1: Kota Kai and the Penrose Estate, Porthleven
Cornwall isn’t short of seaside cafés where you can hunker down and watch storms scud in over the sea. But nowhere caters for having in kiddies in tow like Kota Kai, Porthleven. Pop in for coffee, smoothies or a slap-up feast of Cornish produce, and make use of the family room complete with a skittles alley, beanbags, toys, books and sofas. You’re also only a few minutes from Penrose Estate, where you can don waterproofs and take buggies and bikes on a woodland stroll around Cornwall’s largest freshwater lake.
Kota Kai: www.kotakai.co.uk, 01326 574411. Penrose Estate: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/penrose-estate-gunwalloe-and-loe-pool
2: Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
If you don’t want to be out and about on Cornwall’s beaches, the next best place to meet the marine life is at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium. Meet sea cucumbers and spider crabs, watch the giant octopus at feeding time and see baby turtles. As well as informative talks about some of the sea creatures, the highlight is the underwater tunnel, where you can come face to face with stingrays, reef sharks and all sorts of colourful fish.
www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/newquay.htm, 01637 878134
3: Cardinham Woods
The Eden Project (www.edenproject.com) is the family Mecca for days out in the rain. After all, you can be in a warm, dry garden with all sorts of brilliant children’s activities on tap. But why not pull on your wellies and head into nature proper when the rain’s coming down? Under the towering canopies of Cardinham Woods you can follow treasure trails, play wildlife bingo and solve bird brain twisters on the four marked trails. And, with many families opting for indoor activities, you won’t have to queue for the delicious food in the Woods Café.
Cardinham Woods, Bodmin: www.forestry.gov.uk/cardinham. Treasure Trail cards £2 from Woods Café: www.woodscafecornwall.co.uk.
If you want to try surfing you’re going to get wet anyway, so don’t let a bit of rain put you off. Togged up in a wetsuit, you won’t care whether the sun’s got its hat on or not. If you really can’t stand the idea of getting in the sea in the rain, change into a wetsuit in the warm, dry changing rooms at Retallack Resort and Spa and practice your surfing techniques on the Flowrider simulated wave.
Children’s surfing lessons: www.activitybookingoffice.co.uk/activity/surfing-in-cornwall/1/
5: Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
One of the most popular rainy day attractions is the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (www.nmmc.co.uk), in Falmouth. But often overlooked is the smaller Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, which harks back to a time when Cornwall was at the forefront of world communications. On the site of the first undersea cable (laid in 1870), you can now explore WWII tunnels, follow quiz trails, enjoy hands-on exhibits or dash out onto the pearly sands of Porthcurno beach between showers.
www.porthcurno.org.uk, 01736 810966