What do we have to thank John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, for? A Liberal MP, he introduced the Bank Holidays Act in 1871, giving certain specified days the same status as Christmas Day or Good Friday. The grateful public originally named these holidays “St Lubbock’s Days” (fortunately, that title didn’t stick).
The late August bank holiday was one of the original bank holidays mentioned in the Act, apparently with the intention that we all play or watch cricket. Even post-Ashes, if cricket isn’t your thing, what else can you get up to on the summer bank holiday?
As ever, Cornwall is a popular destination for a holiday weekend, and the beaches are always busy with people enjoying the extra day off. There are also special bank holiday events being held across the county, and here is a selection of what you can do.
The most famous bank holiday event down these parts is the Newlyn Fish Festival. The West Cornish fishing port promises “fun, food and fish”. Live music, street food and a plethora of stalls make this a thoroughly entertaining day. Try some barbecued mackerel rolls, or perhaps bid for your own fish at the auction. This festival is a great opportunity to explore the working harbour of this fascinating little town.
The National Trust has plenty on offer. Elizabethan Manor House, Trerice near Newquay (most well known for its role as “Trenwith” in Poldark) has a Tudor Costume Day on Bank Holiday Monday, and some “hobby horse jousting” at the weekend. Trelissick Garden near Truro is hosting its annual Summer Dahlia Show. Glendurgan Garden near Falmouth is not holding any specific events, however with its famous maze and gorgeous walks down to the sea, it remains one of the loveliest Cornish gardens to visit.
Our neighbour, Eden, continues to offer its wonderfully eclectic programme over the bank holiday, including dinosaurs, zip wires, massages, and rainforest art (and a few plants…). Good in all weathers, and with an infrastructure designed to handle large numbers, it’s always a great bank holiday option.
The Cornwall Folk Festival in Wadebridge is a four-day event over the bank holiday weekend. With a mixture of free and ticketed events, the festival combines a great selection of local and international musical talents. Add plenty of local food, ales and cider and it should be a lively one.
If traditional bank holiday events aren’t your thing, Heartlands near Redruth is hosting Geekfest, described as “a celebration of all things sci-fi, comic, film, cult TV & gaming”. Niche, but fun, and there is Heartlands itself to discover.
If you would prefer to get away from it all, try a stretch of the glorious coastal path. There are sections to suit all walkers, and the scenery is stunning. Look out for dolphins, basking sharks and, of course, Ross Poldark. The path is dotted with cafes and pubs, or find a flat rock for a picnic with an unsurpassed view.
Alternatively, head inland and explore Bodmin Moor. At 208 square kilometres, it’s not the country’s largest moor; however it’s big enough to always seem dramatically empty, even on a busy day. The A30 can get busy across the moor however, so time your trip carefully. If you’re staying with us, leave the car behind and enjoy the local cycle trails. Nearby Pentewan Valley Cycle Hire can find you a set of wheels.
Alternatively, escape the bustle of the bank holiday with us at The Cornwall. Hidden in its forty-three acre estate, there is always plenty of space to unwind and enjoy the weekend. Spend a day at The Clearing Spa or take a traditional cream tea on the terrace. Perfect.
So, there are just a few ideas to help you enjoy the August St Lubbock’s Day. But whatever you do, remember to raise a glass of something cool and Cornish to Sir John, without whom this excuse for a grand day out would not exist.