The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

South West festivals 2024

Fill your diary with feelgood events this summer with our round-up of the best festivals in the region
Rock Oyster Festival, South West festivals
Rock Oyster Festival. Image: Louise Roberts

Beaches, towns and meadows across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset will be buzzing with world-class music, food and drink this summer. Make a beeline for the best events with our guide to the best South West festivals 2024

Before we jump into the South West summer festival calendar, check out skybar’s regular pop-up clubs for supreme après-sea vibes and tunes from DJs, taking place at stunning sites in Watergate Bay, Croyde, Polzeath, St Agnes and Chew Magna. Plus, don’t miss the incredible summer line up of Eden Sessions at Cornwall’s Eden Project, including performances from Crowded House, Fatboy Slim, Suede, Manic Street Preachers and Paolo Nutini.

Tunes in the Dunes
Tunes in the Dunes

May

Festival frenzy picks up in May, led by a celebration of country life at the Devon County Show on May 16–18 at Clyst St Mary near Exeter. Around the same time, but channelling a very different energy, festivalgoers at Tunes in the Dunes will be kicking up sand on Cornwall’s Perranporth Beach on May 17–19. 

Historical estates are the beautiful backdrop to Shindig Festival at Dillington Estate in Somerset, on May 23–26 and The Great Estate at Scorrier House Redruth on May 31–June 2. Both bring together an array of entertainment, including performances from chart-topping headliners, captivating talks, side-tickling comedy and family-focused crafts and activities. 

As May draws to a close, head to Clovelly in Devon for the Seaweed Festival on May 26, when the secluded harbour pays homage to seaweed via street food, music, crafts, workshops, talks and entertainment.

June

Festival season is in full swing by June, beginning with the English Riviera Airshow on June 1–2 in Paignton followed by the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge on June 6–8. These two iconic events offer unrivalled family entertainment at every turn (and aerobatic loop-the-loop).

South West food and drink is the focus of festival faves Bristol Craft Beer Festival at the city’s harbourside on June 7–8; Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival at Montpellier Gardens in Cheltenham on June 21–23; and Mevagissey Feast Week in Cornwall on 22–29 June.

Music fans, meanwhile might hotfoot it to Croyde Bay for Goldcoast Oceanfest in north Devon on June 21–23 or, if they’re lucky enough to have tickets, whack on a pair of wellies for the iconic Glastonbury Festival near Pilton in Somerset on June 26–30.

Rock Oyster Festival
Rock Oyster Festival

July

In July, festivals in the South West offer a variety of themes, so there’s something to entertain everyone. Go full-on family-friendly at Helifest, Cornwall Air Ambulance’s fantastic fundraiser at Scorrier House in Redruth on July 6, or drop down a gear and head to the chilled Paradhis Festival at Boconnoc Estate on July 5–7, where music and wellness are explored and celebrated in beautiful natural surroundings.

Big names headline gigs in Cornwall and Devon this month – catch Feeder, Razorlight and a montage of other musical might on July 12–13 at Tunes on the Sands at Blackpool Sands Beach in south Devon. On July 25–28, on the banks of the Camel Estuary near Wadebridge, Rock Oyster Festival will pair cult culinary stars (including Nathan Outlaw, Jack Stein, Emily Scott and Mark Hix) with music legends The Human League, Sugababes and Bombay Bicycle Club, to name but a few.

Smaller, but no less notable, events in July include the Somerset Vegan Festival at Hutton Moor Leisure Centre in Weston-Super-Mare on July 20, and the lovely Woolsery Agricultural Show at Clovelly Court in Devon on July 29.

August

August is crammed with family-friendly festivals in the South West. First up is the lakeside Valley Fest on August 1–4 at Chew Valley in Somerset, which showcases Bristol’s live music scene and local food producers, alongside a myriad of activities and wellbeing experiences. Later in August, Gone Wild with Bear Grylls, the ultimate family adventure, arrives at Powderham Castle in Devon for four action-packed days on August 22–25. Foodies, will want to head for The Castle at Bude for the Bude Food Festival on August 11 to seek out and sample a plethora of exceptional local produce. 

Falmouth and Newquay welcome hordes of extra visitors in August. Falmouth Week combines the town’s historic sailing regatta with a carnival and lots of shoreside events and entertainment, running from August 9–17. And surf town Newquay catapults from laidback to epic when Boardmasters cranks up on August 7–11. This year, headline sets from Chase & Status, Sam Fender and Stormzy are supported by a series of stars spanning eleven sun-kissed, sea-view stages. As August draws to a close, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, McFly, Paloma Faith, Busted and other notable names eek out the last of summer at Tunes in the Park at Port Eliot Estate in Cornwall on August 22–25.

Little Orchard
Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival. Image: Matthew Hawkey

September

As summer wanes, food is harvested, school holidays end and the pace in the South West becomes more relaxed – making it the perfect time to explore the region’s food scene. Begin your exploration with fruits de mer delights on the Weymouth Peninsula at the Dorset Seafood Festival on September 7–8, or head to Clovelly for the Lobster and Crab Feast in north Devon on September 8. Later in the month, various venues across Devon host events ranging from farm feasts to brewery tours as part of the popular Taste East Devon Festival from September 14–22. 

Raise a glass or two to the remaining rays of sunshine at the final two festivals in our curation of top South West festivals in 2024: Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival on September 13–15 at Healey’s Cyder Farm in Penhallow, Cornwall, and the 20th anniversary of Abbfest on September 19–22 at Fermoy’s Garden Centre in Newton Abbot. Both events blend family fun with fantastic local food, drink and music – a fine end to a summer of festivals in the South West.

Enjoyed our round-up of South West festivals 2024? Explore our travel guides to discover the best places to eat, stay and shop in the region.

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