St Mawes Classic Car Festival’s thrilling progress around Cornwall

Cultural treasures and culinary delights punctuate this year’s spectacular route

The St Mawes Classic Car Festival – now in its ninth year – takes in Cornwall’s Roseland peninsula
The St Mawes Classic Car Festival – now in its ninth year – takes in Cornwall’s Roseland peninsula

Cornwall’s Roseland peninsula offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in England’s southwest, and it looks even better from behind the wheel of an elegant old automobile – which accounts for the success of the annual St Mawes Classic Car Festival.

The event includes driving tests and time trials for a maximum of around 25 cars
The event includes driving tests and time trials for a maximum of around 25 cars

Now in its ninth year, the event (May 6-10) is organised in conjunction with former Aston Martin boss and chairman of ProDrive David Richards – owner of the acclaimed Idle Rocks and St Mawes hotels in the town, which boasts one of the world's largest natural harbours. 

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This year’s event starts with drinks and dinner at Olga Polizzi’s Hotel Tresanton on Monday May 6, before the rally proper gets underway the following day. The initial route takes in the Wheal Martyn china clay museum (a site of special scientific interest) before a lunch stop at The Longstore steak and seafood restaurant in the fishing port of Charlestown, followed by a coastal drive and treasure hunt. 

The final driving day ends with a gala dinner at The Idle Rocks in St Mawes
The final driving day ends with a gala dinner at The Idle Rocks in St Mawes

Day two includes driving tests and time trials at Perranporth airfield before a tour and lunch at the Trevibban vineyard and orchard, after which drivers and passengers can choose between a “surprise” garden visit or a trip to the Pendennis superyacht yard in Falmouth. The day ends with dinner at The Watch House harbourside restaurant in St Mawes.

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The final driving day includes a visit to Falmouth’s Maritime Museum for the Titanic exhibition – the largest exhibition ever staged by the museum – followed by lunch at Rick Stein’s celebrated Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. Drivers then return to St Mawes for a “concours d’élégance” line-up on the quay in advance of a closing gala dinner at The Idle Rocks.

There is no specific limit to the number of entrants, but the organisers prefer a maximum of around 25 cars – so hit the gas now if you want to make the start line.

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