Things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining
The British weather is famously unkind to holidaymakers. You work all year long, spend months looking forward to your break, only for the whole thing to be a washout. Not good.
It’s a good idea, therefore, to have a backup plan. Sure you’d like to visit Cornwall and spend all your time lounging on the beach in glorious sunshine but, like many parts of the UK, the south-west corner of the country has a tendency toward precipitation. What is there to do in Cornwall when the skies open? Let’s take a look.
Visit The Blue Reef Aquarium In Newquay
The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is a great place to go, especially if you have kids. Not only are entry fees reasonable, but you can see some of the most interesting and adorable sea creatures in the world, situated in their natural habitats. Blue Reef is home to freshwater turtles, pufferfish, jellyfish and scary-looking reef sharks.
Many of the fish look decidedly exotic, but the aquarium makes a point of sourcing its stock from Cornish waters, meaning that you’re just as likely to see many of the creatures on display in open water as you are in man-made tanks.
Blue Reef Aquarium website
Go For A Wander Around The Eden Project
The Eden Project is one of Cornwall’s most magical destinations. It’s essentially an artificial ecosystem, designed to house a micro-rainforest, right in the middle of Cornwall’s green and pleasant countryside.
When you arrive at the Eden project, you’ll be greeted by the unusual “biomes” – tessellated greenhouses that look like giant bubbles. Life inside the biomes is very different from outside. Inside, you’ll find a warm, humid tropical ecosystem showcasing some of the most distinctive plants found in the equatorial rainforests. There’s a bridge that allows you to walk around the forest and see all the plants from above. And for the thrill-seekers among you, the site is also home to England’s longest zip wire.
Eden Project website
The Bodmin And Wenford Railway
The Bodmin and Wenford Railway is a journey back in time to see what Cornwall was like during the industrial era. The 13-mile stretch of rail is the only part of the network which operates full-size steam locomotives on a regular schedule. You start your journey standing on a 1950s-style platform at Bodmin station, awaiting departure. The train then comes into the station, complete with the smell of fresh steam, ready to whisk you off on a 13-mile trip down to Wenford.
The experience takes you back to a time before electrification when the railways were very different. You’ll pass through mile after mile of the unspoiled Cornish countryside, experiencing the sights and sounds of a bygone age.
Bodmin and Wenford Railway website
Go On A Pirate’s Quest Tour
Cornwall is a famously “piratey” place, enshrined by the comical Arthur Sullivan musical, The Pirates of Penzance. Newquay, however, has a real pirate history, with smugglers using the town as their port of entry to bring in goods to sell on the British mainland.
The 18th century was the zenith of piracy in the area. The tour will take you to Blackbeard’s Tavern and then on to the Captain’s Ship – the sailboat that would have set sail to the Caribbean to plunder treasure.
Pirates Quest website
The National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is a large museum located in Falmouth, Cornwall, which attempts to bring maritime issues and histories to life in a way that is interesting for visitors. The museum has more than a dozen galleries, chronicling the experience of life at sea for the millions of people who have relied on the ocean for their livelihood throughout Cornish history.
The museum is currently running the Titanic Stories exhibition until January 2020. The show follows the story of the sinking of the Titanic and attempts to unearth the mystery behind what exactly went wrong and why the world’s biggest cruise liner sank in the North Atlantic.
The National Maritime Museum is a great place to take the kids, thanks to the Treasure Island play zone. The play zone has children follow a map through smuggler’s cove and onto an island beach.
The National Maritime Museum website
Visit An Art Gallery: The Tate In St. Ives
St Ives has always had a vibrant and eclectic art scene. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Cornish town plays host to its very own Tate gallery. The Tate, St Ives, offers a mix of both British arts dating back to 1,500, as well as a rotating assortment of contemporary art exhibitions.
There are several Family Trails to follow, which will help you all explore and investigate the artwork and buildings you see. Activity packs are available at reception, and are a great way to get more from your visit. You are welcome to explore at your own pace and even to stop and sit for a while as you enjoy the great variety of artwork, which often includes photography. In the summer the tate run family work shops which are fabulous holiday fun, make art together and explore the exhibition. Each holiday they investigating a new theme, inspired by the fantastic artwork in the galleries.
There is a souvenir shop and a cafe where you can get traditional Cornish cream tea.
Tate St Ives website
Experience True Horror At The Bodmin Jail
The Bodmin jail is allegedly one of the most haunted prisons in the country. And when you learn about what happened here, it’s not difficult to see why. Here you can read stories about the persecuted inmates who were forced to make the jail their home. Many of the people housed in the facility weren’t hardened criminals like you would imagine, but regular members of the public who were locked up for merely trying to feed themselves or their families.
The jail offers regular tours, hosted by tour guides, who will introduce you to the grizzly details of life in prison. There are also plaques on the wall where you can read all about the treatment of inmates and see the conditions in which they were kept. To say life was brutal is an understatement.
Bodmin jail website
Visit Antony House In Torpoint
Antony house is one of the few surviving Queen Anne country manors in the west country and a great place for adults to spend a rainy afternoon.
The house is very much as you might imagine. From the large Georgian-style windows, you can survey mile after mile of perfectly manicured grounds and stunning parkland. The house is packed with beautiful paintings and showcases how the wealthy lived more than two centuries ago. Tour guides are available to answer any questions you might have about the house and the way people used to live. Family tickets are available.
Antony House website
Looking for a family friendly cottage in St Ives?
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