyn. Celebrating Cornish traditions, the festival attracts tourists and locals, uniting them to enjoy the gorgeous harbours with a plate of their favourite dishes in hand.

Experience fish like cods, haddocks, sharks, rays, and much more, handled expertly by local chefs. And witness their knowledge and skills as they prepare a mouth-watering meal before your very eyes. Once you collect the dish, head over to the harbour to watch nautical demonstrations and other subjects of entertainment. 

You can watch the Lugger-Rowing World Championship, which features rower teams steering their vessels with large oars. These boats are about as long as the harbour itself, making for quite the sight. Each team yearns to bag the Gold Pilchard, which makes for quite the spectacle.

Feel free to visit the Newlyn Fish Festival should you find yourself around Penzance during the August Bank Holiday Monday!

Farmers Market In Cornwall

1. Truro Farmers Market

Bringing you the finest Cornwall food and drink, Truro Farmers Market has been diversifying its product lineup. You can find grass-fed beef, organic vegetables, sushi-grade fish and much more, presenting a unique opportunity to try new cuisines with these high-quality products.

As you enter the market, you will be greeted by the aroma of fresh ingredients, perfect-blue duck eggs and plenty of colourful products. It’s likely that your mouth begins to water from the very moment you set foot here.

Products aside, you can find traders who are artisans in scale and those who are sought-after by famous Cornish chefs. It’s a friendly and well-liked atmosphere supported by tourists and locals alike.

You can visit the Truro Farmers Market on Tuesdays in The Moor pedestrianised area, from 9 am to 1 pm. Alternatively, you can go to the Lemon Quay on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 9am and 3:30 pm to find the market.


2. St Ives Farmers Market

St Ives Farmers Market is an award-winning market featuring some of the best Cornish traders. Run by a community group known as Great-tasting Unbeatable Local Produce (GULP), the market is open to all every Thursday.

The non-profit organisation opened the market to celebrate local produce and ensure that local Cornish producers were compensated fairly. As such, the market aims to make its products widely available in Cornwall and beyond.

At St Ives Farmers Market, you can find plenty of variety when it comes to Cornwall food items. Smoked fish, meats, baked products, plants, vegetables and alcoholic drinks are all a part of the market. So, you can leave the market with all the ingredients you could need to prepare food for days.

Additionally, it offers a wide variety of high-quality hand-crafted products on sale. These trinkets can be a great souvenir for you to take home after your Cornish family holiday ends.

3. Helston Farmers Market

Helston Farmers Market is one of the older markets in Cornwall. Visit this marketplace every Saturday at any time of the year except January for seasonal produce and interact with food and drink producers directly.

The market features a wide range of products that include local produce. Savoury bread, pastries, cakes, locally-reared poultry and meat, vegetables, fruits and fish are all here to be enjoyed. Simply pick and choose your own ingredients to prepare for a delicious meal that pairs well with locally-made drinks and sauces.

Helston Farmers Market aims to make it easier for local food and drink producers to sell directly to the public. Consequently, it raises public awareness of the issues revolving around sustainable farming, land management and locally produced food. 

It is located at the Old Cattle Market, Porthleven Road, Helston.

Summing Up

Food festivals have a certain allure to them that makes them a worthwhile experience on their own. They are not simply about the food, rather the very act of visiting one gives an insight into the local culture. These festivals are a social and cultural event, one that elevates your family vacationing experience to a whole new level.

The Cornish region’s farmers markets and food festivals are some of the most unique events you could partake in. The abundance of tourist spots and fishing villages in the English county add to the variety of food and drink made available to all.

And to top it all off, you can find fresh ingredients that come right from the farm at farmers’ markets. Use these ingredients, polish your culinary skills and make mouth-watering dishes that may leave your family speechless.

These festivals are a thing to behold, making them a must-visit during your Cornish holiday.

About The Author


Reviewed by