Our October half term holiday was planned wholly in order to visit to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Seals have been my favourite animal since a memorable school trip to the West Midlands Safari park when I was 11 years old at school. If you’ve not heard the story before, it’s a sweet one. My younger brother was also on the school trip. After I’d short-sightedly spent all my pocket money on mini doughnuts or something equally frivolous, I saw the cutest seal teddy in the gift shop. My brother didn’t hesitate – he used his money to buy it for me. And the memory of that generosity and act of kindness is what makes seals my absolute favourite. They just make me happy. And they remind me of all the good in the world. Enjoy a few vintage photos of my brother and I to help illustrate what a dude he is.

For my birthday, Jim adopted a seal at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and with the adoption we had two tickets to visit them. I cannot tell you how excited I was to meet Banana in person! With Covid travel restrictions, it took us a long time to be able to plan the trip but after finding a brilliant deal for a Cornish holiday park during October half term, the stars finally aligned and before I knew it, we were pulling up into the car park about to spend a day with the seals.

Where is the Cornish Seal Sanctuary?

Postcode: TR12 6UG

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is in South Cornwall, nestled between Falmouth and Penzance in a village called Gweek. It’s easiest accessible by car, and they have a fairly sizeable car park for free parking but there are buses available from nearby Helston and Falmouth.

The site itself is simply gorgeous, spreading out across a hill overlooking the Helford River. It’s a really calming and tranquil environment. The Sanctuary is home is many different animals: common seals, grey seals, sea lions, Humboldt penguins and the latest addition of a trio of beavers. We spent most of our time drawn to the Convalesence Pool, as the home of Banana. We had lots of fun trying to identify the different seals in the pool and visited during the cleaning of the pool. You can see in the photo below that the water level in the main pool is very low, and it was really interesting to see how the seals behaved as it began filling back up again.

We spent time both above and underground to watch these glorious animals. There were plenty of information boards around to learn as much or as little as you wanted to about the animals at the Sanctuary, including really regular talks delivered with a roaming microphone. They were fab! I could have listened to the staff talking about the seals, their habits and their routines as well as their histories for hours.

Whether your a big lover of seals like me, or just enjoy a day learning about our incredible UK wildlife, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary makes for a lovely family day out. Be warned, the site is on a fairly steep hill. Throughout the year, they do operate a shuttle-buggy service from the main entrance to the Seal Hospital and down to the seal pools. If any of your party have accessibility issues, I’d recommend checking out the Accessibility page on the Cornish Seal Sanctuary’s website which is really informative.

Other Attractions

The grey seals were obviously my most photographed animal whilst we were there, but the site also has a great playground for children, a couple of cafe/kiosks for refreshments and the wonderfully sweet Seal Hospital where you can check on the more recently rescued pups and hear how their recovery is coming along.

Adopt a Seal

Adopting a seal at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary is a great way to support the well being of the animals in their care and enable the team to continue rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals off our UK coastlines.

Each animal adoption includes:

  • Two free entries to the Sanctuary
  • 20% voucher for the Cafe or Gift shop
  • Certificate of Adoption
  • Cornish Seal Sanctuary gift (mine was a fridge magnet!)
  • Photograph of your adopted animal
  • Profile of your adopted animal
  • All in a presentation folder

It costs (as at March 2022) £40 plus £5 postage if purchased online or over the phone. There’s also an option to add a plaque that is displayed for five years at the Sanctuary for an additional £50. Check out the Adoption Page to see which animal you’d like to adopt.

Sharing my love of seals with Pickle will always be a very precious memory for me (even if we did lose him for about five minutes – felt like five hundred) because he ran off to watch the seals in the underground bit. I am sure we’ll be back again one day, but for now – farewell you beautiful seals.