Cornwall has a subtropical climate, meaning for most of the year the temperature never drops below 50ºF. It can be windy and wet, especially on the coasts, but there is less cloud coverage in Cornwall than in other parts of the UK, so it dries off faster. Even in the major towns and cities, people often wear casual, outdoorsy clothing. Jeans or long pants and a few layers of shirts (think tee, long sleeve tee, sweater), plus a raincoat of some sort, are about all that is required. Footwear can range from flats to hiking boots, depending on your plans. It’s good to go with darker colors for shoes. Clothes are often mellow, with pops of colors, like a scarf or bright bag.
Seasalt Cornwall, a Cornish fashion company based in Falmouth, has a range of women’s clothing suitable for the weather. There are shops across the County, and a website that ships internationally. Even if you don’t plan to buy, it’s worth a visit to get an idea of what clothes are suitable to Cornwall.
There are some essential items to bring along on your trip, or purchase once you’ve reached Cornwall. These include:
- A jacket, preferable a windbreaker or raincoat. It will rain and be windy, but you’ll dry off fast, so it is up to you on choice. A thinly insulated one should be sufficient. Try to find one that has a hood.
- Flats or sturdy shoes for walking, preferable dark in color, are the most typical footwear, though sandals are worn in the summer months. It depends on whether you’ll be walking the coastal paths or through St. Ives market streets, but whatever you do, a dark color throughout the UK will keep your shoes from appearing dirty. I’ve always been rather fond of a duck boot, which is now in fashion again. It’s easy to keep clean and keeps your feet dry.
- You’ll mainly want to pack long pants and dresses that have lower hemlines. The wind can be gusty. Leggings are also nice for keeping warm. If you are there in the summer months, shorts and short sleeves with a jacket will be suitable for some days, but you’ll still want to pack some warmer clothes.
- Scarves are a nice way to break up an outfit, but they also give just enough warmth when the wind blows. You can easily brighten up a raincoat or plain long sleeve tee with an interesting scarf.
- Casual handbags, satchels, canvas totes and book bags are the best for traveling anyway, and in Cornwall it’s no difference. Something with a zipper at the top to secure items is a good option.
- Hats aren’t essential, especially if you have a hood on a jacket or long sleeve shirt. However if you require or like hats take a hat or headscarf based on the month you’ll be traveling. If it’s the summer, you’ll want a sunhat, at other times of the year you’ll need a warm hat.