Cornish Cider Farm, Penhallow, Truro, Cornwall
Not being a big fan of alcohol or drinking I was a bit reluctant to go to the Cornish Cider Farm as I thought what could possible be interesting about a cider farm?
However I was amazed at what I learnt here and the processes involved in making cider, brandy and Jam.
The Cornish Cider Farm is located near the villages of Penhallow and Callestick on the A3075 and is sign posted in each direction. Its quite easy to find just follow the signs from the A30.
The site is free to enter and walk around, and there is a farm area with a variety of farm animals, the cider processing room, a jam making demonstration area as well as the shop and restaurant. However if you wish to join one of the sites guided tours or go on the tractor rides around the orchard there is a charge of £5 per person.
The site on first impressions is one of it´s a bit grubby until you realize that this is a working site and that certain elements on the site are there for educational purposes. The court yard is as it has been for many years and is slightly uneven in places and care must be taken whilst walking around.
There are however many areas around the site to which the casual visitor has no access and this is where going on one of the guided tours is a must. The tours take in the elements of the site and tell you the process of cider making from the apple picking through to the bottling which is all done on site. Once the cider processing part of the tour has been completed you then proceed to the Jam Making exhibit which again shows you the process of making Jam from picking of the fruits to bottling.
The next part of the tour is where the public have no access. This leads you through the sites cider museum and then onto the brandy making room and finally the barrel storage room. Its a Customs and Excise secure area, hence no casual access.
The guide throughout was both informative and witty and really made an effort to entertain us all the way through the tour. Some of the things we where told about the olde days of cider making will both amaze and disgust as will some of the materials used through this process.
Once the factory tour has finished you then get to take a tour of the orchards and this is done on a trailer which is pulled round the orchards by a tractor. Again the guide for the orchard tour is both informative and entertaining. However its just a field full of apple trees! The tour and orchard tour take roughly an hour.
At first we did think the Cornish Cider farm was expensive but having taken the factory tour I would say that £5 is a reasonable price due to the content and nature of the tours.
The shop on the site sells the farms products from Cider, Elderflower wine through to Jams and is reasonably priced especially for the larger volumes of cider.
I did think the restaurant was a bit on the expensive side especially if you have kids, and ordering a full meal but the food was of a good quality, however I did find the scones a bit on the crumbly side. The jam however more than made up for this.
Overall we spent about three and a half hours here and we enjoyed the tour immensely, but if you where to visit the site and not go on the tour the number of things to do is quite limiting.
Cornish Cider farm is an amusing place to visit for a few hours if you want a change from the country houses and mines of Cornwall, however there isn´t enough to keep the younger ones entertained for a full day.
The Cornish Cyder Farm,
Tel: 01872 573356,
Fax: 01872 573056,
Update 2015: We visited in January 2015 and Healeys are building a huge new building on the site which may or may not be for visitors.