St Ives’ sandy beaches have paddle-friendly, clean, shallow water in the harbour and lots of rollers for the braver ones who want to have a go with a surfboard.
The town’s maze of cobbled streets, lined with crooked, whitewashed fisherman’s cottages, is great to pootle around and a good base for exploring this southernmost part of Cornwall.
There’s plenty to do beyond the beach. Tate Modern is family-friendly and fully equipped with all of the essential facilities and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden here is great for a spot of hide-and-seek.
Leach Pottery Studio has Clay Days running throughout the summer, for children age six and over, and Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary is great for eagle-eyed explorers. The park’s Junglebarn soft play area is ideal for wet days. For sunny days, St Ives Boats will take you to Seal Island – it’s typical to see 30–40 seals and is suitable for all ages.
Food: For great Cornish sunsets and views out to sea, head to Porthmeor Beach Café. The whole family can nibble on tapas created by the café’s Australian chef, including clams, chorizo, octopus, white bean puree, and capers – so best for more adventurous kids!
It’s also a great spot for a romantic dinner for mum and dad, if you can negotiate a night off.
Don’t miss: Foodie-loving families can head to Trevaskis Farm. Set in 28 acres of countryside, you can spend a whole day here with your family picking fruit, as well as learning cooking tips and how to Grow Your Own.
You can also visit the cow and calf pen, lambs, beehive, piggy pen, and sample some homemade, home-cured food at the Farmhouse Kitchen, complete with its children’s menu.
Where to stay: Cornish Secrets has a collection of houses and quirky cottages, sleeping between four and ten guests. The properties are close to the beach, and offer hotel-quality accommodation, with the flexbilitiy a family needs.
Prices start from £400 for a six bedroom cottage in low season.
How to get there: To get to St Ives, take the A30 to Cornwall or fly to Newquay, pick up a hire car and drive the final 30 miles.
Travel time: It takes approximately 5 hours to drive from London to St Ives. If you choose to fly, the flight from London to Newquay takes approximately 1 hour 10 minutes and a further 50 minutes drive on to St Ives.