The clouds are looming, the rain is pattering down the windows, and the great outdoors looks a lot less alluring than usual.
So what do you do? Here’s my list of favourite rainy day activities in Cornwall.
- Get to the beach. I bet you didn’t expect me to say that! But if the weather is warm, just a bit damp, then the beach can still be great and a lot quieter than when it’s sunny. Wrap up in waterproofs and go rockpooling, or go for the full swim! After all, once you’re in the sea, you can’t get any wetter by being rained on. The trick is to go to a beach with a really good cafe right on the front where you can huddle up post swim and get nice and warm with a hot chocolate and a blanket. My favourites are Gylly beach cafe in Falmouth and Blue Bar at Porthtowan.
- Eden Project. When it’s cold and very British weather outside, I love to strip off to my t-shirt and flip flops and pretend I’m on holiday in the Mediterranean. Or even make a trip into the rainforest for an afternoon to slurp ice creams and baobab smoothies! All thanks to the Eden Project biomes that keep the temperature nice and toasty year round. You’ll still need to pack your raincoats as it is a long walk down from the car parks, although there are busses and land-trains to help make it as quick and dry as possible.
- Newquay Aquarium is well worth a visit. It’s not the biggest aquarium, so if you are visiting from Hull and count the Deep as your benchmark for aquariums you may be a bit disappointed, but it does have some great exhibits. I may have spent a good 15 minutes watching the octopus and loggerhead turtle (who is huuuge!).
- Head out to a pub for lunch. I swear that chips taste best when it’s raining. Apart from 5 Degrees West in Falmouth which gets a mention purely because I have had more fantastic burgers and spare ribs there than I can count, there really are too many great pubs in Cornwall to start listing them. However, if you like a pint with your meal then a really good place to find reviews is the CAMRA pub guide.
- Falmouth Maritime Museum has just about everything you need for a rainy afternoon. A good cafe, interactive exhibits (just don’t let everyone get too competitive racing the miniature boats or you’ll never see daylight again), an exhibition space that changes regularly with outstandingly well curated exhibits, an in-house gig boat builder, a lookout with a view over Falmouth bay, an underwater room where you can meet the local fishes and an enormous room full of boats from across the world.
- Stock up on indoor games. Head to the local charity shops and raid their toys and games. For a few quid you can find something to suit everyone. Brush off your card skills with some classic card games (make it more interesting by gambling with toothpicks… the loser who has the fewest at the end makes everyone a cup of tea, does the dishes, has to sing a silly song… the possibilities are endless!). Charades and pictionary aren’t just for Christmas, and races aren’t just for sports day! Why not make an indoor obstacle race with sofa cushions to climb over, circles of string to jump into and plastic tumblers to balance on heads. Set up your own tournament of Just a Minute, or steal some silly games from I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and see who can keep in time with a song without the music playing.
- Go down the mines. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take a pickaxe these days. There are some great mines in Cornwall that are now open to the public. It’s important to wear good, covered shoes (no flip flops!) and to bring a coat in case it’s a bit drippy inside, but you can be sure it’s not raining. Some of my favourite mining visitor attractions are Geevor, King Edward, and Poldark.
- Go on a brewery tour. Possibly not the most suitable thing for children, but if you’re an all-adult group then a brewery tour to find out how Cornish beer or cider is made can be a great afternoon or evenings entertainment. Complete with tasting, of course, so make sure you designate a driver at the beginning! (Hic!)
Hopefully that will have given you a few ideas, there’s no reason to let the rain spoil your time in Cornwall!