Set against a domineering backdrop of the Carn Brea Castle, Redruth, the town with a rich mining heritage and homes reflecting the grandeur of Victorian architecture, may not be the first place anyone would choose for a holiday. But this town with the largest metal mining area and the heart of Cornwall’s Tin Mining Industry back in the 18th century packs many a surprise for its visitors.
To convince you more to get to this less-picked town of Cornwall for your holiday, we urge you to read on.
Being right in the middle of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in recognition of its contribution to humanity in terms of its industry and landscapes, Redruth was one of the richest places in UK as the Cornish Tin attributed to abundance of local wealth.
As you walk through the streets you can feel the essence of its prosperous past with the many grand commercial building lines like the Old Mining Exchange, The Victorian Theatre, Coffee Tavern and many more.
Are you curious to know the story of Cornwall? Then Cornwall Centre at the Alma Place is where you should pay a visit. A hidden treasure of Redruth is on display here, The Tregellas Tapestries, which is a magnificent artwork of embroidery in 58 panels. It tells about the history, pre-history, legends, and so much more about Cornwall. Did you know it took three years to complete the entire work?
Want to see the first house to have a piped-gas lighting 200 years back? Come to Murdoch house, house of William Murdoch—the father of modern gas industry who invented the first piped-gas lighting. Have a Cornish past? This is the place to trace back your roots as today it houses the Cornish Global Migration Programme, which offers a wealth of information about thousands of Cornish migrants.
The Gwennap Pit will enamour you as soon as you set foot on it. A 12 tiered amphitheatre which stands as a memorial for the Methodist movement. It is the place where John Wesley preached 18 times giving hope and comfort to many locals when the town went through a bad patch. Have a bet with your friend and walk top to bottom and back again through all 12 tiers in the shortest time, your kids could even get a certificate if they finish this full course which equals a mile.
Go on a mining trail through the Mineral Tramways to know how the mines actually worked. The old engine houses and mine chimneys can let your imagination run wild by taking you back on a time travel where you can see the chimneys working and the Cornish men toiling. You can also see the tramways and rail lines that were used to transport ore and vital supplies from the mines to the local parts.
Make sure you go on the famous Town Trails of Redruth, which takes you by foot across many important historic buildings of the town. Check out the Mining Exchange where Copper and Tin were traded and where the Mine Captains could be fined for uttering profanities with the proceeds going to the Miner’s Hospital. Admire the Town Clock which housed prisoners in its police cells till 1841 and in 1904, was raised a whole storey to let miners who lived on top to see the time. Find the pre-Victorian Kings arms through the pillars of Tatie Court which derived its name when potatoes were sold here in ancient times.
Get to know the real Cornish life by taking the Plain-an-Gwarry trail which takes you through famous places like ‘The Elms’ or for a more religious experience choose the Churchtown trail and be fascinated with the oldest 6th century Parish Church St. Euny which is a beautiful yet poignant reminder of the dangers of mining.
Apart from its rich mining history and heritage, there are plenty of fun family activities on offer. Especially the Cornwall Gold and Town Museum with its plethora of workshops and activities on jewellery, pottery and painting, your kids can carry home a memorable piece of their own craft and jewellery. Look out for treasures of gold on the Wild West ranch and what’s more? Finders are keepers!
You will never be out of options for family day outs in this Cornish town. Ride on the train and watch the horses in their paddocks at the Moseley Toy and Train Museum. See the vintage model railways in action along with a huge collection of toys and curio exhibits and know more about the mining days from the galleries in the coal mines or watch a cinema at the famous Regal Cinema and Theatre or even learn indoor skiing at the Radnor Golf and Leisure.
There, we have given you so many reasons to put Redruth in your itinerary the next time you visit Cornwall.