Festivals and More for Your Perfect Summer

If you’re planning a break this summer, have a think about heading to the South West to Devon and Cornwall. There’s loads to do in both counties, from lazing on the beaches to taking in outdoor activities like hiking, sailing or surfing.

There are also plenty of festivals going on over the summer – here’s our pick of five essential ones to check out. And to make sure you’ve plenty of cash left over for the beer bill, we’ve also included options of budget-friendly places to stay nearby.

Relentless Boardmasters Festival: Probably the biggest and the best, billed as ‘Europe’s only surf, skate and music festival’. It’s back this year at Newquay from 8-12 August and includes the ASP World Tour Surfing events at Fistral Beach, the spot in the UK where surfing began. The festival also spills over to Watergate Bay, with music across eight stages in one of the most scenic spots in the country.

Where to stay: Newquay Holiday Park is just a mile away from all the festival action and has caravans for hire, so you don’t even have to pack a tent. There are three outdoor heated swimming pools and a bar and grill on site. Or take a look at the nearby Haven Valley Holiday Park, where you can pitch a tent or hire a caravan just ten minutes from the beach.

Eden Project Summer Sessions: The Eden Project is a must-see for anyone visiting Cornwall, and the summer music sessions make it well worth the trip. This summer there’s Plan B on 6 July, Blink-182 on 8 July and Noah and the Whale and the Vaccines on 11 July. Pencil dates in your diary for next summer too – Eddie Izzard is the first confirmed act for 2013. Gigs take place on the Biotik in the Eden Project’s Mediterranean biome, where you can stroll past lemon trees, olives trees and vines.

Where to stay: If you can tear yourself away from the biome, Penmarlam Caravan Camping Park is nearby and has pitches for tents with great views over the surrounding countryside, free wifi and a pub and café within a short stroll. Pensagillas Park, also in St Austell, has pitches for tents from £10 a night, wifi, and a pub, pool table and takeaway food on site.

Chagstock: Called ‘the best little festival in the south-west’, Chagstock (because it’s near Chagford) is a not-for-profit event running from 20-21 July. The two stage line-up has KT Tunstall, Alabama 3, Seth Lakeman and the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, all at Whiddon Down with views over the northern edge of Dartmoor.

Where to stay: Okehampton Youth Hostel is six miles away on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and has tent pitches beside an adventure centre offering gorge scrambling, kayaking, high ropes course, mountain boarding, archery and a climbing wall. Or you can hire a cosy camping pod at Langstone Manor Holiday Park, with a manor house bar and dining room.

Port Eliot Festival: A festival with a difference, Port Eliot at St Germans in Cornwall from 19-22 July is probably best described as a literature festival with a lot of music thrown in. Performers since the festival started in 2003 have included Jarvis Cocker, Grayson Perry and Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show fame, and this year’s line-up has dozens of events in words, music, cabaret, and fashion among others.

Where to stay: The five star Dolbeare Park is two miles away from the festival site and has tent pitches available as well as an off-licence on site selling Cornish scrumpy. Or there’s Siblyback Lake Campsite at Liskeard, where you can make a week of it and hire windsurfers, rowing boats, kayaks and sailing dinghies.

Looe Music Festival: Round off your summer at this top Cornish music festival from 21-23 September, headlined in 2012 by The Stranglers, Levellers and The Skints. Headline acts will play on the Adrenalin Quarry Stage looking out to sea, with another 60+ bands performing all across Looe in pubs and on the Harbour Stage.

Where to stay: Tencreek Holiday Park is less than two miles from the festival site and has tent pitches, caravans for hire sleeping up to six or eight, a clubhouse, food shop and café on site. Or, if you fancy a spot of glamping, Luxury Cornish Yurts at the nearby Liskeard campsite in Cornwall has hand-made yurts sleeping up to four, which come complete with solid oak furniture, wood burning stove and private deck area with table and chairs.

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