It’s sometimes hard to believe that Cornwall is part of Britain. It’s warmer than the rest of the country; it has nicer beaches than anywhere else in England; and the food is in a league of its own. Yet it’s just a few hours’ drive from your front door.
There’s no shortage of family-friendly activities in Cornwall, but just in case you need a little more inspiration, we’ve sourced seven of the most interesting and exciting days out for you and your kids.
An extraordinary place, where rainforests are grown in tents, and the visitor’s centre is situated inside an ancient crater. The Eden Project is an educational charity which is passionate about teaching children all about nature and the living world – while also having fun, of course. Throughout the year, the Project hosts amazing exhibitions with themes such as ‘dinosaurs’, ‘Halloween’, and ‘ice skating’. And a certain Mr Claus has been known to pop in around Christmas time.
The space age Biomes which glow and hum with tropical plant life. When you walk inside, the temperature changes and you are suddenly transported into another world full of exotic flowers and enormous climbers.
Pentewan, St. Austell, Cornwall
An ancient garden which was lost to the world for many, many years. After almost 80 years of neglect, a 1990 hurricane revealed a forgotten door which opened up into the secret garden. It has since been restored to its former glory, in memory of the young men who worked there until war broke out in 1914.
Attempting to cross the extra-long Burmese Rope Bridge in the Jungle area. Don’t look down!
A proper old fashioned fairground, complete with a log flume, a carousel, go karts, rollercoasters, and mounds and mounds of candy floss. Historical exhibitions tell the story of Britain during the war and the country’s aviation history (founder Douglas Kingsford Hale worked at the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy), while the Victorian Village is populated by street performers dressed up in vintage costumes, adding to the olde-worlde feel of the park.
The Sky Swinger, which propels you through the sky overlooking the park, while you sit back, relax and enjoy the wind in your hair. However, each kid will have their own favourite ride – and they’ll probably need to try them all at least twice before deciding which one that is.
500m south of Marazion, in Mount’s Bay
A tiny island which is steeped in folklore. It is home to a church, a castle and a small community who live within the 12th century walls and ancient buildings of the rocky outpost. St Michael’s Mount can be accessed by foot during low tide, and by boat when the tide is high enough, adding to the fairy-tale feel of it all.
Imagining themselves in the role of Jack, when you tell them that this was the setting for the legend of Jack the Giant Killer (aka Jack and the Beanstalk).
A museum dedicated to all things nautical – from ancient Viking raids, to yacht racing. Kids are well catered for, with exhibitions on fun topics such as the legend of Thor (every ‘Thorsday’) and mythical sea monsters.
The museum itself is situated by the harbour, and extends all the way onto the water – hop onto the historical boats at The Pontoon and see what life is really like on the decks.
The Lookout Tower, where you can see all the way out to sea, and watch the ships come in from the horizon. Binoculars and telescopes are available so you can see far across the water and be extra sure that you are safe from Viking attacks.
Mawnan Smith, Nr Falmouth, Cornwall
A subtropical garden and a private beach which boasts warm waters, a café, and dozens of tidal rock pools. The huge gardens are studded with extraordinary features such as Hydrangea Valley, The Stumpery, and The Water Gardens, which will form the backdrop to some of your favourite family photos.
The Gunnera Passage, with its Giant Rhubarb plants which are as big as umbrellas and the perfect spot to take shelter during the rain. The Bamboozle area is also great fun – a series of dense thickets of giant bamboo, which make for some of the best games of Hide and Seek you’ll ever play.
A brilliantly British animal sanctuary which offers unloved and unwanted donkeys a new chance at a happy life. Tamar Valley Donkey Park has more than 20 donkeys, as well as ponies, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and guinea pigs which are just begging to be cuddled and loved. There are lots of facilities for toddlers, including a soft play area and mini tractor races, so it is a great option for younger families.
The fact that it’s a donkey park! A whole park, full of donkeys – what’s not to love? You can feed and pet the donkeys and the other animals on the farm, and you can even take a donkey for a walk. It’s the stuff childhoods are made of.