Top 10 things to do in Cornwall
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While it’s the beaches and coastline that put Cornwall on the list as a holiday hotspot, there’s much more to do here than go surfing and build sandcastles. With the Cornish weather being so unpredictable, there are plenty of all-weather attractions, too. If the kids are climbing the walls, take them to The Tide Climbing Centre, a fantastic new climbing wall and bouldering facility close to Padstow. Dive into the underwater world without getting wet at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium, or discover Cornwall’s seafaring heritage at the National Maritime Museum. Camel Creek Adventure Park in Wadebridge is a year-round, all-weather attraction, with heated indoor play for the coldest winter days and an array of rides and animal attractions for the whole family. Close to Newquay, Dairyland also offers indoor soft play all year round. In Newquay you can bounce around at the indoor Trampoline and Play Park, situated next to the world-class concrete waves of Newquay’s revolutionary new skate park.
Arguably the best-known and most popular all-weather attraction is the Eden Project – now with its own Hangloose Adventure that’s home to England’s longest and fastest zip wire, as well an aerial assault course and giant swing. The iconic biomes are still one of Cornwall’s biggest attractions, where you can ice skate in winter and visit the rainforest in every season and take part in a series of seasonal events and interactive exhibitions spotlighting the natural world.
Other must-see gardens include sub-tropical Glendurgan, which tumbles to the edge of the Helford River, and Trelissick’s stunning 500-acre estate, where you wander along the banks of the River Fal and climb magnificent beech trees before afternoon tea in the courtyard. A day at Newquay Zoo is always a real crowd-pleaser, where you can stroll from the African Savannah to Madagascar, observing more than 100 species of wildlife from lions to poison dart frogs. And if you prefer sightseeing on foot, all members of the family will enjoy visiting Cornwall’s majestic castles. Wait for low tide to cross the causeway to St Michael’s Mount, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims and a legendary giant as you climb to the turrets of the mighty fortress.
Bodelva, Par PL24 2SG
Arguably the best-known and most popular all-weather attraction in Cornwall is the Eden Project. Here amidst the iconic biomes where you can ice skate in winter and visit the rainforest in every season, recent developments include the major new exhibition Invisible Worlds exploring planetary phenomena beyond our senses, and a Western Australia Garden in the Med biome. Visit website
General Station, Harleigh Road, Bodmin PL31 1AQ
Discover the excitement and nostalgia of steam travel with a journey back in time on the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, Cornwall’s only full-size railway still operated by steam locomotives. Relax in style and enjoy a leisurely 13-mile round trip through beautiful countryside, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone age, as the era of a Cornish branch line in the 1950s reveals itself during the course of your journey. Visit website
Trenance Gardens, Newquay TR7 2NL
Get close to over 1,000 of the world’s rarest and endangered animals at Newquay Zoo! Located on the north coast of Cornwall, surrounded by 13 acres of lush tropical gardens it is a fantastic attraction where you can run wild, explore and release your inner animal. Watch the lions devour their lunch and then adventure into the tropical house (if you’re brave enough) and meet some of the more unusual residents including a sloth! If that isn’t enough, there’s activity trails, face painting, a children’s play area, a woodland walk and dragon maze to keep the little ones busy. Visit website
B3273, Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6EN
At the historic Lost Gardens of Heligan, you can tunnel through bamboo, banana palms and gigantic rhubarb plants, to ancient woodlands and water meadows. Lost to the brambles of time since the outbreak of World War 1, this sleeping beauty was re-awakened in 1990 to become Europe’s largest garden restoration project. Visit website
Harbour View, Marazion TR17 0HS
From ancient cobbles to castle walls, through time and tide, St Michael’s Mount is beckoning. Striding the causeway, or crossing by boat. Treading medieval pathways or exploring sub-tropical gardens. Climbing to the castle or uncovering stories of harbour, legend and family home. Admire the views, hear the islanders’ tales and unearth a history that lives on in every step. Through time and tide the Mount creates moments to remember. What will yours be? Visit website
Cornwall restaurants and cafes
Cornwall nightlife venues
Cornwall cultural attractions
Image credits: ©Barry Bateman/Bodmin & Wenford Railway; Hufton+Crow/Eden Project; Newquay Zoo; Shutterstock.com; The Lost Gardens of Heligan