This county has so much to offer, with miles and miles of coastline, historical towns and wild, wide open spaces keeping yourself and the family entertained shouldn’t be hard. However days out, especially with a family can be expensive so I have tried to put together some money saving ideas for fun things to do that won’t break the bank.
Other than the price of your picnic or the bus fare these things to do are all FREE!
So in no particular order here’s my top ten free things to do in Cornwall:
- Seal Watching at Godrevy: There are plenty of beaches around our coast where these entertaining beasties like to hang out, but by far the most reliable spot that I have visited is at Godrevy. Unless the weather is too hot the tiny cove is often packed and from the cliffs above you get a real birds eye view of the dramas below. It is a safe spot for watching them, barriers mean that you and anyone smaller can’t fall but you also won’t disturb the seals!
- Top Town Museums: Never underestimate the smaller museums. Towns such as Penryn, Helston, Lostwithel or St Agnes all have museums which are fascinating and completely free. They have displays on an array of amazingly diverse subjects and I have to admit it is the quirkiness that attracts me most, you never know what treasures they are hiding! These little museums are more friendly too because they are often staffed by local volunteers who are passionate about their town!
- Rockpooling and Crabbing: Call me a big kid but I love a treasure hunt and to me that’s what rockpooling feels like! You never know what you will see when you turn over that rock or peel away the seaweed! Whether it is a crusty Crustacean or a beautiful oyster shell the sea is a treasure trove. Crabbing can be hours of fun for the young or the young at heart! All you need is some string, something to use as bait (a piece of chicken will do) and something heavy to take your bait to the bottom. Go find yourself a pier and see what you can catch!
- Ancient History: Cornwall’s landscape is dotted with the silhouettes of our past. From the iconic engine houses left by mining to the ancient standing stones, almost all of them are free to visit. There is an enormous amount to see from the dramatic mine workings on the cliffs at Botallack to Iron Age hill forts and bronze age stone circles. Get you walking boats on and hunt down the nearest treasure.
- Stargazing: You may be surprised to learn that Cornwall has 3 designated Dark Sky Reserves meaning that on a clear night the heavens really do put on the most spectacular show. You can find these specials sights on Bodmin Moor and at St Agnes & Chapel Porth and Carnewas & Bedruthan Steps but of course the night sky all over Cornwall offers great stargazing opportunities all for free. There is no need for fancy equipment to enjoy what the night sky has to offer. Bodmin Moor which is also an Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty received its dark sky status in 2017 because of its low levels of light pollution and the clarity of the air so why not pack a flask of tea and go in search of a shooting star?
- Take a tour of Poldark’s Cornwall: Many of the locations used in this extremely population TV series set in the county are actually real places just waiting for you to find them. From Bodmin Moor to Charlestown, Holywell Bay to Porthgwarra there is plenty of stunning locations to find and if you are in the right place at the right time you might even catch them filming the latest series. You can download a free map for some of the locations here.
- Cycle from coast to coast: In just a few hours you really can cycle from one side of England to the other along the Minerals Tramway. This cycle route runs coast to coast from Devoran to Portreath for a distance of 22 miles. It takes you through a dramatic historic landscape dotted with old mine workings. Access is free and open all year round and there are numerous information boards along the way giving you historical and wildlife information. A real fun day out.
- Beach Combing: You might be surprised to known that one of Cornwall’s villages recently held an exhibition of some of the weird and wonderful things that have washed up on our county’s beaches. Some of the flotsam and jetsam you will find will of course be completely natural, from seashells to mermaid’s purses, all beautiful treasures to search for. But there is also some more unusual finds brought to our wild shores by the currents. A huge spill of Lego pieces in 1997 for example means collectors are still regularly finding pieces washed up. On the Isles of Scilly an 18th century shipwreck dumped millions of Italian glass beads on to the seabed near the island of St Agnes – I know this because I found one. Coconuts from the Caribbean are also frequent visitors. Oh and you could also do your bit for the environment by turning your little adventure into an importune beach clean!
- Galleries Galore: Did you know that there are more working artists in Cornwall then anywhere in the country outside of London? Visiting some of the local art galleries especially in and around St Ives, Newlyn and Penzance will give you a glimpse at their latest work. Although there is no charge for looking all the work is of course for sale so be careful that the delights on offer don’t have you unexpectedly reaching for your purse! One of my favourites is the St Ives Society of Artists Gallery a real treasure in the heart of the town.
- Free Live Music:The music scene in Cornwall is especially lively in the summer but you can still find venues offering great acts all through the year. The award winning Gylly Beach Café in Falmouth for example has live bands every a Sunday night even in the winter. The Studio Bar in Penzance also has a great reputation for introducing new acts. They showcase bands, comedians and poets and entry is free before 10pm. The Watering Hole, a pub literally right on the beach at Perranporth, is famous for its laid back summer gigs, some of them free, check their website for whats on. The Jacob’s Ladder Inn has live music or stand-up most nights and does a great Sunday Roast. The Bar 35 in Bude likes to support local bands and also whips up a mean cocktail.
Hope you enjoyed my ideas!
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