A foggy day in Cornwall

12th August 2020

Fog forecast? Don’t let it dampen your spirits.


You wake up on a warm August morning, excited about a day on the beach – and you can’t see further than your tent flap. Yes, the Cornish morning mist has descended, and suddenly those seaside plans seem a bit optimistic. But don’t put away that sunblock yet – the Cornish climate can be pretty surprising.

Misty days in Cornwall

What many first-time visitors to Cornwall don’t realise is how localised our weather can be. If it’s a bit misty in St Ives, they could be basking in glorious sunshine 7 miles away in Penzance. You can sun yourself on Porthminster Beach while looking across at a fog bank in Hayle.

Also, because a Cornish sea fret often burns off by late morning, it may simply be a case of enjoying a leisurely breakfast and setting out a bit later than planned.

So, if you’re waking up to fog in Cornwall, don’t despair. Here’s our locals’ low-down to low cloud.

Search out the sunshine

Sea fog is formed when the warm air on the land meets the cold air over the sea – mist is basically condensation. Certain areas and beaches, just because of their natural landscape and location, are more prone to holding onto the morning mist than others.

The local variance can also be due to wind direction. For example, the breeze blows the mist out to sea in Marazion, but pushes it onto the beaches in St Ives. The easy solution? Head for a different coast, at least in the morning – and here’s how you find the sunniest spot…

Check the Cornish beach webcams

We’re based in the narrowest stretch of West Cornwall, and there are plenty of vantage points where you can see both coasts. However, we’re not advocating yomping up footpaths in the fog! Whip out your smartphone and have a look at some of the region’s webcams.

Check out this handy guide to webcams at Cornish beaches, which includes live feeds in St Ives, Marazion and Mousehole, and we especially like the Minack’s webcam. The Sloop Inn webcam not only has a good view of St Ives harbour beach, but their website also has links to cameras at the area’s favourite surfing spots.

Wait for this all to blow over

On a warm summer’s day, the mist will normally “burn off” during the morning. Relax over breakfast, maybe check a webcam or two, and wait for the sun to come out.

It’s also worth embracing these misty mornings, as they can give you the most wonderful photo opportunities. Rise early and capture West Cornwall at its evocative best, as the light slowly appears through the mist.

Find the fog-free places

Of course, sometimes we do get those mizzly days (a good old coastal mix of mist and drizzle), where damp low cloud seems to linger over the peninsula.

Look out for places where the weather just doesn’t matter. Tehidy Woods for example, where the tree canopy keeps out most of the drizzle, or enjoy an atmospheric dip at the Jubilee Pool in Penzance. Go below the cloud into the former clay pit at the Eden Project (although you will have to navigate a longer misty drive to get there). Browse our guide to rainy days in Cornwall for more ideas.

If you wake up tomorrow and Cornwall seems to have disappeared, don’t let it spoil your day. Search out that hidden sunshine, which could literally be just round the corner.