Seven Reasons to visit the Port Eliot Festival 2018

Port Eliot Festival, Visit Cornwall, What's On 2018

Port Eliot is the original free-ranging festival of ideas, taking place on the beautiful Port Eliot Estate in Cornwall, from 26th-29th July: a magical celebration of words, music, comedy, family and food.

Whether you’re planning your family summer holiday or just visiting, we’d highly recommend coming to Cornwall at the end of July. As well as getting the best of the English weather, you’ll be able to stop in at Port Eliot Festival, when one of Cornwall’s most historic and beautiful estates is transformed for four days into a celebration of music, art, flowers, food and fun. Stay for a day or camp for the weekend, on the grounds of the magical Port Eliot estate in Cornwall.

As well as a chance to roam the beautiful grounds, there’s a packed programme of chefs, scribblers, thinkers, protagonists, comedians, musicians and fashion acts to keep you entertained from dawn to dusk.

Here’s seven reasons why Port Eliot should be on any good Cornish holiday itinerary.

1. The totally magical Narnia-esque setting

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Programme-aside, the estate is a pure slice of Cornish paradise. It’s the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the UK, and Napoleon even thought it the most beautiful place in England. It’s often said that Port Eliot has a Narnia-like quality to it, and we can’t help but agree. Where else can you swim in the estuary, watch your favourite band in an ancient church, learn archery, picnic under a 300-year-old tree, dance all night to Andrew Weatherall, sleep under the stars and wake up to the ringing of Church bells?


2.  One-off curated performances that you’ll see nowhere else

Port Eliot is renowned for its surprises and special one-offs: you’ll see performances here that appear nowhere else. Recent years have seen Kate Winslet performing a Sunday morning children’s story; Dominic West hosting a spelling bee; and Martin Scorsese handpicking the film programme.


3.  There’s no greater spark for a child’s imagination

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Just taking a dip in the estuary or running free on the lawns of the estate is enough to inspire pure wonder in any little one. But Port Eliot also have a whole new children’s area, Wildlings Wood, full of imaginative surprises and opportunities for participation. And when you’ve had enough of that - there’s a creche to leave the children for a few hours off to explore the festival.


4.  You’ll discover a new favourite band

Port Eliot isn’t about headliners. The most enjoyable things about our line-up is discovering the next big thing, your new favourite band, and undiscovered gems galore. You’ll discover a whole array of brilliant acts, and then just watch as they’re everywhere a few months later. You saw them first though! Our ones to watch? Confidence Man, Insecure Men and Nabihah Iqbal.

That said, this year’s musical bill includes some better-known names: the brilliant Gwenno, Baxter Dury, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis and Gaz Coombes, and bringing up the Words, there’s Brett Anderson, Robert Webb and Billy Bragg, amongst others.


5The food… oh the food!

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As you’d very well expect from a Cornish celebration, Port Eliot is a haven for foodies. Expect high quality street food among some of the biggest names in the food world.

This year, chefs including Anna Jones, Jack Stein and Russell Norman will make the House’s Georgian Big Kitchen their own and share their techniques; and the quality street-food on offer will range from wood-fired pizzas to Persian-inspired cuisine to mac n’ cheese, as well as Devon’s Oyster Shack serving fresh, locally-sourced and sustainable seafood. And alongside the Shack, Plymouth’s Le Vignoble will serve delightful wines matched to the fresh seafood menu. And this year, a new Port Eliot restaurant will sit right at the front of the House.


6.  It used to be the legendary Elephant Fayre

Port Eliot has a true rock and roll history: the Elephant Fayre, which later became Port Eliot, once rivalled Glastonbury. At its peak in the late eighties, 28,000 revellers celebrated here, and the festival has plenty of its original spirit to this day. If you were too young for it, chances are your uncles, aunts and grandparents have a tale or two they could tell you.


7.  It’s a great opportunity to explore the Rame Pensinsula

Port Eliot is located in one of Cornwall’s little-explored yet most beautiful regions: The Rame Peninsular in south east Cornwall is known locally as the ‘Forgotten Corner’, hidden away from the popular tourist destinations.

But don’t let that put you off, the long sweeping Whitsand Bay offers sandy beaches and some of the best surfing on Cornwall’s south coast. Mt Edgcumbe Country Park is, like Port Eliot, a large estate full of grand vista’s and interesting corners, well worth exploring. Nearby, the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand were popular smugglers haunts during the 1700s, today the narrow lanes leading down to the waters edge are full of quaint cottages, café’s, shops and the occasional watering hole…

So, why not extend your time in Cornwall and stay on for a few more days on the lovely Rame Peninsular

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Both day tickets and weekend camping tickets are on sale now at and we’d recommend buying sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment – the festival sold out last year.