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When the weather forecast is for a rainy day in Cornwall, it doesn’t have to spoil your holiday! You might want to postpone your walk on the South West Coast Path, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy your trip to this popular English county in the rain.
From nature parks with plants and animals from across the world to interesting cultural attractions, there are more rainy day activities in Cornwall than you might think. 🙂 🙂
So rally the troops, grab your rain jacket, and get ready to discover the best things to do in Cornwall on a rainy day!
What’s Cornwall famous for?
As the UK’s most south-westerly county, Cornwall is famous for glorious beaches that draw surfers keen to ride the waves, for “Land’s End” at the very tip of the country, and for its long tin mining heritage.
In this much-loved county, you can take a steam train ride on the Bodmin & Wenford heritage railway, visit a huge collection of witchcraft paraphernalia at the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic in North Cornwall, or potter around the St Ives home of Barbara Hepworth, and her fantastical sculpture garden.
Let’s take a closer look at how you could spend a rainy day in Cornwall.
Historic Things to do in Cornwall When it Rains
The ancient county of Cornwall brims over with centuries of fascinating history, and plenty of the quirky, independent museums are well worth a visit. Here are some suggestions to tempt you in from the rain!
1. Unlock the Past at Bodmin Jail
Explore the prison system’s history in Cornwall at haunting Bodmin Jail, a former prison-turned-museum. The jail has been operating since 1779 and has been the site of over 55 executions!
Explore the cells and learn about the day-to-day life of the prisoners and the staff who worked there. It’s one of the spookiest places in Europe!
Don’t miss the Governor’s House, the courtroom, and the execution pit for a truly unique experience.
2. Learn Seafaring History at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall
At the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, you can step back in time and learn about the sea’s influence on history and culture.
Wander through the museum’s 15 galleries to discover the story of the sea, ships and boats and the people who have used them through the ages. Highlights include a replica of the ship that took Captain Cook on his voyages and enjoy a Boat Building Workshop.
3. Royal Cornwall Museum
The Royal Cornwall Museum in the heart of Truro offers a great diversion from a rainy day in Cornwall. It’s a warm and friendly place to explore Cornwall’s history, with collections also about Natural History, Ancient Cultures and Fine Art
4. Take a Tour of Carnglaze Cavern
This former slate mine at the edge of Bodmin Moor is a unique underground place to learn about Cornish mining history. At the end of your tour of Carnglaze Cavern, you’ll visit an underground lake, where you’ll be enchanted by crystal-clear turquoise water, a truly magical experience!
5. Discover Social History at Helston Museum
The collection at Helston Museum is amongst the largest in the South West of England. From archaeological evidence of early settlers in Cornwall to a 1950s kitchen, visiting is like stepping into a time machine – and best of all, there’s no admission charge, making it one of the best free things to do in Cornwall in the rain!
6. Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
At Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, you can dodge the raindrops and find out how Porthcurno in West Cornwall became the most connected valley in the world in 1870. As the point where transatlantic cables first came ashore, it was the epicentre of the worldwide communications revolution.
Find codes to crack on secret trails and summer workshops where you can use Morse code, test electro-magnets, keep time with pendulums and create electricity! It’s a perfect hidden gem for a rainy day in Cornwall and ideally positioned for a walk on nearby Porthcurno beach if the weather improves.
7. Poldark Mine
Fans of the British TV drama Poldark love visiting the Poldark Mine within the Wendron Mining District. In fact, the whole Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tin has been mined in Cornwall for thousands of years, and Wendron is the county’s oldest mining district. Today’s visitors can delve into the region’s mining heritage by exploring the open-air museum and taking a tour of the mine – the only Cornish tin mine open for underground guided tours.
8. Geevor Tin Mine
The 18th-century Geevor Tin Mine is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the biggest preserved mine site in England. You can learn about Cornish Tin and Copper mining during your visit. You can also enjoy activities in the summer months, including stone carving, miner’s talks and opportunities to dress up in 18th-century clothing.
Family-Friendly Things to do on a Rainy Day in Cornwall
9. Laugh at Meerkats at Newquay Zoo
Embark on an immersive animal adventure and visit Newquay Zoo. Marvel at the majestic lions, playful meerkats, and adorable otters as you wander through the lush gardens.
With over 130 species of animals from around the world, including primates, big cats, reptiles, and birds, you’ll have the chance to discover a new world of wonder.
Learn about the conservation efforts to protect endangered species and participate in animal encounters and feeding sessions for an unforgettable experience.
10. Get back to Nature at Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary and Jungle Barn
Discover the beauty of tropical birds and meet resident wildlife at this award-winning sanctuary. Kids can burn off some energy at the Jungle Barn indoor play area. At the same time, adults will enjoy the wide variety of resident birds, including parrots, penguins, flamingos and bald eagles.
Get Close to Nature on a Rainy Day in Cornwall
11. Warm Up at the Tropical Eden Project
Forget about the rain on a visit to the world’s largest indoor rainforest! Beneath the Eden Project domes, you can explore a diverse collection of plants and animals, learn about conservation and sustainability and join workshops for an immersive experience.
Visiting the Eden Project is undoubtedly one of the best indoor things to do in Cornwall.
12. Dive Deep into Blue Reef Aquarium
Dive into a world of sea creatures and embark on an underwater journey at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. See sea turtles, reef sharks, and other sea life in naturally themed habitats that transport you from the Cornish coast to exotic seas.
The aquarium has 40 naturally themed habitats that will leave you mesmerised. Don’t miss the Giant Pacific Octopus and the Cownose Ray.
Cultural Things to do on a Rainy Day in Cornwall
13. Tate Gallery St Ives
Visitors to St Ives can drop into The Tate Gallery near Porthmeor Beach for a welcome distraction to any wet weather. In addition to the excellent exhibitions at the Tate, there are also fun, creative workshops to take part in during the summer.
14. Falmouth Art Gallery
The vibrant colours of the cosy little Falmouth Art Gallery are guaranteed to cheer up even the wettest and dullest of days! With more than 2,000 artworks, from classical pre-Raphaelite artists to British impressionists, there’s bound to be something to catch your eye. Look out too for workshops and activities to while away the rainy day!
15. Pendennis Castle
Magnificent Tudor Pendennis Castle is a treat for castle fans (like me) – even on rainy days! While the expansive grounds might be wet, there’s lots to see inside to keep you busy, from the Henry VIII keep, to a recreated Battery Observation Post bunker, a World War Two, and plenty of weapons and armoury.
16. Falmouth Lifeboat Centre
The Falmouth Lifeboat is one of the top free attractions in Cornwall.
Pro Tip: Book a guided tour in the lifeboat shop attached to the station to experience the lifeboats and learn about the RNLI first-hand from dedicated volunteers.
Enjoy the weather!
Instead of hiding from the weather on a rainy day in Cornwall, why not meet the challenge head-on and dress up for it?
Wrap up well for a bracing coastal walk, or don a wetsuit for a beginner’s surfing lesson! Warm up afterwards with a hearty pub meal or a hot chocolate!
Conclusion: What to do on a rainy day in Cornwall
Cornwall is a great place to visit, whatever the weather. Just because the heavens open, you don’t need to be stuck indoors, as there are plenty of exciting things to do in Cornwall in the rain – with kids, with dogs, or as a solo traveller.
Whether you get closer to nature, explore some of Cornwall’s best historical or cultural sites, or seek out family-oriented attractions, you will have fun on a rainy day in Cornwall!
Travelling to Cornwall soon?
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✈️ Flights: I recommend using Skyscanner to find the best UK flight deals. Be sure to sign up for their price alerts for your preferred travel dates!
🚗 Car Rentals: I like to use Rentalcars.com because you can compare multiple car rental companies and see detailed ratings for overall value, ease of pick-up, the efficiency of agents, car condition, and overall time spent.
🤿 Tours & Activities: I trust and always use Viator or GetYourGuide to book tours and activities in England. You can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour for a full refund, plus they have excellent customer service if you have any issues.