Healeys cyder farm, Perranporth

Date Posted: 30 Mar 2024
Discover cyder heaven with Healeys

Kirstie Newton

If, like the Wurzels, you’re a committed cider drinker, then a day out at Healeys is tailor-made for you. Located close to the holiday mecca of Newquay, this working farm is the home of Rattler Cyder (not “cider”, if you please). Here you can learn about the history of the process, meet friendly farm animals, get behind the scenes of cyder making and even press your own apples.

Healeys is a family affair, with the current owners directly descended from Donald Healey, inventor of the famous Austin Healey car (a small and treasured collection greets you in the showroom in Kay’s Cyderhouse).

When Kay and David Healey turned the key in their first off-licence, they dreamed of hand-pressing apples. Some four decades later, they have brought a 150-year-old farm back to life, bought a 16th-century press, planted orchards and turned the fruit into world-renowned drinks and produce – including Rattler, the byword for refreshing cyder in these parts and beyond.

Today, the business is run largely by their sons, Sam and Joe, and the range has extended to include apple brandy made in Cornwall’s first distillery in 300 years, a limited-edition rum, a Rattler Gin collection, England’s oldest whiskey (in collaboration with St Austell Brewery) and even Healey vineyards, planted just outside Truro and used to produce Cornish wine Tresor.

There’s plenty to do on-site, whether you’re of legal drinking age or not. Entry to the restaurant, shop and farm animals is free, and an ideal family day out. There are few finer experiences than bumping through burgeoning apple orchards (3,000 trees spread over 20 acres) on a 1950s Fordson Major tractor. Watch Cornish jam being made, then taste the results in the cafe with gargantuan scones and proper Cornish clotted cream (remember: the jam goes on first!).

In autumn, locals with their own harvest can avail themselves of an apple press for a small donation to charity. This is brilliant fun – chuck it in the top of the electric chopper, then stack the apple mash on the press, turn the handle and prepare to collect the fresh juice. Be warned: you are guaranteed to draw a crowd of visitors, young and old, fascinated by the way things used to be done. The waste pulp and peel, by the way, is given to the resident pigs (there are also pygmy goats shire horses, Shetland ponies, chickens, donkeys and peacocks to coo over).

If you’ve ever wondered how Healeys manages to fill up to 6,500 bottles of Rattler every hour, a Cydermaster Pass (adult £17, 20% discount when booked online) grants you behind-the-scenes access to how it’s done, along with the opportunity to sample a range of produce in the Healeys Tasting Room: cyder, spirits, wine, soft drinks, home-made jam and more, all made right here at the farm.

Wander at your own pace with plenty of information provided as you explore the Healey car showroom, press house, production halls, museum, distillery, cellars and more. The pass also entitles the holder to member-only discounts in the farm shop and unlimited free return visits for 12 months. Alternatively, book a comprehensive VIP guided tour for £50 per adult.

The Healeys crew know how to have fun. Look out for seasonal events including Easter egg trails, pumpkin picking and Christmas markets. You’ll also find two festivals here. Adult-only RattlerFest runs in spring – the 2024 event takes place on April 19 & 20 with headliners including Scouting For Girls, East 17 and Dick & Dom.

Family-friendly Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival returns for an 11th year from September 13 to 15, 2024; headliners include Chesney Hawkes, Doctor & The Medics, Levellers and – naturally – The Wurzels.

For further information, please visit:


All images courtesy of Healys

Related Local Produce & Food Festivals, Made in Cornwall, Things to do, Trips & Tours in Cornwall