Along with all of Cornwall’s charismatic natural charms, such as sweeping coastlines, sandy beaches and historic moorlands, the South West is also home to a number of amazing man-made attractions. And, dare we say it, you should always have a rainy day back-up plan for every eventuality! In Cornwall it isn’t far from coast to coast, which makes many outings accessible if you want to explore further afield, so here are some of our favourite family attractions.
For budding vets, marine biologists or even just keen animal lovers – there’s a real assortment of animal based excursions in Cornwall. For the younger family members or the gentler animal lovers, we would definitely recommend a day trip to Paradise Park, Cornwall’s very own wildlife sanctuary in Hayle. Home to 1,200 birds and animals, there’s so much for the family to enjoy, from penguin feeding and bird shows to pets’ corner. Vibrantly coloured birds fly before your eyes, and you can witness rare Red Squirrels and Red Pandas, as well as a whole host of farm animals. With a souvenir shop and cafe on site, there’s more than enough to keep you busy. Alternatively, Newquay Zoo has hundreds of the worlds most loved species – we’d recommend planning ahead to check out when the feeding times are for the various species.
When kids want to let off steam, you might consider Cornwall’s wide variety of adventure parks or adrenaline sports centres. Just half an hour from St Ives, Flambards is an unbeatable destination for children. Located in Helston, it covers off a spectrum of activities for all ages: adrenaline junkie rides for thrill seekers; soft play; interactive science corners and trips down memory lane with period based attractions. Flambards is brimming with fun, and it’s a perfect destination for families who are after an active, fun packed day – whatever the weather!
Cornish Goldsmiths Treasure Park, one of Cornwall’s leading free attractions, provides a unique combination of hands-on activities and shopping experiences. Here you can watch tin streaming, dig for gems, take a stroll around the beautiful gardens or dine at the brilliant Oscars Restaurant. Alternatively, create your own fluffy, cuddly friend at Cornwalls only branch of Bear Works, paint your own pottery at ‘Pot of Gold’ and keep an eye out for other amazing activities such as Wacky Test Tubes, Find a Fossil and the 9-hole crazy golf course! The Treasure Park also offers a chance to browse some authentic Celtic jewellery for sale, which is the largest range of silver jewellery in the west. You can even request your own commission, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to see goldsmiths hard at work.
For something a little different, why not try an afternoon of chocolate making? Workshops for all ages are available at Coco Kitchen – St Ives’ very own artisanal chocolate shop. From tots to teenagers, parents and seniors, this is an activity for everyone in the family to enjoy. Spend a delicious afternoon creating, moulding and decorating chocolate treats including bars, lollies and other snacks, using white, milk or dark chocolate as well as ingredients and toppings of your choice. Best of all, you get to eat the results!
For those with children old enough to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty on offer in Cornwall, we’d recommend heading up to the famous Bodmin Moor. On a list of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the South West, the Moor may well rein first place. Let your kids run wild and free on a remote, unspoilt heather-covered land still grazed by moorland ponies, where much of its prehistoric and medieval past has been untouched by the passing of the centuries. Bonus points for those who catch any sightings of the Beast of Bodmin Moor – a legendary wild panther said to be a habitant of the Moor!
Bodmin Moor, Bodmin, UK
Cornish Goldsmiths Treasure Park
The Track, New Portreath Rd, Redruth TR16 4HN, UK
Flambards Theme Park, Clodgey Lane, Helston, UK
Paradise Park and JungleBarn Cornwall, Trelissick Road, Hayle, UK