What to do on a rainy day in Cornwall

What to do on a rainy day in Cornwall

With the British weather as it is, you're not always guaranteed a sunny day on holiday. But just because the rain is here it doesn't mean you can't make the most of your break. Here are our top suggestions for making the most of a rainy day in Cornwall. 

Eden Project

One of the most famous attractions in Cornwall, The Eden Project is a fabulous, fascinating day out where you can spend all your time exploring the Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes. If the weather clears for a bit, you can also explore the extensive gardens. The Core, a building based on the design of a sunflower, is full of interactive displays, all focussed on the natural world from ecosystems to climate change (closed until 24 May 2018 for development).

Bodmin Jail

For something a little different, head to the immensely atmospheric Bodmin Jail to find out what it was like to be a prisoner in the 18th and 19th century. Set over six levels, witness for yourself the isolated, desolate life that Cornish men and women would have experienced. With dank, dark cells and the recently restored only working execution pit in the UK, beware – this not for the faint-hearted! For steely-hearted types, there’s also ‘after dark’ events.

National Maritime Museum

This iconic museum lies on Discovery Quay in Falmouth, and is a great family-friendly place to visit or perfect for those with a love of all things aquatic. Boasting over 15 galleries, lots of interactive exhibitions and fascinating memorabilia, there’s plenty to see and do to keep you entertained. Kids will love getting involved, such as climbing the 100 foot tall lookout tower and daring to visit the Tidal Zone which is underwater. There’s a great play zone for children too. Handily, just outside the museum there are some great places to eat too.

Tate St Ives

Get arty in Cornwall’s branch of the Tate. Famed for the clarity of light, bright colours and glorious views, it’s not surprising so many artists have been attracted to Cornwall. Reopening in October following extensive refurbishment (there will  be a new gallery and exhibition/display space), this is a must when in St Ives, showcasing the best of 20th century artists who lived and worked in St Ives. There’s a shop and a great cafe too.

Get wet anyway with surfing lessons

Sometimes the old adage ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ needs to be followed, so if it’s not raining too heavily, why not embrace the weather by donning a wetsuit? There are plenty of great surf schools in Cornwall – head to the north coast or far west for the best surfing. Make sure you go with a fully qualified instructor.

Retail therapy in Truro

Truro, the most southerly city in the UK, is a great day out for rainy days. As well as some fantastic independent shops, there are some really good places to eat too hidden amongst the narrow streets. The pretty Gothic Cathedral is well worth a visit; the stunning frontage with a small square in front really is very lovely. Step inside for a tranquil, calming space; if you’re lucky, you might catch the choir or organist practicing. The Hall for Cornwall hosts fabulous events, from comedy nights to musicals – why not catch a matinee?

Cotehele House and Gardens

When the rain’s set in, there’s nothing like exploring a National Trust property and this one is a very pretty Tudor manor house set in the Tamar Valley. Step back in time in this historic treasure, filled with everything from tapestries and armour through to England’s oldest domestic clock which has never been moved from its original home. Should the weather clear, the formal gardens, medieval dovecote and Victorian summerhouse are worth a peek too.

Charlestown Shipwreck Centre

There’s no need to don any diving equipment to visit this great collection of shipwrecks and paraphernalia. The largest collection on public display in Europe, this unique collection has been built up over the last 50 years, cataloguing maritime history since 1715 and artefacts from over 150 shipwrecks. It also relates the fascinating history of Charlestown.


Another gorgeous National Trust property, this one’s a Victorian mansion near Bodmin, rebuilt in 1881 after a fire. Very different in style, this has very much a ‘family home’ feel to it - albeit on a very grand scale! With rooms wholly dedicated to the children that lived there, a Victorian state-of-the-art kitchen full of all the mod cons of the time and the servants’ quarters left exactly as they would have been, it makes for an interesting peek into Victorian life.

Blue Reef Aquarium

This one, in Newquay, is great for kids; all the denizens of the deep can be seen here without getting a toe wet. Home to 40 different habitats – from the Cornish coast to exotic seas – you can come face to face with everything from a caiman crocodile to a black tip reef shark. The underwater tunnel takes you into the spectacular world of the coral reef filled with brightly-coloured fish. There’s a gift shop and cafe too. 

Prideaux Place

One of the West Country’s oldest inhabited houses, this gorgeous, Elizabethan home is within the lovely seaside town of Padstow. Home to fourteen generations of the same family, the mansion was built in 1592 and is home to an exquisite collection of paintings, furniture and porcelain. If the clouds disappear or you have an umbrella, make sure to explore the Victorian formal garden and the Woodland walks.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

For something a little different, while away an hour or two in this renowned museum in Boscastle, home to over 3000 objects and 5000 books to do with the world of witchcraft and magic. Open since 1960, it recently attracted attention for not being damaged during the flooding of 2004 when the owner was the first to raise the alarm in the village. Showcasing the history and traditions of British magical practice, it’s a unique museum and full of entertaining and educational exhibitions, whatever your belief.  Open 1st April – 31st October every year.

Penlee House Gallery & Museum

This gorgeous Victorian former family home in Penzance is now home to an extensive art gallery which is home to changing exhibitions of artwork from the late 19th and early 20th century, including the very local ‘Newlyn School’ of artists such as Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes. The museum charts 6000 years of history in west Cornwall including the unique archaeological sites of Penwith right up to more recent social history. The Orangery Cafe is lovely, with an outside terrace, and the gardens well worth exploring.

Being unpredictable England, Cornwall’s weather is always changeable. Sometimes, it’s just great to embrace the weather – whatever it is. Personally, I love wrapping up in wild weather and heading to the coast to watch the stormy seas, wind and rain lashing about then afterwards, then find a tea shop or cosy pub to warm up in.  Mind you, our gorgeous retreats are so beautiful, you might just want to hunker down and cosy up next to your wood burning stove with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book – bliss!

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall here.

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