9 Best Indoor Attractions in Cornwall

May 07th, 2021

Cornwall is home to some stunning natural beauty spots, with vast stretches of sandy shores and various woodland walks to be enjoyed all year round. However, there are also some great indoor attractions to explore when on your luxury family holiday in Cornwall.

As restrictions start to ease, we hope to see the world start opening up again, allowing us to enjoy everything that Cornwall has to offer! If you’re already planning your next Cornish adventure, remember to check out some of our favourite indoor attractions that we’ve covered below.

Things to Do in Cornwall on a Rainy Day

So, where should you start?

A view of the Eden Project biomes

Eden Project – St Austell

With its diverse gardens and iconic bubble-like biomes, the Eden Project has both indoor and outdoor elements, giving you plenty of sights to see.

Eden’s giant indoor gardens provide a transportive experience, taking you to the Rainforest or the Mediterranean and wowing you with impressive jungle plants and countless stunning flowers.

When you’ve made your way across the Rainforest Canopy Walk and learnt about the journey of bananas, coffee or cocoa, you can discover various other exhibits and thought-provoking sculptures.

There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants that offer delicious, responsibly-sourced and freshly made food to keep your adventure going all day long!

A parent and child looking at fish in an underwater tunnel

Blue Reef Aquarium – Newquay

Another great activity for those rainy Cornwall days is a trip to an aquarium. Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium has over 40 habitats, giving you insight into ocean life spanning from local Cornish waters to tropical reefs.

Here, you’ll find an exciting range of sea creatures with displays of jellyfish, piranhas and a giant octopus, to name but a few. Walks through the underwater tunnel offer great views of the aquarium’s central tank that is home to turtles, reef sharks and stingray!

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall from outside

National Maritime Museum Cornwall – Falmouth

Museums also make great days out for all the family, and Cornwall has got some brilliant exhibits that are well worth the visit!

Set against the backdrop of the peaceful harbour, this museum’s many exhibitions delve into the past to explore maritime issues, telling stories from Cornwall and around the world.

With a range of exciting and interactive exhibits that show off the museum’s vast collection of unique ocean objects, boats, art and books, the Maritime Museum is a definite place of discovery, learning and fun for all the family!

Two children looking at a model ship

Shipwreck Treasure Museum – Charlestown

Thanks to the long-standing maritime influence throughout Cornish history, there are numerous museums that explore the sea and its relationship to Cornwall’s past.

The Shipwreck Treasure Museum makes another fantastic day out for anyone interested in the mysteries hidden beneath the waves. With 8,000 finds from over a hundred wrecks, you can come face to face with salvaged treasure and the perilous stories behind their loss and recovery.

After you’ve had your fill of ocean adventure and followed the treasure trail with your family, you can relax in the restaurant with harbourside views.

Boscastle houses and shops

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic – Boscastle

Cornwall’s museums aren’t all about the sea – this brilliant independent museum explores Britain’s history with magic, offering a unique look into the beliefs of the past.

Here you’ll find one of the largest collections of witchcraft and occult-related items in the world. The museum takes a respectful approach to the sometimes contentious topic of magical practice with educational and intriguing collections designed to present the diversity and reality of witchcraft over the years.

Since its inception in 1951, the museum’s collection has grown to over 3,000 fascinating objects, including protective talismans, crystal balls and scrying mirrors along with over 7,000 books!

Two people looking at art in the Tate

Tate St Ives – St Ives

Like museums, art galleries make great outings, especially if you’re after a peaceful, more reflective and thought-provoking experience. The iconic Tate gallery in St Ives provides just this and is set in the perfect spot, overlooking the sea and sandy shores.

Inside, you can ponder over inspiring twentieth-century art from a host of British artists. The frequently updated roster of exhibitions will also inspire you with stunning collections of modern and contemporary art.

Main attractions here include pieces by highly celebrated artists tied to St Ives, including Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Sandra Blow. You can also see other iconic pieces from the Tate collection, like works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Mark Rothko.

The outside of Cotehele Ttudor manor

Cotehele – Saltash

Cornwall is home to a plethora of National Trust properties, including some great historic homes. Cotehele is a gorgeous Tudor house with lots to discover!

The estate’s medieval roots and working watermill make it a great location for history buffs. A tour of the manor will take you back in time with its displays of armour, tapestries and historical furniture.

An exhibit in Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail – Bodmin

If you’re after a location with even more intrigue, Bodmin Jail is the place for you! On the edge of the atmospheric Bodmin Moor, this immersive attraction takes you back to Cornwall’s dark past.

Built for King George III in 1779, the jail has been transformed into a thrilling spot for visitors to discover gruesome and paranormal stories from when it was a working prison.

For those that are up for a real fright (and are over 18), the Dark Experience offers an all-night ghostly tour, delving into the paranormal stories that have been experienced in various locations around the jail before leaving you alone in the darkness to contend with the ghosts of the past!

The exterior of the Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn – Bodmin

Cornwall’s rugged landscape has inspired countless authors over the years, with Daphne du Maurier being one of the most famous examples. Her best-selling novel Jamaica Inn was inspired by the iconic Bodmin inn of the same name.

Infused with romance and mystery, the inn is also home to a smuggling museum and hosts year-round events, including ghost hunts and murder mystery parties.

As you can see from these fantastic indoor attractions, there are so many varied experiences to be had all over Cornwall, whatever the weather! Why not discover these top spots on your next holiday at The Valley?

Image credit: Visit Cornwall