Cornwall is packed with attractions and now that spring is in full bloom there are plenty of places you can visit to enjoy the sunshine.
From historic gardens, steam railways and other reminders of the county’s rich industrial heritage to adventure parks, historic jails and museums, staying in a luxury holiday cottage in Cornwall this spring is a must.
Here are some of the top attractions in the county that you can visit this spring.
Discover what life was like behind bars for an 18th century prisoner in the heart of Cornwall at the iconic Bodmin Jail.
Originally built for King George III in 1779, the jail was built with the help of the prisoners who brought 20,000 tons of granite from Bodmin’s Cuckoo Quarry and now visitors can explore the prison cells, wander through the depths of the jail, over six levels, and browse the exhibits.
The Execution Shed, a fully restored, 4.5-metre deep Victorian hanging pit, is the only one in the UK and therefore features as one of the many highlights of a tour around the prison.
If you love scary movies, then every Thursday from 9pm - 1am you can watch a horror classic - if you think you’re brave enough, that is!
There is a selection of food available, including traditional Cornish cream teas and plenty of light bites that you can tuck into during a tour of the prison.
Opening times: 9.30am – 8pm (1st May – 1st September), 9.30am – 6pm (31st August – 31st April).
Flambards Theme Park is famous within the county with its great mix of rides, indoor attractions and entertainment, making it a hugely popular attraction.
Now the weather is getting warmer, you can enjoy the Hornet Rollercoaster, take in the stunning views from the top of Skyraker and get wet on the Colorado River log flume.
If you like more relaxed and traditional rides, then the Carousel, Tea Cup Ride, Cornwall Eye or Balloon Race rides might be more up your street.
There are plenty of indoor soft play areas for families with little ones to enjoy as well as a large outdoor play centre, a laser maze, the Space Race attraction and a disorientation tunnel, to name but a few.
New for the summer, Flambards will be welcoming a new ‘Sky-Force’ ride, which will whizz high above the park. It is the perfect attraction for all you thrill-seekers out there.
Over May half term (27th May – 4th June) there will be a Circus Skills Week with lots of workshops run throughout it.
Opening times: 10am - 5pm every day from April to September.
Trebah Garden is a beautiful sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop. Visitors can explore under canopies bursting with exotic blooms and follow vibrant tunnels of colour that cascade down to a private beach on the enchanting Helford River.
Keen gardeners will be amazed by the 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias, which burst into life around this time of year.
This spring also saw the launch of the 2017 Amphitheatre Season, which fully kicks off with the Trebah Live Music Festival in May. Visitors can enjoy music, stand-up comedy, dance and puppetry.
The garden will also play host to a number of other exciting events, including the Alice Hext's Garden Party on May 1st and Trebah Late Opening on June 21st.
Opening times: 10am - 5pm all year round.
Geevor Tin Mine
Geevor Tin Mine is a great day out come rain or shine as the award-winning attraction offers you the chance to put your hard hat on and explore the mine, walk through the Hardrock Museum and discover things like how the rock was mined and then brought up from 500 metres below the ground.
The mine is steeped in history and visitors will discover that the mine was the last to work the world-famous St Just Mining District before closing in 1990. The mine also offers a fantastic coastal scenery. You may even recognise many of the sights you will see from the popular TV series, Poldark, which is set in the area.
In the Hardrock Museum there are plenty of exhibitions currently on display, including Inspirational Cornwall, which is running until 20th October 2017.
Opening times: Open Sunday to Friday from 9am - 5pm.
Holywell Bay Fun Park
Visitors can ride, slide, splash and spin at the free-to-enter Holywell Bay Fun Park.
There are more than 20 rides and attractions, an onsite diner and ice-cream parlour as well as some truly stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The park is just four miles from Newquay and within walking distance of the golden sands of Holywell Bay beach, so you can spend a few hours relaxing on the beach after your visit.
Visitors can enjoy the park’s F1 go karts, have fun squirting people on the Blaster Boats and can try Football Golf – an exciting fusion of sports, new for 2017.
Opening times: Park opens at 10.30am, but closing times may vary.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway
Journey into the park on one of the stunning steam engines and once inside Lappa Valley Steam Railway park there are a host of family-friendly activities to enjoy.
Large play areas, crazy golf and canoeing are just a few of the fun activities visitors can get involved in. There are also two further railways to explore.
The main attraction is, of course, the steam trains and Lappa Valley has seven of them; Zebedee no. 1, Muffin no. 2, Ruby no. 3, City of Derby, Arthur, Eric, Duke of Cornwall and 125 HST.
The Whistle Stop Café offers a variety of lunches, snacks and drinks available for refreshments and Lappa Valley Steam Railway’s ice-cream express will cool you down on a hot day.
Opening times: Open daily from 10am - 4.05pm.
The Minack Theatre is the most famous cliff theatre in Britain, and possibly even the world.
Carved into the granite cliff overlooking the spectacular panorama of Porthcurno Bay, three miles from Land’s End and nine miles south west of Penzance, the theatre was planned, built and financed by Rowena Cade.
Now visitors can not only see a variety of shows, but can head to the Rowena Cade Visitor Centre, which tells the remarkable story of how a girl who enjoyed the gentility of Victorian Cheltenham grew up to build an internationally-famous theatre with her own hands.
The 2017 season has already started with a bang and this is set to continue with plays, choirs and concerts all being hosted at the theatre. Some of the headline names visiting the Minack Theatre include Seth Lakeman and Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends.
Opening times: Open daily from 9.30am - 5pm.
St Michael’s Mount
One of the most iconic views in Cornwall is St Michael’s Mount and spring is a great time to visit this spectacular place.
Striding the causeway or crossing by boat will allow you to follow medieval pathways and explore sub-tropical gardens on the island.
You can climb to the castle and admire the spectacular views back over to the rest of Cornwall or hear the tales of the islanders.
By visiting this spring, you will be one of the first to experience the beautiful garden as it opened on 17th April. Tours, which are running daily until 30th June, allow visitors to meet one of the gardening team, who will tell you about the different plants that grow here.
Opening times: Sunday to Friday from 10.30am - 5pm.
National Maritime Museum Cornwall
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is located on Discovery Quay in Falmouth and is a great place to visit if you are staying in one of our English holiday cottages and homes in the west of Cornwall.
With over 15 galleries and interactive exhibits across the museum’s five floors, the collection of maritime artefacts spans The National Small Boat collection, artworks, maps and charts, memorabilia and other objects. With the museum even offering boatbuilding workshops, it is little surprise it has won a family-friendly museum of the year award from The Telegraph in the past.
One exciting exhibition that you can see this spring is Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed. The temporary exhibition, which will be running until
January 2018, offers visitors an insight into the history of British tattooing, with activities and displays featuring cutting-edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors, who come together to tell a story that challenges long-standing myths and preconceptions about tattooing when it comes to class, gender and age.
As part of this exhibition is the ‘100 Hands Project’. The concept is based around one hundred silicone arms, each tattooed with an original design by 100 of the leading tattoo artists working across the UK.
The second temporary exhibition for 2017 is the ‘Captain Bligh: Myth, Man and Mutiny’ display, which looks at the life of a notable West Countryman and significant national figure on the 200th anniversary year of his death. It also brings to life one of the greatest small boat survival stories in history.
Opening times: Every day from 10am - 5pm.
Hayle-based Paradise Park is an award-winning wildlife sanctuary that combines the chance to meet a range of animals with lots of fun rides and attractions.
Here, you can meet over 650 colourful birds including rare parrots, flamingos, toucans, red-billed Cornish choughs and a number of animals such as red pandas, penguins, otters, red squirrels, mini donkeys, pygmy goats, sheep, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Director Alison Hales explains why Paradise Park is one attraction you should have on your bucket list this spring.
She says, “Children love the penguins, especially the summer photocall at the end of the talk and feed sessions. During the ‘Flight of the Rainbows’ experience, you can buy small pots of nectar to feed the forty-plus Lorikeets that come swooping out from their enclosure down onto the awaiting crowd. It’s a fantastic experience!”
The ‘Free Flying Bird Show’, which runs from Easter to September, and the ‘Eagles of Paradise’ display are very informative and you are guaranteed to learn a lot about the majestic birds you have seen during the day.
Paradise Park is also home to a huge indoor play centre and its giant slides, challenging soft play area and a special toddlers’ zone, meaning there is something for everyone.
Opening times: 10am - 6pm every day (last entry is 5pm).
By visiting Pendennis Castle you can explore one of Henry VIII's finest coastal fortresses, which has helped defend Cornwall against foreign invasion since Tudor times.
During a trip to the castle, you can find out about how the castle has evolved and experience what life would have been like during Tudor times.
The centrepiece of Pendennis is the four-storey tower, home to a storeroom and kitchen in the basement, guns on two enclosed floors and an open roof with a lookout turret.
There are exhibitions looking at the role the castle played during the First World War and plenty of events you can visit this spring and over the summer period.
Clash is one such event taking place from 31st May-1st June. Here you can get involved in an all-action contest as four teams of knights battle it out for victory armed only with clubs and shields, strength and skill.
Opening times: Every day from 10am - 6pm.
Image Credits: Bodmin Jail, Flambards, David Chapman, Geevor Tin Mine, Holywell Bay Fun Park, Lappa Valley Steam Railway, the Minack Theatre, Mike Newman, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Paradise Park, Pendennis Castle.