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By Parkdean Resorts on 25/01/2023

It goes without saying that the Great British staycation often means you can expect some Great British weather along with it – but a little bit of rain doesn’t mean you have to compromise on fun on your UK holiday. Come rain or shine, you’ll still be able to stay dry whilst experiencing plenty of fantastic cheap family days out!

If you’ve booked a holiday in Cornwall and are planning rainy day activities, look no further – we’ve compiled a definitive guide to just some of the best free and cheap things to do in Cornwall in the rain, from animal attractions to museums and more.

Don’t forget, we provide loads of exciting activities at our 8 holiday parks in Cornwall too – meaning if the weather is particularly bad, you won’t have to travel far to enjoy yourself. To find out more about what each individual park has to offer, head to your chosen park page and select the ‘Facilities’ tab from the menu.

Free things to do in Cornwall in the rain

When the rain hits, you don’t need to spend a fortune on visiting local attractions, there are plenty of excellent free things to do in Cornwall. Here are some of our favourites:

Truro Cathedral

  • Address: St Mary's Street, Truro, TR1 2AF
  • Price: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Truro Cathedral at sunset

The majestic centrepiece of Cornwall’s only city, Truro Cathedral provides an enriching visitor experience in awe-inspiring surroundings – plus, it’s something free to do in Cornwall when it’s raining. Alongside its regular services, you can sit back and listen to music from the cathedral choir, or simply wander around and witness the beautiful features, including the circular stained glass window and the brass eagle lectern.

There’s also a gift shop and restaurant which serves hot and cold food, as well as a selection of sweet treats if you want to indulge yourself.

Helston Museum of Cornish Life

  • Address: Market Place, Helston TR13 8TH
  • Entry fee: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5/5

Old machinery inside Helston Museum in Cornwall

The Helston Museum of Cornish Life is ideally placed for those holidaying on the Lizard Peninsula or along the coastline between Prussia Cove and Porthleven. Here in the heart of Helston, you can explore the Cornish culture of both the 19th and 20th century in one of the largest social history collections in the South West, there are plenty of family friendly activities to enjoy here from a play area to a dressing up section. The museum even welcomes well behaved dogs - should you have your four-legged friend in tow.

Bude Castle

  • Address: The Wharf, Bude EX23 8LG
  • Entry fee: Free
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

A visit to the Bude Castle is one of the best free things to do on a rainy day in Cornwall. The castle was the home of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney who was known for playing an essential part in construction of the first steam vehicle that could travel a long distance at a steady pace. During a visit to the castle, you can learn all about him and the town. Be sure to check out the art galleries in the nearby area, and if the rain stops, have a slow meander around the grounds of the castle.

Cheap things to do in Cornwall in the rain

Here are some of our favourite cheap attractions to do in Cornwall in the rain:

Pendennis Castle

  • Address: Castle Drive, Falmouth, TR11 4LP
  • Price: Prices vary depending on the time of year you visit, however, off-peak tickets start from £11.30 for adults or £6.80 for chidlren. Entry is free to English Heritage members
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

An aerial photo of Pendennis Castle on top of a headland surrounded by sea

The dramatic coastal fortress of Pendennis Castle was constructed in the 1500s by Henry VIII in order to defend Cornwall against invasion. These days it’s owned by English Heritage and is one of the most popular things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining, given that most of the attraction is indoors. Marvel at some extraordinary weaponry displays from the World Wars and explore the Tudor Keep, before making your way to the roof to enjoy amazing views from its imposing position on the headland.

Top tip: Visit at half term or during the run-up to Halloween or Christmas and the kids can get involved in a wide variety of themed, family-friendly activities.

Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay

  • Address: Towan Promenade, Newquay, TR7 1DU
  • Price: Adults £13.25, children £10.25. Family tickets are also available for £45. Tickets must be pre-booked online up to 1 hour before arrival
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5/5

One of our favourite things to do in Cornwall in the rain has got to be a visit to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. Home to an assortment of both local and exotic marine life, like freshwater turtles and a giant octopus, it’s a great way to while away a couple of hours if you want to stay under cover. Follow the underwater tunnel and you’ll be surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and colourful sea life flitting above your head, then join one of the talks where staff share their knowledge about all things aquatic.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

  • Address: Discovery Quay, Port Pendennis, Falmouth, TR11 3QY
  • Price: Adults £15.50, Children £7.75
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

Immerse yourself in Cornwall’s fascinating nautical history with a visit to the National Maritime Museum, with 15 galleries showcasing the influence of the sea on its culture. It’s an indoor activity in Cornwall that the whole family can enjoy, with interactive displays and a Treasure Island Play Zone for the kids. Discover the RNLI Rescue Zone, get involved in a boat building workshop and even go underwater and look out to the harbour to watch the tide come and go through the windows.

Top tip: Once you've paid for your ticket, you can then return to the museum for free for a whole year.

Paradise Park & JungleBarn

  • Address: 16, Trelissick Road, Hayle, TR27 4HY
  • Price: Ticket prices vary depending on whether you book only the park or the JungleBarn too, find out more here
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

If it’s rainy day activities in Cornwall for the kids you’re after, they certainly won’t be disappointed if you treat them to a day out at Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary. This award-winning attraction boasts a diverse selection of unusual birds, as well as red pandas, otters and farm animals. Get up close to your favourites at a feeding or one of the flying shows, then explore the open air development and the walk-through aviary. One of the highlights for children has got to be the JungleBarn - a huge indoor soft play area with giant slides, ball pools and a toddler zone for them to run wild.

Top tip: If their little legs start to get tired, you can continue to venture around the park via the Jungle Express Train which snakes around the grounds.

Carnglaze Caverns

  • Address: St Neot, Liskeard, PL14 6HQ
  • Price: Adults £8, Children £5
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

There’s no better way to stay sheltered from the bad weather than by venturing 60 metres below ground! Explore the Carnglaze Caverns, a former slate mine where you can journey through a self-guided tour all about Cornwall’s industrial history. You’ll be rewarded at the end of the tour with the impressive sight of a crystal clear underground lake, then head back to the surface and you’ll find a circular woodland walk offering panoramic views.

Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre

  • Address: 3, Lighthouse Road, Lizard, Helston, TR12 7NT
  • Price: Adults £8.50, Children £6.50, which includes the heritage centre and lighthouse tour - it's cheaper if you only visit the centre and grounds
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

A whitewashed lighthouse on top of a hill

The Lizard Lighthouse was constructed back in the mid-18th century and its iconic tower marks the most southerly point of mainland Britain. It’s one of the highest rated indoor activities in Cornwall so is well worth a visit and a great way to spend a rainy day out. You’ll learn all about what it’s like to live and work in a lighthouse, as well as getting the opportunity to view the engine room, several historical artefacts and some interactive displays in the visitor centre. Not to mention the glorious views you’ll witness from the top!

Tate St Ives

  • Address: Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, TR26 1TG
  • Price: Adults £10.50, children under 18 are free. Booking online in advance is recommended
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3/5

The scenic harbour town of St Ives is world-renowned for its rich art culture and if you’re heading there for a day trip, why not pop into the town’s very own Tate Gallery? Featuring the iconic work of local artists, you can wander freely to enjoy the exhibitions before retiring to the café for refreshments with a sea view.

Top tip: If that wasn't enough to satisfy your art fix, there's another museum close by which showcases the work of Barbara Hepworth, as well as a sculpture garden.

Pirate’s Quest Adventure Golf

  • Address: 22, St Michael's Road, Newquay, TR7 1RA
  • Price: Adults £11.50, Children £7.95
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5/5

Kids watching a pirate talk

Transport yourself back 300 years and embark on this exciting 12 hole adventure golf course, rife with the history of smugglers and pirates! Putting a spooky spin on crazy golf, Pirate’s Quest is one of the most popular things to do in Cornwall in the rain, particularly with families with kids. Begin your adventure at Shipwreck Cove and make your way through an assortment of themed holes, special effects and live performers, before finishing your quest aboard the Captain’s Ship.

Rainy day things to do in Cornwall on a bigger budget

Eden Project

  • Address: Bodelva, Par, PL24 2SG
  • Price: Adults £32.50, Children £11
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

Plants inside the biome at Eden Project in Cornwall

It wouldn’t be a holiday in Cornwall without a trip to the Eden Project – and with the attraction being largely housed beneath its famous biomes, you’ll be sheltered from the elements too! This giant crater has been transformed into magnificent tropical gardens and visitors can explore the world’s largest greenhouse inside the Rainforest Biome, along with the sights and smells of Europe within the Mediterranean Biome. With lots of interesting exhibitions to get stuck into, plus a zip wire and other adventure activities outdoors if the rain eases off, you’ll be kept well entertained. There’s also a variety of cafés on site serving up responsibly sourced, freshly made produce.

Bodmin & Wenford Railway

  • Address: General Station, Harleigh Road, Bodmin, PL31 1AQ
  • Price: Adults £19.90, Children £10.50
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

One of the best things to do in Cornwall when it’s raining that all ages will love is riding the Bodmin & Wenford Railway, a 13 mile countryside voyage aboard Cornwall’s favourite steam train. Placed within the beautiful Glynn Valley and 20 metres above the River Fowey, this 2 hour train ride begins in Bodmin and ascends towards the Quarry Curve, before approaching Boscarne Junction. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to hop on and off to stretch your legs and you’ll experience some amazing views along the way.

Top tip: The attraction prides itself on being dog-friendly, so why not bring your pooch along with you to join in the fun?

Bodmin Jail

  • Address: Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin, PL31 2NR
  • Price: Adult tickets are £18.50, family tickets are also available
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4/5

Exterior of Bodmin Jail in Cornwall

Regarded as one of the most haunted places in the UK and an important part of Cornish history, step inside the spooky walls of Bodmin Jail and prepare to be scared! Your journey begins with the Dark Walk, where you’ll discover more about miners and smugglers, then after winding your way around a variety of remarkable features of the prison, you’ll end up in the final area – facing the executioner and original hanging pit. This attraction certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted!

Top tip: Looking for days out on a wheelchair-friendly holiday in Cornwall? Bodmin Jail is now fully accessible and a passenger assist vehicle can be booked in advance if required.

Have we missed any of your favourite Cornwall rainy day activities from our list? Share you recommendations with us on Instagram. For even more ideas, head to our Cornwall local attractions page. Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list to be first in line for our exciting offers and latest deals, your next Cornwall break could be just a few clicks away.