With 300 miles of coastline, tonnes of history and a thriving arts and theatre culture, it can be tricky deciding what to see and do whilst you’re holidaying in Cornwall – especially with little ones in tow!
Here are our picks of the best family activities in The Duchy – which ones will you visit?
1. Nature Trail, Caerhays
Brand new at Caerhays Castle Spring Gardens, this cute Nature Trail will entrance little ones as they try and spot woodland creatures around the grounds. Parents will also be able to enjoy a tea and cake deal in the Magnolia Tea Rooms afterwards – so there’s something for everyone in the family to look forward to!
2. The Eden Project, St Austell
No trip to Cornwall is complete without exploring the world’s largest indoor rainforest! Younger kids will love heading into the complex on the tractor-driven land train, whilst the older ones will head straight for the Rainforest Canopy Walkway and SkyWire zip wire. Take a look at the Eden Project’s website to find out more about their exciting year-round family events and exhibitions.
3. National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
Weekly sing-a-longs, storytelling sessions, live shows, interactive trails, a play zone and more – this is the place to enrich their understanding of the sea and maritime issues. Fascinating for all ages!
4. Aqua Park, Retallack
One for the adrenaline junkies! Located near Padstow, Retallack is home to the famous FlowRider surf simulator and the Aqua Park inflatable assault course for those total wipeout moments. Fun on the water no matter the weather!
5. Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
Go on a journey from the Cornish coasts to the exotic seas! Little ones will love the underwater tunnel at Blue Reef Aquarium, with captivating views of the reef and all the sea life that calls it home, including loggerhead sea turtles, reef sharks and shoals of colourful fish.
6. Escape Rooms, Truro
Puzzle solvers will love the Escape Rooms in Truro. Packed with clues and excellent stories, the whole family will have to work together using logic and teamwork to try and get out in less than an hour!
7. Bodmin Jail, Bodmin
This one’s only for the bravest of children! Step into the shoes of an 18th Century prisoner at Bodmin Jail, a haunted heritage site where public hangings were held right up until 1909. It’s currently closed for redevelopments, but it will feature a new ‘Dark Walk’ experience and a complete renewal of the existing jail attraction when it re-opens in May 2020.
8. Jubilee Pool, Penzance
This sea water pool on the tip of the county is the perfect place for all ages to swim safely in fresh seawater! They have plans to open a new Geothermal pool at the site in Spring 2020 and host special events throughout the year – last year they hosted a huge outdoor cinema event where people watched Jaws whilst sat on rubber rings in the pool!
9. Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm, Goonhavern
This family-run farm really does have something for everyone. Home to the infamous Cornish Rattler (careful, at 7.4% it really does pack a punch!) for the adults and tractor rides and farmyard animals for the little ones. It’s particularly nice to lounge in the courtyard on a hot summer’s day with a cool glass of apples!
10. Sea Safaris, Padstow
See both amazing wildlife and unique views of the stunning Cornish coastline with a Sealife Safari trip! Get ready to be wowed as you head out on onto the open water to spot dolphins, whales, seals and more! Seeing such incredible creatures in their natural habitat is truly unmissable.
11. Callestick Farm, Truro
It’s free to visit this family-run farm, where you can see their Cornish ice-creamery in full swing – just make sure you have some pennies to hand to sample some of their delicious ice cream!
12. Heartlands, near Pool
This 19-acre World Heritage Site is packed with climb-on sculptures, botanical gardens, a giant adventure playscape for kids (one of the largest in Europe!), art and craft studios and a quirky café in the old carpenter’s workshop. The best bit? It’s all free to enjoy!
13. The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe
Home to capuchins, macaques and marmosets, The Monkey Sanctuary houses 40 individual monkeys; each one with their own distinct character and personality. This active rescue centre helps to rehabilitate monkeys from all over the world! Their Keeper for a Day experience is a must-do, letting little ones step into the shoes of a keeper in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
14. Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
Another chance to get up close to some of Cornwall’s incredible sea life. The Seal Sanctuary rescues injured pups and seals from around the coast and rehabilitates them. If they’re not quite ready to re-enter the water, the seals will live at Gweek permanently (keep a look out for Ray – he’s quite the character!) Watch them play and swim through the underwater viewing area, or get hands-on and help the keepers feed their resident penguins and otters.
15. Rogue Theatre, Tehidy Woods
This outdoor theatre experience is a real treat. Set in Tehidy Woods, the stories begin as you wander through the trees, before finding your seats under the cover of a huge canopy and settling down to hear mystical Cornish tales. Shows are usually held during all the school holidays and are tailored to the time of year – the spooktacular stories at Halloween are particularly good!
16. Foraging Walks, Cornwall
Foraging is becoming increasingly popular in Cornwall, combining food education and wild cooking with the great Cornish outdoors. Lots of companies offer a whole range of experiences, from gentle foraging walks along the coast with the whole family to more of an adventurous forage in the woodlands followed by a wild feast. A truly unique way to spend a day in The Duchy!
17. Poldark Mine
The Poldark Mine is one of the most historic locations in Cornish tin mining history and is the only complete tin mine in the county. The explorers who take on the educational guided mine tours are guaranteed to leave with unforgettable memories…
18. Elemental, Falmouth (Swanpool)
Kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, coasteering – if it’s a water sport activity you’ll find it with Elemental. They also have a site at Tolcarne, Newquay, for surf and windsurf lessons and host a Kid’s Club every day, so you can drop the little ones off into safe hands and spend the day on your own if you wish!
Which activities would you add to the list?