Blogs for May 2021

May Half Term at Cornwall's top attractions

Posted on Monday 31st May, 2021

May Half Term at Cornwall's top attractions

With high hopes for sunshine this May half-term, many families will be looking for great days out in Cornwall during the school holidays. With Cornwall’s top attractions open and welcoming visitors through their doors, we’ve put together a list of some of the best half-term activities on offer during these school holidays.

Go as a family and make memories that will last for years.  From country houses and castles to mines and museums, gardens and galleries to theme parks and railways – Cornwall has a wealth of attractions to choose from. Whether you’re visiting for a short break or happy to call this place home, make each day a discovery.

May half term runs from Sat 29 May - Sun 6 June 2021. Check admission times, dates and booking processes on the attractions website before arrival.


Bodmin Jail

Stilt Walkers, Circus Workshops and Dreckly the Dragon will all be making an appearance at Bodmin Jail on Monday 31 May.

Unlike the Beast of Bodmin Moor, Dreckly is quite a friendly beast and will be greeting visitors within the walls of Bodmin Jail for the Spring Bank Holiday in Cornwall.

There will be 'Prison Break' stilt walkers who will entertain as well as an interactive, Covid-Safe Circus Workshops* including:

  • Slack lines (all ages)
  • Tight rope (minimum height requirement applies)
  • Balance Boards
  • Stilts
  • Mini Clown bikes
  • Unicycling
  • Hula hoops
  • Juggling

Camel Creek

Head to Camel Creek from Monday 31 May and travel back in time 150 million years for Dino Week.

Release your inner dinosaur and run wild to unearth some hidden secrets.

Get up close to real-life dinosaurs in the daily shows, find clues and follow the trail around the park using our brand-new app or learn all the fun facts in our educational stands.

This is all part of the weeklong event this May Half Term.

You can purchase tickets online now and save 10% by using the discount code ‘ONLINE10’ at checkout or download the Camel Creek app for exclusive offers and discounts during your visit.

Eden Project

Join the Eden Project for the reawakening of their gardens this May half-term – they will be celebrating with daily live music sessions in the Med Biome, and a new family trail around the gardens showcasing the incredible resilience of plants and the amazing journeys they take to provide our world with wild and diverse flora.


An exciting new ride will be unveiled for visitors toFlambards Theme Park during the half term holiday.

It will be all aboard on the Western Mine Train, which journeys back 200 years in American history to give a glimpse of the Wild West.

The whistle-stop tour of the American Frontier involves travelling through the twisting tunnels of an abandoned mining town to experience life in the Old West.

In line with government guidelines, visitors can also step back in time to discover Britain in the Blitz, The War Gallery and Aviation Experience and an entire Victorian Village – all under one roof after indoor attractions reopened on May 17.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

For May half term the National Maritime Museum Cornwall are taking things off-site and online and heading to the shores of our seas. With The Rock Pool Project, discover mini monsters on the trail along Falmouth’s seafront and get crafting with their live online Make and Takes at Home.

Paradise Park

In between meeting the birds in the aviaries you can explore the grounds of Paradise Park on your own dinosaur expedition. Search for the dinosaurs and their eggs, answer all the questions and the Paradise Park team will award you their special ‘Paradise Park Professor of Palaeontology’ certificate!

Pendennis Castle

Kids rule at Pendennis Castle this May half term! Join the Pendennis team in the grounds of the castle to watch performances, listen to storytellers, and spend time as a family in the great outdoors.

  • 11am: The power of the Longbow
  • 12pm: Lurgies and Leeches
  • 1pm: The power of the Longbow
  • 2pm: Lurgies and Leeches
  • 3pm: The power of the Longbow
  • 4pm: Lurgies and Leeches

PK Porthcurno

Be a PK star and pick up a Planet PK Pebble Hunt trail from the museum's front desk.

Look out for their hand painted pebbles inspired by wildlife photography from Planet PK hidden in and around the museum building and gardens.

‘I’m a PK Star’ stickers available on completion of trail.

Free with museum admission. Find out more here.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Sat 29th May - Sun 6th June 2021: Daily 10am – 5pm, Located on East Lawn

Wild Week returns to The Lost Gardens of Heligan this May half term and you’re invited to rediscover your wild side, to restore your survival skills and to enjoy a week of much needed outdoor play.

Begin your day by exploring the Giant’s Head Adventure Trail and follow the route to East Lawn.

Gather your tribe, paint your own face, and get ready to take part in their wild activities.

Join the Heligan team as they take on the challenge to create an enormous world record breaking insect hotel! Insects are incredible and so important to us all so go along to learn why. Help the Heligan staff to build the new insect hotel that will provide a safe place to take shelter and to hibernate for a variety of creatures. To beat the record, Heligan will need help from all you Heligan Wild Things!

Discover their survival skills enclosure where the team from Canoe Cornwall will teach you how to throw an axe like a woodsman, and to take aim and fire with our target practice lessons. What skills for survival in the wild will you learn?

Trebah Garden

Trebah Garden are hosting the Trebah Sketchibition during May half-term.

Be inspired to sketch in the garden with top tips from their artist in residence Ben Sanderson.

Download some sketching sheets from their website and bring your own materials to create your own addition to the  Trebah ‘Sketchibition’.

Add your picture to the Trebah-inspired art wall onsite - or upload it to Facebook by ‘checking in’ at Trebah, if you would rather take it home.

Wheal Martyn

This half-term, try a selection of self-led clay and nature inspired activities. Pick up your bag of clay from reception for a small charge of 50p and get creative outside in 26 acres of outdoor space at Wheal Martyn.

You can make whatever you’d like with the clay - you might be inspired by the Wheal Martyn historic trail, or you could take a walk along their nature trail and create clay faces for the trees. Look carefully at the trees to find their natural shapes to use in your designs.

Don’t forget to forage for leaves, sticks and feathers to add to your clay face too. Wheal Martyn has lots of outdoor space for you to explore and have fun with.

Pre-booking is required for your visit, but booking is not required for the activities themselves.


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

We work with Cornwall’s best tourist attractions to offer great days out, whatever the weather. Come rain or shine, you can be sure that a visit to a CATA-affiliated attraction will give you one of the best days out in Cornwall!

New Western Mine Train Arrives At The Flambards Station This May Half Term

Posted on Monday 24th May, 2021

New Western Mine Train Arrives At The Flambards Station This May Half Term

An exciting new ride will be unveiled for visitors to Flambards Theme Park during the half term holiday.

It will be all aboard on the Western Mine Train, which journeys back 200 years in American history to give a glimpse of the Wild West.

Local family the Harrimans (pictured) enjoyed first experience of the ride after winning a VIP trip to the attraction.

The whistle-stop tour of the American Frontier involves travelling through the twisting tunnels of an abandoned mining town to experience life in the Old West.

“We are really pleased to be able to offer a new ride for families to enjoy at the park in 2021. The team have been busy theming the set over the winter season and we are ready to unveil it this May half term,” said Richard Welby, Flambards manager.

In line with government guidelines, visitors can also step back in time to discover Britain in the Blitz, The War Gallery and Aviation Experience and an entire Victorian Village – all under one roof after indoor attractions reopened on May 17.

Whilst exploring the cobbled streets of the 19th century, families can also take on the Whodunit Trail and hunt for clues amongst original artefacts from the Victorian period.

There is a life-sized village including the local pub, greengrocer’s, ironmonger’s, butcher’s, shoemaker’s and even an apothecary – everything from a schoolroom and blacksmith’s to the fire station, all of which is home to thousands of genuine artefacts.

If adrenaline rides are your thing, head back outside and take a spin on the Hornet rollercoaster, enjoy the views from the top of SkyRaker, Thunderbolt and prepare to get wet on the Colorado River log flume. For those feeling really brave, the Sky-Force whizzes high above the park.

For the younger visitors, there’s plenty of rides and play in Ferdi’s Funland. There are life-sized dinosaurs on an adventure in Jurassic Journey and a Dino-Nursery housing the latest arrivals, with a chance to join the dino-dig to unearth fossils.

Flambards, Helston, Cornwall TR13 0QA. Tel: 01326 573 404 or visit for more information. Tickets booked online in advance save 10%. 


Eden Orchestra tunes up for a magical May half-term

Posted on Monday 24th May, 2021

Eden Orchestra tunes up for a magical May half-term

Vibrant musical performances, fluttering flags, family trails and a sense of celebration await visitors to the Eden Project this May half-term.

The new programme sees the return of the Eden Orchestra, eight Cornish musicians who form exclusively to perform at the Project.

Visitors will be able to hear the joyful sounds of the orchestra live in the Mediterranean Biome, where the musicians will be playing at four socially-distanced stations.

The 30-minute sessions will take place five times a day and will cover everything from classical to pop.

The performances are designed to create a continuous sound throughout the Biome, allowing audiences to hear the music and soak up the atmosphere as they enjoy their journey.

A brand-new trail for all the family showcases the incredible resilience of plants and the amazing journeys they take to provide the Earth with wild and diverse flora.

Visitors can discover the stories of 11 different plant species, found throughout Eden’s gardens.

By flying, floating and making underground networks, these plants have travelled the globe in their quest to survive, giving us hope for a continued diverse planet.

Using their activity sheets, young adventurers can imagine themselves as a plant and design their own journey of survival, while trying to find eight giant seeds hidden within the Biomes.

In the Stage area, a graphic-based exhibition celebrates 20 years of Eden, highlighting the project’s many achievements since its doors first opened in March 2001, including its international projects and its work with Eden Project Communities and The Big Lunch. The exhibition looks to the future with ‘Make the Change’ exploring ways we can all work together to make a difference and work towards a positive future.

Within the exhibition lies the Little Land of Big Lunches. This impressive 2.5m² model village was commissioned by the National Lottery and creates a replica of real Big Lunches.

Adding to the festival-like atmosphere are 36 flags, each four metres in size, flying high in the Arena area, whilst bunting and ribbons decorate the Eden Project site to compliment the general refreshing and repainting of various areas.

Following the longest closure in its 20-year history and a huge team effort to prepare the site for reopening, Eden welcomed its first public visitors in five months on Monday May 17.

The Eden Project has hailed a recent £249,500 grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through Arts Council England as a huge boost for the organisation’s cultural programme as it bounces back from the closure. 

It was one of more than 300 organisations receiving a grant, channelled through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, aimed at having a positive impact on the sector now and into the future.

Eden’s Director of Interpretation Jo Elworthy said: “After an heroic effort by all involved to get our wonderful venue ready for reopening, we are delighted to be able to welcome visitors this half-term with a new programme full of creativity, hope and joy. A huge thank you to Arts Council England for supporting this cultural programme and helping us on our road to recovery.”

Eden is continuing to limit guest numbers and has timed ticketing so that social distancing can be maintained with confidence. Tickets must be pre-booked online through



National Trust welcomes visitors back to its historic houses and collections in a Year of Treasures

Posted on Monday 17th May, 2021

National Trust welcomes visitors back to its historic houses and collections in a Year of Treasures

  • Houses across the South West will start to reopen from 17 May and welcome visitors back.
  • As Trust places reopen to the public Director General thanks members, donors and government schemes for their support during closure
  • Staff and volunteers have been working behind the scenes to get houses and collections ready for visitors.
  • Conservation work in Trust houses and collections has continued during the pandemic and many houses displaying objects as part of a Year of Treasures.

National Trust houses and other properties in the South West will start to reopen their doors to visitors from 17 May following the Government’s easing of Covid restrictions. 

Staff and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes to get properties ready to reopen safely with social distancing in place.

Some small properties or rooms which cannot accommodate social distancing will reopen later once Covid restrictions are lifted or when repair or redisplay work is completed.

Hilary McGrady, Director General, National Trust says, “This is a big moment that we have all looked forward to for months as we welcome people back safely, to spend time together at their favourite properties. 

“Hundreds of our parks, gardens and countryside locations have already reopened, but we know how much our members and supporters have been looking forward to returning to see our houses and collections again.

 “Our places are nothing without our visitors there to enjoy them and our staff and volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes, cleaning chandeliers, polishing floors and dusting books, to get everything ready. It is a matter of huge relief, pride and gratitude that the places in our care can start to reopen following closure due to the pandemic. Not a single place will be lost to the public. The cultural treasures that are our shared inheritance are waiting – for everyone.”

During the pandemic conservation work has continued in Trust’s houses across the South West, including;

  • At Montacute House in Somerset where a portrait of William Phellps has been restored and cleaned.
  • Dyrham Park in Gloucestershire will be redisplaying two rare 17th century Flemish tapestries which have returned following specialist conservation.
  • At Newark Park in Gloucestershire a stained-glass window on the stairs was removed for conservation at Holy Well Glass conservation studio in Wells and was replaced on the Monday that the country went into lockdown last March.
  • At Cotehele in Cornwall the team erected scaffolding up in the Great Hall to allow the conservation team to get up high (even higher than the Christmas garland) to dust the rafters of the Great Hall ceiling.
  • At Castle Drogo in Devon, visitors will be able to see the Castle back once again to normal following extensive conservation work to make the building watertight.
  • Lanhydrock’s iconic main kitchen rooms have all been re-presented for the new season ahead designed to show the hustle and bustle of a country house kitchen

The reopening of houses also coincides with the Trust’s focus this year on its collections and the one million items it looks after, with many properties featuring in a new book celebrating 125 treasures in the charity’s care.

For example:

  • A highlight at Stourhead in Wiltshire is its heavily decorated 16th century Pope’s Cabinet. Following a year-long conservation project in 2006/7 Dudley Dodd and Simon Jervis wrote an epic volume about the cabinet which can be seen in the Cabinet Room.
  • Visitors to Greenway in Devon, will be delighted to see that Humphrey the camel has returned. It was a gift to Agatha Christie, the bestselling crime author from her husband Max, and is one of the most important objects at Greenway.
  • At Kingston Lacy in Dorset a life size bust of a commanding Roman male is on display, discovered in Alexandria in Egypt and brought to the property by Egyptologist William John Bankes for his collection.
  • Buckland’s Rembrandt is safely back from his holidays (he enjoyed his Lockdown in Amsterdam) and he is back in the Georgian dining room at the property. The painting was on loan last year as part of a major exhibition at the Museum, De Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands
  • At Knightshayes in Devon the Xanto plate which depicts a battle between the Romans and the Samnites will be on display in the morning room
  • At Dunster in Somerset, the painted leather hangings are arguably the rarest and most important pieces in Dunster's collection. Telling the love story of Antony and Cleopatra, they are made of calfskin, embossed and painted to give a three-dimensional appearance.

Andy Beer, Director of Operations, National Trust says, “Our houses have been closed and treasured collections haven’t been seen for some time. But a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes. As a result of some of the changes we’ve had to make during the last year we have looked at new ways to present and share places and their individual stories, for example by introducing guided tours to bring them to life, as we have done for years with places like the Beatles’ houses and the Back to Backs. These tours will, we hope, give visitors a more in-depth experience and a personal welcome.”

Hilary McGrady concludes, “We could not reopen so many of our places or carry out essential conservation without the patience and support of our members, visitors, donors and government schemes throughout this pandemic. And we are enormously grateful to our volunteers for the roles they have played, and will be playing again, as they return to our properties.

“All the support we have received has made the difference to the National Trust being able to continue its work and ensure that our places remain here for everyone to enjoy.”

Entry arrangements for houses will vary so please check property web pages before visiting.

Cornish tourist attractions look forward to a successful summer as further restrictions are lifted

Posted on Thursday 13th May, 2021

Cornish tourist attractions look forward to a successful summer as further restrictions are lifted

Cornwall’s top tourist attractions will be able to fully re-open from Monday 17 May offering visitors the chance to experience the beauty of Cornwall and make some new memories across the county.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown means Cornish tourist attractions have had varied reopening dates – but this latest announcement means both indoor and outdoor attractions are now able to fully reopen their doors and welcome visitors to all areas of their experience.

Attractions offering outdoor experiences were able to open from Monday 12 April. This latest stage of restriction easing allows those attractions to open all areas of their site. It also allows indoor only attractions – such as museums and galleries – to open to visitors for the first time in many months.

The reopening of all of our visitor attractions this month - alongside the opening of the majority of the accommodation sector – adds further momentum for the Cornish visitor economy.

Jon Cummins, Chair of the Board of Directors at Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions, said: “We’re delighted that all of our attractions are now able to reopen fully and welcome visitors safely. We are hoping for a strong spring and summer season for the visitor economy. Early signs are that Cornwall will be busy and that there is a strong demand for visitors to get out and about over the coming months.

“Our member attractions can’t wait to welcome both locals and visitors alike back to our attractions over the coming months, but we do advise all visitors to plan ahead and book tickets in advance as it will be busy. The majority of Cornish attractions will be requesting everyone to book as to help us maintain safe numbers and to ensure everyone has an enjoyable visit.”

Cornish visitor attractions reopening week commencing Monday 17 May, or that have already been able to open their doors, are:

  •  Bodmin Jail
  • Bodmin and Wenford Railway
  • Camel Creek Adventure Park (15/16 May for members and 22/23 May for general public)
  • Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum
  • Cornwall FootballGolf
  • Cornish Seal Sanctuary
  • Dairyland Farm Park (reopening 29 May)
  • Eden Project
  • English Heritage: Pendennis Castle and Tintagel Castle
  • Flambards
  • Geevor Tin Mine
  • Hangloose
  • Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm
  • Jamaica Inn
  • Jubilee Pool
  • Lands End
  • Lappa Valley
  • Minack Theatre
  • National Lobster Hatchery
  • National Maritime Museum Cornwall
  • National Trust Cotehele
  • National Trust Glendurgan Garden
  • Natiional Trust Lanhydrock
  • National Trust Trelissick
  • National Trust Trengwainton Garden
  • National Trust Trerice
  • Newquay Zoo
  • Paradise Park
  • Pencarrow House and Gardens
  • Pinetum Gardens
  • Royal Cornwall Museum
  • Screech Owl Sanctuary
  • St Michael’s Mount (reopening again on 23 May, following a handful of opening dates released earlier this month)
  • PK Porthcurno
  • Tate St Ives
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan
  • Trebah Garden
  • Wheal Martyn

Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions (CATA) was formed in 1974 to create and promote top-quality visitor experiences in the region. Today, the association comprises almost 40 of the best attractions in Cornwall, with a supportive network encouraging knowledge sharing and collective action – and almost all of their attractions will be re-open from next week.

Senior business leaders in Cornwall were quick to voice their support for the planned reopening.

Malcolm Bell, CEO at Visit Cornwall, said: “Cornwall is wonderful every year - but with the staycation boost, Cornwall is blessed with such a great range of high-quality attractions that will satisfy all their interests and passions of our visitors.

“We are strongly advising everyone to plan and book ahead to make the most of their stay or day out so that they can create great memories to last them a lifetime.”

Kim Conchie, CEO at Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: ”All the signs indicate Cornwall being the UK’s number 1 staycation destination for 2021. Guests have already started arriving at self-catering houses and you can hardly find a room anywhere from humblest campsite to glitziest hotel until November.

“We want all our visitors to have a great time, be safe and be litter-free. We hope they will be kind to the thousands of people serving them in restricted conditions and revisit us for many years to come.

 Visitors to Cornwall’s top attractions can be assured that appropriate COVID-19 safety measures will be in place, and all attractions will follow recommended government guidelines.

Picture credit: Tate St Ives

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