The summer holidays are around the corner and a large proportion of families are descending on fabulous Cornwall for a week by the sea and, if the star are aligned, some much needed sunshine. As you probably already know this corner of the UK is famously family-friendly, with so many places to visit and things to do with the kids in Cornwall. We would be here all day if we tried to list every sight, attraction and day out across the area, which is exactly why we built our Day Out Builder. But, here is our ultimate guide to things to do with the kids in Cornwall.
Where is it? The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek, Cornwall, TR12 6UG
We love meeting animals and these seals and sea lions at this sanctuary and rescue centre are adorable! On top of that you’ll find otters, penguins and even some land animals like sheep, ponies and goats – really making this one of the quirkiest Cornish attractions around.
There are a number of interesting things to do here making it a great day out with the kids in Cornwall as there is an interactive rockpool, you can get involved in feeding and talks as well as exploring via a quiz trail.
It is just over £10 for entry to the Sanctuary but you can have Breakfast with the Seals for £35 per person too!
Where is it? Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG
Wow, wow, wow! This really is an astonishing attraction – a garden that transports you to all corners of the world. You will explore this global garden and, when you are walking through a futuristic domed biome you’ll come face to face with some amazingly beautiful plants.
Move over the Amazon… as this plot in Cornwall is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest as well as interactive exhibits so everyone can take away a nugget of information too.
Always book in advance at the Eden Project – adults are from £26 and children from £13.50.
Where is it? St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall, TR17 0HS
A visit to St Michael’s Mount really is like stepping into another world! You can stride across the causeway or travel across by boat to this island. Then walk medieval paths, explore the castle itself before discovering more about the village and the harbour.
This is a story of legends and myths… so there is plenty of intrigue for all the family. Because of the mystique surrounding this place this really is one of of our favourite days out with the kids in Cornwall.
You can buy tickets for just the castle, just the gardens or both together, which we would recommend. That starts at £16 for adults and £8 for children.
Where is it? All over the county
We have made three points without getting active, but number four is dedicated to the sea, the surf and the sand!
Cornwall is blessed with some of the best surfing in the UK and some of the most beautiful beaches for the whole family to play on.
We recommend a few surfing lessons for starters and there are plenty of options available.
Where is it? Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow
Staying on the active theme, why not take to a bike and get active for the day along the Camel Trail.
This 18-mile trail winds through the beautiful Padstow, Wadebridge and Bodmin following an old railway line alongside the river Camel. Check out the website for the full map but remember it is just as easy and just as fun to explore smaller sections if you don’t fancy the whole thing!
When the weather is right we think this is perfect for a day out on bikes with the kids but there are also family-friendly walks and plenty of chances to stop for a rest in the villages along the route if that is more your jam!
Where is it? Castle Road, Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34 0HE
If you are interested in dramatic coastlines and stunning scenery, then Tintagel Castle should rank right up there are one of the things to do in Cornwall.
This place is the epitome of dramatic and rugged – the clifftop ruins are shrouded in stories, myths and legends. We particularly enjoy the tale that it’s the birthplace of King Arthur with Merlin’s Cave nearby…
This place is best enjoyed with older children who can manage the tricky steps and admire the place in all it’s glory.
Do make sure you visit the website before you visit, as they are currently renovating some footbridges. *Update* Footbridge is now open and looks amazing… this may well be moving up our list of great days out with the kids in Cornwall.
Where is it? Antron House, 55 Chapel Street, Penzance, TR18 4AE
Did you know that in the heart of Penzance you can enter virtual worlds beyond your wildest dreams?
Put on the VR headset and prepare your family to be amazed – we really do not need to say any more!
Where is it? Retallack Resort, Winnards Perch, St Columb Major, Cornwall, TR9 6DE
These are popping up all over the place at the moment and, are becoming a huge hit with all the family.
Cornwall is home to one huge inflatable Aqua Park near Padstow which has a giant trampoline, a catapult, tricky “stepping stones” and a whole host of other challenges.
Race your friends around the course and get wet… all for £15 per person.
Where is it? Bodmin Jail, Berrycoombe Road, Bodmin, Cornwall PL31 2NR
Prisons are a bit spooky right? And quite cool to explore. Your children will be curious to find out about the history of the building and the fascinating artefacts on display. Gruesome tales of crime and stories from the underworld. Just what the kids want.
We recommend the restaurant too!! £10 for adults and £7.50 for children between 5 and 15.
Where is it? Newquay Zoo, Trenance Gardens, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 2LZ
You will really feel like you are transported to the savanna of Africa with a visit to this exceptional zoo. Or to the rainforests of South America… There are so many animals to discover – over 1000! – learn about and admire at Cornwall’s only zoo. Make time for the feeds and the talks, the activity trails or get your faces painted in the colours of your favourite animal.
From £14.50 for adults and £10.90 for the kids.
First Things First… Hit the beach. You can’t go to Cornwall and not go to the beach…
It might be one the main things that brings you to Cornwall if you are on holiday. Or it might be something that means you can never leave! There are stunning beaches on both the north and the south coasts – which you can find out more about in our ‘Best Beaches in the UK Guide’ – just jump to Cornwall when you get there.
With such an abundance of coastline you are sure to find some great rock pools to investigate, hopefully full of crabs among the more likely smaller anemones! If you pause and watch a family rock pooling for just a minute you’ll quickly know that this is always one of the most fun things to do for free in Cornwall.
We would always suggest Treyarnon Bay between Newquay and Padstow if you want to get stuck into some large but shallow rocks pools. While if you want more of a challenge try the awesome Greenaway Beach near Polzeath, perfect for older kids.
Always be on the lookout for the rock pool safari days run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust too.
Firstly, the Camel Trail…
This disused railway line makes for a truly awesome cycle track through the Camel Valley. There are eighteen miles you can explore. With the smaller kids try the shorter five mile section from Wadebridge to Padstow, or, for a longer adventure, try getting to Bodmin on a 12 mile stretch.
Now onto Lanhydrock…
There are a bunch of trails around this National Trust property and they have different difficulty levels. Sounds just about perfect to us!
The green trail is easiest for younger kids and there are several other blu trails to try for the older members of the family.
There’s a huge nineteen acres to explore at this free attraction – so plenty of room and plenty of things to do and see!
You’ll find an adventure playground, climbing sculptures and even some mining exhibitions and botanical gardens for those of you that like that kind of thing! Yes, you’ll have noticed that there are indoor options at Heartlands – perfect if you’re looking for free things to do in Cornwall in the rain too.
The Golitha Falls Nature Reserve is ANOTHER magical spot in Cornwall with a bunch of footpaths leading through the valley along the riverside. You will find one of the trails to be buggy-friendly… but this is really for your older kids who will love the stepping stones and the adventure of getting over tree trunks along the walk. Free Parking too…
Check out our day out builder for a full list of hundreds of things to do in Cornwall.