Cornwall’s longest ever variety show – 111 miles of creative community events for Tour of Britain
Cornwall will have its fastest-moving and longest-distance entertainment ever as the Tour of Britain cyclists eat up the miles. Our communities are showcasing their creativity, hospitality and variety.
From the very first firework above Penzance Harbour on Saturday evening to the last puff of a Bodmin steam train on Sunday – expect a weekend of surprises as Cornwall’s creative neighbourhoods put on eye-catching shows to keep pace with the UK’s largest free sporting event.
The Tour of Britain prestige cycle race is beginning its eight-day journey to Scotland through 111 miles of Cornwall, and our villages, towns and city are planning to give the global TV audience something extra to see and hear.
Cllr Stephen Rushworth, who has overseen the Tour of Britain planning for Cornwall Council’s Cabinet, said: “This may not quite be on the scale of the Tokyo Olympics, but it its way Cornwall is putting just as much energy and effort into marking this great sporting occasion. Whether or not the sport of cycling makes your heart race, there will be plenty of other action and entertainment to enjoy along the way.”
Here is just a small selection of the inspired attractions planned before and during the race:
- The excitement starts in Penzance on Friday 3 September with a very different sporting clash – Rugby. The Cornish Pirates vs the Royal Navy, at Mennaye Field Penzance, kick off 19.30. Tickets here
- In Penzance on Saturday 4 September a cycle race is being organised by British Cycling and Wheal Velocity Cycle Club, who run the only youth road and cyclocross cycling academy in Cornwall. ‘Criterium’ racing (on a tarmac circuit which is closed to vehicles) starts from 10.00 and has categories from under 8s to women’s and men’s adult racing with cash prizes. Online entry at www.britishcycling.org.uk
- In Penzance at 12.10pm there will also be a family fun ride on the course across the town (closed to vehicles). It’s open to all abilities. There is no need to book just come along with your bike and helmet.
- The Golowan Fireworks display will be held in Penzance Harbour at 21.30 on Saturday 4 September.
- At 11.00 on Sunday 5 September in Penzance all eyes will be on the start line and the Grand Départ. Penzance Mayor Jonathan How will drop the St Piran’s flag to start the race. Accompanying him will be St Mary’s CofE Primary School pupils Aubrey, age 7 and Daria, age 11, who (respectively) won a competition to design a Tour of Britain flag and jersey. They both receive art sets and free family entry to the Penlee House Gallery & Museum.
- From 4 to 18 September in St Just a community team is staging all the Ordinalia mystery plays in St Just, the oldest surviving trilogy of plays in Britain (predating Shakespeare’s works, written in Cornish with stage directions in Latin!). The site in St Just, a ‘plen an gwari’ or outdoor playing place, is arguably the most ancient working theatre space in the UK. Performances funded by Cornwall Council. Tickets via Hall for Cornwall
- Camborne town has a very special visual surprise for everyone on Sunday, which must remain under wraps until the day of the race.
- Redruth’s Town Mayor will officially unveil a new band stand in Victoria Park followed by Redruth Town Band performance. Other activities will include children’s entertainment and Redruth Bowling Club will open its doors for light refreshments.
- Carnon Downs will be providing refreshments for residents, and a display of Bikes through the Ages in the Village Hall car park. The route of the race through the village is being decorated with Cornish flags, and there will be a garden decorating competition on the theme of the Tour and cycling
- Falmouth is holding a series of activities at Pendennis Point on Sunday 5 September. Not only is this a spectacular viewing point for the Tour of Britain race, but there will also be a large TV screen broadcasting the race from 10.00 to 14.00. There will be entertainment from Stilt Walkers, demonstrations by Devon and Cornwall Police and Falmouth Wheelers, and a special performance from local dance company Embrace Dance Fitness. Food and drink vendors and toilet facilities will be available up at Pendennis Point for the duration of the event. Further information can be found here.
- Truro, Cornwall’s city, welcomes the Tour of Britain with a ‘Live Lounge’ free event on Lemon Quay piazza on Sunday 5 September from 11.30 am. Truro City Council and Truro Business Improvement District have partnered with Old Bakery Studios. It includes live music, a Mountain Bike Stunt Show by multi-Guinness World Records champion Andrei Burton, a bicycle art station, DJs, street food and bar. Information at www.visittruro.org.uk and www.oldbakerystudios.co.uk The Tour peloton crosses Lemon Quay at around 13.40.
- In St Austell on Sunday 5 September there will be Race Day Cream Tea and Pasties from 12:30 on the St Austell Library lawn. Halfords will be in attendance to support with any bicycle repairs.
- In St Austell on Sunday there is also a Party in the Park at Poltair Park from 12.00 noon to 17.00 organised by Stepping Stones Childcare. A variety of stalls, bouncy castles, dance troops, animal encounters, food stall and refreshments.
- Also in St Austell on Sunday a Tour de Britain Fun Day in Truro Road Park, Gover, 13.00 to 16.00. The event is easily accessed via a level entrance, with hard surface footpaths around.Lots of fun and games, bouncy castle, kiddies roundabout, face painting, balloon modelling. Come and see the snakes and spiders with Marks Ark, a Dance Work Shop, fire engine, Tombola. Hot food, teas and coffee, cold drinks. Ideally-placed to see the race go by.
- Bethel Park, St Austell will be the location for colourful mass community dance, visible from the air. Over 80 participants of all ages will be celebrating the race through dance and colour between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.
- Tregrehan Mills (pron. Tre-grane) near St. Blazey will be holding a ‘Party in the Park’ from 12.00 noon to 18:00 Sunday 5 September. It will include a male voice choir, a rock choir, the Garker Street Band, stalls, dog show and obstacle races. The village will be decorated with bikes and bunting. Parking available for blue badge holders only, so others please walk or cycle to the event.
- In Bugle a ‘fun day’ will be centred on the Sunday School building which is on the race route. Refreshments – tea, coffee, pasties and cream teas, decorated bikes on display, competition for the best-decorated cycle helmet, flag and badge-making for the children (prior to the race coming through, so, expect a lot of flag waving as the peleton comes through the village!, estimated at 15.15. Banner making and music. All monies raised donated to Bugle Youth Club and other community projects.
- Bodmin has an amazing Bike Art Trail with creatively decorated and donated bikes placed all across the town. See some of the colourful and fantastical entries here.
- Bodmin also has a free-to-all open-air Music Festival on Sunday 5 September, and a Junior Fun Run which will make use of the competitors’ finish line and podium.
- Then, the Tour of Britain itself crosses the finishing line beside Bodmin Keep and Bodmin General steam railway station, expected after 15.30.
Don’t forget, to enjoy the start and finish in Penzance and Bodmin, bear in mind that neither town has capacity for much inbound traffic.
In Penzance on Sunday please use the Marazion car parks, from where you can walk or cycle on the level coast path into Penzance, or use a local bus service.
If you are heading to Bodmin on Saturday or Sunday you have to opportunity to park at Bodmin Parkway Station (parking fees apply) then use the Bodmin & Wenford Railway for no charge, which will take you to right into town near the race finish line. Up to five round trip services each day. The free train seats have been sponsored by Cornwall plant-based treats makers Butterm!lk.
Or, for Bodmin on Sunday only, follow signs off the A38 roundabout beside Glynn Valley Crematorium (towards Lanhydrock) for free car parking, and a 10 minute frequency bus service from 10.00 am. Last bus back from Omaha Road at 17.58. Fares £2 single, £4 family.
Route, estimated timings and an interactive map at this link.
Temporary parking and traffic restrictions maps are at this link.