Port Eliot Festival
Taking place each summer in the woodland gardens and park of an ancient stately home and mediaeval monastery in south east Cornwall, Port Eliot Festival remains a rare original, an event which “runs the gamut from endearingly pseudish to singularly brilliant”².
The eccentric nature of the festival is a reflection of the singular history and character of Port Eliot itself. Inhabited since the Bronze Age, it has housed Augustinian monks, survived confiscation by Charles I’s Court of the Star Chamber and been declared the most beautiful place in England by Napoleon. Its central room boasts a 360° masterpiece mural by Robert Lenkiewicz alongside great works by Reynolds and Van Dyck. The festival finds its way into the House itself, with exhibitions in the basement, tours of the historic rooms and conversations in the Round Room.
How can you take part?
The four day Port Eliot Festival is a magical combination of books, food, music, art, comedy, fashion, films, flowers, wildlife and water, which defies categorisation. Held in the spectacular grounds of the ancient Port Eliot estate in southeast Cornwall (the oldest continually inhabited dwelling in the UK), the festival provides inspiration and surprises for all ages at every turn. Over the years new areas have been added, broadening the appeal to younger audiences and others who might never have considered coming to a literary festival before – including the immensely popular Cabaret Tent (where you’ll dance late into the night) the Caught by the River stage and The Hullabaloo.
For full details see website
Did you know?
The first year, 2003, the festival had 17 paying punters and three times as many performers, artists and crew. Word quickly spread among young writers that at last here was a festival at which they could do what they wanted. The following year, 1,000 people attended. The rest is, as they say, history.
Camping at Port Eliot is memorable (in a good way), whether packing your own tent or sliding into a shimmering silver airstream caravan. The parkland takes in rolling pastures, ancient woodland, stunning estuary and river views, shady rhododendron groves, hidden mazes and walled gardens and it’s a treat to camp there for a few days. But for those unsure about a few days under canvas, there are plenty of options, including traditional tipis and yurts for couples, families or groups of friends, luxury yurtels or beautiful gypsy bowtop caravans.