Ahoy Matey: A swashbuckling review of Pirate's Quest
‘But are they really pirates mum?’ Of course I’d told my kids that the pirates at Pirate's Quest were real pirates. I know I probably shouldn’t, I know that they probably didn’t believe me anyway but still I couldn’t resist. ‘Well, the website seems to think so and they look kind of real to me…’
Here’s the cool thing about Pirate's Quest, the pirates really do feel real. They dress like pirates, they sound like pirates and they know an awful lot about pirates and even though Pirate's Quest is based in a big building in Newquay it’s easy to forget that you’re opposite a big car park as you get swept along in the journey.
Unlike a lot of days out, Pirate's Quest is a guided tour rather than somewhere you wander around on your own. Tours start at regular times and your pirate guides take you on an adventure from your shipwrecked boat, learning about Cornish myths and legends, legendary pirates and the history of Pirates in Newquay along the way. If your kids are pirate crazy they’re more than welcome to dress up for the experience, however as we were on holiday I appear to have forgotten to pack any eyepatches or cutlasses (or anything useful for the beach apparently, I am officially the worst at holiday packing.)
From starting in the wreck of the Royal Anne you move through the Pirate’s Grotto to the Cornish Land of Legends where we found out about Bolster, the Cornish Giant who ate sheep, cattle and children, Cornish Piskies and Knockers and of course, King Arthur and Merlin. It’s quite dark inside the building but there are a few places set up where the kids can pose for photos if they want, or if they get too nervous to try and pull Excaliber out in front of people they don’t know, there are some ‘wanted’ style photo prompts in the entrance that my kids enjoyed posing with round the front of the building.
The pirates themselves are great, managing that middle ground where they are scary enough to be believable but not so frightening that your kids will have nightmares. Starting at Pirate's Quest I thought they were dressed to look like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, but after finding out more about the history of pirates I realised how much the film had looked at the real history of what pirates wore such as the dark marks around their eyes and the beads in their beads to look more frightening.
Speaking of frightening, there’s one part of the tour - the tour of the locker of Davy Jones - that is designed to be a bit scary but you do have the option to sit it out if you want. After a trip a couple of months ago that included a haunted mansion that was way scarier than expected my kids opted to go for the safe option so I stayed with them for a couple of minutes while the rest of the tour went ahead. In the name of research I, of course, forced my husband to go on the scary bit who claims it wasn’t too bad and other young kids who went that route seemed ok, but if you do have a kid who’s likely to not fancy that it’s always good to have a get out option if needed!
We ended the tour looking for my daughter’s favourite thing, mermaids, finding out about the history and legends of mermaids in Cornwall and peeking through portals to try and get a look at one.
Pirate's Quest is a lot more educational than you’d often get on a family day out, but that was certainly no bad thing. I think my husband and I enjoyed this one almost as much as the kids (which always helps when you’re the ones paying for it) and we all came away with a lot better knowledge about pirates and Cornwall than when we went in. Most importantly though it was fun and all the talk of adventure got us in the mood for a weekend of fun together!
Have you ever visited Pirate's Quest? Let us know your favourite parts in a comment below, or avoid walking the plank by checking out some other great family days out in Cornwall.
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