It’s one of the most beautiful coastal destinations in the UK. With a rugged coastline, glorious sandy beaches and the wildest countryside, Cornwall is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Even the most popular destinations are never too overcrowded. And even when tourist hotspots such as St. Ives and Truro are bustling with people, you can always find a quiet little spot to call your own. Life in Cornwall is sweet and we just love bringing the kids here! From easy nature trails and beach days to shopping, museums and gardens, the choice is endless when it comes to children. If you’re looking for some fun days out with your little ones, here are 23 ideas to help you plan your trip.
1. Kite Flying
Beach breaks in Cornwall can’t give you guaranteed great weather – even in the summer! But that’s just good old British weather for you. Not to worry though if it’s a little windy on the beach because kite flying is one of the most popular activities in Cornwall. If it’s too cold to sunbathe, wrap up warm and take the kids kiting. You can even get power kite lessons at Gwithian Beach in St. Ives or Watergate Bay in Newquay.
2. Explore the Eden Project
For something seriously exciting that children of all ages will love, head to the Rainforest Biome at Eden in Bodelva. The Eden Project features a connected world of nature, learning and exploration and as an educational charity, this is a fantastic place for young people to see, touch and learn. The Bodelva based centre is home to some of the most wonderful butterfly species and the brand new walkway will take you on an adventure through the treetops. Don’t forget to grab lunch at the Med Kitchen.
3. Watch Something at the Minack Theatre
If you’re looking for a fun activity for the whole family, don’t miss the Minack Theatre which is one of the world’s most well-known outdoor theatres. Catch a show here for a once in a lifetime experience and bring the kids along for a thespian experience that they will never forget. Past shows have included Shakespeare’s reinvented The Tempest In A Teacup, Peter Pan and many other productions, music events and puppet shows.
4. Eat the Best Fish and Chips!
Kids love fish and chips, and in Cornwall you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to takeaways, cafes and seafront restaurants. There’s nothing more exciting than the prospect of yummy fish and chips by the sea, with the salty air and the sound of seagulls. And although it’s hard to have a bad fish and chip dinner by the coast in this corner of the world, we definitely recommend trying out Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant in Padstow – it gets top reviews every time!
5. Visit King Arthur’s Castle
If your children love the stories of King Arthur, don’t miss his home at Tintagel Castle. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the area, get lost in the castle grounds, hear all about the fascinating Welsh and Breton tales surrounding this legendary king, and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery as you take the steps down to the beach. A great day out for all.
6. The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Belonging to the Tremayne family for more than 4 centuries, this is one of the most mysterious and romantic estates in the UK. It’s a wonderful place to spend the afternoon for people of all ages – so toddlers, teens and grandparents alike will have a great time here. The Lost Gardens is an easy walk for all abilities and the route is dog-friendly too so you won’t have to leave your four-legged friends behind.
7. Go to Newquay Zoo
If your little monkeys love to see animals, take a trip to Newquay Zoo. The whole family will get the chance to get up close to animals such as the African Lion, the Red Panda, the endangered Crowned Lemur, the Carpathian Lynx, the Squirrel Monkey, the Asian Short Clawed Otter, the Hoffman’s Sloth, the Pied / Emperor Tamarin, the Zebra, Black Wildebeest, Madagascan Tortoise, various species of birdlife, snakes and more. A number of different animal experiences also allow you to get hands on with the local residents with a taste of zoo keeping for a day.
8. Experience Farm Life
If you want a fun farm experience, why not stay at one of our featured farm stays (such as Tregongeeves Farm or Woodlands Manor Farm) where your little ones can help feed the farm animals and get their hands dirty with the pigs, chickens, horses and more? Farm stays are a great way of making kids feel involved and fully immersed in a new learning experience and set in the beautiful countryside of Cornwall, you’ll be ideally located for beach days, nature walks and sightseeing.
9. Holywell Bay Fun Park
For high adrenaline fun, hit Holywell Bay Fun Park! This is the perfect place to blow off some steam and there’s free entry plus free parking to make your day as affordable as possible. The park features rides and attractions, shops and cafes, and activities such as go-karting, race track racing, blaster boats, magical mazes, water zorbing, bouncy castles, crazy golf, trampolines and endless arcade games. Dull moments simply don’t exist at the Holywell Bay Fun Park and there’s something for every interest / age group.
10. Swim at Porthcurno Beach
If you’re travelling with toddlers, Porthcurno Beach is one of the best spots you can find for some summer sunbathing. It’s one of the safest places for young visitors to go swimming; babies and toddlers can safely paddle in the stream that flows down one side of the beach, where the water is shallow and warm plus the cove creates an area shielded from the wind. The Porthcurno Beach Café is also a great place to get refreshments in the afternoon.
11. The Monkey Sanctuary
The Monkey Sanctuary is set in the stunning woodlands of Looe and it’s not to be missed if your little monkeys love to explore! This educational rescue centre has not only been saving monkeys since 1964, but it also features an activity room, an arts and crafts zone, a special Bats Zone so you can learn all about bats, and a beautiful wildlife garden. So it’s not just monkeys here – it’s a great day out for all.
12. Go Rock Pooling
Have you ever tried rock pooling? If you’re new to this local activity, make sure you grab a fishing net and give it a try because it’s so much fun! Head to the rock pools of Castle Beach around Falmouth or Kennack Sands on The Lizard Peninsula and see if you can catch crabs, prawns and anemone with your net.
13. Go to Kidzworld
Kidzworld in St. Austell is Cornwall’s newest attraction. It’s great for all weather fun so if it’s raining outside, don’t worry. Just bring the kids here for a full day of fun activities. The centre covers 54,000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor space with everything from dodgem rides, indoor climbing walls, roller skating, climbing frames and soft play, treehouses and laser tag. There something for all ages and parents can shop and eat at the Cornish Market World.
14. Raze the Roof
Perfect for a rainy day, Raze the Roof is a large indoor play area located in Penryn, Falmouth. For your little ones, there is a laser tag zone, a mega play frame with slides, a climbing wall, ball cannons and astro-gliding; for parents, there’s a café with free Wi-Fi. Raze the Roof is open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:30pm and weekends from 10:00am to 6:30pm, and they can also help you host birthday parties.
15. Geevor Tin Mine
If you’re looking for an activity that is both fun and educational, try panning for gold at the Geevor Tin Mine! This is a great way to kill a few hours is the weather isn’t great in Penzance. If it’s too cold to go swimming and too overcast to sunbathe, drive to the village of Pendeen and learn all about the life of miners in the 1800s. Walk through the narrow tunnels and get hands on by searching for gold and metals. Family tickets are available so you can get top value for money.
16. Beach combing at Talland Bay
Talland Bay is one of the most family friendly beaches in Cornwall and it’s a great place for building sandcastles as well as beach combing. If you love to collect shells, come here and see what treasures you can find washed up on the seashore. You’ll find everything from seashells, pretty pebbles and driftwood that can be used in various arts and crafts.
17. Paddle Boarding at Gyllygnvase Beach
Gyllygnvase Beach in Falmouth is a Blue Flag Beach which impresses with its beautifully maintained beach front and top facilities for families. It’s also a great spot for those who want to try paddle boarding for the first time. This incredible new sport has become a celeb favourite and is a great way for adults to tone their abs – it’s also a superb activity for kids and teens who like to spend time on the water. There’s a paddle boarding school onsite so you can get professionally trained before you hit the waves and there’s also volleyball and bouncy castles on the beach, so families will always have something to do.
18. Stroll through Cardinham Woods
If you want buggy friendly walking routes, head to the beautiful Cardinham Woods near Bodmin. There are 4 circular routes which are easy and suitable for all ages / abilities, and one of these is a 3km push chair friendly trail featuring plenty of nice little picnic spots.
19. Try Hedgehog Ice Cream at Chapel Porth
Want to know what’s more exciting than ice cream? Hedgehog ice cream! Tell your kids about this famous Cornwall dessert and they won’t be able to wait for your visit to the famous Chapel Porth Café in St Agnes. This delicious cone brings together a mix of Cornish ice cream, clotted cream and honey roasted hazelnuts for a tasty treat that resembles the colours of a hedgehog and it’s exclusive to Chapel Porth Café – so you won’t be able to try it anywhere else in the world.
20. Visit the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek is a great place to take the family if you’re looking for something a bit different. If you’ve exhausted walks, beaches and shopping, head to the sanctuary to meet some of the rescued seals and teach your children about the importance of animal conservation.
21. Trebah Gardens
The area of Cornwall has the UK’s only area of sub-tropical climate, making it ones of the rainiest and most humid zones in the country. One of the biggest benefits is the incredible plant life that thrives in these conditions, and Trebah Gardens is a fine example of Cornwall’s sub-tropical gardens. Together with the coastline serving as a backdrop, it’s a postcard perfect destination for those who love flowers, gardens, nature and photography. Within the gardens, under 5s can explore Fort Stuart – an area designed for young cowboys and cowgirls, with slides and rocking horses. There’s also a Mr Frog’s Wildlife Trail, suitable for children of all ages.
22. St Mawes Castle
St Mawes Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth and it’s one of the most well preserved castles built in the 1500s. It’s also the most elaborately decorated of them all, making it a great castle to tour with the family. Located at Castle Cove, you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular vistas of the sea and audio tours allow guests to experience life in the castle during the Tudor period.
23. Healey’s Cider Farm
Healey’s Cider Farm in Truro is one for all ages. Adults can enjoy locally brewed ciders and tasty non-alcoholic juices. The little ones will love the tractor rides and feeding the farm animals, and if you need to refuel, don’t miss the fantastic restaurant where hearty homemade dishes are served daily or the tea rooms where you’ll be able to try the best jam and clotted cream scones around!