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Cornwall in March (2022)?

Yesterday I broached the subject of possibly starting to think about perhaps considering some preliminary planning for our first return to Europe. My husband gave an enthusiastic “sure!”. Tentative plans, of course, and I know better than to book anything non-refundable. We have a 2-4-1 voucher for Avios tickets on British Airways, and the latest date we can travel outbound is Feb. 28, 2022. We originally used voucher this for one of our two 2020 trips, and when we canceled that, British Airways kindly extended the validity dates of our voucher.

Fortunately we got full refunds of our Avios and $$$ for the flights for our 2 trips, plus most train tickets and all but one hotel. The hotel in Naples gave us a credit for a future visit so we can use that for the next trip. Our apartment in Venice was fully and cheerfully refunded and we will be booking with the same company again.

Basically we would be doing the Chamonix-plus- Italy trip we had planned for last March, although I will probably tweak it a bit, maybe adding one or two places we have not yet been. My husband has devoted his covid-isolation time to fairly serious study of Italian, and Is ready to venture off the well-beaten path.

I will post in the Italy forum about that when I am ready to get more serious, but right now I am thinking about time we can spend in the UK on our way home. Since we always fly BA, and have to pass through Heathrow, we have always included some time in London and elsewhere at the end of our trip.

This time, in addition to London, we would like to get out of the city and do some walking. We have enjoyed HF Holidays for their 3-4 day holidays at their country houses, with guided walking, so I took a look at those locations. They have a country house in St. Ives that looks very appealing, especially the line in the program description that states that Cornwall enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in England.

So would that be true in late March, at the very end of the month? I seem to recall reading elsewhere that Cornwall usually enjoys an earlier, warmer spring than the rest of the country. But maybe March is still too early, and very wet?

They also have options in Dorset (we have been there already), Exmoor, the Cotswolds, the Yorkshire Dales and moors, Isle of Wight, the Lake District ( been there with them), Shropshire ( there too) and other places in England, as well as in Wales and Scotland, if any of those seem like better options weather-wise. But somehow I think they are not.

I am not asking for guarantees, just trends, and what is “usual” for the area out there so far to the west. Thanks for your thoughts.

Posted by
12368 posts

Thank you, Emma.

We would be outside walking most of each day, on the coastal path or elsewhere. We have proper gear and clothing for walking in cold and wet weather if we must, and have done so on many occasions. In 2016 we walked from Whitby to Robin Hood Bay in a late April blizzard . . . In Spain on the Costa Brava in 2019 we had wind so strong that at one point I had to crouch and hold on to the lighthouse wall to keep from being blown away. Once around a corner and in the lee of the sturdy building it was fine.

But of course we would prefer nicer weather. I just thought Cornwall might offer us a better chance of that than farther north. And I do understand there are no guarantees, anywhere.

Posted by
19182 posts

For actual, historical, day-by-day weather statistics going back about ten years, take a look at timeandate.com. Since weather varies so much from year to year, I try to check the most recent five years. If find monthly average temperatures of little use since they hide extremes. That first link is for St. Ives in March 2020. Here's Isle of Wight for the same period: https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/@2633939/historic?month=3&year=2020

I'd expect the days to be somewhat longer if you stick to a location in southern England.

I spent a few nights in St. Ives in 2017 and quite liked the town for its artsy vibe. I'm also interested in ceramics, and there was some nice pottery browsing to be done. During peak season (which March obviously is not) St. Ives is extremely touristy; everyone comments on that, and it's enough to turn many people off. I have no idea whether some local restaurants and shops might be closed in March. I'd have the same concern about the Isle of Wight.

Posted by
3528 posts

Since HF holidays offers full board at their country houses, I don't think that the number of restaurants open will be a major issue.

Lola, we had that same holiday booked for last August. Clearly, we didn't make it to Cornwall and we are going to try again in Sept 21 if we can. The walks looked extremely interesting to me. I hope you go. My guess is if you planned for the same type of weather as Seattle, you will probably be outfitted correctly and pleasantly surprised if the weather is better.

Posted by
824 posts

Hi,
Let me say that I am pretty sure the weather will be BLUSTERY. Form that prediction add any discomfort you can imagine, with the occasional bout of sunshine.

Where to stay? Penzance is a 'city' and has the amenities of such. St. Ives is a tourist trap, I mean a tourist destination. Wall to wall restaurants, and people. 50 years ago, yah, how old am I?, it had a more realistic artists' community feel. Take a look at St. Just. It just sits there as it has for hundreds of years. A couple butchers, grocers, pubs, a fish and chips. And you are in the heart of the heart-throb territory, Poldark. A few amenities show it does get some tourists; two art galleries, and a coffee shop.

But if you want to see and experience Cornwall, then you want blustery.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
1 posts

A few years ago we were in Lyndon, Boscastle and Fowey. We are also walkers and enjoy all of Britain because there are footpaths all over, so much better than US. We were there in late Sept, and as in all of England weather was variable. Often lovely, some windy, then in Fowey consistent rain. We were on parts of the trail around Cornwall and it would be great, although most was rocky, steep ups and down. I love gardens and regret not getting to the large famous gardens of So Cornwall. We found driving a challenge in all of Britain but Cornwall was a must for a car to see the beautiful nature. Stayed in B and B everywhere that I found on google. All were fantastic. Ricks pics are always great, but found we were always with Americans with his books and wanted to be more international. My hope is to go back to all of So England in Spring for best weather and gardens.

Posted by
4411 posts

For drier and sunnier weather, the Southeast of England, primarily Kent is better than Cornwall. In March there's still the risk of Atlantic storms or at least some foul weather. I have enjoyed fantastic weather during Easter in Cornwall where it was certainly shorts and T-Shirt weather but equally it was only a few years ago when the whole of the UK was covered in snow in March. Much depends on the the Jet-Stream which is very difficult to predict and which direction our winds and fronts are coming from, the west usually brings mild, wet weather, the east brings sunny but cold air and the south often brings warm air. Clearly this is relatively simplistic but the UK has a maritime climate which means there are few extremes and it's usually mild and damp.

Walking wise I would say that Cornwall offers more in terms of scenery than Kent and as you evidently dress appropriately for walking then I would suggest that you go for it. I'm often hill walking around the South Coast throughout the year and find that even in winter I can manage quite fine with a pair of waterproof trousers, boots, a windproof and waterproof light jacket and often just a t-shirt as I don't feel the cold much. All of which is lighweight and dries very quickly.

There is too much variability with the UK weather to be able to provide a reliable or even typical 'forecast' so I would simply suggest that you come expecting anything!

Posted by
624 posts

Lola,
March is typically not a great month in terms of weather. Grey skies and rain are likely. Keep in mind the footpaths will be pretty muddy that time of year. The last time I visited my family in the UK (Cambridge area) during mid-March was in 2018 and it snowed about 4 inches. I was also in Dublin in March of 2019 on St. Pats Day. We had so much lashing rain that I retreated to a pub and stayed there. I don't mind cold, but it really is the dampness that is hard to overcome. Just be prepared especially if you chose to walk the coastline of Cornwall. The end of March may get you some milder days but I would stick to the South of England and/or South West of the Country. Daylight hours will also be better than the North (Yorkshire/Scotland).

Margaret