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Minister for Tourism meets with top Cornish visitor attractions

Posted on Friday 18th September, 2020

Minister for Tourism meets with top Cornish visitor attractions

Representatives from Cornwall’s top tourist attractions have met with the Minister for Tourism, Nigel Huddleston MP, during his visit to Cornwall this week, giving them a platform to talk about the county’s response to coronavirus and how our visitor attraction industry has responded.

The Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage visited the Eden Project, Bodmin Jail and Paradise Park during a week in which he held meetings with business across Cornwall – including hotels, accommodation providers, hospitality businesses and visitor attractions.

During a series of visits, led by Malcolm Bell of Cornwall’s official tourism body, Visit Cornwall, the Minister heard about ways in which our visitor economy has been affected by the pandemic, and listened to calls for further support.

On Friday morning (18.09.20), Mr Huddleston was at Paradise Park to meet with Jonathan Bray, chair of the board of directors of Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions – along with Malcolm Bell, George Eustice MP and Nick Reynolds, owner of the Hayle wildlife sanctuary.

Jonathan said: “Meeting the Minister provides a valuable platform for Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions to highlight the needs of our industry. It gave us a chance to talk about what is needed and to raise this at a national level.

“We are incredibly proud of the visitor attractions we work with – they have become stronger together and bonded as a business community, working very hard to ensure their survival in the face of a global pandemic.

“There are many positive stories for our industry, showing how we have been able to pivot and adapt in these unusual times – but this doesn’t negate the fact that for many of our Cornish tourism businesses, these are very tough times and the winter is going to present further financial challenges.”

Key discussion points during the meeting included:

  • While many visitor attractions have risen to the challenge of reopening safely during a global pandemic, many will be unable to recoup the losses incurred by the lockdown at the beginning of their peak season
  • Cornish visitor attractions are facing a ‘three winter scenario’ in terms of income – three periods of significant loss back to back, with many of the smaller Cornish visitor attractions taking on personal debt to survive
  • The funding support for cultural and heritage organisations and charities has been welcomed by many of our members, but it has highlighted a funding gap for smaller attractions who do not fit into these categories
  • The negative effect that any short lockdown over the October half term would have on trade, at a point when many businesses who survive on the visitor economy need this revenue to see them through the winter
  • Many visitor attractions are already making redundancies or undergoing restructuring programmes – this is likely to increase further when the furlough scheme comes to an end in October.

Nick Reynolds, owner of Paradise Park – along with his sister, Alison Hales, who co-owns the wildlife sanctuary – also discussed the combined plight of wildlife organisations, who are less able to make staff cuts as they have animals that need to be cared for year round.

Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall, has been lobbying hard to have children excluded from the Rule of Six when COVID-19 control methods are next reviewed. This would allow families to have multigenerational breaks, which are particularly popular in Cornwall on the shoulder months of the season.

During the Minister’s visit, the Paradise Park team demonstrated various free flying bird displays. The Cornish Choughs were of particular interest, as the attraction has been part of a breeding programme that has seen many choughs reintroduced into the wild.

Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions, alongside our industry partners Visit Cornwall and Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, will continue to lend our voice to lobbying calls for continued financial support for the tourism industry.

Jonathan continued: “While we are pleased to have a better summer season than we could have expected at the start of the lockdown, there is no escaping the fact that 2020 continues to present challenges in the tourism sector. Despite healthier visitor numbers than anticipated in July and August, many visitor attractions will see reduced revenue and visitor numbers for this year.

“At CATA, we will be speaking regularly with colleagues across the industry and presenting our views on the impact to our organisations. We’ll be working with those colleagues to lobby government for continued support.”

Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions, a regional industry group set up in 1974 to act as a voice for the Cornish tourist attraction industry, works with almost 40 of the county’s best visitor attractions. Providing support, peer networking, quality assurance and a promotional platform for the attractions, the Association has become an important tool for many of our local businesses. 

 

Wheal Martyn’s Our Proud Roots Project Gains Funding

Posted on Wednesday 12th August, 2020

Wheal Martyn’s Our Proud Roots Project Gains Funding

Wheal Martyn Clay Works are proudly celebrating their local landscape, environment and people through ‘Our Proud Roots’, a new project funded by Feast and Cornwall Community Foundation.

The project is a chance to explore and reflect on what makes our place and community special, through a new perspective on our changed world.  It presents a new opportunity to re-discover nature and the wonderful effects it has on the body and soul.

Wheal Martyn are inviting the community to take part in a programme of creative, hands-on family activities over the summer.  You can join in from home, in your back garden, in your own front room or out in nature.

Your creative ideas will inspire a co-created arts performance by SpinDrift Dance Collective at Wheal Martyn on 19 September, as part of the Whitegold Festival of Clay. Book to see the performance and join the silent disco or watch it online. This will be a celebration of what makes our place and community special – sharing Our Proud Roots.

Gemma Martin, Education Officer at Wheal Martyn, said, “We are so pleased to have this financial backing at this difficult time as we try to serve our community during Covid-19 restrictions and concerns.  This support really helps us to react to what our community has found supportive during this crisis.  It seems that the benefits of getting out into nature and re-connecting to our local landscape has really helped people in lockdown.  We wanted to celebrate this connection to our local landscape, and we hope that people will join us in building a very creative response to our beautiful area!”

To get involved, visit the Wheal Martyn website https://www.wheal-martyn.com/our-proud-roots to download the Activity Pack and get creative, using the worksheets and videos to guide you. Once you have completed an activity, submit your ideas to suziespindrift@yahoo.co.uk with a short explanation of what inspired your creation and what you are proud of in your local area. 

Wheal Martyn are delighted to have been awarded funding from FEAST and Cornwall Community Foundation for this engagement project.  FEAST is a programme to make great art happen across Cornwall. FEAST harnesses the talents and energy of Cornwall’s artists and communities, generating new opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. The focus is on bringing people together to share experiences as audiences or participants, and on animating local celebrations and cultural life. 

Investment for FEAST comes from Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. The programme is managed by Creative Kernow. 

Wheal Martyn Clay Works is a museum and heritage centre on the outskirts of St Austell, Cornwall.  Set in 26 acres, the collections and historic buildings are preserved to tell the story of Cornwall’s largest mining industry. There are opportunities for learning and community engagement – ever more important today as fewer people have first-hand experience of the industry which shaped the lives of people, landscape and economy in mid-Cornwall.

Wheal Martyn welcomes dogs, and has a café and gift shop, which are free to enter.

Wheal Martyn (PL26 8XG) is just six miles from the A30 on the B3274, 2 miles north of St. Austell. 

 

The best arts and culture attractions in Cornwall

Posted on Tuesday 11th August, 2020

The best arts and culture attractions in Cornwall

Cornwall is a rich tapestry of cultural experiences. For generations, this place has been an escape for creative minds, leaving a vibrant legacy of galleries, museums and theatres. Here, you’ll find the space to immerse yourself in tales from our past or to experience groundbreaking new artists.

Imagine spending time together atop Cornwall’s dramatic coastline, watching acclaimed performances at the Minack Theatre. Discover more about the astonishing story of Rowena Cade, who built the theatre into the cliffs with her own hands. Just next door, beside Porthcurno Beach, is PK Porthcurno. This hidden gem was once at the heart of a communications revolution and has a fascinating WWII history.

The mining industry is a vital part of Cornwall’s heritage, and CATA has two member attractions that tell important tales of our mining past. In west Cornwall, Geevor Tin Mine offers an insight into life underground and shows the mine exactly as it was on the day it closed its doors for good. Over in east Cornwall, Wheal Martyn highlights the stories of china clay miners and the industry that shaped the landscape of this area.

Go as a family and follow in the footsteps of kings, soldiers and sea captains at two of Cornwall’s legendary castles. Set on a headland with breathtaking views out to sea, Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses. Or immerse yourself in history, myths and stunning scenery at Tintagel, set high on Cornwall's rugged north coast. Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur, for centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers and artists.

Overlooking the Atlantic, Tate St Ives celebrates the artists who have made Cornwall their home and explores their links to the local area. From there, it’s just a short walk to the Barbara Hepworth Museum, which displays a collection of the renowned sculptor’s work that’s not to be missed.

At the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, learn all about the unbreakable ties between the people of Cornwall and the briny blue. The exhibitions at the Falmouth museum unravel fascinating tales of life on the ocean, from plucky Packet Service crews to modern-day explorers.

Not far down the road in Truro, the Royal Cornwall Museum provides an interactive and family friendly experience. The museum’s collection is a testimony to Cornish life and culture, with an eclectic and varied series of exhibitions exploring many different aspects of our county – all in a way that visitors (of all ages) will love.

Remember to check on each attraction's website to see whether they are open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many attractions will have changed their opening times, and all those who remain open during the pandemic will have safety measures in place for your wellbeing. Many attractions will require you to think ahead, plan your trip and book your ticket in advance.   

It's National Marine Week - how can you help?

Posted on Wednesday 5th August, 2020

It's National Marine Week - how can you help?

As part of National Marine Week, we're delighted to feature a guest post from Georgina Shannon, one of our colleagues at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Marine conservation and the safety of seals in our Cornish waters is core to the work of the team at the Sanctuary. Here's her top tips on how you can play a part in helping to preserve ecosystems and do your bit for our planet. 

 

Happy National Marine Week! Each season, the Sanctuary rehabilitates over 70 seal pups that have been rescued for various reasons, from malnourishment to being separated from their mum. We also provide a permanent home for animals that require life-long care from our expert team.

Conservation is at the heart of everything that we do at the Sanctuary and our goal is for our guests to always come away from a visit having learnt a bit more about what they can do to look after our oceans. 

Here are 5 tips that you can do to look after our wonderful planet and oceans, helping to protect  animals and eco-systems.

1) Do a beach clean! When visiting your local beach, take a bag and pick up any rubbish that you find. If you don't live near a beach, why not do a clean of your local park or around where you live? The Sanctuary run monthly beach cleans which you can join us for, they are on hold at the moment, but we will let you all know when they are back up and running!

2) Avoid single use plastic - With 8 million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean each year, there could be a pound of plastic for every three pounds of fish in the ocean within the next decade alone. There are so many amazing re-usable products out there now, see what switches you can make in your everyday life. 

3) Choose ocean friendly cleaning products - unfortunately a lot of our everyday cleaning products that we pour down the sink then end up in rivers, streams and ultimately the ocean, causing ocean pollution. Look out for products that are ocean friendly and non-toxic when it comes to choosing your house hold cleaning products.

4) Try to decrease your carbon footprint - In the last half-century, the ocean has absorbed 90% of the excess heat created by burning fossil fuels. That’s led to warmer waters, which can affect where fish swim, bleach coral reefs, change how marine species reproduce, speed up sea-level rise, and even alter weather events on land. Decrease the effects of climate change on the ocean by cutting your carbon footprint at home: turn off lights and unplug electronics when you’re not using them, adjust your thermostat, walk or ride your bike to work. 

5) Always be respectful of wildlife - as exciting as it is to come across animals in the wild, always keep your distance and be respectful not to disturb them. Often during the pup season here in Cornwall, you may come across a seal pup on the beach. We advise you to keep your distance, admire from a far and please call us here at the Sanctuary if you think you have spotted a seal or pup that may need our help.'

For more information about the important conservation work of the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. you can find out more here:

https://sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org/en/

 

 

 

 

 

The best family days out in Cornwall

Posted on Tuesday 4th August, 2020

The best family days out in Cornwall

Experience some of the most exciting, intriguing and family friendly days out in Cornwall, with something to entertain everyone.

For history-lovers, there’s plenty to see. At Bodmin Jail, learn what life was like as a prisoner in historic Cornwall and peer into the grisly Execution Shed: a restored Victorian hanging pit. Just down the road, experience the nostalgia of Bodmin and Wenford Railway. Travel by steam on Cornwall’s only full-size railway, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era.

If you’re looking for excitement, the theme parks of Camel Creek at Wadebridge andFlambards at Helston are just the ticket, with rollercoasters, thrill rides and gentler fun for the little ones. Or get your adrenalin pumping at Hangloose at the Eden Project, where you can pick from one of nine heart-racing activities – including a world-famous zipline over the top of the biomes.

Next door is the Eden Project itself – a must on many Cornwall to-do lists. At this living theatre of plants and people, you can experience a rainforest in one biome and the Mediterranean in another. Not far away is The Lost Gardens of Heligan: another impressive site with a fascinating story. One of the most mysterious gardens in England, it was lost for decades before being rediscovered by chance.

Visiting with children? Ride a steam train into a hidden valley of adventure at Lappa Valley, near Newquay. And at Dairyland Farm World, discover all the fun of the farm, including tractor and pony rides, and feeding time with the animals. Let the kids run off steam and get some friendly competition underway at Cornwall Football Golf near St Austell; all ages will love this maddeningly addictive outdoor game.

If you’re keen to try a Cornish tipple or two, take a trip to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm – home to the famous Cornish Rattler. Or if beer is more your thing, head over to the St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre to find out more about their 160-year history in brewing some of Cornwall’s most popular drinks.

Legendary Jamaica Inn, immortalised by Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, is perched on wild and windswept Bodmin Moor. While being home to many of the author’s personal possessions, it also hosts an intriguing smuggling museum. And if that ignites your interest in all things maritime, wonder at Europe’s largest collection of shipwreck finds at Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum.

Land’s End is famed for its unique location and spectacular views, but there’s also fun to be had at this family attraction. Enjoy the interactive entertainment before you embark on stunning coastal walks – and don’t forget to have your picture taken at the landmark sign!

Be curious and explore the best our beautiful county has to offer - read some of our other blogs to discover more places to visit. Uncover the stories behind some of our most beautiful gardens and houses, be excited at our fascinating attractions and theme parks, and learn and discover about Cornish heritage, culture and art. Find out what some of our attractions are doing to ensure conservation of important species, and what others are doing to raise awareness of plastic pollution and sustainability issues. There’s so much to discover!

Remember to check on each attraction's website to see whether they are open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many attractions will have changed their opening times, and all those who remain open during the pandemic will have safety measures in place for your wellbeing. Many attractions will require you to think ahead, plan your trip and book your ticket in advance.  

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