Of course, everyone wishes for idyllic sunshine, beaches and ice cream when they come to Cornwall for their annual holiday, but what if the weather gods didn’t get your memo? What if sunshine is replaced with rain and those halcyon beach picnics seem like a distant dream… Remember, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!
Cornwall’s sub-tropical climate sometimes blesses us with heavy downpours (which is what keeps the countryside looking so lush and verdant) so what is there to do if it rains on your Cornish holiday? Here we explore the best things to do in Cornwall when its raining to offer a shining glimmer to break through those grey clouds.
Unique Things to do in Cornwall in the Rain
If it’s raining above ground, why not go underground to escape? Poldark Mine near Helston is the only complete underground tin mine in Cornwall open for guided tours and makes for an interesting and historic day out. If it’s raining in Cornwall and you want to experience the real atmosphere and intrigue, Poldark Mine ticks all the boxes.
Going underground at Carnglaze Caverns near Liskeard is also a good way to escape the rain. This former slate mine offers self-guided underground tours of its three huge caverns (quarries) and even has a turquoise subterranean lake. Submerged 150m into the hillside and 60m below ground, Carnglaze Caverns is a constant 10°C underground (cool in summer, warmer in winter) making it the perfect all-weather tourist attraction in Cornwall.
Walk in a Manmade Jungle…
If the rain in Cornwall stops outdoor play but you still want to experience the beauty of nature, go and walk in a mandmade jungle. With Mediterranean and tropical rainforest biomes, the world-famous Eden Project near St Austell is the perfect way to explore nature on a rainy day in Cornwall without getting too wet. This inspiring visitor destination in Cornwall is one of the most incredible places for individuals of all ages.
Watch a Film in a Vintage Cinema…
The smell of popcorn, the anticipation and excitement as the trailers roll… visiting a cinema is always a great thing to do in the rain, but have you ever visited a vintage cinema? The Regal in Wadebridge was opened in 1931, whilst Truro’s Plaza has been open for 82 years. Both have been updated and show the latest releases with modern surround sound and all the top facilities one would expect from a cinema!
The Rebel near Bude in North Cornwall isn’t vintage, but is an independent family-run cinema for the benefit of the local communities and tourist visitors and is a unique way to spend a rainy afternoon in Cornwall.
Things to do in Cornwall With Kids When its Raining
Kids love nothing more than splashing in muddy puddles, and finding things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining for kids to enjoy is simple. As long as you make sure your little ones are properly prepared with wellies, a puddle suit and some warm layers, your children will have the most fun ever just enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some more ideas of things for children to do in Cornwall when its raining…
Hit the Soft Play…
Some adults can’t bear the noise and chaos, but all the children we know absolutely love running off some energy in a big soft play area- the louder the better! The newest soft play in Cornwall, Indoor Active, is at Roche Services on the A30 – it has a clip n’ climb zone, Scandi-inspired furniture (!) and surprisingly tasty healthy food options too; a must visit in the rain! Jungle Jack’s in Newquay is a great place for letting your little monkeys run wild in 1,700 square feet of jungle-themed fun, there’s even a dedicated baby and toddler area for your littlest monkeys. Raze the Roof is a soft play in Penryn with laser tag, a climbing wall, ball cannons and all the soft play required for little ones to be entertained for hours.
Embrace the Rain…
Welly-up and embrace the great outdoors! The beaches, woods, moorland and quaint harbourside villages of Cornwall all make great outdoor playgrounds, even in the rain. Cardinham Woods near Bodmin is set deep in a valley and has a dense tree canopy which provides some protection from the biggest raindrops. Here you can splash in streams, cycle on bike trails (make sure brakes are oiled!), find pine cones and other woodland treasures, all before retiring to the most perfect little tearoom to warm up with a hot cocoa and delicious buttered crumpets. Bodmin moor is particularly atmospheric and dramatic in the rain (just make sure you don’t get lost when the mist descends). Playing on the beach is fun in all weathers – a rainy beach day can be just as exciting as a sunny day, just use your imagination. Diggers, tipper trucks, buckets and spades all perform just as well in rainy weather, and can be even more fun when puddles are involved!
Feed the Ducks…
Sometimes the most simple (and free) activities can be just as fun, especially in the rain. The old saying goes, “nice weather for ducks”, so embrace this by donning your macs and boots and going to feed the ducks in the rain! Malpas is a stunning place to feed the ducks at the duck pond with an awesome play park and the most picturesque view of Truro, whilst Trenance Boating Lake in Newquay has a network of paths great for scootering and a cafe (which also sells duck feed). The aptly-named Swanpool nature reserve near Falmouth has a vast array of wildlife and is easily accessible for everyone. Coronation Park and Boating Lake in Helston is also a great spot for feeding the ducks, swans and all other kinds of aquatic wildlife!
It’s important to note here that The Canal and River Trust urges people not to feed the ducks with bread as it can damage their health and pollute the waterways. Instead they suggest feeding ducks with sweetcorn, bird seed, oats, lettuce, leftover rice or even defrosted frozen peas).
Indoor Things to do in Cornwall When it’s Raining
Soak up Some Culture…
Art galleries are plentiful in Cornwall so whichever village or town you choose to visit, you’re bound to find at art gallery which interests you. Perhaps the most famous of Cornish art galleries is the iconic Tate in St Ives overlooking the ocean at Porthmeor. The Newlyn Art Gallery champions contemporary art and has been going for 120 years – a “must see” for those who want to see some art whilst it’s drizzling outside.
Immerse Yourself in History…
Amazing stories, amazing collections and intrigue around every corner – the museums in Cornwall are jam packed with fascinating stories of the people and places that make up Cornwall’s rich and varied heritage. Be inspired to become part of that story and visit a museum on rainy days – every day is a school day, whatever your age! From mining heritage to maritime heritage, Cornwall’s museums are where stories get told and treasures are uncovered. The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth has five floors of exhibitions which delve into the history of our seas and the maritime heritage of Cornwall (there is even a pirate school for young buccaneers to enjoy over the summer holidays). The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle in North Cornwall is one of Cornwall’s most interesting museums and houses the UK’s largest collection of items relating to witchcraft and the occult. If telecommunications are your thing then The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum holds over 10,000 photographs ranging from the 1850s to the present day celebrating the history of telegraph stations around the world, telegraph staff, cable ships, events, and equipment.
If its raining outside, go inside and get wetter. Yes Cornwall has a whole host of indoor swimming pools which make for a great way to get fit and enjoy an afternoon away from the cold rain outside. Whether you prefer leisure pools with flumes and all manner of fun for kids to enjoy, or would rather work up a sweat trying to beat your PB doing lengths in an sporty swimming pool, Cornwall has all sorts of indoor pools to enjoy on a rainy day. Ships and Castles in Falmouth has a large swimming pool filled with fun features, flume, lazy river and offer over 30 fitness classes per week, whilst Retallack Resort & Spa not only has a lovely indoor pool, but also has an Aqua Park, FlowRider and Wake Park for all those who love a bit of adrenaline.
Rainy Day Romantic Activities in Cornwall
You’ve packed the picnic to enjoy in that quiet little spot by the river but the weather has other ideas… romantic things to do in the rain doesn’t mean having to stay in bed all day (although that’s fun too!). Why not consider ten pin bowling for a fun afternoon? Ozzell Bowl has a bar, serves food and has lots of fun arcade games and pool tables too – a bit of harmless competition will soon blow away those rainy day blues!
If you fancy trying out the local drinks scene then a distillery or brewery tour is a great idea for couples looking for some rainy day fun- Trevibban Mill is an award-winning vineyard known for its collection of Cornish wines and cider and lush surroundings encompassing 11,000 vines, and 1,700 apple trees. Skinners Brewery offer tours of their brewery to see how the award-winning ales are made which is both educational and enjoyable! If booze isn’t your thing then why not spend a day wiling away the afternoon in a cafe enjoying flat whites and cake, gazing out at the people puddle-hopping through the window.
Over to You…
There are SO many things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining, these are just our favourites. If you have any additions then please do get in touch on Facebook, Instagram to share your favourite rainy day ideas in Cornwall. We can’t wait to hear from you!