Cornwall With The Family – The Ultimate Guide

If you’re coming to stay in Cornwall with your family in tow, then you’ll need an idea of things to keep everyone entertained and happy. Although we say that ‘the sun always shines in Cornwall’, there may sometimes be the odd blip! So we have included a selection of things to do when it’s raining too…just in case! Keep a look out for some exclusive Cornish Escapes special offers too.

Learning new things

Heartlands is a 19-acre Cornish Mining World Heritage Site that has been turned into a family friendly visitor attraction that embodies Cornish culture. Nestled just off the A30 at Pool, Redruth, in the mining heart of Cornwall, it is a place where the whole family can learn, explore, play and relax. You’ll find a mining museum and exhibition, diaspora gardens, a giant adventure playscape for kids, all completely FREE to enjoy. With swathes of green outdoor space for warm, sunny days and things to do inside when its wet, there is all-year round, all-weather entertainment for anyone and everyone.

There are plenty of historic houses to explore in Cornwall, including Trerice; an intimate Elizabethan manor and a Cornish gem, unchanged by the advances in building fashions over the centuries, thanks to long periods under absentee owners. Have a go at archery, and follow the archeology trail of the medieval manor farm.

Pendennis Castle in Falmouth is one of the mightiest fortresses built by Henry VIII to defend against invasion. Hear the roar of real guns, scan the horizon for enemy ships and find out what life was like for soldiers stationed here during the World Wars. Explore Henry VIIIs keep to experience the drama of a castle under attack, and climb up to the roof for panoramic views over the sea. With acres of green space, a fun family trail and a soft play room near the café, theres plenty for visitors of all ages to discover and enjoy.

Tintagel Castle is dramatic and rugged, the clifftop ruins have legends galore, particularly the tale that its the birthplace of King Arthur with Merlins Cave nearby. It’s quite a walk – so older children will prefer this to younger ones. Journey across the spectacular award-winning footbridge, meet Gallos, the larger-than-life bronze sculpture of an ancient king, explore Merlins Cave and paddle in rock pools on the beach.

 

Staying Active

For inspirational and fun family walks along the South West Coast Path look no further than The South West Coast Path. Children will enjoy discovering the land of myths and legends, climbing hills and exploring secret coves linked to infamous smugglers. For tech-savvy nature lovers – why not try a bit of geocaching for a modern-day treasure hunt using GPS to search for hidden caches in the countryside.

One of the loveliest stretches of the South West coast path runs along the River Camel, and its a great one for kids – the Sir John Betjeman walk is easy going, passes the beach and leads to St Enodoc Church where the poet laureate is buried.

If you are a family that likes to be active on holiday then look no further than the famous Camel Trail. This largely traffic-free trail in Cornwall follows an old railway line. At 12 miles long and largely flat it is ideal for families and less experienced cyclists. The Camel Trail offers spectacular views of moorland, woodland and estuary and is used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse-riders.

If you are a member of the National Trust then you can also take your bikes to Lanhydrock. Cardinham Woods is also well-known for its stream-side paths, fresh air and stunning viewpoints. If youre a thrill seeker searching for your next adrenaline rush, their cycling trails are not to be missed.

There are a wealth of wonderful watersports activities to do in Cornwall – it would be impossible to list them all. However, we find this guide from Visit Cornwall is super helpful, whether you’re looking for surfing lessons, SUP or even diving.

Food and Drink

To experience some of the amazing food and drink that Cornwall has to offer, there are places where you can make a real day of it. Healeys Cyder is one of them. Deep in the heart of the Cornish countryside, they are a family-run farm thats been lovingly making award-winning cyders, wines, spirits, juices, preserves, and sauces for nearly 40 years. Visitors are welcome to the farm where there are often special events including visits from pirates, music, guided tours and tractor rides!

You can also head to Roskilly’s, a real Cornish organic farm with FREE fun for all the family (free as long as you aren’t persuaded to buy ice-creams of course!) Meet the animals, stroll around the meadows, enjoy the tranquility by the ponds and of course, sample some Cornish goodies.

 

Rainy Days

There are so many amazing art galleries and museums in Cornwall. The Falmouth Art Gallery has won an award for its family-friendliness, with changing exhibitions and over 1,700 artworks in the collection.

Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium provides an amazing undersea adventure through the worlds seas and oceans. Marvel at over 40 naturally-themed displays and be transported from the rocky Cornish shores to the exotic coral reefs! At the aquariums heart is a giant ocean tank with an underwater walkthrough tunnel, home to hundreds of colourful fish, tropical sharks and Omiros, the rescued loggerhead turtle. Head along to interactive talks and feeding demonstrations with the keepers and understand more about the importance of our worlds waters. Plus enjoy a host of activities and events for all the family on selected weekends and school holidays throughout the year.

Paradise Park and Jungle Barn. See over 130 species of animal at Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary! From penguin feeding to red pandas and otters, a small farm to bird shows – there is something to keep everyone entertained. The great news is that you can save on your Paradise Park tickets with Cornish Escapes! We’re offering our followers an exclusive £2 off per person when you use the code ‘ESCAPE’ at the check out. Valid until 31st October, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the vibrantly coloured birds fly before your eyes, witness rare Red Squirrels and Red Pandas and meet a plethora of farm animals!

The Eden Project is world famous! With its two distinctive biomes, you can be transported to the heat of the rainforest or the warmth of the Mediterranean at the Eden Project, even if the rain is lashing down outside. Eden is a feast for the senses that can be experienced in so many different ways. Whether you’re looking for a calming immersion in nature or a fun-packed day of excitement, there is something for you. With storytelling sessions and other special activities and exhibitions, theres even soft play for the littlest visitors. 

The Tate St Ives is right on the beach and has a varied collection of modern art and temporary exhibitions – pick up activity packs from reception, follow the family trails and there are even suggested games to play as you explore. Children are encouraged to make noise in the galleries and there are many free workshops for them to get involved in.

The National Maritime, Falmouth is an incredible day of fun and learning – sheltered from any storm! 15 galleries, over five floors: exploring the influence of the sea on history and culture. The Museum is located on aptly named Discovery Quay, and is a vast, iconic building, home to exciting exhibitions and a wide range of galleries taking visitors on a journey through the influence of the sea on history and culture. They have some incredible exhibitions on over the holidays including one on tattoos and another called Monsters of the Deep.

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, near Penzance – a wonderful location for a fascinating experience. The little Cornish village of Porthcurno was once home to the worlds largest telegraph station, putting it right at the heart of international telecommunications. Discover a museum experience that explores the amazing story of our connected world, and how a tranquil valley in Cornwall became host to the past, present and future of worldwide communications. 

Head underground to the Carnglaze Caverns, one of Cornwalls and Devons premier underground all-weather family tourist attractions, exploring part of Cornwalls Industrial Heritage in a beautiful 8 acre ancient oak woodland setting.

 

Up close and personal with nature

The National Lobster Hatchery is a marine conservation, research and education charity based in Padstow, Cornwall, UK. What makes them unique is that their work is specifically related to a commercial species – The European Lobster and in the last few years they have successfully established themselves as a centre of expertise on a global scale. From 25th July to 4th September the team have created an array of interactive guardian lead activities to inspire the next generation of marine biologists! They are open all summer every day 10am until 4pm. Activities include fun fishing, pipetting and much more!

And the Screech Owl Wildlife Park has flying displays and owl talks, as well as owl handling sessions for kids aged 11+ 

For an unforgettable wildlife experience, head off to sea with Padstow Sealife Safaris – you could spot seals, dolphins, porpoises, and even sunfish and basking sharks, along with birds galore. Ian the founder and owner of Padstow Sea life Safaris was taken to sea from the age of six by his father who worked as a fisherman. He has grown up out on the water enjoying our stunning coastline and seeing seals, dolphins and the array of other marine life that passes through our waters.

There are trips suitable for children under five as well as older ones, although toddlers are unlikely to have the attention span for a two-hour cruise.

A personal favourite is the Cornish Seal Sanctuary at Gweek. Meet seals and sea lions, otters, penguins, sheep, ponies and goats!  As well as an interactive rockpool, there are talks and feeding times which take place throughout the day plus a quiz trail and pirate play area for kids.