Updated: Sep 22, 2021
I must admit, when I first booked our trip to Healey's Cyder Farm in Truro, Cornwall, it was more for the benefit of my husband than the expectation of an educational trip, but surprisingly, there was a lot to learn at Healey's...
At the moment, there is 20% off when booking online which makes this a really affordable trip, even when adding on the tractor ride which I would urge you to do. Not only does it add to the educational aspect of the trip, but it also provides the context and background to Healey's story. Plus, it's good fun too.
The order you start your tour will depend on when the next tractor is departing. If you do choose the tractor ride, you will be taken around the orchards where you will see the thousands of apples growing, and hear about the methods used for picking them. There will also be a bit of history about growing apples, Healey's, and even the mine shaft you can see in the distance. It doesn't take very long, probably no more than fifteen minutes after which point you will be brought back to the visitor centre.
Once you get back, head into reception to start your journey by making your way into the tall wooden barrel you see from the outside, and up into the production centre. From up here, you can learn all about the process of cider-making, from how the apple starts as a bud, to eventually picking it. Learn about how it gets pressed and the fermentation process, and see bottles of the famous Rattler in production.
After the short self-tour of the production centre, head over to the courtyard to the left of the reception as you entered. This is where you will find everything else. Take a look at the press used to squeeze all the juice from the apples, and then later, head over to another area to see how the tools and presses have changed with technology. This is where the real learning takes place.
There is a cafe where you can also buy a top-up card to pour your own choice of the rattler, and plenty of outdoor seating to enjoy your food and drink or to just have a rest. My top tip is to avoid the first seating area as you walk in if you're not a smoker. This seems to be where the smokers congregate. Carry on through to the larger courtyard or sit indoors instead.
Here, you can enjoy a generous tasting of jams and chutneys whilst the kids join in with a choice of sparkling or still apple juice. The real tasting happens in the cellar. I have to say, I've been to places in the past where tastings can be very stingy, but at Healey's, there's usually a choice of at least three flavours, everything from cider and wine to brandy and 'spiced gold' (not rum, I'll let them explain), and you can try all three.
There are even farm animals for the children to enjoy with baby goats wandering along the paths, eager for a stroke. In the cellar you will see the casks of cider, still aging as they reach their 3-10 year maturity depending on what they will be used for. I took a picture of my kids next to the barrel with the year on that they were born which was fun.
There's a shop where of course, you can buy boxes of the famous Rattler amongst other things, and then the bonus is the Pineapple beach where you can enjoy a drink outdoors with some traditional games like Jenga available to play on your table. All in all, there's a lot to learn at Healey's, but also a lot of fun to be had. It's an absolutely perfect mix for both adults and children and I would definitely recommend it.
After our day at Healey's, we visited the tiny village of St. Agnes which I would highly recommend. St. Agnes is just beautiful and worth stopping off for a bite to eat. Try Schooners although be prepared to wait to get in if you don't have a reservation. They are the only restaurant overlooking the ocean and they serve fresh fish dishes and a great vegetarian selection too.