Take a holiday or break in Cornwall and, with a bit of careful planning, you’ll never be short of things to do or places to visit. On warm, sunny days, the biggest draw is, of course, the seaside. With over 400 hundreds miles of coastline, Cornwall has plenty of beautiful sandy beaches and coves. But when the weather’s not so kind, it’s always good to have a few back-up plans in mind. Here are just a handful amongst the many Cornish attractions you could visit:
No holiday in Cornwall is complete without a trip to Lands End, the westernmost point of the British mainland. The views from the clifftops across the vast Atlantic below are simply stunning. On a clear day, look out for the Longships Lighthouse a mile or so offshore and far beyond, the Isles of Scilly. Explore the Heritage Trail which takes you on a fascinating journey into Cornwall’s Bronze Age past. Visit the RSPB Discovery Centre from where, with the aid of binoculars, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins, basking sharks, seals, peregrine falcons and much more. Should the mist descend or rain clouds appear, don’t fret. There’s still plenty of things inside, including a 4D cinema and the Shaun the Sheep Experience.
Admission: Family Saver ticket for two adults and two children, £27 (+ £1.75 online booking fee)
2. The Eden Project, St Austell
Nestled deep in a disused clay pit near St Austell, you’ll find one of the world’s most inspirational visitor attractions – the Eden Project. The brainchild of Sir Tim Smit, Eden is both entertaining and educational, with a mission to bring alive the importance of sustainable living. Don’t miss the fantastic Rainforest Biome with its canopy walkway. Be amazed by the WEEE man, a 3.3 tonne sculpture made of old mobile phones, mp3 players, lawnmowers, washing machines and other electrical waste. There’s spectacular planting to explore – both under the biomes and outdoors – and plenty to keep the kids happy. For the ultimate thrill, soar above the Eden Project on SkyWire, England’s longest zip wire.
Admission: advance family ticket for two adults and two children £62, SkyWire £20 per person (Eden admission not necessary)
3. St Michael’s Mount, Marazion
Lying in the heart of Mount’s Bay, near Penzance, is the imposing St Michael’s Mount, perhaps Cornwall’s most iconic attraction. A beautiful castle, perched on top of a rocky island, surrounded by stunning gardens and a picturesque harbour – this is a place steeped in legend. Take a Castle tour and learn more about the fascinating history of the Mount. Or stroll around the Gardens Trail, where the micro-climate supports an amazing array of plant species. You can walk to the Mount at low tide along the ancient cobble causeway from Marazion. Or, if the tide’s in, jump in one of the Mount’s boats and be ferried across. If you time it right, you could walk there and take the boat back or vice-versa. Refreshments are available in the delightful Island Café.
Admission: family ticket for two adults and up to three children £31 (includes entrance to castle and gardens, check website for opening times). National Trust members free. Ferry ride (one-way): £2 adults, £1 children.
4. Trebah Garden, near Falmouth
Discover the true magic of a Cornish valley garden. Trebah is a sheltered, sub-tropical paradise on the beautiful Helford River estuary, with over four miles of footpath. Thanks to its planting schemes, Trebah offers visitors a year round-experience. In spring, the garden comes alive with 100-year-old rhododendrons, while in summer, the giant gonnera is a must-see. To keep the children happy, there are adventure play areas, children’s trails as well as special events. For refreshments, try the award-winning Trebah Kitchen for superb seasonal dishes. Or grab a fresh coffee at The Boathouse Café on the beach.
Admission: adults £9, children (5-15yrs) £3, under-fives free
5. Geevor Tin Mine Museum, Pendeen
Mining has shaped the landscape of Cornwall since the Bronze Age. Its heyday was the early 19th century when Cornwall became the world’s leading supplier of copper. The county today still bears witness to Cornwall’s illustrious mining past – with old workings and engine houses dotting the landscape. A trip to the Geevor Tin Mine Museum takes you back to that past. It’s a fascinating experience with plenty to see both above and, of course, below ground. Why not don a hard hat and be led round the old mine workings by a knowledgeable Geevor guide? Or try your hand at panning for precious minerals – the way they used to. And don’t forget to visit the Count House Café for a pasty, the miner’s favourite food.
Admission: family ticket for two adults and up to three children £39.95
It’s always good to know you can make room for extra luggage, especially when you’re on holiday. In the BMW Gran Tourer, it’s easily done. The rear seat backrests fold down at the touch of a button to expand the already generous boot space.