Here Comes the Summer
Here comes summer, and even in this post-covid world, Cornwall is ready to welcome you with attractions and events galore. Here are ten fun things you can do with the family, to suit all pockets; prices where featured are for a two-adult family admission.
Experience sub-tropical Trebah Gardens
Four miles of footpaths wind through dazzling exotic planting, including a gunnera valley and champion trees, to a private beach that made history during the Second World War. Trebah’s owners range from wealthy Quaker Charles Fox, who lived here for 40 years from 1838, to racing driver and car designer Donald Healey, who used some of the outbuildings to develop his famous Healey cars from 1961. A memorial commemorates the courage of 7,500 US servicemen, who left the concreted beach on June 1, 1944, heading for the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach in Normandy, where they suffered grievous casualties. Outdoor theatre includes charming family show Dandy Lion (until August 6), Romeo And Juliet (August 13) and live music from Kernow Chamber Players and folk supremo Seth Lakeman. £36. More info here
Fireworks at Flambards
Ask any local child where they want to go, at any time of year, and Flambards theme park will be at the top of the list. In August, it plays host to evening events including live music, after-dark rides and spectacular firework displays. New for 2021 is the Western Mine Train, which transports guests back 200 years on a whistle-stop tour of the American Frontier, travelling through the twisting tunnels of an abandoned mining town. Or take a white-knuckle ride on the Sky-Force ride which exerts a force of up to 3G whilst simultaneously spinning 360 degrees (not one for after lunch). Should it rain, check out the undercover attractions: discover Britain in the Blitz, and an entire Victorian Village with real cobblestones. £70.
A pop-up summer of fun in Porthcurno
Porthcurno is famed for its beautiful beaches and the Minack Theatre, but it once boasted the largest telegraph station in the world. During the Second World War, Allied communications were conducted here in a bunker protected by armed guards and bomb-proof doors. PK Porthcurno is now a museum dedicated to global communications, and its pop-up summer of fun offers a different activity each day until August 31, from testing your Morse code skills on Tuesdays to doing the Cable Long Jump on Porthcurno beach on Saturdays! LEGO fans will love a plastic-brick reimagining of the first undersea telegraph cable landing at Porthcurno in June 1870. Open daily, 10am to 5pm. Dogs welcome. £26.
Picnics and adventures at Heligan
No one does summer quite like Heligan. This year, you can book a Great British Picnic and savour it in one of the specially created picnic spots across the estate; marvel at the wildflower meadow in full bloom, a feast for pollinators; set off on a Jungle Adventure in the Lost Valley or play garden games on the East Lawn. Special wildlife events include bat nights and moth-trapping. Look out for In Nature’s Hands, a new art installation by artists Jasmine Fassenfelt and Rebecca Knight. Open daily, 10am to 5pm. Summer activities until September 5. £48. Find out more here..
Take a train back in time at Bodmin
Everybody loves a train ride, especially if it's a steam train. Journey through the glorious mid-Cornwall countryside down to the Fowey River or out to the Camel Trail (or do both) as you would have done 70 or so years ago. The Bodmin branch line, from the main line, opened in 1887, with trains climbing the steep incline to Bodmin General Station, still the embarkation point today, full of Victorian charm. Another line, opening a year later, linked with the railway to Wadebridge. Enjoy the ride and then have a look around the shop, or a snack in the cafe. £45.50
Falmouth puts on its glad rags in August. Falmouth Week (August 6 to 15) offers a variety of sailing and shoreside events, with a world-class aerobatic display from the Red Arrows on August 11, seven days of regatta action on the water, a 40ft Victorian carousel on The Moor, an outdoor movie screen in Kimberley Park, evening entertainment on Discovery Quay, the Action Sports Tour stunt bike display team on Church Street Car Park, an RNLI Fun Day at Custom House Quay, plus fabulous fireworks and dragon-boat racing. Soak up the atmosphere – and why not park and float, or choose public transport to avoid hunting for a spot?
National Afternoon Tea Week
August 9 to 15 is National Afternoon Tea Week, and where better to celebrate than the home of the cream tea? Treat yourself to some home-baked scones (preferably plain), some proper Cornish clotted cream (we love Rodda’s), and some luscious strawberry jam such as that made by Boddington’s of Mevagissey. Add some Cornish tea (Tregothnan, anyone?), find yourself a scenic spot and tuck in. But don’t forget: it’s jam first this side of the Tamar (and indeed anywhere civilised)!
Donation Days at Lusty Glaze
Lusty Glaze beach in Newquay has teamed up with Cornish charities to hold Donation Days, raising awareness and funds throughout August. Beach owner Tracey Griffiths says: “Many charities have been particularly hard hit over the past 18 months, with fundraising events cancelled and volunteers thin on the ground. Spending the day at Lusty Glaze on one of our Donation Days means you’ll not only have a great day out, but you’ll also be giving back to people who need your help most.” Selected charities include Cornwall Hospice Care, Citizens Advice Cornwall, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Young Lives vs Cancer, Children’s Hospice South West and Sport Cornwall Foundation. Donation Days will take place on August 9, 13, 20 to 22 and 26.
Is it football? Is it golf? No, it’s FootballGolf! This unusual sport uses the same rules as golf, but instead of using clubs, players kick a football into a hole. Simples! Negotiate hazards and obstacles along the way for a fun and challenging game. Suitable for all ages, with two 18-hole courses: level Parkland, and the self-explanatory Hillside. Find it in St Austell. £26.
National Lobster Hatchery
Padstow’s lobster hatchery is a marine conservation, research and education charity considered a centre of expertise on the commercial species that is European Lobster. It’s worth a visit to learn more about its work in a fun way. Hundreds of lobsters are hatched here daily; meet them and learn how they will grow into adults with a potential 30-year lifespan. You can even adopt one and follow its progress on the tracker page. Elsewhere, hear fishermen’s tales in the new activity room; discover the ancient world of lobsters in collaboration with Manchester Museum, which has loaned Crustacean fossils dating back 500 million years; and pick up tips on how to save our seas (SOS), from releasing juvenile lobsters into the ocean to restock our natural lobster population, to everyday changes like reducing plastic usage. £19.75.