Most people think of Cornwall as a typical summer holiday destination. With its famous beaches, coastline and countryside, there is so much to do outdoors. However, unfortunately, due to the British weather, things don’t always go to plan! Luckily, there are so many great indoor activities in Cornwall to keep you busy on rainy days. So from spa days, bowling and quirky pubs, to the best art galleries and museums, here are 11 fun indoor activities in Cornwall you need to try!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Jenny Robinson.
1. Visit the National Maritime Museum Cornwall
Address: Discovery Quay, Port Pendennis, Falmouth TR11 3QY
Phone number: 01326 313388
One of my favourite rainy day activities in Cornwall is a visit to The National Maritime Museum.
With five floors packed with interesting and interactive exhibits, you could easily spend a whole day here. You’ll learn all about boats from around the world and the maritime history of Cornwall and Falmouth.
In the Boat Building Workshop, you can watch shipwrights restoring and building boats right in front of you. A
nd there’s also a Boat Pool where you can race model boats against your mates. Climb to the top of The Lookout Tower for views over the harbour, or head down to The Tidal Zone for underwater views.
The museum also hosts different major exhibitions every year, such as exhibitions on sea monsters, the Titanic and even one all about tattoos! The entrance fee is £14.50 but that gets you an annual pass so you can visit as many times as you like for a year.
Once you’ve explored the museum, you can settle down for a bite to eat in the museum café with views over the harbour.
However, if you fancy something a little different, there are several well-known chain restaurants at Discovery Quay or lots of independent shops and amazing places to eat in Falmouth.
2. Enjoy the tropical climate at The Eden Project
Address: Eden Project, Boldeva, Par PL24 2SG
Although there is plenty to enjoy outdoors at the Eden Project, the main attractions are indoors. Built in a huge crater, there are two biomes with different climates to explore: the Rainforest Biome and the Mediterranean Biome.
One of the highlights of the Eden Project is the Rainforest Canopy Walkway where you climb the fifty metres up to the top of the biome and walk across a rope bridge through the treetops. Looking down on the trees, waterfalls and the people down below is an amazing experience!
There are loads of great food options at Eden. And you can even have food and drinks sitting inside the Mediterranean Biome, so you can feel like you’re on a relaxing sunny holiday no matter what the weather’s like outside.
Additionally, one of the best things to do in Cornwall in winter is to get your skates on at the indoor ice rink. But make sure you book in advance as it gets booked up quickly.
There are lots of exhibits to explore in The Core including art and interactive displays where you can learn about the history of the Eden Project and their important work on climate change and sustainability.
The gift shop is also definitely worth a visit before you leave. They have a wide range of Cornish food and drinks, gifts, books and plants. I can never resist picking up a mini succulent in a cute pot every time I visit!
3. Relax with a luxury spa day
This is definitely one of the more luxurious things to do on a rainy day in Cornwall! There are so many spas around Cornwall offering a wide range of luxury experiences.
Think infinity swimming pools, outdoor hot tubs, sensory gardens, yoga classes and every spa treatment you could imagine.
Most spas offer a choice of packages so you can choose to spend a few hours, a whole day or even book an overnight stay to really make the most of it.
Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa and the Scarlet Hotel in Newquay are both award-winning and often named among the best spas in the country. St Michaels Resort in Falmouth is a good choice for a luxurious but laidback atmosphere. Or for more affordable options, try St Ives Harbour Hotel, Una Resort or The Polurrian Bay Hotel.
4. Get your game face on at Country Skittles
Address: Bunkers Hill, Kerthen Wood, Hayle TR27 6ER
Phone number: 01736 850209
Everyone loves bowling, but there are not many places where you can play a game of traditional 9 pin skittles. That’s where Country Skittles comes in!
Here you can enjoy this fun activity for all ages with various ways to play. One session of skittles costs £9.50 – £14.50 depending on the number of players.
Country Skittles also has arcade machines, pool tables, air hockey, darts, crazy golf and giant draught boards. There’s pretty much an endless selection of rainy day activities in Cornwall here.
Once you’ve worked your way through all of those, order a drink at the bar and choose a board game from the huge selection. A perfect way to spend an afternoon!
5. Enjoy a pint or two at a Cornish pub
The Sloop Inn in St Ives is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall, and some believe it’s one of the oldest pubs in England! If you’re visiting in winter, The Sloop is the place to be on a Friday night.
They have a Meat Raffle where you can win prizes such as meat (obviously), alcohol and mystery prizes such as BMX bikes and holidays. Anticipate a great atmosphere and live music!
Jamaica Inn was made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s best-selling novel of the same name. Its isolated location on Bodmin Moor made it ideal for smuggling contraband.
As well as the pub and restaurant, there’s also a Smuggling Museum, farm shop and gift shop.
Sign up for one of the monthly Ghost Hunts or Murder Mystery evenings, or you can even book a room and stay the night if you’re feeling brave enough…
My other recommendations for old Cornish pubs would include The Tinners Arms in Zennor, The Turks Head in Penzance and The Pandora Inn in Mylor Bridge. Cornwall has so many great locally made beers, ales, ciders and spirits.
Gin lovers should try Tarquins which comes in a wide range of flavours. For cider drinkers, you can’t go wrong with a pint of Cornish Rattler.
6. Check out some art at Tate St Ives
Address: Tate St Ives, Porthmeor Beach, St Ives TR26 1TG
Phone number: 020 7887 8888
Overlooking Porthmeor Beach, Tate St Ives showcases modern British artists with links to St Ives. You can take part in a free guided tour or wander around at your own pace.
They also have a variety of exhibitions that change throughout the year, so it’s always worth checking the website to see what’s coming up.
Tickets cost £10.50 but if you’re planning to visit the nearby Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, you can save money by buying a combined ticket.
Or if you live in Cornwall you can get free unlimited entry with a £5 Locals Pass. St Ives has been popular with artists since Victorian times because of the special quality of light.
Therefore, you’ll find lots of other small independent galleries and studios as you walk around the town.
If you want to get creative yourself, St Ives School of Painting offers a wide range of art courses suitable for beginners. And if all that isn’t enough, Newlyn Art Gallery and Penlee House Gallery (around twenty minutes away in Penzance) are also both worth a visit.
7. Go underground at Geevor Tin Mine
Address: Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, Penzance TR19 7EW
Phone number: 01736 788662
Geevor Tin Mine is one of the best indoor activities in Cornwall. You’ll have the opportunity to visit a real underground tin mine and learn what life was like for a Cornish miner.
Put on a hard hat and walk through the tunnels of the Wheal Mexico Mine which was built over 200 years ago.
The tour guides share fascinating stories which really bring the experience to life, especially as some of the tour guides used to be miners themselves!
The Hard Rock Museum is also really interesting. You can learn about the history of mining in Cornwall and listen to recordings of miners telling their real-life stories.
And make sure you visit the Mill where you can have a go at ‘panning for gold’. You’re even allowed to keep anything you find!
The café at Geevor Tin Mine, The Courthouse Café, has huge floor to ceiling windows. And as Geevor is located right on the South West Coast Path, the café provides a perfect view of the waves on a stormy day.
Admission is £16.10 and you can return as many times as you like for free for a year.
8. Catch a film at Newlyn Filmhouse
Address: 23-31 The Coombe, Newlyn, Penzance TR18 5HS
Phone number: 01736 332222
Newlyn Filmhouse is an award-winning independent cinema and a visit here makes for one of my favourite indoor activities in Cornwall.
They show mainstream films as well as world cinema, classic films, documentaries, and ballet and theatre performances.
The two screens have big comfortable seats and a ‘rustle free’ policy. Ticket prices depend on the event but are usually really reasonable. On weekday afternoons you can watch a matinee film for only £1.50!
If you fancy a pre or post-film meal or drink, Newlyn Filmhouse has its own café and bar. However, Newlyn has lots of other fab options for food and drinks too – try out Mackerel Sky, Lovetts, or Duke Street Café.
9. Experience a Medieval Meadery
Address: Newlyn Meadery, The Coombe, Newlyn, Penzance TR18 5HT
Phone number: 01736 365375
It can be difficult to describe a Meadery to someone who has never experienced one before, but it’s basically a medieval-themed restaurant.
You’ll be seated in a dark candlelit restaurant, waitresses dressed in ‘wench’ costumes will take your order (if you can read the menu in the dark) and your food will be served on wooden platters.
You’ll be expected to eat with your hands, but you can ask for cutlery if you really want it.
And of course, no Meadery experience is complete without drinking mead! Mead is a traditional Cornish fruit wine that comes in a range of delicious flavours. But be warned: although mead might taste like fruit juice, it’s very strong!
10. Go behind the scenes at Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm
Address: Healeys, Penhallow, Truro TR4 9LW
Phone number: 01872 573356
In most pubs and supermarkets in Cornwall, you’ll find Healey’s award-winning cyders, juices, lemonade and spirits. Their most popular drink is the iconic Cornish Rattler with its eye-catching snake logo.
The family-run farm has been making cyder for over thirty years and is now the largest independent cyder maker in Cornwall.
Go behind the scenes and learn about the whole process, from growing the apples in the orchard all the way through to bottling and labelling.
There’s a range of different packages available including guided tours, tastings and a ride on a vintage tractor. You can also visit the farm animals including shire horses, donkeys, pygmy goats and Cornish black pigs.
One of the newest attractions at Healey’s is the Secret Gin Bar. It’s located down in the cellars and offers a Gin Tasting Experience. And in The Rattler Bar, you can pull your own pint at the self-serve ‘cyder wall’.
Before you go, visit the shop, try some free samples and then buy your favourite cyder to enjoy at home!
11. Have a magical time at The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Address: The Harbour, Boscastle PL35 0HD
Phone number: 01840 250111
It opened seventy years ago and is home to one of the world’s largest collection of items (over 3000 objects) relating to witchcraft, magic and the supernatural.
Entry costs £7 for adults and you can explore the museum at your own pace. If it’s a little too busy to get up close to the exhibits you’re interested in, you’re welcome to come back later the same day for another look
. You can also book an appointment to view over 7000 books and archived documents.
Check the website for any upcoming late-night candlelight evenings, as visiting at nighttime really adds to the magical experience.
So there you have it: 11 fun indoor activities in Cornwall you need to try! As you can see, there is more to Cornwall than just outdoor activities. No matter the weather there is plenty to do and hopefully, this list has provided some inspiration!
Which of these indoor activities in Cornwall are you most desperate to try out? Please let me know in the comments below!
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