Things to do in May
May is a great time to be in Cornwall, the days are longer and the sun is shining. There a food festivals, beach sports and traditional Cornish events happening the length and breadth of the county, find out more below. We recommend you check Visit Cornwall’s ‘What’s On’ page for latest dates and details of all events in Cornwall.
May Day (Obby oss) — Padstow
This is the biggest day in Padstow’s calendar. It is not unusual to see 30,000 people crammed into this little town on the day when Padstonians from all over the world return to their roots. The origins of the Obby Oss are numerous. The locals decorate the town with flags and flowers and dress up. Then two ‘osses’ come through the town in a dancing procession taunted by the ‘teazer’. The costumes and music is fantastic and infectious — this really is one of the Cornish spectacles! The event happens on or around the 1st May annually there is also a St Ives May Day celebration annually.
Flora Day — Helston
The town is dressed up in flowers and greenery and stunning bluebells, the pubs open at 7am! and the traditional dances, with the the men wearing suits and the ladies in summer dresses, happen throughout the day. There are also stalls lining the streets and often a fair ground too. The origins of this event is the welcoming of spring, and the banishment of darkness and the devil! It’s a great family day out. On or around the 8th may annually.
St Ives Food and Drink Festival
A celebration and gathering of some of the finest food & drink producers and chefs in Cornwall which takes place in St Ives on Porthminster Beach – believed to be the UK’s only beach food and drink festival. You’ll be able to taste and buy some of the finest Cornish produce and there is also live music throughout the day. Annually in mid May.
Polo on the Beach — Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay’s biggest event, award-winning GWR Polo on the Beach. The spectacle has attracted thousands of people each year since 2007 to watch a showcase of world-class polo, equestrian displays and family entertainment. Spectators can expect delicious food and drink and live music alongside polo matches with international players and spectacular stunt displays. The event is annual and is almost entirely free to attend, apart from a few ticket-only functions.
Fal River Festival — Falmouth
Established in 2006, this is an event celebrating the river Fal and embraces the places, people, history, culture and industry connected to the river. With its diverse mix of events taking place at dozens of locations around the water, the festival gives a real chance to engage with life on the river and discover some of its fascinating history. All the action takes place in Falmouth, Truro and around the Roseland Peninsula and thousands of people flock to the area where there are simply loads of events to take part in. Pick up tips from celebrity chefs demonstrating seafood recipes, watch a street theatre performance, listen to a traditional male voice choir, dance the night away to Celtic music or you could even take part in the Castle to Castle swim across the Fal Estuary!
Photo credit: Thanks Sarah Hoss at Flickr for the brilliant Obby Oss photo!