Family holidays in Cornwall happen all year round. July and August’s big, sandy beaches are just as much of a playground in autumn and winter. High temperatures aren’t necessary to explore dozens of castles or rampage along cliff tops. Kids will delve into tin mines, run around wild gardens and listen to hair raising smugglers tales whatever the weather. When it is sunny, just add water for surfing, sailing and swimming. So why keep the south of England’s most exciting county for summer holidays when kids will love it anyway, any time?
The dramatic north coast of Cornwall is almost 60km long and where you’ll find the UK’s best surfing and lively surf towns like Newquay. Visit Padstow for famous seafood restaurants and the start of the stunning Camel Cycle Trail. And always leave at least a day for kids to get wild and over-excited clambering round magnificent, clifftop Tintagel Castle.
With its cute harbour towns and fishing villages, lush countryside and enormous, sunny bays, South Cornwall is beachy, historic, outdoorsy and focused on family holidays. There’s plenty of cliff and crag drama on the coast here but balanced by gentle rivers for sailing and sweet little coves for picnics, tropical gardens, iconic castles to visit and many of Cornwall’s best known sights.
Not even slightly less beautiful than elsewhere in the county, with just as many big, sandy beaches and some of the most charming 18th century harbour towns in England, the north east is still the quieter side of Cornwall. The Roseland Heritage Coast and Polperro Heritage Coast are both here and fantastic for walking and exploring. And the Lost Gardens of Heligan alone are testament to a gentle, sheltered micro-climate which also makes this area one of the safest for swimming.
Rainforests and much more captured in huge, revolutionary biomes. Cornwall’s top family attraction. Eden Project
Cornwall’s first inflatable aqua park with everything from human boomerangs to floating trampolines. Retallack Aqua Park
Immense ruined Tintagel has links to Arthurian legend and thrilling cliff-voyaging staircases for bold kids. Tintagel Castle
The low-down on ancient Cornish history, chilling smugglers tales and the story of the real (almost) days of Poldark. Royal Cornwall Museum
Step out into the sea and walk towards a medieval village towered over by a castle and one of the most enchanting experiences on the Cornish coast. St. Michael’s Mount
Go during summer to see an evening performance at the amazing open air theatre overlooking the sea. Minack Theatre
From impressive owls to exotic birds, red pandas, otters and animals kids can pet, this farm zoo and garden is exciting, even on dull days. Paradise Park
The only complete tin mine left in Cornwall where kids can go underground and tour the tunnels. Poldark Mine
Splash, spin, slide and ride around this popular family park and you only pay for what you play on. Holywell Bay
Cornwall’s last steam trains run for 20km through the county’s prettiest scenery all summer long. Bodmin & Wenford
Most families drive to Cornwall and get around by car. The roads are good almost everywhere but, in July and August, the main roads into the county can be very busy. Leave plenty of time to get where you’re going and stock up on water and snacks for the journey. There are good bus services throughout Cornwall and most towns have bike-hire if you want to explore the network of well-marked local cycle paths and routes.