A Seriously Soggy National Seal Sanctuary

We had planned, on the rainiest day of our holiday, to be proper anoraks and go visit Goonhilly Down, the sight of the first open parabolic satellite telescope (yes, we are dorks). Sadly the visitor centre closed down 2 years ago and hubby’s childhood dreams in ruins. Cynics amongst us might say ‘if he cared that much, surely he knew’, but oh well. We did manage to take a very windy photo in front of Arthur, spot the Segway tours you can now do there and quickly get back in the car.

So off we sped, in the torrential rain, to the National Seal Sanctuary in the awesomely named town of Gweek. Given the gale force winds and sideways rain, we probably could have made a better choice. None the less, Weasel enjoyed running around in her splash suit (second hand from P.O.P., a bargain in their Children in Need fundraiser, seriously one of the best purchases ever made) and looking at seals, sea lions, owls (a special guest) and penguins. Sadly we couldn’t face the 500 meter walk to the otters in the downpour and the wicked looking pirate playground was just too soggy to contemplate.

Rainy day appropriate? Hmmm, probably not. It is mostly outside and pretty exposed. There were small shelters everywhere to try to combat this, but you probably get a lot more out of it in the sun.

Food: There was a small restaurant and a couple of stands. On such a wet day they did struggle to accommodate everyone. We got super lucky and walked in straight to a free table with 2 chairs and what looked like the only high chair. Many had to stand outside with their sausage sandwiches and Cornish pasties. Weasel had a kiddie box for £4, of which mostly the Hula Hoops got eaten – go figure.

Changing: Interestingly, the two sets of toilets are right near the top of the hill at the entrance due to not being able to build any too close to the protected estuary (curious how many of the boats in the Gweek boatyard next door are so kind with their waste). So you have to go before you take the train down, or face the 15 minute walk back up or bumpy train ride with a full bladder. Changing facilities are at the top with the loos.

Verdict: go when it’s sunny. I imagine the views are spectacular and the playgrounds and rock pools would look much more inviting not having to peer out from under rain soaked foul weather gear to see them.


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