From a small market town to being at the heart of the Cornish mining boom in the 1800s, Redruth has seen many changes. Nowadays, as you walk around the town there are still echoes of its prosperous and important past with many grand commercial buildings lining the streets like the old Mining Exchange where bidding for copper and tin took place, the Victorian theatre and the Butter Market. Today these buildings are home to many antique, curio and vintage clothing shops. To start your discovery of the town, why not take the High Street Town Walk, a audio tour using stories of the town, snippets of history, both old and contemporary, collected and reimagined...
Explore the World Heritage sites
With a history as deep as some of the mineshafts that surround the town, there is so much more to Redruth then you could ever have thought. The World Heritage site Gateway at Heartlands, to the west of the town, is just one place to explore, with 19 acres of State-of-the-art exhibitions, gardens full of diversity, sculptures and places to play for the children.
East Pool Mine is at the very heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. It houses the great beam engine in Taylor's engine house, originally powered by high-pressure steam boilers introduced by local engineer Richard Trevithick. Preserved in its towering engine house, it is a reminder of Cornwall's days as a world-famous centre of industry, engineering and innovation.The pumping engine is one of the largest surviving Cornish beam engines in the world.East Pool Mine is open by pre-booked guided tours only, five days a week from Tuesday to Saturday.
Gwennap Pit is another historical site that is a must see. It is less than a mile away from Redruth and is an open air amphitheatre that is still used as a place of worship today. It is thought to have been created when an old mine shaft collapsed (Don't worry it's compleatly safe!). John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, helped it to achieve its fame through his open air preaching that took place on the site between 1762 and 1789.
Wheal Peevor, a tin mine one mile north of Redruth, offers you the chance to explore a reclaimed mining site. With 12 mineshafts and three engine houses, all made safe and cleared of undergrowth for public use, it offers an interesting walk around an industrial site last used during WWI to mine wolfram (also known as tungsten). Activity sheets are available for younger explorers.
The mining history of Redruth is celebrated with the annual ‘International Mining and Pasty Festival’, it is a free event that takes place in September each year.
A little further away, on the outskirts of Camborne, is the King Edward Mine Museum. Unlike all the other mines in the surrounding landscape, this one has been unaltered for over 100 years, mainly because it was used for teaching practical mining skills from 1897 until 2005. The original equipment is in still in working order and the whole site is undercover, so good for a wet day!
Fun For the Family
Just north of Redruth you will find Cornish Gold, a multi-attraction visitor destination. There's the country’s largest jewellery showroom, a crazy golf course, you can build a bear or paint a pot , pan for gold or look around the old tin workings. There's even a large cafe for when you feel a bit peckish!
The aforementioned Heartlands has a wonderful outdoor play area and gardens that represent the parts of the world Cornish miners settled.
The Watersports and Angling Centre at Stithians Lake and Country Park five miles south of Redruth provides state of the art facilities for fun on the water. The lake is reputed to be one of the windiest inland waters in England so it’s a great location for sailing and windsurfing.
There are sandy beaches near by at Portreath and Porthtowan, both can easily be reached by bus from Redruth.
Trace your History
Redruth is now home to Kresen Kernow, a purpose built centre for all things historical and Cornish. You can just turn up and see what you can discover, check out the exhibitions, ask questions, or you an go on-line beforehand, trawl through the archives and book a session to view old documents etc.
Stay in the Area
Being close to the A30 the Redruth area makes an ideal place to stay if you don't mind not being in a busy tourist destination. With places like St Ives, Newquay and Falmouth all within a half hour drive, why not check out our accommodation pages?
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