Ultimate guide to days out in Cornwall with the kids

Ever stuck for things to do with the kids on holiday? In Cornwall, there’s a huge selection of sandy beaches perfect for sandcastles and splish-splashing in the sea, lots of beautiful countryside and coastline for lovely family walks, and there’s certainly plenty of attractions, but sometimes there’s just too much to choose from! We even have ideas for places to go when it is raining and also things to see and do for free all across Cornwall. 

There is a huge variety of family days out in Cornwall - take a look at just some of the best things to do with the kids below. With everything from theme parks and wildlife attractions to castles and mystical gardens, Cornwall has your family holiday covered with great places to visit.

The best things to do in Cornwall with the kids

Tintagel Castle, Tintagel

Perfect for…

Active families that don’t mind a bit of hill walking and step climbing, and those interested in history. Mad kids who want to play king and queen of the castle.

Why will the kids love it?

Swathed in the fabled tales of King Arthur and his knights, youngsters will love learning more about the mythical legend surrounding this historical figure. There are some magnificent sections of the structure that remain largely intact so visitors can really feel the grandeur it would have once held, while your little monkeys will love looking out upon the vast ocean spotting any wildlife and boats that might be bobbing along. Don’t forget to head down to the beach with them too, where you can paddle in the sea and explore Merlin’s Cave, before heading back up to the visitor centre to buy some lovely souvenirs and delicious food to round off your trip.

Stay nearby at our Tintagel cottages.

The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe

Perfect for…

The whole family to monkey around together and go bananas for all the things there is to do.

Why will the kids love it?

With various breeds of monkey living at the sanctuary, there will be lots of opportunity to meet the residents, getting up close and personal with these playful creatures. They’ll also love the Wild Play Area, where they can make use of all the playground equipment and workshops, getting in touch with their inquisitive side. There’s also plenty of birds, butterflies and other beautiful creatures to be found in the gardens, so they can see and learn about lots more than just monkeys!

Stay nearby at our Looe cottages.

Flambards Experience, Helston

Perfect for…  

The whole family to enjoy a day out together come rain or shine, with a selection of attractions to entertain those young and old.

Why will the kids love it?

From the adrenaline rush of the thrill rides for older kids, to the family-fun carousel, pirate ship and more, the outdoor attractions at Flambards are exhilarating and exciting for visitors of all ages. Whether they’re the next Formula One champion and want to give go-karting a shot, they’re dinosaur obsessed or want to brave the demon drop, when the sun is shining it’s the perfect place for a family day out. Fear not though, as even if the weather isn’t on your side, there are still some fantastic interactive exhibitions undercover such as the Victorian Village, Britain in the Blitz, and other wonderful attractions.

Stay nearby at our Helston cottages.

Adrenalin Quarry, Liskeard

Perfect for…

Thrill seekers and older kids who might have thought the family holiday was going to be ‘boring’!

Why will the kids love it?

If your kids are a little more grown up, there really is no better place to head for a day of pulse-racing family fun than here. A world away from a lazy day at the beach, they’ll love being able to fly across the lake on a 40mph zip wire, feel the G-force on the giant swing, and dive from the cliffs into the depths below on a coasteering expedition.

Stay nearby at our Liskeard cottages.

Newquay Zoo, Newquay

Perfect for…

Big kids, little kids, toddlers and teens. Your whole family will love seeing all the animals at the zoo and discovering more about them and their habitats.

Why will the kids love it?

With such a variety of animals around every corner, there’s so much to see and discover here that both you and the kids will be entertained for hours. From the African Savanna area with its majestic beasts to the tropical house and penguin pool, it really is a world of exotic creatures and stunning wild animals in their natural habitats, made all the more enjoyable thanks to the play areas, Dragon Maze and snack bars to enjoy on your exciting journey.

Stay nearby at our Newquay cottages.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, nr. Mevagissey

Perfect for…

Budding little horticulturists who love learning about the outdoors, and want to explore the labyrinth of woodlands, gardens and farmland stretching over 200 acres – plenty of space to wear them out!

Why will the kids love it?

It’s a jungle out there, and at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, kids can explore that jungle with boardwalks, rope bridges, swings and more as they discover every inch of the attraction’s glorious landscape. They’ll get to see the animals roaming the grounds, hunt out the Insect Hotel deep in the woods, and can admire the towering trees and exotic plants that smother the area. Get them to keep an eye out for funky floral designs too – they could be lurking anywhere…

Stay nearby at our Mevagissey cottages.

Camel Creek Adventure Park, Wadebridge

Perfect for…  

Thrills, spills and adventure for the whole family, offering a year-round destination whatever the weather.

Why will the kids love it?

With everything from breath-taking thrill rides to the pony express and Swampy and Dina Land, no matter how old your kids are there will be something here to keep them entertained. Whether they choose to get drenched on Thunder Falls, brave the Demon Drop, or ride the rollercoaster with all its twists and turns, you’re guaranteed a fun day out. You don’t even have to pack a picnic either, as there’s plenty of shacks, kiosks and eateries all around the park!

Stay nearby at our Wadebridge cottages.

The best rainy days out with the kids in Cornwall

Eden Project, nr. St Austell

Perfect for…

Mini adventurers with a passion for finding out more about flowers and the climates of the world.

Why will the kids love it? 

The biomes mimic some of the most humid climates in the world, where plants of all shapes, sizes and colour thrive, offering many youngsters their first ever glimpse of what can be seen in foreign countries. The outdoor gardens are a haven of vibrancy, whilst the climbing frames and rainforest canopy walkway are sure to get them excited. They’ll be captivated by the gigantic bee, mesmerised by ‘The Core’, and wowed by the seed sculpture – and that’s without even seeing the adrenaline-junkie activities of a zip wire, giant swing and freefall drop that Hangloose Adventure offer on-site!

The Eden Project’s domes will not only protect you from the drizzle outside, but will also transport you to more tropical climes where you can learn about exotic plants, walk through the rainforest canopy, enjoy an authentic Mediterranean meal and take part in one of the many family events which are run throughout the year.

Stay nearby at our St Austell cottages.

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay

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Perfect for... 

Junior marine enthusiasts and creature crazy kids.

Why will the kids love it?

What better way to make the most of the wet weather than to embark on an under-the-sea adventure at the Blue Reef Aquarium! 40 natural-themed exhibits house all manner of underwater life, with sharks, turtles, colourful fish and even a caiman among the resident sea creatures you’ll see. Take a walk through the underwater tunnel to view the fish from a unique perspective, and set your watch for the child-friendly talks and feeding sessions scheduled throughout the day.

Stay nearby at our Newquay cottages.

Lanhydrock House, Bodmin

Lanhydrock House

Perfect for...

Junior historians and fans of large gardens to run around in and explore. It's a great all-weather attraction too if the sun goes in.

Why will the kids love it?

One of the National Trust’s finest properties in Cornwall, Lanhydrock House is a stunning Victorian mansion where history comes alive. Each fascinating room has been preserved with period gadgets, furniture, knick-knacks and vestiges of family life. Children will love exploring the suite of rooms full of old-fashioned toys and games, and peering into the perfect miniature world inside the dolls’ house.

Stay nearby at our Bodmin cottages.

Harlequinns Leisure, Bude

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Quite fancy a pair of these for everyday. In other news.. I suck at bowling. But I did get two strikes! Total fluke.. 😂

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Perfect for…

Days when the weather just isn’t on your side and you’d rather visit a place where everything you need to keep the kids entertained is under one roof.

Why will the kids love it?

Who doesn’t love bowling? And more to the point, what child doesn’t want to run rampant, climbing, sliding, screaming and crawling around six levels of soft play that stretches from floor to ceiling? At eight metres high, the Demon Drop Slide will have thrill-seeking youngsters going crazy, whilst the colourful ball pits, twister slide and toddler areas cater to little monkeys right the way up to age 12.

Stay nearby at our Bude cottages.

Maritime Museum, Falmouth


Perfect for...

An educational but fun day out for lovers of all things nautical.

Why will the kids love it?

In the inspiring setting of Falmouth’s Discovery Quay, the Maritime Museum is a colossal building housing 15 galleries over 5 floors, where interesting, hands on exhibits describe the influence of the sea on history and culture. Enjoy the view out over the harbour from the lookout tower, and see it from an all-together different angle by descending to the Tidal Zone where you can see underwater. There’s plenty for children to do, from sailing boats to practising survival at sea!

Stay nearby at our Falmouth cottages.

The best free things to do in Cornwall with the kids

We've hand-picked a selection of free activities and family days out you can enjoy on a trip to Cornwall. We're sure your kids will love going back home to tell their friends about the place where the giant used to throw huge boulders at ships to steal their treasure…

Here are our tips on where to go and what to do in Cornwall with the kids without much beyond the petrol, odd parking charge or your picnic. 

Hit the beaches

Cornwall is utterly blessed when it comes to beautiful beaches, and they will surely be at the top of your “days out in Cornwall” list. From swimming in the sea to playing on the sand, there's plenty of things to do on the beach for free.

Porthcurno is a favourite of ours here at holidaycottages.co.uk, with its white sands and azure seas overlooked by the unique Minack Theatre. Then you've got Perranporth, a great place for surfing, snorkelling and sailing; Porthminster, a sheltered Blue Flag beach in St Ives; Fistral in Newquay, the UK's most prestigious surfing beach; and Hayle Towans, a long stretch of sand popular for kiting.

But Cornwall's beaches are that beautiful, we couldn't settle at five! Read our blog on the ten beaches you wouldn't believe are in Cornwall.

See the countryside

There are so many beautiful places to go in Cornwall with kids, all of which offer a unique glimpse into the natural beauty of Cornwall. Golitha Falls, a series of cascades and waterfalls running along the River Fowey through ancient woodland, are a must-see, as is the Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor (pictured above). It's a natural geological formation, but we prefer the local legend that says it came about as the result of a contest between a man and a giant!

There's also the Camel Trail, an 18-mile path - perfect for a bike ride - which showcases the beautiful Cornish countryside and links Padstow to Bodmin, via Wadebridge and the Camel Valley.

See the coast

Alongside the gorgeous sandy or stony beaches, there are plenty of other coastal viewpoints to marvel over. St Michael's Mount, a rocky island only accessible between mid and low tide, is a must-see for families and one of Cornwall's top attractions. Walk along the causeway or take a boat trip for a brilliant adventure. The island, part of the National Trust, has a beautiful medieval church and castle (accessed at an extra charge), and is home to a living community – it's a fascinating visit.

Plan your next holiday in Cornwall

If you've been inspired to spend your next family holiday in Cornwall, we've got everything to help you find the perfect place to stay too. Take a look at our guide to the best places to stay in Cornwall to find the perfect base for your next break. And if you've already got your heart set on where in Cornwall to go, you're sure to find the right holiday accommodation for you amongst our cottages in Cornwall.

Posted by Kirsty Fensome on 8th February 2019