A rainy day in Cornwall: family fun in wet weather

16th September 2022

We can’t pretend it’s always sunny here. After all, how would Cornwall have its beautiful gardens without a splash of rain?


When you’re on holiday with the kids, the prospect of keeping everyone entertained (and reasonably dry) can be a daunting one. But never fear! There’s plenty to do in Cornwall on a wet day, at any time of year.

Here are some of our tried-and-tested rainy day activities.

Rainy Day Attractions in Cornwall

You can pre-book many Cornish attractions, which is a good idea during busy periods like school holidays. Keep an eye on the long-range forecast and plan ahead.

The Eden Project combines indoor and outdoor areas, and there’s plenty for all ages to enjoy at this large attraction. You’ll certainly keep warm on a cold day in the famous biomes, and look out for special school holiday activities at Eden. There’s a choice of places to eat and plenty of facilities like loos and baby changing.

Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is another popular family day out. It’s simply one of our favourite rainy day places, and because so many Cornish families agree with us, it’s always worth pre-booking.


Two children reaching out for a stingray at the Blue Reef Aquariam in Newquay on a rainy day in Cornwall

Source: Let’s Go with the children


Pendennis Castle in Falmouth (English Heritage) is an exciting place for imaginative kids to visit. Its keep recreates the sights and sounds of a battle, and there are other indoor spaces to explore. The castle’s website has details of which areas are open and how to book.

Falmouth is also home to another one of Cornwall’s top indoor attractions, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The current special exhibition is about “monsters of the deep”…

For older families, try one of our most local attractions, Tate St Ives. Here’s what’s on display at the Tate at the moment, as well as how to book your Tate visit.

Another popular local place is Paradise Park in Hayle. Wildlife parks can be a bit miss-and-miss for wet-weather days out; however Paradise Park has a massive indoor area, the Jungle Barn, with a cute area for littlies, and enough tricky things to climb up and slide down to keep older kids engaged. For the parents: coffee and WiFi.

Rainy Cornish Beaches

We actually love our beaches in wet and windy weather, especially the ones right on our doorstep in St Ives. The sea has a really special beauty on a wild day; and a walk across the sands against the wind is truly exhilarating.

“Wild swimming” has become increasingly popular, and if you and your family have the right kit and experience, this can be an exhilarating experience on a calm but rainy day. Just be aware that there’s no lifeguard cover after the main season.

Rookies and little kids may prefer a paddle in a sheltered spot like St Ives’ harbour beach, or the pretty mini beach in Mousehole. Warm up afterwards with a takeaway hot chocolate.


Young child wearing a wetsuit and holding a surfboard on a rainy day in Cornwall

Source: Seavenger

Indoor Swimming Pools Near St Ives

Wild swimming may be popular, but it’s not compulsory! Take the kids for a warmer dip in our local pool at St Ives Leisure Centre. It’s just behind the large car park at Trenwith, so between Polmanter and the town centre. There’s a baby pool as well as a main pool, so it’s a good choice for young families.


There’s also a main pool and baby pool at Penzance Leisure Centre, which is just a short drive from St Ives and has free parking. For a luxurious dip, treat yourself to a day pass for the pools and spa at Una St Ives in Carbis Bay. This costs £20 per adult (£10 for children and £5 for under 11s), but you will get use of the facilities all day for this. With an excellent restaurant-bar onsite, you can easily make a day of it.


More in the mood for a splash around? Take the kids to Newquay Leisure World, which has a flume, slides and a giant floating snake. It shares a car park with Newquay Zoo, so can get busy. On the other hand, if you really want to tire out the kids, you could always squeeze in both places…


For a calmer swim, you can book the private indoor pool in Boswedden House near St Just. The heated pool is just 7.5 metres long; however it’s a lovely spot, and perfect if you or your family need a quiet venue. You get the whole pool and facilities to yourself for the hour of your reservation, for just £6 per adult and £4 per child.

Indoor Play Near St Ives

The Jungle Barn at Paradise Park is one of the best-loved indoor play spaces in West Cornwall. However, there are other soft play places to try, not least our fab indoor play area and climbing wall at Polmanter!


Brewer’s Fayre Loggans Moor (outside Hayle, near the M&S roundabout) has a soft play area which can be visited separately to the pub. It costs £3.50 for a 90-minute session. Parents can make the most of the comfy seats and bottomless coffee.


There’s fun mining-themed soft play at Heartlands Cornwall (Pool, near Redruth). Again, there’s tables and beverages for waiting parents, as well as snacks for the young miners. When the sun comes out, there’s lots of playing space outdoors, too. Please book tickets for Wheal Play in advance.


For something a bit different, Rollers Roller Rink (also in Pool) is a fabulous neon-coloured riot of an afternoon out, with a good-sized roller skating rink, an arcade and a bar-restaurant (try their pulled pork fries). With disco lights and high-octane music, it’s definitely one of the liveliest ways to spend a rainy day. Book in advance to make sure you get a slot.


Under the Canopy

Sometimes, the family simply needs to be outdoors, and a rainy day is the perfect time for a spot of forest bathing. Grab your wellies and head off to explore our local Steeple Woods (we can give you directions), or take a short drive to Trevaylor Woods near Penzance (beautiful but very muddy).

Head up the A30 to Tehidy Woods near Redruth. There are lots of lovely lakeside paths in Tehidy, along with Cornwall’s cheekiest squirrels. Further afield, Cardinham Woods near Bodmin is a great spot on a rainy day, with a choice of pathways and a welcome café. There are also great places to explore in the woodlands and estate at National Trust Lanhydrock (Bodmin again), with the bonus of a large stately home to retreat to if the rain gets too persistent.



Child splashing in the puddles on a rainy day in Cornwall

See a film or show

And after lunch? St Ives’ Royal Cinema is open for pre-booked tickets. It has sister cinemas in Penzance, Redruth and Falmouth, so check out Merlin Cinema’s website for an overview of what’s on. Newlyn Filmhouse has extremely comfy seats and an excellent café-bar, and if you’ve taken yourself to Truro for a wet-weather shopping expedition, see what’s showing at the Plaza on Lemon Street.


There’s also a large, recently refurnished theatre in Truro, Hall For Cornwall, although this may need a bit of forward planning during the holidays. Back in St Ives, there may even be a Kidz R Us matinee as an extra special rainy-day treat.


So, embrace the rain, and take the opportunity to explore new places and try different things. If you want any more suggestions, just ask any of us at Polmanter. We’ve all had the experience of entertaining (or being) wet-weather kids in Cornwall!

Any Excuse…

A rainy day is a fantastic excuse for lunch out. Kid-friendly restaurants in St Ives include The Hub, Beer & Bird and Scoff Troff. You’ll need to reserve a table in advance, so if it looks like rain’s coming, get booking. You’ll probably need to reserve a table in advance, so if it looks like rain’s coming, get booking. And after lunch? St Ives’ Royal Cinema is open for pre-booked tickets.

On a warmer rainy day, there’s nothing quite like a sheltered outdoor spot for lunch or a drink. Birdies Bistro and The Old Forge (both Lelant, just outside St Ives) have inviting covered outdoor seating, or you could be lucky and get one of the coveted pods at Porthmeor Beach Café.

So, embrace the rain, and take the opportunity to explore new places and try different things. If you want any more suggestions, just ask any of us at Polmanter. We’ve all had the experience of entertaining (or being) wet-weather kids in Cornwall!

Rainy Days In Cornwall By Location

Here’s our at-a-glance guide to rainy-day places in and near St Ives.

St Ives

Tate St Ives

The Leach Pottery

St Ives Leisure Centre

Una St Ives

Royal Cinema

Kidz R Us Theatre

And plenty of windswept beaches!


Penzance and Newlyn

Penlee House Museum & Gallery

The Exchange

Newlyn Art Gallery

Penzance Leisure Centre

Savoy Cinema

Newlyn Filmhouse



Paradise Park & The Jungle Barn

Brewer’s Fayre Loggans Moor



Regal Cinema

Wheal Play at Heartlands, Pool

Rollers Roller Rink, Pool

Tehidy Woods




National Maritime Museum Cornwall

Pendennis Castle

Falmouth Art Gallery

Phoenix Cinema



Hall For Cornwall

Plaza Cinema

Royal Cornwall Museum



Further afield

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

Newquay Leisure World

The Eden Project, St Austell

Cardinham Woods, Bodmin

Lanhydrock House, Bodmin