Best Things to Do in Cornwall with Kids
One thing I love about having others write guest posts is that I get to explore a completely unfamiliar destination from the comfort of my office. Nichola at Globalmouse Travels was kind enough to share why Cornwall is a must see UK destination for families. We tried to visit Cornwall on a previous trip to the UK before diverting to Wales because of transportation issues. I’m glad Nichola wrote this post because it reminds me of how I want to visit Cornwall with kids and explore all of these wonderful places firsthand.
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What Not to Miss in Cornwall with Kids
There’s little doubt that Cornwall is one of the best places to visit in the UK for families. It’s one of our favorite destinations to visit with its golden sandy beaches, classic cream teas and a history packed with pirates and plundering, for us it is a must visit county throughout the year.
Best Beaches in Cornwall
The beaches across Cornwall’s north and south coasts are somewhere we love to get our buckets and spades out for. There are over four hundred beaches in total, many perfect for kids and families.
There are a lot of fun things to do in Cornwall, whether sand castle building and rock pooling, right through to learning how to surf at Fistral Beach near Newquay. In fact, you will find there are plenty of things to do in Newquay, so plan on spending some extra time in the area.
With some of the summer weather in Cornwall is near perfect, making it the ideal spot to relax, unwind or lose yourself in the evocative and expansive coastline. My children have spent hours with their nets at the ready, catching shrimp and baby crabs in amongst the craggy coastline here.
Some of the best beaches in Cornwall for families include Perranporth, Porthmeor, and Polzeath.
Cornwall is a great spot for families to hit the water too, with a wealth of water sport opportunities or simply taking a trip out across one of the many rivers. The team from Koru Kayaking provide the ideal introduction for children learning how to paddle.
You can join them for private escorted sessions along Frenchman’s Creek, made famous in the Daphne Du Maurier novel of the same name. We loved the opportunity to learn more about the coastline with them and also to find out about the local sea life as we paddled around.
Other things to do in Cornwall with kids
The sparkling calm waters of the creek and Helford River, south of Falmouth, are neighbours to one of my favorite gardens open to the public. Trebah Garden, created 200 years ago by a wealthy Quaker, has flora and fauna dating back over a hundred of years.
It is very family friendly and now includes giant rhubarb which stand towering over your head, four miles of glorious paths and a wooden fort and Tarzan camp surrounded by ancient trees.
The beach, which served as an embarkation point for over seven thousand soldiers from the 29th US Infantry Division as they headed for the assault landing on Omaha beach in the second World War, is a tranquil spot to stop, relax and reflect.
Geevor Tin Mine
Cornwall’s history as a mining county is well documented. There are a number of tin mines which now serve as museums dedicated to the lives of the men who worked them. Head underground in the Geevor Tin Mine for a hard hat tour with former miners.
It’s also possible to visit and explore the only Cornish mine buildings that are home to a historic working beam engine – the only one of its kind in the world still in operation on its original site. Fans of the recent BBC television series Poldark, which charts the life of a dashing and spirited 18th century Cornishman, will recognise it as the location of Poldark’s mine.
Many of Cornwall’s historic homes and castles are protected and preserved thanks to the work of the National Trust. Our favourite is the 19th-century stately home Lanhydrock House. This Victorian country house is situated on 450 acres of woodland. It feels as if it is still inhabited by the Agar-Robartes family, one time owners of the estate.
It is a fascinating insight into life above and ‘below stairs’ and children will be amazed at being able to explore the kitchens and servants’ quarters, which feel as if the family and staff have all stepped outside for a brief moment.
In a disused Cornish Clay pit, the world famous Eden Project has grown into one of the county’s most important and breath-taking destinations for tourists. Massive biomes (think huge curved greenhouses!) are home to a rain forest, Mediterranean and desert landscapes which children will love to explore and be astonished at the most stunning plants and trees. This family attraction also hosts live music concerts and events throughout the year.
Cornwall is famed for its food – from pasties to fish and chips. Each of the villages and towns around the coast could lay claim to being home to the best fish and chips shop in town, and there are plenty which deserve the honour, but Becks in St Ives has the edge for us.
I also adore the pasties from The Chough Bakery in Padstow on the North Cornwall coast, which are packed full of flavour and absolutely delicious.
The end to any vacation in Cornwall must be marked with a Cornish cream tea and the Polpeor Cafe at Lizard Point, the most southerly tip of the county boasts brilliant scones, jam and cream and views out across the sea to match.
Where to Stay in Cornwall with kids
There are hundreds of places to stay in Cornwall for family holidays, including self catering homes (try VRBO or Airbnb) and luxury estates like Fowey Hall. Glynn Barton farm cottages are also a wonderful place for families with endless games and activities for kids of all ages.
Cornwall will always be somewhere we return to – whether its rock pooling after a winter storm or spending sunny days with ice creams and sun hats there is always something to draw us back. It’s one of those places that childhood memories are made from.
Nichola West is a travel journalist and editor of Globalmouse Travels, which features family travel across the world and also extensively in the UK where she is based. This post was originally written in October 2015 and updated in June 2020.
This place looks so beautiful! I need to travel more.
The beaches look beautiful! My husband and I love to kayak and can’t wait for our kids to be old enough to do it one day!
oh my goodness I definitely agree with you it is a must and love that there is so much for families to do and see. We would definitely have a ball
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Haven’t been to cornwall since I was a kid! That’s a long long time ago 😉 Maybe next time we visit “back home”…
The UK is on my bucket list for sure. I would love to see the Lanhydrock House. Thanks for sharing beautiful photo’s and information
My husband travels to the UK at least twice a year and I’m planning to go with him next year! We’ll have to see if we can stop by Cornwall!
Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I love kayaking and the Trebah Garden with the giant rhubarb looks like a wonderful place to explore! So many places to visit and so little time!
wow thats beautiful, would love to travel there.
The Lanhydrock House looks absolutely amazing! I love exploring places like that in the states, but it doesn’t even compare to being in Europe. I would love to visit here!
This looks like an amazing trip!!
what a gorgeous place to visit & those beaches look amazing!
I love that pic of your little girl in the fields! So magical!
I know! So many places to see, right?
The UK is on my list for sure. I so want to visit as soon as I can!
This has strengthened my desire to go to Cornwall, from beaches to historical ruins Cornwall is a travelers dream. How stunning does the historical house look and the sea water is so clear it can give abroad a run for its money!
What a cool place to visit! I want to go to the UK so badly and I’ll make sure Cornwall is on the itinerary! <3
how beautiful!!! This was not on my bucketlist…until now!!!
We enjoy kayaking too Logan. Sometimes when we go with our kids though it can be frustrating. They want to go one way when we want to go the other. Definitely an exercise in patience!
I am working on it Angie!
Another vote for Cornwall. I really need to get there!
Doesn’t it look amazing Cynthia? I love all those old estates. Would love to live in one!
Oh Jaclyn I hope it works out for you! We love visiting the UK!
I hear you Stacey. Doesn’t that rhubarb look amazing? I’ve never seen anything like it before!
Nicole, it does look amazing doesn’t it?
Alexandra, I agree. I love old houses, but the ones in the US are just not the same!
It does, doesn’t it Roxanne?
I know Laura. Can you believe those beaches? I would go just for those. And the UK is a lot closer than the rest of Europe!
She is so cute under that giant rhubarb plant, isn’t she?
Me too Erin!
Ana, is this near you? I would definitely go after reading Nichola’s post. It looks amazing and I bet you could do an awesome photo shoot there!
Susannah, take me with you!
I’m with you Danielle!
I am obsessed with the UK. It is all a must see for me. 😉
It’s a great destination and a beautiful place to be!
Thanks for sharing an extensive detail with us I especially love the beach view
That looks amazing. I would love to travel overseas… anywhere International really. I can imagine how expensive those trips are.
Thanks Marwa. I can’t wait to visit!
They are not as expensive as you think! If you travel in shoulder season, stay at a house or home swap, you can do it rather inexpensively. If you fly on points, you can fly for free…
I’m going to the UK next summer and will def have to see this place!
That castle is amazing! And all that green! Everything is gorgeous!
I love seeing posts about other places. It’s like a mini vacation on my computer screen! Cornwall looks amazing – I especially love the look of that castle!
Michelle, I am so jealous! It’s supposed to be fabulous!
Kind of makes you want to live there, doesn’t it Trish?
That’s what I think Pam! Especially when they share so many amazing ideas about having fun in those places.
What a beautiful place! You all were so adventurous! I would love somewhere like that.
Elizabeth, I haven’t been either, but the person that wrote it for me made me want to visit too!
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