Kick things off with a trip to the National Aquarium in Plymouth, the largest public aquarium in the UK and home to the Atlantic Ocean exhibit – the deepest tank in the UK. Want more animal magic? At Dartmoor Zoo, say hi to reptiles, mammals, birds and amphibians from every corner of the planet.
If museums are your thing, Plymouth’s the place. The Gin Museum might be a bit grown-up, but Merchants’ House and the City Museum and Art Gallery will eat up the hours. At the Mayflower Museum, you can explore the story of the voyage of the Pilgrims to the New World.
Alternatively, hit the rails and discover an ex-Great Western branch line from Plymouth to Tavistock on the Plym Valley Railway or catch some stunning coastline aboard the Cremyll Ferry from Mount Edgcumbe to Plymouth Stonehouse.
For simpler pleasures, dig out the bucket and spade for trips to Whitsand Bay’s gorgeous golden sand, the rock pools at Portwrinkle and Downderry, or swim-friendly and sheltered Seaton Beach. Or check out pretty harbour towns at Kingsand and Cawsand.
History comes alive here in East Cornwall. Just a five-minute walk away to the historic Antony House, where Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice In Wonderland was filmed. Explore the Tudor collections, garden, quay and estate at Cotehele House. Learn about the Sir Francis Drake connections at Buckland Abbey, then visit Saltram, a house full of treasures, stories and intrigue with a secret garden to lose yourself in.
Explore the largest indoor rainforest in the world at the Eden Project, or find somewhere bigger and arguably better at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, home to walled gardens, fields, jungle and sculptures. Drive to Dartmoor for walks, winding moorland roads and 16th-century inns full of real ale, hearty meals and good cheer.
Get active at Combat Archery in Plymouth or The Big Shoot in Plymouth, a shooting ground at the heart of a stunning 1550-acre country estate. Or shoot 18 holes at St Mellion International, with its European Tour pedigree, or try some clifftop golf with far-reaching views at nearby Whitsand Bay.
Fish for carp and tench at Millbrook Coarse Fishery, or head to Bake Lakes for nine lakes and ponds set in 30 acres of glorious Cornish countryside. Hire bikes from Edge Cycles or Plymouth Bike Hire, boats from Cawsand Kayak Hire and horses from Fitzworthy Equestrian Centre.