16 Ways to Entertain the Kids in Cornwall this summer
Cornwall has everything you need for a fabulous family holiday, from beaches galore and stunning countryside to a huge range of activities that will keep children of all ages happy. Here, we have rounded up 16 exciting, fun and interesting things to do, places to go and sights to see that are guaranteed to entertain everyone (and tire them out so you can enjoy some well-deserved R&R back at your Cornish holiday home!).
Please check with the venue or organisation before booking for current Covid-19 guidelines.
Embrace nature in a garden
The Eden Project, near St Austell
The mother of all gardens is the world-famous Eden Project. And it’s not just about the incredible huge rainforest and Mediterranean biomes – there are loads of other activities once you’re there, from storytelling and dance to theatre, carnival and parkour. The Magic Beanstalk is currently on stage, enthralling rapt toddlers and parents alike.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey
All-weather den making is the order of the day at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, where you can discover your adventurous and practical skills at the new Summer Den Base Camp. It’s all about regaining last year’s lost summer as kids are invited to explore their inquisitive and playful sides, while learning about horticultural highlights and experiencing outdoor play.
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, near Penzance
Pick up a children’s adventure map and you’ll be away at Tremenheere, where there is an abundance of plants, trees, art and wildlife to spark children’s imaginations. There are plenty of grassy areas to run around on, and perfect spots to place your rug for a picnic. Look out for bunnies, squirrels, buzzards, jays and even deer if you are lucky!
Trebah Gardens, near Falmouth
Little adventurers will love the three play areas at Trebah. Over-fives should head to Tarzan's Camp – a fantastic wooden play area with climbing ropes, a slide, monkey bars and a fireman's pole within a tree canopy. Fort Stuart is a smaller wooden structure for the little ones. Finally, have a go on Trebah’s famous Paraglide for over-fives and under-16s – a fantastic zipline. Prepare for the screams of delight.
Attractions with animals
Paradise Park, near Hayle
A must-see for any bird lover is Paradise Park – a beautiful, spacious and well-maintained wildlife sanctuary with a huge variety of colourful birds, farm animals and a petting zoo. Watch the scarlet macaws being released and see the golden eagles, otters and penguins being fed. There’s also a strong emphasis on conservation and pet care.
Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Helston
A great opportunity for children to learn about the crucial work the Sea Life Trust does to rehabilitate and release seals back into the wild, this no-frills sanctuary puts the animals first. It’s easy to spend a few hours watching some amazing creatures splash about, from a variety of native seals to Humboldt penguins and even three rescued beavers! There are also ponies, goats and sheep running around a large paddock and space to play and have a picnic.
Porfell Wildlife Park & Sanctuary, Liskeard
Porfell is a lovely, quiet animal sanctuary with friendly staff. A highlight – and a real hoot – is the owl show, as each bird has its own individual personality and quirks. There are lots of exotic animals to see, from meerkats and monkeys to zebras and giant leopard tortoises. Meet, touch and feed animals at the Children’s Farm and stroll through the woodland to blow off some steam afterwards.
Trethorne Leisure Farm
Get up close and cuddly with some very cute residents of Trethorne’s animal barn. It’s home to ponies, donkeys, calves, goats, rare-breed chickens, geese, ducks, guinea pigs, rabbits, a horse, a cow and the sweetest Shetland pony. There are also indoor and outdoor fun parks and ten-pin bowling.
Amusement and theme parks
Camel Creek, Wadebridge
Self-styled as Cornwall’s greatest adventure, Camel Creek is an all-singing, all-dancing adventure park with rollercoasters, water rides and giant play areas. There are loads of activities for all ages, made more fun by enthusiastic staff. A family ticket is the best part of £100, but this is an ideal place to spend a full day out so you do get your money’s worth. Plus, it will score you brownie points with your children for years to come.
This Cornwall theme park stalwart has been entertaining families for decades and it’s easy to see why. There are rides galore, from the Hornet Rollercoaster to the Colorado log flume, a life-sized Victorian village and a Britain in the Blitz experience. If it’s raining, you can book a ticket solely for indoor entertainment. Good, clean fun.
Hidden Valley Discovery Park, Launceston
Prepare to get puzzled. This woodland adventure park is unlike all the rest – a combination of the Crystal Maze, a treasure hunt and a panic room. Catering for kids of all ages, you follow age-specific puzzle trails, solving clues. Find your way to the Forbidden Mansion, take in the village of Tremuddlewick and the miniature railway, wander the beautifully maintained landscaped gardens and get lost in the maze. Arrive mid-morning to make the most of your day.
Kidzworld Adventure Play, St Austell
This is soft play, and then some. Your children will enter Kidzworld and never want to come out! There are slides, ball pools, outdoor adventure playgrounds, a rollerskating rink, trampolines, mini-golf, an immersive gaming zone (great for older children), dodgems and a canon arena. Phew! Loads of the action is undercover so this is great for a rainy day.
Museums and heritage sites
Tintagel Castle, between Padstow and Bude
Older children and teens cannot fail to be inspired by Tintagel, and the legend of King Arthur. Highlights include the cliff-top remains of the medieval castle, spectacular views and the life-sized kingly figure Gallos. Don’t forget to search for Merlin’s face on the rocks close to his cave down on the beach, where you can also paddle, picnic and rockpool.
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If you have Harry Potter-obsessed offspring, head to this quirky little museum, which explores the history and mystery that swirls around British magical practice. A collection of artefacts, stories and articles, it is beautifully curated, deliciously creepy and fascinating.
Geevor Tin Mine, Pendeen, near Penzance
Visit a real mine and learn what life was like for a Cornish miner. There is lots to see and do, from going underground and exploring the tunnels, to panning for ‘gold’ and gems, to visiting the mill where the rock was crushed, ground and separated to produce the precious tin concentrate. A fun and educational day out.
PK Porthcurno, near Penzance
Who would have thought that the undersea cables laid over 100 years ago at Porthcurno are still used today and come ashore just down from the museum car park? If you have any interest in telecommunications new and old, this is the place to come. From the discovery of electricity and Morse code, to fibre optics and future technology, this award-winning museum combines the wonder of science with amazing history and tales of human endeavour from around the globe, from where the story of communications began, right here in Porthcurno.