Cornwall

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

In the pretty coastal village of Gweek is Cornwall’s well beloved and cherished Seal Sanctuary. Dedicated to protecting, helping and rehabilitating many species of Seal, as well as other aquatic animals, this passionate charity dating back to 1950s and nowadays is a thriving and always evolving sanctuary.

In 1958, Ken Jones, the founder of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, discovered a washed-up baby seal on the shores of St Agnes and realised he had no idea what to do with the poor pup! He dedicated his time and energy into helping this pub, along with many more to follow, whilst educating the public about how to preserve and protect these majestic water creatures.

There are a variety of different seals to see here such as Grey Seals, Commons Seals, California Sea Lions and Southern Sea Lions as well as Penguins and the adorable Asian short-clawed otters. The intention of this wonderful sanctuary is to nurse any injured or sick seals back to health so they can return to the wild. As the years have gone on the five pools which make up the sanctuary have become retirement and permanent homes for elderly seals or seals who wouldn’t survive in the wild such as the well-loved grey seal Ray who unfortunately has brain damage but a heart of gold and absolutely loves his younger seal friends.

All the staff members at The Seal Sanctuary are very knowledgeable and friendly and can easily tell you the names of each of the residents as well as their history. There are a wide range of talks throughout the day as well as feeding times so you have plenty of opportunities to see these ocean beauties out and about – plus they are all used to the public and incredibly friendly so will happily approach the glass for that all important selfie!

The Sanctuary offers a range of VIP experiences which involve getting up close and personal with the seals. Our very own Jaz went with her partner for the “Breakfast with Seals” experience which involves an early entry to the Sanctuary with a knowledgeable guide talking you through each section and animal in detail, including some funny stories (we won’t spoil any – you should find out for yourselves!). The highlight of the experience is learning what these seals eat, what is good for them and what is just a naughty treat before getting the chance to feed the seals first hand and watching them come to life. This experience also includes a free continental and incredibly generous breakfast at the adorable on-site cafe which was very close to the Southern Sea Lions so we could hear them roar happily whilst we sipped on our morning coffee!

This establishment is a wonderful organisation to support as it is a sanctuary rather than a zoo and the facilities for the animals are top-knotch and always with their needs in mind. Open every day, expect Christmas Day, these is a wonderful place to visit whether you are interested in how Cornwall is helping towards the preservation of our oceans or if you are just a seal lover who wants to see these intelligent yet often funny creatures.

Feeling inspired?  Have a look at our luxury cottages in South Cornwall here

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, TR12 6UG | 01326 221 361 | www.visitsealife.com/gweek

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