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Geevor Tin Mine

geevor tin mine

Discover Cornish Mining History at Geevor Tin Mine

Perched evocatively on Cornwall’s rugged Atlantic coastline between Cape Cornwall and Land’s End lies dramatic Geevor Tin Mine. Once the county’s largest working mine extracting tin and copper until closure in 1990, today its historic buildings open for families to journey deep underground discovering Cornwall’s hard-working mining heritage firsthand.

Along with subterranean adventures, Geevor’s fascinating museum and machinery displays spanning centuries of technological development show how the dangerous practice of mineral extraction transformed landscapes and communities right across this western peninsula.

geevor tin mine engine

Getting There

Geevor Tin Mine sits just north of Pendeen village approximately 8 miles west of Penzance. Well signed from the A3071 coast road, it has a large visitors car park, which is free.

By public transport, regular bus connections along the North Cornwall coast allow sightseeing without a vehicle while Penzance train station is 45 minutes away. If you take the A3 or A17 bus, you will get a 10% discount at the ticket office as they seek to support sustainable travel.

Opening Times and Prices

During the summer months, they are pen 7 days a week. In the winter months, they are closed on Fridays and Saturdays.

During the summer, the mine is open from 9am to 6pm. In the winter they are open from 10am to 4pm.

Last underground tours commence at 3:30pm winter or 4:30pm summer.

It is always worth checking their website to be sure about times.

Entry prices (2023):

  • Adult £18.90
  • Child (5-16) £10.60
  • Under 4s Free
  • Senior citizen £16.15
  • Family (2A, 3C) £58.60

Geevor Tin Mine History

The mine’s origins can be traced back to the 18th century when tin extraction commenced in the region. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Geevor underwent substantial expansion and technological advancement, becoming a key player in Cornwall’s flourishing mining industry during the Industrial Revolution.

The mine thrived in the early 20th century, reaching its zenith as one of Cornwall’s largest and most productive tin mines. With hundreds of workers toiling underground, Geevor played a pivotal role in supplying tin to meet the demands of the global market. Its operations weathered economic challenges, including fluctuating metal prices and the disruptions caused by both World Wars, demonstrating resilience and adaptability.

The latter half of the 20th century, however, brought about the decline of tin mining in Cornwall. Economic pressures and the availability of cheaper tin sources abroad led to Geevor’s closure in 1990, marking the end of an era in the region’s industrial history. The closure brought a profound impact on the local community, as the once-bustling mining operations came to a halt.


Going Underground

Don hard hats like old miners once wore for an authentic sense of adventure descending Geevor’s original 18th century Great Wheal Mexico mine shafts 35 metres down as guides dynamically bring stories of copper and tin extraction alive from times when children as young as 8 toiled by candlelight hacking at rockfaces in search of precious ‘white gold’ amidst treacherous conditions.

Younger visitors can borrow quizzes and activity backpacks themed around mining life above ground too with challenges like designing ore carts.

The tours, led by knowledgeable guides, allow visitors to explore the underground tunnels, surface buildings, and the extensive collection of mining artifacts, creating a vivid depiction of the challenges and triumphs faced by the miners who once worked in this historic location.

Descending into the depths of the mine, participants traverse the same tunnels and passages that miners navigated during the heyday of tin extraction. The dimly lit passages, echoing with tales of hard work and determination, provide a sensory experience that transports visitors back in time. Guides share stories about the mining techniques employed, the tools used by miners, and the working conditions they endured, offering a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s intricacies.

On the surface, Geevor Tin Mine showcases well-preserved mining buildings and equipment. The tour includes visits to the ore processing plant, where the extracted tin ore was processed and prepared for market. Visitors gain insights into the technological advancements that marked different eras of mining, from manual labor to more mechanized methods.

inside geevor underground

Museum and Surface Attractions

Alongside subterranean adventures, extensive artefacts, machinery displays and films in converted buildings explain mining’s impact through time covering key eras like:

  • Pre-industrial handpickers who tunnelled inland leaving surface wounds across Cornish landscapes.
  • Introduction of gunpowder, steam engines and engine transport systems industrialising the hazardous pursuit during 19th century boom times.
  • Mechanisation bringing electrical winding gear lowering workers faster underground by early-mid 1900s.

Don’t miss getting out amongst original machinery like beam engines before finishing exploring at the evocative ‘dock where atmospherically only seagulls call at the rebuilt copper and tin shipping warehouse once ringing vibrantly to workers voices.

Exhibits provide context to the mining industry’s historical, social, and economic significance in Cornwall. Visitors can see firsthand the evolution of mining technology and understand the impact of mining on the local community.

Geevor Tin Mine tours also offer opportunities for hands-on experiences. Visitors can try their hand at panning for tin, gaining a sense of the manual labour involved in separating tin from the ore. The site often hosts educational programs and workshops, making it an engaging destination for students and families.

at geevor tin mine

Tin Coast Path and Levant

Link a visit up with bracing coastal walks towards Levant Mine for panoramic cliff-top views towards St Just showcasing why Cornwall’s rich minerals helped power industrial Britain thanks to innovations adopted across Europe and beyond emerging from these steep, ocean-lashed landscapes now recognised as a World Heritage Site.

Eating and shopping at Geevor Tin Mine

The Count House Cafe offers a great food for hungry visitors. Housed in a beautifully restored building that once served as the administrative hub of the mine, the cafe combines a warm, welcoming atmosphere with a scenic backdrop. Visitors can savor locally sourced, freshly prepared meals, ranging from traditional Cornish pasties to contemporary dishes, all while enjoying panoramic views of the rugged coastline.

The cafe’s menu reflects the rich flavors of the region, featuring a diverse selection of treats and beverages. Whether indulging in a cream tea after exploring the mine or relishing a hearty lunch, guests can appreciate the fusion of good food and history.

The gift shop is a treasure trove of souvenirs, offering visitors a chance to take home a piece of Cornwall’s mining history. Nestled within the historic surroundings, the shop boasts an array of unique and locally inspired items. Visitors can find a diverse range of products, from handcrafted jewelry and traditional Cornish pottery to mining-themed memorabilia.

The gift shop showcases a selection of books on Cornwall’s mining heritage, providing enthusiasts with insightful reads. Additionally, there are geological specimens and gemstones that highlight the region’s rich mineral wealth. For those seeking more whimsical keepsakes, the shop offers items like keychains, postcards, and clothing, all adorned with mining motifs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need for a visit to Geevor Tin Mine? – We would suggest that 2-3 hours is a reasonable time to experience the mine, although some people stay longer to enjoy the cafe.

Is it wheelchair accessible? – Most of the attraction is wheelchair accessible, including the museum, cafe and shop. Some parts of the mine are quite tight so bear this in mind.

Are dogs allowed at Geevor Tin Mine? – Well behaved dogs on leads are allowed everywhere, except into the mine itself

view of geevor

Other nearby attractions

When in the area, try to have a look at some of these other places too:

  • St Michael’s Mount – A tidal island with a medieval church and castle that can be accessed by a causeway at low tide or by boat. Wander the quaint village streets, tour the castle, or walk along the coast.
  • Cornish Seal Sanctuary – This marine wildlife hospital rescues and rehabilitates injured seals while also hosting other animals like penguins, otters, and sea birds. An educational and inspiring attraction.
  • Tate St Ives – An outpost of the world-renowned Tate galleries showcasing modern and contemporary British art. See works by famous artists like Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson.
  • Levant Mine and Beam Engine – Tour the Victorian beam engine house and experience the claustrophobic conditions of an underground tour at this historic copper and tin mine.
  • Porthcurno Beach and Telegraph Museum – Sweeping sandy beach overlooked by imposing cliff scenery. The museum highlights Cornwall’s role in global communications via underwater cables laid here in the 19th century.
  • Land’s End – The most westerly point of mainland England featuring rocky cliffs and headlands. Pose for photos at the iconic signs and maybe spot some passing ships.
  • Minack Theatre – An incredible clifftop theatre with ocean views. Catch an open-air show in the summer months in this uniquely dramatic setting..
  • Cape Cornwall – Jutting headland with incredible coastal scenery and views of neighbouring islands. Walk to the lighthouse at the cape’s tip.
  • Botallack Mine – Clifftop tin and copper mine ruins with sections extending dramatically into the sea. Photograph shafts, arches, and chimneys left from centuries of mining.

For atmospheric adventures discovering Cornwall’s unique mining legacy in the dramatically rugged landscapes it profoundly reshaped physically and culturally, Geevor Tin Mine provides special family insight.

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