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A ice cream at the beach on a rainy day in Cornwall

Because sometimes you just can’t rely on British weather…

We’ve all been there, meticulously planning and counting down the days for a holiday in the UK and the weather just doesn’t cooperate. When you think of Cornwall, your first thoughts may be sunny beaches and enjoying an ice cream, but the coastal region still has plenty to offer even when the weather isn’t on our side.

So, if it’s forecasted rain during your holiday in Cornwall - fear not! We’ve chatted with Susan Deakin, Manager of Visit Newquay and her colleague Amy Smith, Senior Assistant. As well as Joel Bishop, owner of Westcountry Surf School to discover the best things to do on a rainy day.

Surfing in the rain

You may think of the beaming sunshine when you imagine surfing in Cornwall, however, it’s also a great activity to do in the rain. Joel says, “Obviously surfing is a good one because you're gonna get wet anyway, so people need to overcome the fear of that because honestly, people don't realise how much fun it is just surfing in the rain.

In the sun, you have to wear sun cream or you get burned. I would say it's worse surfing in the sun than it is in the rain, your wetsuits are so good these days you won't see any difference in temperature and sometimes when it's hot you have to take your wet suit halfway down. Everyone's sweating.”

Two friends sitting on surfboards in the rain

Susan also recommends surfing in the rain, “You can do a surf lesson in the rain, we've all done that because you're gonna get wet. One of the memories of when I was little if it rained in the summer holidays, we'd still go down the beach even if it's raining.”

Joel adds, “Cornwall is very outdoorsy, so it can be a nightmare in the rain, but anything sea-based or water-based then you’re fine because you’re going to get wet anyway. Just because it's raining shouldn't stop you from going to sea, you get more wet walking on a beach in your clothes than you do in a wetsuit because they’re designed to be wet.”

It seems Cornwall’s beaches are a place to enjoy rain or shine!

Indoor activities in Cornwall for families with young children

Susan recommends heading to Trenance Gardens and Leisure Park, “which is where the zoo is and a boating lake and [there’s] a couple of places to eat down there.” Trenance Leisure Park also has Newquay Leisure World (formerly Waterworld), hosting indoor swimming pools, flumes and an indoor trampoline park.

Amy tells us where she would take her children on a rainy day in Newquay, “Camel Creek is one that I would go to if it's a rainy day they do have indoor and outdoor [attractions]. You've got the trampoline park which is quite new and it's big as well. For younger children, you've got a soft play bit and for older children you've got the trampoline park.”

Kids going down a slide at an indoor soft play

Camel Creek Family Adventure Park is in Wadebridge and has plenty of outdoor rides and attractions as well as The Playhouse, an indoor soft play area perfect for the little ones on a drizzly day.

Dairyland Farm Park in Newquay has an indoor play area, ideal for a day out with the kids when seeking shelter from the rain. Amy tells us, “Also, Dairyland is one to watch at the moment because they're getting a lot of investment and doing a lot of things.”

Amy also suggests Lappa Valley, a Newquay tourist attraction, “I like Lappa Valley, they're doing a lot of work at the moment for accessibility. You get a little steam train in and then it's just a children's attraction, so it's got soft play, a lake, little trains, crazy golf that kind of thing.”

Things to do with the older kids when it rains in Cornwall

So, we know there are plenty of indoor play areas for the little ones, but what if your children are a bit older? Joel tells us, “Another thing I would say is the Eden Project - that's really good.” The Eden Project boasts one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests, visitors can explore huge Biomes taking in the plant-based exhibits and the wonders of nature.

At Trenance Park you’ll also find Trenance Cottages which date back to the 1800s, as Susan explains, “We've got the Cottages, they've been refurbished back to their former glory and they're run by volunteers. They are something that it is nice to go and have a look around because it's the history of Newquay and the history about the family, you can listen to those stories with headphones.”

A cuttlefish in an aquarium

A great day out rain or shine is the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, Susan explains, “It's a small cute aquarium, which is really lovely. You see local little creatures and things in there, which I think is nice to see what you're gonna get in the sea that’s right in front of you.”

During the summer, children of all ages can enjoy the circus, as Susan tells us, “The circus comes to Newquay in the summer and they're up near the Dairyland.” Paulo’s Circus is in Newquay July-September with shows at both 5 pm and 7.30 pm.

Indoor activities near our Cornwall holiday parks

If the weather just isn’t playing ball (or you simply fancy checking out the great attractions recommended above regardless), here are our nearest Cornwall holiday parks.

Local insiders

Susan Deakin of Visit Newquay Susan Deakin


Susan has lived in Newquay for over 50 years, as well as starting her family there and raising her two children.

Susan’s main objective and role with Visit Newquay is to continue to restore the region to its former glory as a tourist destination for families to make memories.

Joel Bishop of Westcountry Surf School Joel Bishop

Westcountry Surf School

Joel has lived in Cornwall his entire life, growing up in Looe. He opened his surf school 10 years ago in Watergate Bay.

Joel has a passion for the Cornish beaches and surfing, describing his business as a lifestyle.

Amy Smith of Visit Newquay Amy Smith

Senior Assistant

Amy was born and raised in Newquay and now lives there with her children, enjoying all the coastal region has to offer.

Amy manages the day-to-day of the Visit Newquay website as well as their social media, encouraging people to share her love of the area.