Cornish Days Out
Cornwall is absolutely packed full of brilliant activities, free days out, and family attractions. In fact, there’s so much to choose from, it can be tricky to decide what to see and do. From adventure parks to animal sanctuaries, water sports to golf, go-karting to railways – we’ve compiled our favourite Cornish days out to help you make the most of your stay. Easy-going or action packed, there’s something for everyone here in Cornwall.
Flambards provides an excellent day out for the whole family. Located in Helston, it has a range of different activities for all ages: thrill seeking rides for adrenaline junkies; soft play; hands-on science and bygone era based attractions. With plenty on offer, it’s a perfect destination for families who are after an active, fun-filled day – rain or shine! Daredevils will love Kidzworld – with obstacle courses, aerial tight ropes and 4 inch beams at a height of over 10 metres. There’s also Raze the Roof, with indoor soft play, climbing frames and ball cannons – with areas for tiny tots too. For bowling enthusiasts, head down to Trethorne Leisure Park where children will be entertained for hours with a large indoor and outdoor play area, friendly animals in the barn and a games arcade. It’s games galore at Country Skittles too – with a bowling arena and pool tables as well as traditional wooden games and family board games.
Animal Parks and Farms
The wildlife sanctuary, Paradise Park is an award-winning zoo which is home to over 1,000 birds and animals and offers so much for the family to enjoy – from daily penguin feeding and free-flying bird shows, to pets corner and jungle express trains. For farm animals, try Dairy Land Farm World where you can bottle feed a lamb, or Springfield’s Fun Park where there are lots of ponies to be ridden and groomed, along with rowing boats, vertical slides and trampolines. There’s also Camel Creek, home to some of the friendliest animals who love lots of attention and making new friends – or Tamar Donkey Sanctuary, where you can feed and pet donkeys as well as goats, sheep, pigs and guinea pigs. There’s also a huge indoor play barn for the kids to enjoy.
For those who love more exotic animals, try Newquay Zoo where there are hundreds of animals from all around the world, or Blue Reef Aquarium where you can enjoy close encounters with an octopus, seahorses and stingrays. At Cornish Seal Sanctuary you can get involved in feeding demonstrations with the adorable collection of seals or The Monkey Sanctuary has various species of monkey, all rescued from the UK and international primate pet trades. And make sure you don’t miss the Porfell Wildlife Park for beautiful exotic birds and reptiles. Cornwall has its fair share of conservation based programmes too, such as the Screech Owl Sanctuary and Animal Park, where you’ll find a large collection of owl species along with falconry displays, souvenirs and crafts.
If working farms are what you’re after then be sure to check out Callestick Farm, specialising in everyone’s favourite treat – ice cream! Here you can watch the team in the factory making and packing the ice cream, stop for a light lunch, snack or traditional cream tea – just make sure you put the jam on first! If you fancy something with more of a kick, Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm offer guided tours through their orchard, pressing house, distillery, cellar, museum and jam kitchen.
Water Sports and Action
For indoor and outdoor swimming thrills visit Oasis Fun Pools, with flumes, slides and currents. Perfect for all the family whatever the weather. There’s also the South West Lakes Trust, which manages 50 inland lakes and reservoirs. Experiences vary from site to site, ranging from activity centres, coarse or trout fishing, water sports, or just beautiful spots for relaxing with a picnic. There is no shortage of Surfing Schools in Cornwall, to name just a few; St Ives Surf School, Newquay Surfing School and Global Boarders Cornwall all have lots on offer, including coasteering at some schools. Thrill-seeking racers can enjoy go-karting at Coast 2 Coast Karting or St Eval Kart Circuit – with circuits available from 3 years and up. Adrenaline junkies might also enjoy Big Dunk’s Paintball & Outdoor Laser Tag, a purpose built UKPSF accredited site with 9 game zones set across 20 acres, or The ATV centre for quad biking fun near Truro. If those sound too extreme, try the Cornwall Segway, where you can get to grips with the Segway and take it for a spin around one of the obstacle courses or tracks. They even offer archery too!
For golf lovers, Cornwall has so much to choose from, whether you’re looking to play 18 holes, try your hand at pitch and putt or even crazy golf. There’s Hayle Golf with fully floodlit golf ranges, short hole courses and croquet golf (mini golf with a twist), Greenacres Short Golf and Penwith Pitch and Putt, with a 9 and 18-hole course for all ages and mini golf and Gwinear Golf Pitch and Putt, for short courses – perfect for little ones (who are given their own little putter). For serious aficionados, West Cornwall Golf Club is probably one of the finest links courses in Cornwall (it’s also the oldest). The course has a magnificent setting and has been moulded around the natural contours of the sand dunes that form part of the Hayle Estuary and Porth Kidney Sands. There are panoramic views from almost every hole with St. Ives Bay and Godrevy Lighthouse providing a memorable backdrop to this gem of a course. Visitor and societies are made more than welcome with discounted green fees and packages to include breakfast, lunch and dinner available.
Railways and Historic Adventures
There’s nothing quite like a scenic ride on a steam train, and Cornwall has plenty to choose from. A narrow gauge steam railway running from the historic Cornish town of Launceston takes you through the glorious Kensey Valley, to the hamlet of Newmills. Relax in style and enjoy a leisurely thirteen mile return trip on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, which winds through beautiful countryside and allows you take in the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone age. Good things definitely come in small packages in the unique setting of the Lappa Valley where you’ll find the Lappa Steam Railway & Leisure Park, which has three separate miniature railways running through this secret valley of fun and adventure. If model trains are your thing then consider Cornwall’s World of Model Railways. The main display has over 30 trains travelling through varied landscapes including town, country, seaside and even an alpine winter. Village, station and circus scenery provide the setting for every child’s favourite engines to appear out of the tunnels with their trains, with interactive buttons and fascinating fun for all.
The mining history of the South West can be explored at Poldark Mine – Cornwall’s only completely underground tin mine. With craft workshops run by local workers including jewellers, candle makers and wood turners, there’s plenty to see and do. To delve further into the significance of Cornish tin you can head to Geevor Tin Mine, an important heritage site where tin was mined for 80 years. There’s also Wheal Martyn, a working clay pit, where you can witness modern mining in action and discover more about Cornwall’s famous ‘white pyramids’ or Cornish Goldsmiths Treasure Park near Portreath, where you can watch tin streaming, dig for gems and treat yourself to some of the authentic Celtic jewellery that’s for sale. Here you can also find The Bear Works, the fluffiest, furriest and cuddliest experience in Cornwall.
Historians will also love Bodmin Jail where you can experience the life of an eighteenth century prisoner, visit an execution pit and explore the original inmate cells.