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things to do in cornwall

When you think of things to do in Cornwall, sun, sea and sand spring to mind — but sometimes the weather has other ideas. Fortunately, there’s plenty of fun and excitement to be had indoors (and outdoors if you’re brave)!

Cornwall is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and desirable tourist locations in the UK, nay — in the world! However, the United Kingdom isn’t exactly known for its wonderful and reliable weather. However, despite most of the stunning locations looking best on a sunny day, there’s an abundance of things to do in Cornwall in the rain. You see, Cornwall is one of those unique destinations that, rain or shine, offers something to suit everyone’s needs.

In this post, we’ll highlight a wide range of activities in Cornwall for adults and children that are suitable for days out where the weather isn’t the best.

The Eden Project

If you’re looking for an exciting attraction and a place to hide from the rain for a few hours, you’ll struggle to find shelter that’s more engaging and immersive than The Eden Project. This world-famous, multi-award-winning attraction is unlike anything you will have seen or experienced before. The astonishing biomes offer a range of sights, smells and knowledge within a variety of simulated environments. Never been to a real rainforest? No worries, the Eden Project is the next best thing. And there’s even a waterfall!

For children, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about nature and discover where many foods and other products (e.g. tea, rubber and sugar) start their life and how they are made. There are also themed events that coincide with the seasons, activity days, workshops for adults and children, music concerts and a great deal more. Simply put, it’s an incredible day out and a must-see if you happen to be in Cornwall.

Art Galleries

If you are wondering what to do in Cornwall in the rain, one of the most simple yet enjoyable options is the county’s wealth of art galleries. While the most well-known galleries are the Tate St Ives and the Penlee Gallery in Penzance, Cornwall also benefits significantly from a wide range of independent galleries. Art galleries are a brilliant solution if the weather isn’t in your favour and you need an activity that engages adults and an opportunity for children to learn.

Also, art galleries are among the most popular free things to do in Cornwall in the rain. They offer a unique way to enjoy a bit of culture and creativity, avoid the rain, and do so without having to spend any money. However, it’s always good to contribute in some shape or form to local galleries if you can.

Blue Reef Aquarium

Although many people venture to Cornwall for the sun, sea and sand — the weather often has other ideas. Thankfully, you and your family can explore and marvel at the many wonders the ocean has to offer without having to brave the elements. Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium is right on Towan beach and contains more than 40 natural habitats full of local and exotic wildlife.

As you wander through the glass tunnels of the aquarium, you’ll be able to see sharks, stingrays, turtles, a giant squid and even some piranhas. While that’s more than enough to keep the adults entertained, for kids, it’s a magical experience to get up close to creatures they will only ever get to see on TV or in books. You can learn more about their displays, wildlife and much more on their website.

Newquay Zoo

Despite it not being the largest zoo you’ll ever step foot inside, Newquay Zoo boasts an impressive range of creatures great and small. From lions to penguins to sloths to snakes to monkeys and much, much more — it’s safe to say you’ll be engaged and immersed throughout the entirety of your visit. And thanks to the zoo’s design and layout, it’s somewhat of a lifesaver for families in need of things to do in Cornwall in the rain. You can explore the various areas of the zoo, enjoying the vast array of sights and sounds without dampening your spirits or clothes.

Another brilliant aspect of visiting Newquay — whether it’s for the zoo, aquarium or anything else — is the location itself. Newquay is an iconic tourist spot, and it’s easy to see why. With such a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes, beaches, tourist attractions and a general welcoming vibe that’s tough to rival, Newquay is a lovely place to spend the day.

The National Maritime Museum

Falmouth has a rich maritime history thanks to its world-famous docks and continues to be a marine powerhouse across various sectors. Cornwall’s proud maritime history, varying historical time periods and famous tales of the sea are appropriately represented and celebrated within the walls of the National Maritime Museum. With seasonal and temporary exhibitions continuously rotating, it’s a museum that does well to keep things fresh and encourage return visits. In addition, it’s a wonderful experience for kids to learn about the excitement of the sea with storytelling sessions, interactive displays, a basement where you can look underwater, and a lookout tower for a fantastic view across the bay.

The area itself also offers a great deal as you are a stone’s throw away from Falmouth’s town centre. Not only this, but the event square where the museum is located is jam-packed with restaurants that vary significantly. From seafood to burgers to a steakhouse to a newly opened Hawaiin restaurant — it’s safe to say you’ll find something to suit your needs.

Water Sports

It may not be on everyone’s list of things to do in Cornwall in the rain, but if getting wet isn’t a concern, why not enjoy some water sports? Cornwall is blessed to have so many wonderfully scenic beaches and other locations that offer year-round water activities. We could be here all day listing them all, but to save you some time, here are a few of the highlights.

  • Kernow Adventure Park: this fantastic adventure park is located in a natural and beautiful quarry in Penryn. They offer a ‘Total Wipeout’ style aqua park course, paddleboarding, wakeboarding and open swimming. Suitable for both adults and children, it really is a fantastic day out! Forget the weather; once you’re in the water, you’ll be right as rain!
  • Surfing: Cornwall is a mecca for surfers, and whether you’re a seasonable veteran or a newbie, there are many beaches to explore. Rain or shine, Cornwall is the perfect place to ride a few waves and forget about the lousy weather. If you want surfing lessons, you couldn’t hope for a better place to learn. Cornwall has several surfing schools, several of which can be found here.
  • Paddleboarding/Kayaking: paddleboarding has quickly become one of the most popular water activities for people of all ages. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a brilliant way to get out on the water and hang out with friends or family. Fortunately, several locations provide boards/kayaks for hire (as well as all the gear you’ll need) and lessons if it’s your first time.
  • Sea Swimming: No matter how gloomy the weather is, there’s something about a sea swim that’s incredibly appealing — especially when your surroundings are as beautiful as Cornwall. You’re going to get wet anyway, right? Here are some fantastic sea swim locations to keep in mind!

Now that you have plenty of activities to add to your itinerary, all you have to do is book your accommodation — and we have exactly what you need for the perfect trip to Cornwall. Book your holiday today with Carbis Bay Holidays or if you have any questions, get in touch to speak to our helpful team.