Neat Stuff to do in Cornwall
If you have already marked off the customary things and established places to go and are searching for something a little different to do here in Cornwall; away from our fabulous beaches, incredible attractions and gorgeous towns and picturesque villages, let us introduce you to some alternative and fun things to do.
These specific activities will reveal another distinct side of Cornwall, some typically steering you away from the usual and more well-known destinations and attractions.
Accordingly, let’s get dive straight in and explore what options are available to those seeking out more unusual and engaging activities.
Hangloose Adventure, Eden Project
Well, you will definitely see a different Cornwall from this aerial advantage point. Hangloose is home to England’s longest and fastest zip line. Your heart will be pumping and the adrenalin flowing abundantly as you set off on this grand adventure. Suspended high above the iconic biomes, outdoor gardens and lush rainforest, you will cruise through the air at speeds of up to 60 mph for more than 660 metres.
You will discover other thrilling activities here; the Skytrek Aerial Trekking, Gravity Giant Swing, Giant Airbag, Reverse Zipwire (you go backwards facing), and The Drop. Some of these attractions are not for the fainthearted! All come with a safety briefing before you take part.
There is an option to have an official video taken to record the event, to share with friends and family.
Accordingly, if your inner adrenaline junkie is fighting to get out, or you are seeking thrills and spills then look on further. Not just for children or teenagers, a unique experience for all ages.
For more details and information on requirements, costs etc., check out https://hanglooseadventure.com/
Wheal Martyn Clay Works, St Austell
Most people are familiar with Cornwall’s association with tin and copper mining but, many aren’t aware of its other major mining source, Clay!
Cornish clay mining is not as well known yet this industry significantly exceeds output, economic contribution, mining technology, over other mining sources. Over the past 250 years more than 170 million tons of local clay have been reliably produced from valuable deposits across the county. About 70% of this prolific output has been exported. China clay fulfils a relevant role in almost everybody’s ordinary life. Used in many familiar items like, ceramics particularly porcelain, paper, rubber – in tyres, cosmetics, toothpaste, aircraft components and pharmaceuticals.
Take a visit to a clay mine here at Wheal Martyn, an indoor and open-air museum and country park; it is established within two former Victorian clay works. One of the official sites has been carefully preserved in its working state and is the only one of its kind open to the public.
This beautifully preserved site covers a specified period in local history from the 1820s through to the 1960s, at this time mining was traditionally labour intensive and physically trying. In 1869 the mine was producing 2,000 tonnes a year. At the present time it produces 2,000 tonnes a week!
This working museum offers a genuine insight into this industry, hear real-life tales of the industry, see tools, machinery, vintage commercial vehicle and locomotive and artefacts. Conduct a virtual tour of a working clay pit, see the huge water wheel at work (Cornwall’s largest working waterwheel, standing at 35 ft), water channels and high-pressure hoses.
The fascinating story and remarkable history of Clay Mining is told through exhibits and story boards.
There are three trails to explore, a nature trail, historic trail and the pit view trail that takes to you past the ‘View Pit’ a large opencast mine where you can see modern machinery at work. If you are lucky, there might be a tour to see a dynamite blast of the rock face.
Children will undoubtedly enjoy the woodland adventure playground, adventure trail and quizzes activity sheets. They can opt to wear a hard hat and can borrow an explorer backpack.
For more details and information on opening times, booking, ticket prices etc., check out https://www.wheal-martyn.com/
Adrenalin Quarry, Liskeard
A flooded quarry is home to a unique adventure centre, that offers a whole load of fun and remarkable adventure for both little and big kids! There are incredible rides for all ages. The quarry is home to a unique gravity park and water park with remarkable views.
There are a number of fun options available that you can do individually or combine to instantly make for a fun filled day out. Options include, a daring ride on the twin zip wire, jump off a prominent cliff 50 metres high and typically travel at incredible speeds of up to 60 mph on a 490 metre journey. You can launch solo or in pairs, so you can share the experience.
Take a turn on the Giant Swing that firstly slowly winches riders 50 metres above the lake and then releases them, swings out from the cliff over the lake, 150 ft below! Not for the feint hearted.
The enormous Aquapark provides the opportunity to climb, jump, slide and bounce on this enormous fun inflatable playground, the most fun you can have whilst getting soaked.
Try your hand at axe throwing, it is said it is just like darts but, with axes! Hurl an axe and find your inner warrior.
Promptly release your race car driver on the go-karts at Kartworld, located next door. Zoom around the 800 metre all-weather track. Compete against family or friends and with your lap-by-lap print outs you can see who is the real speed demon.
Experienced swimmers can opt for wild swimming or open swimming here. There is a private beach that is totally calm, but there is no lifeguard, so suitable for children as long as they are continually supervised. Further along the local quarry is a 261-metre-long course for open water swimming.
Another activity option is coasteering which, includes wild swimming, traversing the rock face and tombstoning. There is, in addition, the Blob a giant inflatable that allows you to catapult friends or family off!
If you are earnestly looking for a huge adrenaline rush, then this is the right place to come to. It has such an idyllic setting, make a day of it here with a picnic and swimming options once you have had your fill of adventure.
Visit https://www.adrenalinquarry.co.uk/ for more information for an adrenalin fun filled day out.
Bodmin Jail, Bodmin
The ideal all-weather historical attraction that is fun for all ages. This historic jail has recently undergone a huge renovation and now is even better than before with more realistic exhibits and special effects that really bring home the brutal conditions the prisoner’s faced.
See the prison cells and discover what crimes the prisoners committed, their punishment and how they lived within the confines of their cell. With lots of interesting facts to read that adds to the experience. The shows are immersive and very professional, and give a real insight into the jails dark and macabre history.
Children and adults alike will enjoy the ghost stories and finding out what prisoners ate.
The tour guides are incredible and pop up as you go around with information as well as having great stories to share. After the Dark Walk you are free to roam around and explore at your own pace.
Visitors, in addition, have the option to take part in an After Dark Experience; these typically take place in the evening and provide a first-hand insight into the paranormal world at Bodmin Jail. There is on top of that the Heritage Guided Tour, where visitors are offered an in-depth and historical tour of this unique building.
A truly immersive experience with an atmospheric atmosphere, that might not be suitable for young children or nervous adults.
Make sure to call into the café, The Jolly Hangman Tavern, the delicious food is excellent and well worth a visit.
For more specific details and information on opening times, booking, ticket prices, etc., check out https://www.bodminjail.org/
Goonhilly Downs, near Helston
Combine two pretty cool events, with a fascinating visit to iconic Goonhilly Downs, where giant satellite dishes dominate the landscape. The downs are a Site of Special Scientific Interest but, it also sits at Europe’s communications crossroads and was one of the largest satellite stations in the UK. Today 90 % of transatlantic data traffic still come through Cornwall.
Goonhilly Earth Station is situated in a unique location, at a strategic geographic ‘space-crossroads.’ The remote location minimises radio-signal interference, and the local serpentine rock is strong enough to the bear the weight of these monstrous dishes.
There are more than 60 communication dishes on the site, although not all of them are still active. The working dishes are directed at every continent.
The original massive satellite dishes are all named after Arthurian characters and are now decommissioned. The original satellite built in 1962 was Antenna no. 1 or Arthur; it is 25.9 metres (85 feet) in diameter and weighs 1,118 tonnes. Arthur received the first transatlantic TV signal, a speech by President Kennedy via Telstar, the earliest communications satellite. Furthermore, in 1969, Arthur beamed Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon to a global audience of around 600 million.
During Arthurs working life, it broadcast a number of other monumental events whilst simultaneously dealing with millions of international phone calls, bank transactions and shipping distress calls. Today it is a Grade II listed structure.
The largest dish on the site was ‘Merlin’, with a diameter of 32 metres (105 feet).
Today Goonhilly is looking to the future and has invested in deep space communications network, and becoming Britain’s first Spaceport, amongst other ventures.
Although you can no longer enter the official Goonhilly site, you can get close enough to the satellites and properly appreciate their enormity. A trail runs along the side of the satellite station allowing visitors to get close. There are a few interesting buildings to inspect including, an air raid shelter and a receiver block. A concealed door to the roof of the RAF block houses an excellent viewing platform. It is not the easiest door to locate therefore keep an eye out.
There are earnest hopes that they will reopen the visitor centre again. With talk of it invariably becoming an outreach centre that will enthusiastically promote space and space science to visitors. Meanwhile, there are informative boards explaining the area.
This protected SSSI site fortunately has an astounding menagerie of unique flora and fauna; it is an excellent location to observe rare butterflies, and in the summer months the rare adder. Dotted around the moor are thousand-year-old rocks, tumuli and ancient burial mounds, and historical monuments including a 5,000 year old standing stone.
The nature reserve is a lovely tranquil place for walks, despite the presence of these relatively unusual structures and has amazing panoramic views.
St Michaels Mount by Paddleboard
Stand Up Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. It allows you to naturally get a serious cardio workout that is low impact but, above all fun. Peacefully exercising on the water typically brings a whole host of possible health benefits too.
Marazion is one of the most enjoyable places in the UK to proactively engage in watersports, owing to its spectacular beaches, being one of the sunniest areas in the UK and also as the area has high coastal sea temperatures.
Let’s not forget that Mount’s Bay is frequently described as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, and is home to the iconic St Michael’s Mount which looms in the bay.
If you are starting out in this sport then this realistically is an ideal location to begin, the sea conditions typically tend to be favourable during the summer months.
Although you can access the picturesque island by the causeway at low tide or by boat it is a unique experience to approach by paddleboard; then circle all the way round getting a unique perspective and perhaps bumping into some local wildlife too.
There are a number of independent operators in the area offering lessons, delightful excursions or boards for hire.
Cornwall Underground Adventure, St Just
Cornwall Underground Adventures offer a further unique opportunity for an exciting and adventurous day out. Where visitors get to discover another aspect of Cornwall and its mining heritage. On this occasion visitors are taken below ground to explore abandoned tin mines, discovering the subterranean world carved out by Cornish miners over the centuries.
Although the local mines might have closed and the experienced miners are long gone, they have left behind a fascinating underground world that is simply waiting to be explored.
The activities are suitable whatever the weather and occur near the historic mining district of St Just. There are experiences suited to all abilities, from easy walk-in, walk-out trips to immersive caving style trips. Full kits and equipment are provided, which are well maintained and excellent quality.
If you are unready to venture underground opt for a surface tour, these are ideally suited to those interested in finding out more about the Cornish rich mining history without having to venture underground.Visitors will nevertheless get a real sense of this important industry through visible remnants dotted about the countryside pertaining to the areas mining history; some are prominent like old engine houses, others aren’t as obvious and this hidden mining history will be disclosed. On a guided walk you will be taken around an area rich with mining archaeology, and the remarkable story of Cornish mining will be brought to life.
Meanwhile for the adventurous you can immerse yourself in the full underground experience. Whilst underground you will get to explore the complex systems of tunnels that make up an abandoned mine, marvel at how the miners shaped these places and be in awe of this unique and marvellous unknown world. Where you will find yourself squeezing through spaces and tunnels, abseiling down mine shafts, crossing gaping chasms and flooded passages, mine climbing and lots more. Although physical and challenging at times, it is fantastic fun and you are constantly utilising different skills.
Safety is paramount at all times, and you only have to do what you are comfortable with. Realistically not suited to those who do not like confined spaces.
With both unique experiences you will learn historical facts, local history and fantastic tales of adventure and tragedy that all transpire for a fascinating visit. Whilst under the watchful eye of your experienced guides.
It is certain to be one of the best experiences you will undoubtedly have, and the highlight of your trip. Exhilarating and fascinating are how it can be described, and you most likely will step out of your comfort zone, but will feel fantastic afterwards. Definitely an activity we would recommend to anyone visiting Cornwall and what’s more it is suited to all ages.
For more information, please check out https://cornwallunderground.co.uk/