Family-friendly things to do in Cornwall

Some of the most popular areas for families to stay in Cornwall centre on the towns and villages of St Ives, Looe, Padstow, Perranporth and Newquay, but so much of the county has a lot to offer families. Wherever you choose to stay, something to keep your little (and big) kids entertained won’t be too far away. 

Highlights: family days out in Cornwall

South Cornwall

  • The Eden Project, St Austell – Perhaps Cornwall’s most famous tourist attraction, the huge Eden Project is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest and offers a regular programme of family activities
  • National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth – With loads of interactive exhibits and historical collections, this museum easily keeps both young and old sea dogs happy for the whole day – a perfect indoor activity for those unlucky rainy days
  • Trebah Garden, Falmouth – These beautiful gardens house a rich collection of exotic plants and trees, leading down to a private beach. With a regular calendar of family events, there’s plenty to keep both adults and children happy
  • Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro – Again free for under 18s, the Royal Cornwall Museum has collections that mostly relate to Cornish history, lunchtime talks and tours, plus a summer programme of family activities

North Cornwall

  • Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Park, Wadebridge – Sister to Crealy’s in Devon, this theme park boasts rides suitable for most ages, indoor and outdoor activities, plus pets corner and a new reptile house
  • Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay – If the weather’s not being too favourable, visit this small but reasonably priced aquarium to see the life of the deep in all its glorious variety – including the underwater walk-through tunnel
  • St Nectan’s Glen, Tintagel – The spectacular 60ft waterfall at the heart of the beautiful ancient woodland is not to be missed
  • Elemental UK, Tolcarne Beach, Newquay – For children aged 6+, Elemental UK’s kids’ club gives children the chance to try activities including sailing, kayaking, snorkelling and more. If you’re in south Cornwall, there’s another Elemental UK centre at Falmouth

West Cornwall

  • St Michael’s Mount, Marazion – Step back into a world of mythical giants and pilgrims as you explore the castle and surrounding gardens (using buggies on the causeway to the Mount is a bit tricky)
  • Flambards, Helston – Everything you’d expect from a family theme park, with rides (both for teenagers and younger kids), amusements and historical exhibitions
  • Paradise Park, Hayle – Marvel at the birds, red pandas, otters and other animals at this award winning small wildlife sanctuary and watch your little ones enjoy the indoor JungleBarn Play Centre
  • The Tate, St Ives – While adults have to pay, under 18s go free. Teenagers and older kids will enjoy the displays of contemporary modern art
  • Heartlands, Redruth – Cornwall’s ‘first free cultural playground’ caters for young kids, teenagers and adults alike. Explore the 19 acres of botanical gardens, adventure playgrounds and world heritage exhibitions 
  • Beaches –Try Porthmeor beach, Porthminster  beach and Sennen Cove for particularly child-friendly atmospheres and activities

Bodmin Moor & Tamar Valley

  • Cardinham Woods, Bodmin – With enough trails and tracks catering for all abilities, a day out with the family at Cardinham Woods will suit most – from those looking for a quiet spot for a picnic right the way through to daring mountain bikers 
  • Camel Trail, North Cornwall and Bodmin – Walk, horse ride or cycle along the 18 mile multi-purpose track that follows the route of a disused railway line between Padstow and Wenfordbridge
  • Bodmin Jail – One of Bodmin’s most famous attractions, Bodmin Jail offers families a great place to go on a rainy afternoon. Young children might find it a bit scary, but the spooky history should be enough to keep the imaginations of older kids going

At a glance

Family activities in Cornwall needn’t cost the earth; there are plenty of free things to do with the kids, from mornings at the beach to afternoons at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro (under 18s free)

Loads of outdoor activities to choose from across the county: exploring hidden coves along the coast, water sports, walking, cycling, sailing and horse riding, to name but a few

For rainy days there are tons of indoor activities too, including museums, art galleries, and swimming pools

Enough big family tourist attractions to cater for all tastes and ages (even teenagers!): The Eden Project, St Michael’s Mount, The Tate St Ives, plus Flambards and Crealy theme parks

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