I predict that this might be the most popular – and most useful – post that ever appears on The Trunki Files. Perennially popular as a holiday destination for young families, there is no denying Cornwall’s attractions – spectacular beaches, beautiful scenery, loads of kiddie farm parks and a great selection of accommodation. But what to do when it – inevitably, but hopefully not continually – rains? Here, with the answers, is the Files‘ Cornwall expert and mum of three, Cassie Martin.
We love Cornwall, but let’s face it, The Great British Summer (and out of season visits) can often be a rain-filled week sitting in clammy soft play centres – not what you come on holiday for! So here is a selection of my top wet weather options from all over the peninsula (road tested over the last 4 years with a now 6 year old, 5 year old and nearly 3 year old):
1. The National Maritime Museum, Falmouth. I can’t rate this highly enough – loads to see and very interactive. They have a major exhibition which changes every so often. Recent example have been Lighthouses (with a lighthouse kitchen mock-up to go inside, huge magnetic beach scene and giant lighthouse jenga) and Search and Rescue (Sea King helicopter to scramble all over plus one man rescue raft to climb in). In school holidays they often have a chap called Douglas Dapper Story Explorer doing great treasure hunts and storytelling round the museum, plus loads of craft activities and, if the weather lets up, crabbing outside on the pontoon. Prices are about £10 for adults and £6 for 5+ but you can get an annual pass if you donate using gift aid which is well worth the money if you are down in Cornwall more than once a year. If it’s not raining too hard get the Park and Float ferry which adds to the fun and saves you money on admission. Otherwise, there is car parking straight outside which isn’t too pricey. The museum has a nice cafe, but there’s also a Pizza Express and Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips immediately outside. www.nmmc.co.uk
2. The Eden Project, St Austell, is a good port of call. In wet weather you can explore the biomes and the main stage area often has fun activities for kids, from den making in the summer to ice skating in the winter. Plenty to do and see undercover, but don’t forget your coats as you have to walk down to the biomes! Can be very expensive so don’t forget to use those supermarket loyalty points! www.edenproject.com
3. Bude. Various options can fill a day here. There is a reasonable pool (Splash Leisure Pool) with wave machine and slides bang next door to Harlequinns bowling centre which also has a decent soft play. In school holidays it’s worth popping into The Rebel Cinema which is a super cute independent cinema 5 miles south of Bude on the A39. Cheaper than the multiplexes and a real family run affair. www.harlequinns.com, www.rebelcinema.co.uk
4. If you really want a farm/indoor play experience, you can’t beat Trethorne Leisure Park, Launceston. Loads of animals, great soft play, sand play, giant pirate ship with ball firing range, climbing wall and drop slides for the older ones plus bungee runs, dodgems and much more. A bit on the pricey side (£10ish pp) but you can then get a return ticket for half price. They also have a good restaurant (there’s a golf course onsite too) and in the sunny weather there’s a fun boating lake, trampolines and pony rides too. Dairyland near Newquay is similar but aimed more at the littlies. www.trethorneleisure.com, www.dairylandfarmworld.com