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Things to Do in Cornwall in the Rain

Rainy Day at Levant Mine in Pendeen, Cornwall. Very Poldark!

Rainy Day at Levant Mine in Pendeen, Cornwall. Very Poldark!

Cornwall: Glorious in Sun or Rain

Cornwall is perhaps England's most unique county. Marooned on its own peninsula in the far south-west of the island, Cornwall has developed a unique culture in a magnificent landscape. In days gone by, the Cornish earned their living fishing, farming and mining. Nowadays they play host to hundreds of thousands of visitors from both the UK and abroad.

Why do generations of holidaymakers choose Cornwall? For many different reasons, and that is part of Cornwall's appeal—its diversity. Cornwall can offer laid-back country cottages or action-packed extreme sport surfaris. Hikers will love the miles of coastal paths and garden lovers will be spoilt for choice amongst gardens large and small. Most visitors just come in search of a sun-drenched holiday on the beach, and Cornwall does have beautiful beaches in abundance. What it doesn't always have, however, is sun! So, what can you do when the clouds roll in and you glumly scuttle off the beach?

Kids And Cornwall in the Rain

Actually, small children don't mind a bit of rain on the beach, but it's not much fun for the grown-ups! Why not head towards Newquay where you will find Dairyland - they've got a huge indoor playground, The Bullpen. It's full of fun for little ones (and not so little ones - plenty of adults screaming down the "demon drop"!) You can also watch the cows getting milked under cover, pet some little animals, and there's a small museum. If the weather clears up, there are outdoor attractions too.

I've spent many hours sheltering from bad weather inside the Bullpen, kids love it. You could also tie it in with a visit to nearby Trerice, an beautiful Elizabethan manor house. The house is owned by the National Trust and is open most days. There are small gardens, a large indoor cafe in a converted barn and ample car parking.

If the rain just won't go away, head off to Newquay's Lighthouse Cinema for an afternoon or evening of movie action in a brand new state-of-the art multi-screen cinema.

The Eden Project: The Great Outdoors, Indoors

The success of the Eden Project has been truly phenomenal and richly deserved. The transformation of a disused clay mine into a world-class attraction has been miraculous. I have visited the site numerous times, first during its construction and then after its completion. Whether I have visited with friends, family or groups of school children, we all agree: it's awesome. Now, "awesome" is an overused adjective but, in this case, totally justified.

If you haven't heard of the Eden Project it is an enormous, global garden, partly enclosed in two huge biomes. One of the biomes houses the tropical zone, the other the Mediterranean zone. More than just a garden, the Eden Project is an educational charity, educating people about their world and its ecology. Everything from the plumbing to the catering has an environmentally friendly focus.

Why is so good for a rainy day? Well, there is a huge area to explore under cover in the biomes, and it ranges from positively steamy in the tropical dome to pleasantly balmy in the Mediterranean dome. Plus there is an education centre, cafes and a shop to visit. A great day out, inside.

What to Do In Cornwall in the Rain? Surf!

Cornwall and surfing go together like fish and chips - it's just something you do on holiday (although some people find it becomes a way of life and stay once the summer ends - a hand goes up in my household!). Forget board shorts and rippling bronzed abs though - surfing in Cornwall is hardcore. Even in summer, you need a wetsuit, by mid-autumn you need boots, by January you are suited, booted, gloved and helmeted. The benefit of those wetter, colder days is that the crowds are gone, so more waves for you. In addition, once the lows start rolling in from the Atlantic in autumn, the waves pick up. So, better surf too.

So really, why waste a sunny day sitting on a board in the ocean getting sweaty in neoprene when you could be on the beach preening in your bikini? Save the board and wetsuit for wet days - if you are going to get wet, get really wet!

Things to Do in Cornwall in the Rain: Go to Ground

The Cornish have been mining for tin, copper and silver for centuries. The impact of Cornish mining has been worldwide - it's been said that at the bottom of any hole, anywhere in the world, you will find a Cornishman! In 2006, UNESCO recognised the importance of Cornwall's mining heritage by designating several areas of the mining landscape as a World Heritage Site. It may be that most World Heritage Sites are at their best basking in glorious sunshine, but frankly, several hundred feet underground, who cares? So when the heavens open, go native and go to ground.

One of the best-preserved mines in the UK is Geevor Tin Mine in Pendeen. The site covers a couple of acres and is dedicated to celebrating Cornwall's mining heritage. The highlight of a visit to Geevor has to be the 18th Century underground mine tour, but that isn't the only attraction. There is a geological museum, panning for "gems", listed buildings and an insight into the lives of ordinary miners—all set in a dramatic coastal location. Don't think it is just for adults; there are plenty of children's activities too.

What to Do in the Rain in Cornwall: Get Indoors

Cornwall may not have any stately homes on the scale of Blenheim or Chatsworth, but it does a generous scattering of grand houses. Many are owned by the National Trust, a few remain in private hands. They range from the relatively small to huge estates, from medieval to Regency. All are worth a visit, but here is my favourite for a rainy day.

Lanhydrock is a beautiful house and estate near Bodmin. There are over fifty rooms to explore, a long gallery designed for rainy days and a small museum. The highlight is perhaps not the grand "upstairs" but the far from ordinary "downstairs" - the kitchen and dairy area. It really is a marvel of Victorian ingenuity and utterly fascinating. There are a couple of cafes serving Cream Teas and a small shop. Don't forget to visit the charming adjoining estate church.

If beautiful Stately homes aren't your style, you could always get indoors at nearby Bodmin Jail - scary, but at least there's a dungeon to keep you dry!

Wet Weather Fun Around Cornwall


Judi Brown (author) from UK on February 12, 2015:

I've never met a witch (at least knowingly), but the film "The Witches" was filmed at a nearby hotel. There are, of course, plenty of mermaids :-)

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 12, 2015:

This is one place to put in my travel list. I have always been fascinated by Cornwall when a childhood friend visited there and came home with stories on witches.

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Judi Brown (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Hi Graham - I've just done something in Cornwall in the rain myself - walked the dog! It is hammering down at the moment, we got drenched. Hopefully it will cheer up in the autumn - we're really due some good weather.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on August 25, 2012:

Hi Judi Bee. We have contacted in the past on Cornwall. We love Cornwall we have just endured a week in Majorca at 106/108 degrees all week. Cornwall beckons and we will be down there in the Autumn. I cannot wait.


Judi Brown (author) from UK on August 18, 2012:

Hi GClark - thank you very much! Sad to say, it's raining a lot in Cornwall this summer :( , although that's nothing new! Hopefully it will cheer up in September.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

GClark from United States on August 18, 2012:

Great Hub with in-depth details on what to see and do in Cornwall. Fascinating and useful information and photos. Thanks for sharing.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on July 09, 2012:

Hi AnimalWrites - kids definitely don't mind the weather, I've spend many blustery days on the beach with my daughter, with me smiling through the drizzle. Some people have more sense though, so I hope this hub proves useful.

Thanks for your cmments, I appreciate them.

AnimalWrites from Planet Earth on July 09, 2012:

Having grown up on the Devon/Cornwall border we were taken to the beach whatever the weather and a little rain was not considered a good reason to pack up and go home. But there are now lots more interesting indoors thinngs to do in Cornwall in bad weather, so thanks for all the great information

Judi Brown (author) from UK on June 30, 2012:

Kayleesnider - your comment went unanswered because it was in the spam filter - sorry!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on June 05, 2012:

Hi Imogen - bit of a rainy day today, so my husband played the surfing card (doesn't take much!)

Thanks for your comments and the link!

Imogen French from Southwest England on June 05, 2012:

Wonderful ideas here Judi, and you're right, Cornwall is beautiful in all weathers. Thanks for the link, I have returned the compliment :)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on April 18, 2012:

Hi theraggededge - maybe you can do a companion hub - Things to do in Wales When It Rains? Actually, the sun is making a welcome appearance at the moment - the clouds don't stand a chance, it's blowing a gale!

Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated :-)

Bev G from Wales, UK on April 18, 2012:

Great hub... and I am Cornish too! Born in Redruth, lived in St St Austell. And yes, it rained a lot. As it does in Wales :-(

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 24, 2011:

Hi Kayleesnider - I think that I will be taking a lot of my own advice over the Christmas, it doesn't look like it will be white, just wet!

Thanks for taking the time to comment :-)

Kayleesnider from USA on December 24, 2011:

Great hub.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 18, 2011:

Hi Brian - sounds like a great summer, the coastal paths are beautiful. We have friends who stay at Mevagissey every year in early September and they always have good weather too. Maybe I should move coasts!

Thanks for your comment, much appreciatd :-)

BRIAN SLATER on December 18, 2011:

Voted up great information, we are planning to do some of the coastal walks next summer. Always had great weather at Mevaguissey when we've been, must have been lucky.:)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 11, 2011:

Beth, that's just galling! I spend the windiest, wettest weekend of this year (in August!) at Portreath for the Nippers Surf Lifesaving Championships. At one point we were hanging on to the Club marquee to stop it blowing down the beach. Happy days!

Beth Pipe from Cumbria, UK on December 11, 2011:

Some great ideas! I love Cornwall and we were both blown away by the Eden Project last year. Also spent many happy family holidays in Portreath - I'm sure it never rained though... :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 11, 2011:

Good morning GoodLady! Perhaps we can do a swap? I could warm up a bit in Tuscany, you could enjoy some drizzle! If your sister does move to Cornwall, she won't regret it - it's a beautiful place to live.

Lovely to hear from you, much appreciated :-)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on December 11, 2011:

Good morning GoodLady! Perhaps we can do a swap? I could warm up a bit in Tuscany, you could enjoy some drizzle! If your sister does move to Cornwall, she won't regret it - it's a beautiful place to live.

Lovely to hear from you, much appreciated :-)

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on December 11, 2011:

I want to visit Cornwall now!! I think one of my sister's is thinking of moving there..I'll send her your Hub.

Very informative while painting the Cornwall picture.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 23, 2011:

We love the Eden Project, particularly in the winter when it is a haven from the cold weather. Glad you enjoyed the surfing photo - my husband isn't so keen, he thinks I should replace it with one of him!

Husky1970 on October 23, 2011:

Great hub, Judi Bee. The Eden Project sounds like a fascinating place to visit. Loved the surfing photo as well. What a great looking wave! Thanks for all of this information on Cornwall.

Voted up and interesting.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 18, 2011:

Hello John - my pleasure to use your photograph, it's perfect for the subject! Thank you for being so generous as to allow others to use it.

John Stratford on October 17, 2011:

A.K.A. John47kent

Thank you for using my photograph.

I beg to differ from Ghaelach.

Cornwall is unique.The further west you go the better

Judi Brown (author) from UK on October 14, 2011:

Good afternoon Ghaelach

Totally agree with you, we have a beautiful island from top to toe. The New Forest, Lake District, Welsh mountains and the Highlands can't be beaten.

My pleasure to follow you, you have a good weekend too.


Ghaelach on October 14, 2011:

Morning Judi.

I think you said it correctly that Cornwall is Englands "Garden of Eden" although there are many beautiful areas in the UK in their own right. The Lake District, Pennine Way, Yorkshire Dales, Norfolk Broads and many many more.

Not taking anything away from your wonderful story and the different activities to while away the better summer days they have in Cornwall. It's just that a lot of folk don't realise how beautiful the island is and the difference there is from top to bottom (John O'Groats -- Lands End).

Loved your hub and voted up.

Thanks for the follow.

Take care Judy and have a nice weekend.

LOL Ghaelach

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 28, 2011:

Well thank you kindly Miss Olive!

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on September 28, 2011:

Congrats on the HubNugget nomination - my vote is in ;)

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 27, 2011:

Thanks Case1worker - how could I have missed out a cream tea!

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on September 27, 2011:

Yes, there is loads to do in Cornwall when it rains and also when it does not! There are lots of coffee shops serving delicious cream teas, which is worth anyone's visit! Nice hub

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 26, 2011:

Thanks Green Lotus!

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on September 25, 2011:

Congratulation and welcome! This Hub is an inspiration. I kinda hope it rains next time I visit Cornwall :)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on September 25, 2011:

This is truly helpful information for visitors!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Leave the beach suits first and wear your favorite gown in the Hubnugget Emmy Awards: read and vote please.

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 23, 2011:

Well Simone, we look forward to seeing you for a pasty and a cream tea. Have to say though, it's been foggy today - haven't planned for that contingency - yet!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 21, 2011:

Goodness gracious, I need to head over to Cornwall. From what I've heard, it's a wonderful place- rain or shine!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 21, 2011:

Thanks Ella!

ellahall2011 on September 21, 2011:

Cool hub!

Judi Brown (author) from UK on September 19, 2011:

Hi Deborah - Cornwall certainly is very wild and beautiful - but I agree, the surfers and the palm trees are just not very British!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on September 19, 2011:

I spent a few days hiking along the coast in Cornwall several years ago. What beautiful country! What surprised me the most was seeing palm trees and surfers!

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