Things to do

Family Holidays: Outdoor Cornwall with the kids

Photography by Annabel Elston

The great Cornish countryside is a veritable playground, crammed to bursting with adventures to be had. Which means it’s a great place for kids. As well as miles and miles of golden beaches, rocky cliff tops and open moorland, there are child friendly gardens, wildlife workshops, family centric cycle trails and lots of opportunities to get out and about on the water. If we’re packing a picnic to spend the day outdoors with friends and their little tykes, these are just some of our preferred places to be.

Rock pooling at Gyllyngvase

The beach at Gyllynvase is incredibly family friendly. As well as the accessible stretch of coastal path to Maenporth, the brilliant Gylly Beach Cafe, ice-cream stall, tennis courts, toilets and paddle board hire, at low tide there’s a veritable bounty of rock pools to explore. To both the east and west of the sand, reefs appear when the sea retreats, which means all manners of water bound goodies to bag, from shrimps, sea squirts, anemones and perhaps even a starfish. So grab your bucket and net!

Rockpool by Annabel Elston

Wildlife workshops at Feadon Farm

Let the children run free with the wild things at Feadon Farm. The farm runs lots of child friendly nature activities, all with experienced and knowledgeable rangers, which let the little ‘uns get up close and personal with all sorts of animals. There’s feeding time with farm animals, nature walks, falconry and even a night-time safari where you and the kids go looking for badgers, owls, deer and foxes.

Beetle study by Annabel Elston

Cycling the Bissoe Trail

The old mineral tramway coast to coast cycle route runs from Devoran to Portreath, with cycle hire at Bissoe, taking in some of the great mining heritage of the Cornish countryside. The entire route is about eight miles each way, but is easily broken down into smaller bite size portions and is accessible for the whole family. There’s a great pub at Devoran and of course plenty of ice-cream opportunities at Portreath. You can find out more on the Sustrans Web site.

Cycling by Annabel Elston

Loe Beach

The great thing about a holiday near Loe Beach is its size; it’s small, sandy and nestles in on the calm waters of the River Fal. Which means it’s a brilliant option for a family day by the water. As well as paddling, swimming and fishing, there’s a friendly cafe, toilets and watersports centre, which caters really well for kids – with a Saturday morning club, activity workshops and RYA training.

Beach fun by Annabel Elston

Sculpture at Tremenheere Gardens

A relative new comer onto the Cornish garden scene, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is about as family friendly as it comes. It’s a tropical jungle valley, not far from Penzance, with views out over St Michael's Mount, and artwork designed at the very heart of the site. But it’s not ‘stare at a canvas and rub your chin’ sort of artwork, it’s interactive and children love it – there’s a cloud chamber, camera obscurer, and huge bamboo structures. There’s also a great little cafe, and better still under 11’s go free. 

Photography by Annabel Elston

Article by Sian Pickles who spends her time out and about in Cornwall with her black dog – walking, eating, drinking and swimming. You can catch up with her on Twitter @blackdogadventu and follow their adventures on herAdventures with the Black Dog blog.


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