On the Wednesday of my children's February half-term holiday we drove to Perranporth in Cornwall for a run on the beach. Sadly, by the time we got there the rain was so bad that it was lashing against the windscreen and I could hardly open my car door against the wind. I couldn't quite persuade my family to enjoy a beach day in such arctic conditions so the buckets and spades stayed in the car. A quick consultation of the Classic Guide found a place within five miles which advertised free parking and free entry, two phrases which excite my wife enormously. Which is how we ended up at Healey’s Cyder Farm.
There are some places that only get discovered on rainy Wednesdays and we stumbled onto one of them. I’m sure that a visit to a cider farm isn’t a top priority for many families but the destination delivered with the promised free parking and free entry to most of the attraction. This was all a little misleading though as someone was soon offering us a tour which we’d have to pay for, and large signs showed various prices to visit the main part of the factory. If we’d not known that most of the farm was free we could easily have been misled by these signs and paid for a tour. For bigger fans of cider than us the tour includes a journey through the museum, a trip to the distillery, and a good look at the ultra-modern production facilities where many great ciders including the famous Cornish Rattler are made.
Without paying we could visit the animals, the jam-making area and the cider tasting bar. My wife tried six or seven of the ciders and the bar-man patiently explained the processes for making them all. He never once tried to hurry her and we were so impressed with his customer service that we did end up buying a delicious bourbon-infused cider. My children were offered a cloudy apple juice which they enjoyed but they were soon keen to see the animals. There weren’t many to see but my children enjoyed stroking the huge shire horse and offering grass to the goat. There were also some bunnies, chickens and pigs, and a 15 minute tractor ride through the orchards is also available.
Another part of the site had a few classic cars to see which my four year old liked looking at. We probably spent just under an hour at the farm both jam tasting and cider tasting. I was impressed that even without paying we could see so much so I didn’t resent paying for the delicious bottle of strong cider which I thoroughly enjoyed with my wife on a rainy Wednesday evening on holiday in north Cornwall.