Rainy Days Activities in Cornwall

It is inevitable that there will be some days over the summer in Cornwall when it rains. Perhaps it will be a short, sharp shower where a quick duck under a doorway or umbrella is enough followed by warm sunshine straight afterwards. Or, it may be a prolonged afternoon of rain where it's best to plan indoor entertainment for the family. No need to stay cooped up in your holiday cottage in Cornwall when the heavens open, read on for some great ideas on what to visit that will keep you entertained and dry.

We have tried to select places where the only way you would get wet is between the car and the front door of the Cornish attraction of your choice. We think you will enjoy each experience below as they are informative, engaging and entertaining for all the family.


The Eden Project is one of the best attractions to visit in Cornwall. It’s an important sustainability enterprise that boasts large biomes in an old quarry in South Cornwall. The biomes showcase plants from different environments and, when it’s raining outside, you’ll be dry enjoying the different environments they have created such as the Mediterranean and Rainforest.

The Eden Project shares with its visitors the diverse climates and how important a role they play on our planet. They want to educate visitors on how actions in the UK affect climates around the world and the Eden Project does a fabulous job at explaining it so well.

Why is it a great place to visit? It’s a perfect attraction to visit with kids as there is so much to see and do (we know how hard it can be to keep young minds captivated!) and is perfect for a family day out, but couples will also love it. Our favourite area of the Eden Project was the rainforest canopy walkway where you are transported to jungle-like conditions, all we needed was Tarzan!

As well as the biomes, there’s a selection of Cornish plants and an indoor exhibition too. You’ll be inside most of the time, although you will need to walk from the car park and between the biomes so make sure you pack your waterproof or umbrella too.

For more information, visit the Eden Project website

Credit: Matt Jessop

If it’s pouring rain outside, you really won’t mind at all if you visit the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. The exhibits will mainly shelter you from any wetness outdoors while you get to see all sorts of creatures in the water up close.

Start with Cornish Waters and meet Spider Crabs and Sharks plus many more sea creatures! There are 7 exhibits in the Cornish Water area which is home to over 30 species. Next move to the Tropical Rivers exhibit but perhaps step back a little when you see the crocodiles and piranhas. Learn how the Archerfish spit at their prey to knock them into the water and spend a little time with the terrapins too. There are 7 displays in the Tropical River section with over 11 different species. An old shipwreck is home to the Cold Water exhibit where there are 5 displays with 12 different species from octopuses to lobsters. The Warm Water exhibition is a vibrant, colourful display of reef fish that enjoy sea temperatures of up to 28 degrees. There are 10 displays of over 30 species of tropical fish. The centerpiece of Blue Reef Aquarium is the Ocean Tunnel which is a huge tunnel you walk under while sharks and turtles swim above heads. The tunnel is home to over 24 different sea creatures which is a lot to take in while they swim around you! Finally, visit the Nursery exhibition that is home to the babies. The nursery displays provide the perfect environments for lots of species, including captive-bred baby clownfish. At Blue Reef, they have also successfully bred sharks, rays, pipefish, jellyfish, cuttlefish, and many more.

There is a cafe and gift shop at the Aquarium too so if it’s raining hard outside, it’s the perfect place to be until the sun shows its face again.

For more information, visit the Blue Reef Aquarium website

PK Porthcurno is a museum experience in Porthcurno which is nestled in one of the most beautiful valleys in West Cornwall. It is a museum that explores the fascinating story of our connected world, and how a sleepy, unknown valley in Cornwall became host to the past, present and future of worldwide communications.

The museum is right at the bottom of the valley where the next stop is the beautiful Porthcurno beach with tropical sea colours. The Minack Theatre is also very close-by but if it’s pouring down, you may want to save that for another day. There is plenty of parking for the museum that can be paid using coins or calling a number for payment and it’s a short walk to the museum itself. Once inside, you are taken along a journey of time where you get a real sense of the importance of communication that we take for granted now. For example, getting a message to India took 6 weeks in the 1900’s compared to seconds now. Can you imagine needing to get an urgent message to a family member in another county back then? A simple WhatsApp message now means we can stay close to loved ones within moments thanks to the inventions on display at PK Porthcurno. There are interactive exhibits as well as really engaging and informative films plus exhibits showing just how much work went into first inventing how we can talk freely between one continent and another but also what was needed to make that happen; miles and miles of armoured cables on the sea bed all from Porthcurno!

We visited the museum on a rainy day in St Ives and so read here about our experience.

For more information, visit their PK Porthcurno website

Porthcurno Beach

Credit: Adam Gibbard

Credit: Adam Gibbard

Ever wondered what life behind bars looked like in the 18th Century? Discover the life of a prisoner held in Bodmin Jail, in the heart of Cornwall, on the edge of Bodmin Moor.

The convicted were rebels, soldiers, debtors and some of Cornwall’s most notorious criminals from the 18th century onwards. Visit this world-class attraction and immerse yourself in the Dark Walk, a state-of-the-art experience bringing some of the grittiest tales of Cornwall’s criminals vividly to life. Experience the paranormal, peek into Cornwall’s darkest underbelly and learn what life was like for those accused of heinous crimes. See inside the Jail cells and explore artefacts from prison life.

A daring experience for all the family, Bodmin Jail shows Cornish history as you’ve never seen it before.

Visit their website for more information or call them on 01208 76292

Most Cornwall attractions inform you of some interesting historical fact or want to share how things are done such as making cider. Not Escape Rooms! They are an immersive experience where the family is part of the story and a collaborative brain effort means you escape from the story back to reality.

When it’s pouring with rain outside and you all want to leave the four walls of your holiday cottage in Cornwall, why not take a drive to Cornwall’s Escape Rooms and enter inside someone else’s imagination, discover hidden treasures, or even travel back in time to rewrite history. At Cornwall’s Great Escape Rooms, you join a magical, exciting, and challenging journey. Solving puzzles, combinations, and riddles with your family where you are all up against the clock to find the key to escape!

Games to choose from at either their Newlyn or Helston venues are Hellstown Basement, Fractured Fairy tales, The Family Business and Jolly Roger.

For more information, visit their Cornwall’s Escape Rooms website

The Tate St Ives is a spacious gallery overlooking Porthmeor Beach exhibiting famous St Ives artists from the early 1900’s to modern art from national and international artists. It is over two floors as well as having an incredible cafe on the top floor that has the most incredible views.

You don’t need to be an aficionado of art to love The Tate St Ives, particularly on a rainy day in St Ives! There is enough to keep the entire family busy for a few hours with some time for shopping in their gift show selling art materials for all abilities as well as stopping at their cafe for a Cornish cream tea with views to die for. The exhibits at the gallery are housed in spacious rooms with high ceilings and there is a huge gallery area that normally showcases extraordinary contemporary artists that wow the crowds with their imaginations and talents.

Visitors to the gallery will be able to watch historical films in their cinema section and view photography exhibitions as well as pieces of art from well-known St Ives artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Alfred Wallace and Peter Lanyon.

Although not brilliant for rainy days, if your children seem to be unfazed by wet weather and you are happy to don some waterproofs, every Wednesday and Friday during the summer, The Tate St Ives are running Beach Art Days for children aged between 5 and 12 years old. Make art outside inspired by the wonderful beach and seaside environment of Porthmeor Beach and artists from their current exhibitions.

For more information on their exhibits and artists, please visit The Tate St Ives website

The National Maritime Museum is a great place to visit on wet days in Cornwall. It is a large wooden-clad building on the edge of the water in Falmouth with a large car park really close by and is part of Events Square where there is a huge choice of eateries to think about lunch after your visit.

The exhibits are designed to be captivating for all ages and is a great place to keep the younger members of the family engrossed when the inclement weather means no beach play. Pirates are the main theme until the end of this year. Pirates are often portrayed as symbols of freedom and wicked adventure in films and books. But have you ever asked yourself why has this image been created? The National Maritime Museum will help you immerse yourself in the digital world of the Sea of Thieves game, land on Treasure Island, meet the man behind Long John Silver and dance a hornpipe with Horatio Pugwash before discovering the dark world of the real pirates of the Caribbean. Beware, by diving beneath the surface you will unearth the harsh and terrifying truth of pirates! The Skull Island Play Zone will thrill your young pirates as well as the Tattoo Art exhibition where they can get their own ‘fake’ tattoo.

The Museum is so well set for keeping young children happy (meaning happy parents!) encouraging them to be creative in making their own pirates hats, telescopes, parrots and beards. So, when it’s raining hard outside and the air in the holiday cottage in St Ives is getting stuffy, head out to Falmouth and chant ‘It’s the sailor’s life me!’

For more information on their exhibitions, visit the National Maritime Museum’s website

National Maritime Museum

Credit: Visit Cornwall

Credit: Visit Cornwall

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