MAYBE Porthcurno is best known for its fabulous beach and for the Minack Theatre perched on the cliff above.
But tucked away just a short walk from the sea is a little treasure of a museum, and one that’s well worth a visit.
The Museum, a few hundred yards from the beach, tells the story of the Cable Station at Porthcurno which, back in 1870, was at the heart of global communications, allowing people from all corners of the world to communicate via telegraph cables.
At first glance this might not sound the sort of display that will appeal to any other than ardent communications fans but, boasting Second World War tunnels, plenty of interactive exhibits, a viewing platform accessed by stairways carved into the solid rock (hard hats are obligatory) and demonstrations of telegraph equipment being used, the Museum is well worth an hour or two of the visitor’s time.
We went at a quiet time and enjoyed being able to stroll round well-lit and inviting display areas, and to try our hands at sending and receiving Morse code.
For me the best bit was the steep stairway up to the viewing platform, where you really got a sense of what it must have been like to work here during war time, with these stairs being the escape route in the event of emergency.
There were plenty of other displays to enjoy and while the adults might enjoy reminiscing about what they remember and how communications have changed, youngsters are well catered for with plenty of activities, dressing up opportunities and a play area outside.
The usual facilities completed the package – lift access for the disabled, toilets, a café and gift shop etc – and we felt this was quite a bargain at £9.50 per adult (£8 per senior), with family tickets also available.
Winter opening is Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 11am to 4.30pm, with the summer hours (open daily from 10am to 5pm) taking effect from April. Check the website for details at www.telegraphmuseum.org
I admit a visit wasn’t high on my list of priorities when I first heard about the museum, but I’ll be recommending it to everyone I meet as a good way to learn something new, and be thoroughly entertained while doing so.