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Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station (Cornwall)

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This is the largest Satellite station on Earth. Goonhilly Earth Station, Nr Helstow, Cornwall TR12 6LQ. Tel: 0800 679 593.

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    7 Reviews
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      29.07.2009 17:23

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      a waste of time and money smack in the middle of nowhere

      Dire! This was my worst day out of a weeks holiday to Cornwall. It all looked promising on the brochures but when you get there you pay your seven pounds admission to find that the really interesting stuff is an extra six pounds!. For your initial seven pounds you get a restaurant, a shop, a huge kids play area and then an information area that tells you nothing you couldnt find in 15 minutes on the internet. I felt like they were telling us that for our seven pounds we now have the right to spend more money at their shop and restaurant, the former of which sells mainly the same cheap souvenirs we found all over the county. I would have liked to have gone inside the large 'Arthur' dish... to see the inner workings but at an extra £6 that would have put it at the same price as the Tower of London! The trip on the bus to further displays would have been better if there was enough time allocated to read it all. I did find that the other people wernt so interested. The staff act as though they all know its rubbish but they cant do anything about it and it seems they're dreading you making a point about the 'extra attractions'. They know you won't be back and theyre gratefull they have a job. All in all a lousy, boring frustrating day.. could have been at the beach instead! I noticed another reviewer had a similar experience while two other reviews sound like promotions so be wary.

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      29.09.2008 12:46

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      Waste of space. Don't go unless you desperately need to get out of the rain.

      Our visit to Goonhilly was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. It's all a pretty amateurish set up. At the desk I asked for tickets to the 'full experience' and all we got was a look round some very static exhibits and a very rushed tour of the site. Two of the main attractions in the site's publicity are a tour of Arthur, a huge satellite dish and a ride on a Segway. These, it seems are £5 extra for the Arthur tour and £12 (yes, £12) for a play on a Segway. Haveing seen these were missing from our 'full experience' tickets, I asked a member of the guide staff about them. Oh, they're extra, I was told. Fine, but without any interest or even help as to where I might source these. The main hall exhibits are pretty staid. A few descriptions of telecommunications achievements with the odd prop lying about but to be honest, if I want to see a few telephones, I'll pop into Carphone Warehouse. British Telecom run this place and their all pervading like it or lump it attitude can be felt throughout Goonhilly. Another of the 'attractions' is "the world's fastest internet connection - free to use". As we were on holiday, I thought I'd take the opportunity to to check my emails. OK, after negotiating BT's own search formula, I was able to do that but even the greatest internet cafe in the world wouldn't let me look at the attachments. Waste of space. The tour of the facility by coach - hurried uninformative and disinterested commentary all the way - thakes you to three halls. 1. Past inventions. A look at some things that didn't quite make the grade. What, please, does a Sinclair C5 motor have to do with a telecommunications and science experience? 2. A 'holographic' presentation. NO! It's a (poor) film show. I've seen holographic presentations and believe me, this isn't one. 3. Finally, it's the 'what do you think the future holds?' room. Quite frankly, having paid a multi billion pound scientific corporation to see their achievements, I'd like to know how THEY see the future. Talk about a let down. One other thing. Throughout this visit, you are bombarded with the usual 'environment' claptrap. You are continually reminded of what a bad person you are for existing on this planet because of all the damage you are doing. What the hell does that have to do with telecommunications science? If you are really interested in science, you'll be thoroughly disappointed with Goonhilly's visitor centre and tour. If you take kids, they'll probably cotton on to this sooner than you and be thoroughly bored. I give the whole thing 1 out of ten for the experience.

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      25.09.2008 14:40
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      well worth a visit if you're in the area

      Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station is the largest earth station in the world and has been in existence since 1962. It occupies over 160 acres of the magnificent Lizard Peninsula and has over 60 dishes, 25 of which are still in use. Goonhilly is able to transmit to anywhere in the world via space and the site also links to undersea fibreoptic cable lines. It really is one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Cornwall, attracting around 80,000 people per year. The site is owned by British Telecom (BT) and is opened to visitors throughout the year who are able to explore the story of international communications via the visitor centre and shuttle bus tour. The shuttle bus takes visitors through the security perimeter fence which enbles a closer look at the larger dishes; named after King Arthur and his knights as well as characters from Cornish legends and folktales. You can learn all about satellite technology in the film theatre and operate an antenna dish yourself, tracking different orbiting satellites in space which is very cool. The site also has the fastest internet café in the world, a nice touch, as well as a gift shop, restaurant and children's play areas. Sadly it has been revealed that BT plan to scale down the site and satellite operations could be moved to Madley, Hertfordshire. I feel that goonhilly earth station is well worth a visit, so if you're ever in the area pop in; it may not be there for too much longer! A must see attraction for all the family. Opening Times: 11am - 4pm (approx) Cost: Adults £6.00 5 - 16yrs £4.00 U5's FREE Seniors £4.50 Location: 7 miles from Helston on the Lizard Peninsula. B3293 - Helston to St Keverne Tel: 0800 679 593 Thanks for reading. (This review is also posted on Ciao under the same name)

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        24.10.2007 21:40
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        An entertaining indoor and outdoor activity centre run by BT

        Currently at Goonhilly internet cafe. There is a free bus ride to the Control tower and round the various antenna - named after King Arthur and his knights, Guinevere, etc. One was first used on Blue Peter, so has a Blue Peter badge and is grade 2 listed. Good access for buggies/wheelchairs, except in the Control Tower which has steep steps. Can ride a Segway for an extra £5 per person and go up an antennae to see the dish close up for £3 extra per person. Robert, my boyfriend and his friend Richard had a go on the Segways and they stated they were brilliant. I videoed their second go on them the next day, but would have loved to have had a go. Participants are given elbow and knee pads with some instruction round a nearby car park, which was visible from the outside decking of the cafe, before heading round the site following the bus route. It is described as the eco-friendly transport of the future and I got chance to video the boys in action on their second go - I was busy writing this short review the first time! To go on a segway you must be over 38kg (6 stone) and under 127kg (20 stone), plus riders must be over 135cm (4ft 5) and under 206cm (6ft 9) and other terms and conditions apply - as they are worth about £40,000 each according to Richard. Booking hotline 01872 325 400, Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 6LQ. The earth station is £6.75 per adult, various family tickets, concessions available. Children under 5 go free. We got a £1 off per person by picking up a brochure in Truro. There is free entry to the cafe and shop. Nearby attractions are the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek, near Helston and Flambards Park. This is at Goonhilly Downs, a few miles from Helson, Cornwall. Just follow the brown signs from Helston to get to it. A great place to visit with big kids or little this has plenty of things that you can play with, knobs to push, etc. It has morse code games, TV satelitte tuning and other interactive items with free internet cafe and international telephone calls. You get to email an alien, free XBox games centre, learn how faxes work and how satellites move round the earth via gravity. All in all, this was worth the money, Robert and Richard enjoyed the technical gadgets, whilst Michelle and I enjoyed relaxing in the cafe and shop, and I got to check my 251 emails!!! We all tried emailing aliens, faxing and pressing the various buttons to get a TV station tuned in to the screen. The cafe was family friendly with big pictures of earth on the tables and plenty of room to get the baby's buggy round. The girls serving were polite and helpful - including getting hot water for the baby's bottle. The toilets area was clean and well supplied, and I understand that the baby changing room was good, too - but it needs soundproofing, as Mark (5 months old) screamed his head off and could clearly be heard in both sets of toilets either side! There was some stuff upstairs in the main visitors centre, but a lift was available for disabled guests or pushchairs. The only down side was that the buggy had to be left in the visitor centre whilst on the bus tour. The bus was wide enough and low enough to accommodate the buggy but at the control centre was a steep set of stairs, no lift and no-where to store the buggies, whilst we climbed up to view the satellites and control tower. On the bus, a guide explained what each satellite was called, what it operated and where it covered, she came in to the control tower and continued her talk and then showed us a film with strobe lighting about the satellites. I enjoyed this very much and I know that my companions did as they asked to go back the very next day to have another go on the Segway. Keep your entry ticket and you may be able to do the Segway, without having to repay the entrance fee, as they are trying to expand this side of the business. Werewolf

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          04.11.2003 20:38
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          You?re on Holiday in Cornwall and its raining. What can you do? If you?re near the Lizard Peninsula then you could do worse than visit the Goonhilly Earth Station, the largest satellite station on Earth. Goonhilly was opened in 1962 with one satellite dish, called Arthur, who was built to track the Telstar satellites. The first programs received by Arthur where relayed from the USA to the UK via the Telstar satellites in orbit. Goonhilly was also one of the major contributors in bringing the pictures of the moon landing to over 600 million people worldwide. The site is owned by BT and they will make sure you know this before you leave! Arthur is the largest satellite on the Goonhilly site, weighing in at a massive 1118 tonnes and a dish span of some 85 feet he is still active today in bringing pictures from around the world. Originally satellites circled the earth and the satellite dishes which tracked them would move from horizon to horizon as they tracked the satellites. So although Arthur is a big old boy he?s certainly no slouch being able to move from horizon to horizon in just three minutes. This is the dish moving over the vertical not rotating 180 degrees! The guide informed us that if the power was to fail Arthur can be moved manually but it would take 1000 turns of the crank handle to move the dish just 1 inch! The satellites are all named after Cornish Gods, such as Arthur, Guinevere, Uther, Geraint, Lancelot, Tristan, Isolde, and Merlin Today however, satellites stay in a geostationary orbit which means the dishes no longer move to track the satellites as the satellites themselves are in a stationary orbit around the earth. The down side to the dishes tracking the satellite is that once the satellite has moved over the horizon no signal can be received from it until it appears again. Very frustrating if you?re watching the world cup which was the first set of programs to be broadcast via Go onhilly. Anyway enough about why the station is here. Its there to receive and send communications from around the world. So the entire site and visitors centre is purely about communications. The site itself is located on the lizard peninsula near to Helston in Cornwall and getting there is quite easy. Head out of Helston towards the Lizard and once past the airbase turn left. Follow the signs and the site is several miles down this road. Once there you have to pay, bummer! But there are loads of discount tickets floating about, so it cost £5 for me and the wife. There is a link at the bottom of the page to the discount voucher page at the Goonhilly web site, which you can print and take along for a discount. Once inside the visitors centre, there is plenty to do from surf the internet, to olde phones, an informative film on Goonhilly, plus lots of stuff to keep the kids amused. There is also a Café which I though was quite reasonably priced, we paid less than a tenner for 2 lunches, 2 drinks and two sweets. Tasted okay as well! I can?t remember the frequency of the tours but they run pretty regular throughout the day and these take you on a tour of the site with an audio tape explaining the different aspects of the site. You are also taken to the old control room on Goonhilly and here a tour guide will inform you about the site, the dishes and the wildlife. Did I mention that the land around Goonhilly is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve and has been since 1976? Oh, well I just have. The tour was okay but the bus driver drove a bit to fast to see anything in any details. I liked Goonhilly, Some of the exhibits where very good, I especially liked playing with the satellite reception exhibit which allows you to receive TV pictures from different satellites with broadcasts from different countries. The submarine cable exhibit was also very interesting especially as it explains abou t cab les from the 1800?s. The highlight of the centre for me was when we went back outside and the rain had stopped, and we could stand right underneath Arthur. Its truly an amazing piece of hardware. I know its not as big as the dish at Joddrell Bank in Cheshire but its so big with all the mechanisms for moving the dish. I would go to Goonhilly again as the subject of communications is something which interests me and hopefully BT will update the exhibit on a regular basis. However there really isn?t enough to do at present to keep you amused for a full day and the internet access was so, so slow! If your on the Lizard and are tired of sitting on the beach then a few hours at Goonhilly is just the job to drag you back into the 21st Century and beyond. Opening Times Sat 15th Feb - Sun 30th March 10am - 4pm - (last entry 3pm) Tues 1st April - Fri 23rd May 10am - 5pm - (last entry 4pm) Sat 24th May - Sun 28th Sept 10am - 6pm - (last entry 5pm) Mon 29th Sept - Sun 2nd Nov 10am - 5pm - (last entry 4pm) Tues 4th Nov - Sun 4th Jan 10am - 4pm - (last entry 3pm) Admission Price Adults £5.00 Child 5-16yrs £3.50 Child 4yrs and under FREE Senior Citizen £4.00 Student over 16yrs £4.00 Family Ticket 1 Includes: 1 Adult + 2 Children £11.00 Family Ticket 2 Includes: 2 Adult + 2 Children £15.00 Don?t forget to visit here for your discount vouchers » http://www.goonhilly.bt.com/voucher.htm © Mike Porter, Copyright 1999 ? 2003

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            14.11.2000 17:24
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            My Husband is really into NASA and anything to do with Space. In Cornwall they have the biggest Satellite Station on Earth, it is called Goonhilly Earth Station. In the last 38 years it has probably transmitted and received many remarkable events, more than any other Satellite Earth Station, from Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 to the pictures from the Olympic games in Atlanta, USA 1996. They can cover more than two thirds of the Earth; Goonhilly simultaneously handles hundreds of thousands of international phone, fax, video and data calls. The site is capable of handling 600,000 worldwide phone calls at any one time. On display they have two interconnected videophones, so you can talk to somebody on the other side of the room. You can surf the net on their Internet Zone, there are 5 terminals, where you can send a postcard from Goonhilly to friends, through the Internet. They have 2 more PC’s with playable demos from new release games, and they also have 2 Dreamcasts to try out too. Included in the entry fee is a guided tour on a bus of the restricted site. You are taken to what use to be the old Command Complex, where you get off the bus and have a little walk; you are taken up a spiral staircase to the Command Complex Room. The Command Complex has brilliant views of all the Satellite dishes, which all have different names and all have different tasks. After a short Speech from the tour guide you are taken down a different spiral staircase to another room, this is where you are shown a very interesting film about what Goonhilly actually does. The film takes about 20mins. After this you get back onto the bus and you are then taken on a ride around all the satellite dishes. The bus has an automatic commentary, explaining in more detail what all the different dishes do, and where they are directed. The bus ends up back outside the visitor centre. In the visitor centre they run a movie all about the surround ing area and lots of really interesting details about Lizard Point. Goonhilly is situated in a National Nature Reserve with lots of endangered species growing and living there. There are lots of interactive displays in the Multimedia visitor centre. I sent some emails from here to my friends, and I also checked how my Dooyoo account was doing. My Husband had great fun operating a satellite dish, but you have to pay extra for this, it costs 20p. While my Husband was looking at all the interactive displays, my parents, my children and I, went to the Big Dish Café. The children had an Ice Cream and the adults had a hot chocolate. We bought our dinner, in the cafe, and the sandwiches were very tasty. My mum bought the children a present from the Souvenir Shop, they even had space food, but I thought it was expensive at £2.50 for a little packet, so we didn’t have any. It was very windy the day we went, so we didn't make use of the Children’s Play area, but there is quite a large one next to the visitor centre. Prices Adults £4 Child 6 – 16 inc. £2.50 5yrs and under FREE Senior Citizen £3 Family Saver £11 (Two Adults and Two Children) Open daily from 22nd March – 3rd Nov. Normally open from 10 – 5pm, but sometimes they stay open til 6pm in holiday season. Goonhilly is located 7 miles from Helston on the Lizard Peninsula. Follow the B3293 road from Helston to St Keverne. It is very well signposted.

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            14.11.2000 05:50
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            I have always been interested in space, so while we were on holiday in Cornwall recently we decided to take a trip to BT’s Goonhilly Earth Station. This is the largest satellite station on earth with all these big dishes handling hundreds of thousands of telephone calls, TV pictures etc sending and receiving items from space. We started off in the interactive visitors centre where we looked at all of the exhibits that told us how it all works and lets you play with the latest video phones, faxes and emails. Then we went off to the Internet zone, which was a relief for me, I had been without my computer for 9 days 5 hours 46 minutes (Not that I was counting) and I was getting serious withdrawal symptoms. Of course the first thing I did was log onto dooyoo. There was a very interesting display and documentary about the recent total eclipse as goonhilly was right in the centre of the totality there was a wonderful view from that point. Then we went on the coach trip around the complex where they told us about all of the dishes and what they are used for. They stopped off at the command complex where you go up a tower and have some great views. The whole place is an area of special scientific interest and a nature reserve, there was also a short film showing how a remote news crew get there pictures back to the studio to be broadcast into our homes. Then it was back to the visitor’s complex (Via the BT shop where you can get your hands on all the latest gadgets) where we stopped off in the restaurant for a snack and a drink before we headed off. There was a good outdoor play area for the kids, but it was not very good weather so we didn't fancy sitting outside and there was not a huge amount to keep the young kids interested inside, for the older kids there were computer games and the internet. We paid £11 for a family ticket; this admitted 2 adults and 2 children with children under 5 free. I was pleased that we went, but we probably won’t go again. It was an interesting day out and the kids enjoyed themselves but there is not a lot there, we probably spent about 4 hours there, but over an hour of that we were surfing on the net

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