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The Adrenaline Quarry In Menheniot, Cornwall – You Need to Go!

aqua park at adrenaline quarry cornwall
Adrenaline Quarry Cornwall

Ah, Cornwall, we meet again. As sure as night follows day, or as sure as the fact my son will need to use the toilet just 30 seconds before we need to go somewhere in the car, a trip to Cornwall comes around, as regularly as clockwork in our house.

Once a quarter, like E.T. wanting to return home, Mrs B will get the itch to return to her home County to fill up with Cornish pasties, cream tea and fudge and see her family.

Regrettably, this itch normally coincides with Bank, if not School, Holidays which means the journey down is always an epic drive, consisting of being stuck behind elderly couples towing caravans and Londoners fleeing the City to the sanctuary of their overpriced second homes in grossly inappropriate 4×4 cars.   

However, once that epic is out of the way, Cornwall is as lovely as it always has been. We’ve previously written about things like the delights of Polperro and the Lost Gardens of Heligan and you could be forgiven for thinking that Cornwall, unless you are a surf nut, can be a little bit slow and sleepy compared to the hectic pace of life in the rest of the UK.

Where, you may ask, is the excitement for children and adults?

Adrenaline Quarry Cornwall

an outdoor aqua park at adrenaline quarry

Step forward to the newly opened (ish) Adrenaline Quarry in Menheniot, South East Cornwall. Of course, it never used to be exciting. Like most of Cornwall, for much of its existence, it has a relatively unassuming life as Clicker Tor Quarry.

From 1932, the local miners dutifully mined hard rock until it finally fell silent in 1969. It lay dormant for a while, then in the 1980s the quarry was flooded to a depth of 22m and a go-karting enterprise was set up on the site.

In 2009, new owners arrived on the scene and, in short order, decided that the future was clearly adrenaline-based.  A zip wire was added to the go-karting, followed by a giant swing and axe throwing before, finally, the piece de resistance was added on the lake in 2018, a huge inflatable assault course over the water.

adrenaline quarry in cornwall

Now I was fully expecting to have a relatively easy day of supervising children as they threw themselves around the Adrenaline Quarry because frankly, all that adrenaline felt like a much younger person’s game.

It was with some surprise that Mrs B duly announced that, actually, she had purchased tickets for all four of us to enjoy some water-based fun for one day. This news was doubly surprising to me, as I was enjoying a rather spectacular hangover at the time.

Still, if there’s a better cure for a Cornish hangover than throwing yourself into quarry water that had just been through an English winter, I’ve yet to find it.

Getting to the Adrenaline Quarry

countryside with hills and trees
The beautiful Cornish countryside

Look, this is Cornwall. I fully respect people that will try and travel by the most economical and environmental solution but given that a lot of Cornwall’s trail network was torn up in the 1960s to be replaced by even more infrequent bus services, travel by car is definitely the quickest and easiest option.

Set your SatNav for PL14 3PJ. If you’re carless, Menheniot railway station is a 10-minute walk away but trains, like local buses, are infrequent. There’s also a bus from Liskeard that runs from Monday to Saturday, but the nearest bus stop is a good 25 minutes away – not ideal if you have small children in tow.

The other thing you should note is that the Adrenaline Quarry, as one of the few ways to get high in Cornwall without using drugs, is wildly popular and therefore, however, you’re getting there, they recommend arriving about 60 minutes before your activity.

While 60 minutes may seem like airport levels of inconvenience, remember, you have to park, sign a waiver, and if you’re taking part in the inflatable assault course, you also have to change into your swim kit, find a wetsuit that fits, find a wetsuit that fits your children, have a nervous wee, take your children for a nervous wee, find a lifejacket that fits, remember to take off your jewellery, safely secure your belongings and then have a safety brief before you’re even allowed near any water based shenanigans.

So yes, 60 minutes early is definitely a good thing – and if you do find you’ve time to spare, you can probably have another nervous wee.

The Aquapark

adrenaline quarry nestled in an old quarry

So, like it or not, hangover or not, we all duly arrived at the Adrenaline Quarry for our first activity, the Aquapark. A colossal floating playground over 22 metres of water, built out of extreme trampolines, monkey bars, swings and all manner of exciting-looking things, suitable for ages 6+ for £20pp.

But before we got to that part, we had to undergo the aforementioned wetsuit and swimsuit changing and it was at this point I wished I’d brought a spare t-shirt to wear under the wetsuit. Pulling a damp wetsuit onto your bare skin is never a pleasant experience and even less so for reluctant children.

Still, duly wet-suited and safety briefed, we excitedly made our way to the entrance to the Aquapark.

They do take Health and Safety reassuringly seriously here. You do have to be completely clear of jewellery before you set foot in the area, including wedding rigs which must be removed or at least taped off, lest you catch it on something, and cameras and phones are completely banned in the Aquapark area.

At the appropriate time, the staff threw open the gates to the Aquapark and the family, along with 180 other excited day-trippers surged across the floating deck to the Aquapark. Despite it being a warm day, the dark quarry water looked deep. And cold. Very deep and cold.

My son and I paused at the water’s edge and decided there was only one thing to do – go for it – so shouting the time-honoured mantra of “Three! Two! One!” we held hands and launched ourselves into the water.

I’ll be honest, the initial plunge was a bit cold and more than enough to chase the ghosts of a hangover out of my body and mind, but after a minute or two, the wetsuit did its job and it was actually quite pleasant and we could turn our attention to the Aquapark itself.

It basically consists of a grid of different activities and obstacles connected by floating pontoons which you can clamber over and around while launching yourself off swings and slides into the water below and, I’ll be honest, it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in ages.

Opportunities for comedy abound as you slip, and slide, and any mistimed steps ensure you’re immediately plunged into the water. Hell, even trying to make your way between the obstacles is an amusing ordeal where you will resemble Bambi on ice – the pro-tip is to go one your knees as the friction from the wetsuit will keep you stuck on the obstacle; your skin will of course slip right off.

And less you think I’m some sort of smart arse, I’ll have you know it took me a good twenty minutes to figure that one out.

a quarry with a lake and blue skies

It was absolutely brilliant, and I am normally only found in a wetsuit under pain of death, and The Boy, who mostly lives in a virtual world broke out of his normal monastic silence to declare it was brilliant. I didn’t even see the girls, although I could hear the screams of fun from the other side of the Aquapark.

 Your 45-minute session will go by in the blink of an eye, and for those of you wondering how sedate it is, I can tell you now it’s an absolute lick. I’m relatively fit (training for the London Marathon – insert smug face here) and I was blowing hoops by the end of the session and it even managed to burn off most of The Boy’s energy for the day.

You’d be wise to leave an hour at the other side of the activity for the reserve of your arrival to happen – strip off, shower, return wetsuits and lifejacket etc. And of course, all this will take longer than when you arrived because you’re incredibly wet and the children will be happily babbling away about what a great experience that was.

Food and Drink at the Adrenaline Quarry

reception area of adrenaline quarry
The reception and cafe area of Adrenaline Quarry before 180 people descended to use the Aqua Park

Our Aquapark session was the first one of the day, so by the time we’d changed it was about lunchtime and we were all starving. Luckily, you are either welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy by the lake, or purchase some reasonably priced food and drink at the on-site cafe .

We tried the cheese and tuna panini (£4.40), the bacon roll (£3.99) and the jacket potato loaded with cheese and beans (£3.99) and all were excellent and good value. Mrs B, as a confirmed coffee addict, tried a latte (£2) and gave two thumbs up, which is a harder accolade for most cafes to get than a Michelin star.

Other families, much better organised than us, brought along blankets and enjoyed a picnic near the water – we will never be like them.

The Zip at the Adrenaline Quarry

a quarry with a lake
The view from the top of the zip wire

After a spot of food, the excitement levels came down a little bit, but only for a short while as the second activity we had booked was … The Zip.

Sitting a terrifying 50m above the quarry area, it was at one stage the longest zip wire in the UK, only knocked off the top spot when the Penrhyn Quarry Zip Wire opened in 2013 in Wales.

It’s still a hugely impressive bit of engineering and God alone knows how fast you go, but judging from the screams, it’s fast enough.

kids going down a zip wire

For just £12.50 (or £20 for 2 goes), you can enjoy the rush of flying over the quarry. There’s no age limit, as the defining factor is your weight, not your age – as long as you are between 25 kg to 115 kg, you’re good to go.

After a short walk up to the top of the quarry, you’re strapped in and thrown off. It really is as simple as that, but you do get some stunning views – if you stop screaming for a short time.

Other Activities at the Adrenaline Quarry

a go karting track
Adrenaline Quarry Go Karting

We only had the day at the Adrenaline Quarry with smaller children, so we didn’t want to spend too long there as they tire easily.

But if you have older children or are going as a group of adults, there is also Go Karting available from £10 per family session (drivers must be over 7), axe throwing from £15 (must be over 12) and the giant swing over the quarry from £15 (must be over 25kgs).  

a giant swing going over the adrenaline quarry
The giant swing at Adrenaline Quarry

These all looked every bit as enjoyable as the Zip and the Aquapark and they’re definitely on the list for the next time we return.

Final Thoughts on the Adrenaline Quarry

adrenaline quarry in cornwall

Frankly, this is the best thing in Cornwall, excluding of course the presence of Mrs B. Over the years we’ve been to many places that are, granted, very beautiful and scenic, but this has to have been the most fun you can have in a spare couple of hours in Cornwall.

It’s virtually weatherproof as you’re going to get wet anyway, it’s absolutely great value, it’s environmentally friendly (even the cardboard coffee cups are completely recyclable) and it’s brilliant fun.

It completely deserves all the accolades it’s had, being frequently featured in the Guardian and the Times and now, this blog too, because it’s a completely 5-star day out.

Take your family, take your friends, and book your stag do there because no matter how hideously hungover you are, it can cut through that like a knife and that, for me, is definitely the mark of an excellent and worthwhile activity.

The website for the Adrenaline Quarry can be found here and TripAdvisor reviews can be read here.

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