This Seal Sanctuary is a Must See in Cornwall

What is better than a day out?
A day out surrounded by cute animals!

Cornwall has 8 sanctuaries spread within the county. It is a perfect spot in the southern part of England where there are miles and miles of the open outdoors to keep and protect animals. Some of the animals that can be found in those sanctuaries are monkeys, owls, horses, seals and many more.

There are horses in the sanctuary

Where is the sanctuary you ask?

During one of Will and I many trips to Cornwall, we decided to dedicate half a day to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary which also happened to be on my birthday – the perfect gift to myself 😍

The sanctuary can be found on the lower eastern side of Cornwall, based next to a small town called Gweek (oh Cornwall, you get all the cute names). The best way to get to the Seal Sanctuary is by car. The roads leading to the sanctuary are full of twists and turns, which feels like a surreal experience feeling like you are going to the edge of the world. You do not need to worry about the parking, there is a parking lot with plenty of space for visitors, so you are all sorted 👌

Walking the path from the entrance to the main sanctuary area
You can also take a shuttle bus ride to the top and back down

Ok cool, so what do you do at the Seal Sanctuary?

When you enter the Sanctuary, you are greeted with a sign that is constantly getting updated which gives you an idea of the number of seals they tend to. The sanctuary saves many animals that have been in danger, neglected and injured. It made us very happy to know there are no seals in the hospital when we visited, and how many have been rescued so far. That is absolutely amazing! 

This might come as a surprise, but the Seal Sanctuary is not an exclusive club for seals only. You will find some land animals such as goats, sheep and horses. You will also find more sea animals such as penguins and otters.

Otters living in the sanctuary

The sanctuary is a big place with lots of walking which gives you the sense of a zoo but without the animal exploitation – win win situation in my book 👍 There is a fun safari bus ride from the entrance to the sanctuary up to the middle of it and back. It is free of charge, comes every 10 mins or so and is useful if you have any problem walking up a hill. Please note the safari bus only runs in peak periods (Easter to Oct half term).

There are designated areas for each kind of animal and a timetable for daily activities such as feeding times and a hospital tour where you can learn about the residents of each. We found it exciting, entertaining and informative – an all round experience. There is nothing cuter than seeing the penguins line up for feeding time or the seals playing with toys 🤗

And don’t you worry, there are designated toilets around the sanctuary. They also have within it an area with a couple of cafes (very small selection, which has vegan options including local Cornish ice cream!) and a souvenir shop. There are picnic tables outside for a nice day where you could and should bring snacks and make it a whole thing!

Penguins during feeding time
You can get a closer look at the penguins through the water-level windows

What should I go see first?

Firstly, you will get a map and an activity booklet for kids to solve throughout your journey. Once you reach the top of the hill, as you will see on your map, you can either go left or right. It really doesn’t matter which way you go but you might want to check the daily activities and plan accordingly.

We started at the penguin area and arrived just in time for the feeding 🐧 There are 2 levels of viewing the penguins, we chose the top tier and saw the feeding from above. Similarly to dogs, they knew exactly where to stand to get the best food ahead of feeding time, aren’t they clever?

Others enjoyed the attention and posed to make sure everyone gets a snap. The rest of them took a dive to cool down from the hot sun. It was interesting for me to discover the different personalities of an animal you usually only see on TV. I enjoyed studying their behavior and documenting it with my camera.

A seal playing in the water
A seal enjoying the warm sun

The main event – seals!

After the penguin feeding time, we moved on to the different seal pools. There are different types of seals in the sanctuary such as sea lions, common seals and grey seals. All extremely adorable. I tried to contain my excitement but you should know this by now, I love seals! 

We were greeted by Phil, a great guide that told us a bit about the lives of the resident seals. At the time we were there, most were female and one male named Ray. Ray has had some brain damage but it doesn’t stop him from goofing around and having a good time. That is why if you ever meet Ray, you will see he is doing things that seals do not normally do. It’s so interesting to watch.

If you ever find yourself in Cornwall, make sure you find the time to check the Seal Sanctuary. It’s great for the whole family and of course the animals love the company and attention, in rain and in shine!

A water-level window to view the seals
Seals at feeding time

In the meantime, why not sponsor a seal?

It is a great opportunity for you to support animals in need and also get a little bit back! For £50 or under you can get a gift from the Sanctuary, a plaque with your name, a photo of the seal you sponsored and a few more bits!

Click here to find out more and sponsor a much in need seal.

There are over a hundred sanctuaries all over the world, and a total of 27 in the UK & IE. It’s important to visit and donate to those places. They save thousands of injured, abused and endangered animals every year and give them the best care possible. 

Many of those things happen due to littering. Please be kind to the environment, it belongs to all of us, including animals. If you see someone littering, tell them to take it to a bin. If you see litter out in the open, please pick it up and put it in a bin. Every little helps.

More info on how to adopt a seal

Here are some stats that might shock you:

  • The RSPCA receives 5,000 calls a year regarding litter. That’s an average of roughly 14 calls every day!
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature report that 1.5 million tonnes of plastic waste derives from water bottles.
  • 33% of litter comes from fast food
  • The UK has the worst statistics for litter, with a jaw-dropping 62% of England’s residents admitting to littering
  • One billion seabirds are killed by litter every year, while 260 marine animal species have become trapped by litter in the ocean


Which sanctuary are you planning to visit this year?
Let me know in the comments below 👇

You can bring your dog to the sanctuary!

7 Responses

  1. I know there are places like this in Ethiopia but I never heard about one in England. Very interesting.

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