Who wants to do the same thing that everyone else is doing while on holiday? Not us, and we’re assuming not you either.
Of course, as Cornwall attracts so many visitors, these venues aren’t exactly going to be empty, but they are a little more unusual than fishing, surfing or taking a boat trip (although, we’re sure you intend to do at least one of those during your visit too!).
If you’re looking for a something a little different to do during your Cornish holiday, here’s where you might like to go.
Unusual Cornish attractions and activities
We defy you to peruse this list and not find anything you, your family or your holiday companions want to do during your holiday in Cornwall. In fact, we think it’s more likely you will view it as a to-do list!
Cornwall itself is beautiful enough that you will, no doubt, want to visit again in the future. Consider this as a checklist to be completed across several trips, if you will.
Open-air theatres aren’t necessarily anything too unusual in themselves, but an open-air theatre perched on the cliff tops by the Atlantic Ocean certainly is. The Minack Theatre is exactly that, and runs a full programme of events including opera, storytelling, drama and musicals over the summer each year.
The 2016 season’s listings can be found here.
Aside from the outstanding performances and incredible location, the Minack Theatre has plenty to offer in terms of history, exploration and discovery, and comes highly recommended to those holidaying near Penzance.
Going to jail while on holiday in Cornwall isn’t quite the same as those holidaymakers you may have seen going to jail on various cable TV shows based in Ibiza, Magaluf et al. In Cornwall, it means a fun day’s exploration in Bodmin Jail.
Depending on when you visit, there may be a special event or performance to take in while you’re there, but even an ordinary day at Bodmin Jail has more than enough up its sleeve to keep visitors entertained.
Cells, execution areas and exhibitions illustrating the jail’s lengthy history are available to those wishing to set food in an 18th century penitentiary, and you can even get married in Bodmin Jail if the notion takes you. Insert jokes about ball and chains as required…
You’ve heard all about the rich history, myths and legends originating in Cornwall (if not, have a look at our earlier article dedicated to them), so why not spend a few hours immersing yourself in the magic of the region?
Cornish Heritage Safaris cover everything from King Arthur to industry history, and can be tailored to suit individual requirements. There’s even an option to have them arrange your entire Cornish holiday, if you are so inclined.
Learn more about the excursions on offer here – will you opt for tour-only or go for the full tour, entry fees and lunch recommendations?
Of course a region as coast-focussed as Cornwall has a sanctuary for some of the more endangered aquatic creatures.
Stray, injured and ill seal pups from around Cornwall are taken to this 40-acre sanctuary in Gweek, where they welcome visitors year-round.
As well as helping to support these seals, visitors can explore other sea creatures from the Cornish seas, along with ponies, penguins, goats and sheep, and spend some time in a suitably ocean-themed Pirate Ship play area.
You may think you know exactly what to expect when you read the name of Cornwall Segway, but they have more to offer than simply Segway hires.
Although it’s now almost dry, this legendary pool on Bodmin Moor is said to have been the home of the Lady of the Lake. It was also believed to be bottomless at one point but, given it has just about dried up, we can assume that was another Cornish myth!
Dozmary Pool is also, allegedly, where the sword Excalibur was thrown by Sir Bedivere. According to legend, an arm rose from the pool, grabbed Excalibur, and disappeared once more into the depths.
Logans, found throughout Britain, are large boulders which rock in position but do not topple. According to legend, they also cannot be moved, although this particular point was disproved by a British Navy Lieutenant in 1824 who removed it as a prank, destroying other local landmarks in the process.
To cut a long story short, Treen’s Logan stone was moved, but has now been replaced after some monumental effort and is well worth a visit while you’re in the area.
As an aside, the lieutenant who masterminded the prank was forced to pay over £130 to have his “joke” reversed, a sum which very nearly bankrupted him.
The only intact tin mine in Cornwall which is open to the public for underground tours is Poldark Mine on the Lizard Peninsula.
Underground tours of the tunnels, shafts, caverns and cafes that make up a tin mine are operated four times a day, seven days a week between 25th April and 31st October, offering a unique experience for those who are in search of something truly unusual to do on their Cornish holiday.
Once you’ve explored the subterranean levels of the Poldark Mine, or if dark, enclosed spaces aren’t your cup of tea, spend some more time investigating above ground. The gardens and museum also provide an intriguing education about the history and heritage of these tin mines.
Who doesn’t want to explore artefacts from genuine, bona fide shipwrecks? We can just imagine the excitement of the children of your group when such an excursion is announced, and the adults are bound to be just as intrigued.
Just look how many shipwrecks are included in the Charlestown exhibition, plus you can step on board the RNLB Amelia and explore a German armoured diving suit from the 1920/30s.
History, heritage and links with Poldark – what more could you ask for from a day out?
Local Cornish beer is a thing of beauty for those who appreciate craft beers and special local brews. St Austell Brewery is an excellent option for holidaymakers who wish to explore the industry a little more than simple enjoying a pint or bottle or two in their nearest pub.
The newly redesigned Visitor Centre hosts brewing experiences and access all areas tours, as well as selling some of the aforementioned local Cornish beers in Hick’s Bar. In case you were worried, fear not – the brewing experience does indeed including tastings.
The Eden Project as a whole is one which must be experienced but, if exploring biomes packed with dinosaurs (23rd July – 4th September 2016) and exotic flora isn’t enough to sate your appetite for adventure, you need to explore the aerial activities on offer.
Whether you choose to sail along a 660-metre-long zip wire at 60mph, plummet over a cliff-edge on a 65mph swing or freefall from a 12 metre platform, we can guarantee your adrenaline will most definitely be pumping.
Are you brave enough to try all three in one visit?
Have a look at the video below to get a taste of what England’s longest and fastest zip wire is really like.
If you don’t quite fancy flying at high speeds through the air, explore the one million different types of plants in the world’s largest greenhouse.
One thing we really like about Vertical Descents is that they operate in a number of different areas, so visitors to Newquay, Padstow, Fowey, St Ives and Watergate Bay can all take part in some extreme activities during a “relaxing” holiday.
Depending on which location you choose, the activities available include:
None of them are for the faint-hearted, but all of them promise an excellently adrenaline-fuelled experience.