Are the school holidays around the corner, and does your toddler want to go to someplace fun? Cornwall has the best solution.
Being a family-friendly holiday destination, Cornwall houses some of the top places, including world-class beaches, famous ice cream shops, adventure parks, play areas and aquariums to keep your toddlers entertained.
So, you can begin the morning with a walking trail through a sub tropical garden and then have your kids indulge in indoor attractions if the weather deteriorates. Read on to know more about the best things to do in Cornwall with toddlers.
Best Things To Do In Cornwall With Toddlers
1. Tour The Beach
The number of child-friendly beaches in Cornwall is impressive and you will have a great time with younger kids. Porthcurno Beach in West Cornwall is one of the finest, as it offers a stream that flows down one side – great for youngsters to splash around in.
On top of it, the internationally renowned Minack Theatre operates on the cliffs above the beach. Just remember that it is a no-dog zone.
Additionally, Kuggar Village on the Lizard Peninsula is home to Kennack Sands, another beautiful family beach. It has plenty of sand covering the stretch, a little stream flowing into the water, and many rock pools to discover. You can choose this for family-friendly events like birthdays and anniversaries which you’d want to spend in the lap of nature.
2. Pirate’s Quest
Newquay’s Pirate’s Quest Golf offers a crazy golf experience that takes you back to the world of the pirates, 300 years in the past. Indoor golf at Pirate’s Quest includes 360° sets that take you to the mysterious caves and dark streets. And you can learn about the legends of eighteenth-century Cornwall!
What’s more, you can get a picture taken when you visit the village or while seated at a ship’s wheel, or journey under the sea to find a mermaid.
To be considered courageous, get a golf ball that glows in the dark and get into the Davy Jones Locker, a graveyard where you will find lost ships and lost souls. Swashbucklers from history’s magnificent seafarers are buried here. An alternative option which includes a safe passage can be chosen to bypass this section if you have young kids who may be afraid of the dark.
3. Enjoy Rock Pooling
Take a fishing net and look around the rocks with your kids. You can introduce them to prawns, crabs, and anemones inside the rock pools. What’s more, enjoy rock pooling around Port Isaac Beach, Castle Beach and Kennack Sands located on The Lizard Peninsula. A lot of families also visit the Trevarnon Bay which is at Padstow. When there is a low tide, a huge pool of rocks can be seen where you can hunt for different insects.
And don’t forget to try the fish and chips when you visit the National Lobster Hatchery at the popular Rick Stein’s eatery.
4. Meet And Greet The Animals
You can meet the seals and sea lions who live permanently at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary and learn about how injured seals are taken care of. It’s known to be an indoor and outdoor venue, located in Gweek and it’s a favourite all-season attraction among tourists and locals.
However, September to February is the optimal time to visit and get to know the new seal babies. And tickets for both parent and child (aged five or less) are available in off-peak periods on weekdays for $10.
Some of the other top attractions are the Tamar Valley Donkey Park and Screech Owl Sanctuary.
Let us first tell you about Tamar Valley Donkey Park – home to goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, and guinea pigs among other farm animals. And visitors are allowed to pet and feed them. This park is located on the border between Devon and Cornwall and you will love the family-friendly gardens. You can also consider visiting a café, the Donkey Bazaar, where visitors may purchase donkey souvenirs, and an indoor play barn for your toddlers to play in.
Next, your children can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of sick screech owls, feed and touch domesticated screech owls, and watch falconry shows at the Screech Owl Sanctuary.
In addition to other animals such as emus, Shetland ponies, and meerkats, there is also a café along with a play area inside which proves to be a great indoor attraction. So, your toddlers can run around and have a fun day out, thanks to the large space.
5. Eden Garden
The Eden Garden is a famous attraction that hosts the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Children will love exploring the hideaways, secret pathways, waterfalls, as well as sandpits which can be found inside the biospheres. As such, you should especially visit it on a rainy day.
Your kids will enjoy taking a tree-top walk on the Rainforest Canopy Walkway. They can also ride on the little train and watch a tractor pull it. Moreover, there are a number of special occasions for kids throughout the year, which includes den construction during the summer season and skating on ice during the winter.
6. Travel On A Train
Choose the Lappa Valley Railway for a fun train ride in Newquay. There are three distinct railway systems at the leisure complex, where you can also go for a woodland hike, play, and swim. Another option is taking a journey around the 13-mile Cornwall countryside on the steam railway known as the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.
7. Eat Some Ice Cream
Kids love ice cream, and you can always treat your little ones to some. After all, Cornwall is renowned for the amazing ice cream it produces!
Visit the Chapel Porth Cafe located in St Agnes and go to Roskilly’s Farm which is in St. Keverne to check them out before sampling one of their well-known ice creams. It is uncommon, but you can find hedgehog ice cream (clotted cream topped with chopped hazelnuts), which is one of their most popular flavours.
8. Check Out The National Maritime Museum
A visit to the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth can be a great day out for everyone. Your toddler will have fun sitting in the Sea King helicopter and ‘driving’ it (among other things). Also, you will particularly enjoy learning about the history of Falmouth Harbour, and you can teach your kids about it as well.
Throughout the year, they offer a variety of seasonal activities, including Ben Ainslie’s Olympic-winning yacht, which is also an amazing way to spend time with your toddlers.
9. Enjoy Swimming In Waterworld
Kids will enjoy playing in the Tropical Fun Pool because of its cannons, water flumes and tippers. Your toddler can also play around the erupting volcano, water play hut and a snake fountain.
We would recommend visiting waterworld more so during the rainy season.
10. Visit Penzance For The Geevor Tin Mine
Penzance’s Geevor Mine offers family attractions such as an exhibition hall and an underground mine tour on Penwith cliffs. The latter allows you to hide from the rain and discover what life was like for a miner. Children can explore the place while you grab a cup of coffee or snack at the café.
11. Check Out Dairyland
In the event of rainfall, the indoor play area, a milking parlour tour, and a farm museum will keep everyone occupied at Dairyland – an adventure theme park which is close to Newquay.
Young children will love the popular animal attractions including milking cows and giving food to the farm animals. Infants will also adore looking at all the creatures that live there.
You can even spend time with your kids going on nature trails, which allows them to be close to nature.
12. Enjoy At The Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay
If you are looking to enjoy undersea adventures, this is the place to be. You can enjoy more than 40 nature-themed displays and this will allow you to walk on Cornish shores without actually being there.
Also, the place has keepers who are up for feeding demonstrations and interactive sessions. Your kids can learn about loggerhead turtles, tropical sharks and other colourful fishes.
13. Don’t Miss The Newquay Zoo
Family days at Newquay Zoo have received rave evaluations. Some visitors were disappointed to find out that the zoo was smaller than expected. Although there were more than 130 animals there, including lemurs, red pandas, big cats along with penguins.
You will also find a children’s activity trail, a playground for the kids, and a dragon’s maze. Feeding and keeper talks are offered and you can opt for that to learn more about the processes.
14. Paradise Park
With St. Ives holiday cottages just a little way away, Paradise Park is a tourist hub for families staying nearby. Children enjoy observing the penguin as they feed and meet the other 140 species of birds and other animals, who live there.
You can take a ride on the Jungle Express train to visit the Jungle Barn indoor play centre, which includes a toddler’s zone with a ball pool and soft play area.
15. Enjoy A Day Out At Roskilly’s Farm
You can have a fun day out at Roskilly’s Farm without spending any money. During your free visit, you can meet the animals, walk through the meadows, and relax by the ponds. Of course, you will want to try their award-winning ice cream, too.
It’s all free, so you can sample the ice cream, sorbet, or frozen yoghurt, all of which are produced on-site. You can also watch the daily milking session from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. from the milking gallery above. That is not all; you may get some animal feed which is available at the Croust House eatery, to feed the animals roaming the farm.
16. Explore Wheal Martyn
Take advantage of the Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum next time you’re in Cornwall with your toddler. We recommend going for a walk in the woods where you’ll see Cornwall’s biggest water wheel that still works. You can stroll through flora and fauna, and stop at their café for some cake.
Just remember that it might be a tad bit challenging navigating through the narrow paths up to the pit with a child. So, it’s better to take a baby carrier on hand instead of a stroller or pushchair.
17. One2Eleven At Helston
The cafe at One2Eleven has been constructed surrounding the indoor playground, allowing parents to eat and socialise while watching their children play. It offers slides, cannons, ball swamps, structures to climb, rope bridges, and other fun courses.
There’s a play centre as well for children aged one to four years with giant puzzles and soft play rocking horses. You will find a hospital for animals, a costume castle where one can dress up, a ‘let’s pretend’ this is a supermarket space and many more things on One2Eleven Street.
18. Go On Adventures In Lanhydrock
Lanhydrock has beautiful surroundings which your toddler is going to enjoy. With plenty of tourist attractions, a Victorian country house and grand gardens, it’s a perfect spot for a trip with children.
One can explore the beautiful acres on bikes. Parents can also take long walks with a stroller and enjoy lots of family-friendly adventures in the playground, which is conveniently located next to a cafe.
19. Paddling At The Magnificent Carbis Bay
Get your little one’s toes wet in the shallow ocean at Carbis Bay. With a picturesque sandy shore stretching out into the water, this is the perfect place to give your child an introduction to Cornish beaches.
The beach’s proximity to luxury cottages makes it easy for you to pop back if you need something from the room. So, make sure to spend time with your kids and family on this pristine stretch of Cornwall’s coastline, and of course, click a lot of pictures!
20. Glendurgan Garden, Mawnan Smith
With over 5,000 plants, including giant Gunnera plants and ferns, Glendurgan is perfect for a day with kids. You will find wild sugar cane, bamboo and pine trees, and you can teach toddlers about them.
Thousands of visitors flock each year to see the many colourful blooms in the garden from March to October. And the best part is the children’s adventure play park, making it the ideal location for those with toddlers.
21. Explore The Causeway At Marazion
Walk across the causeway on your way to the whole island of St Michael’s Mount. Just remember the tidal causeway will only be visible during low tide. That is when the walk to the mount will be mesmerising with nothing but the view of the ocean on both sides.
When you get to the mount, be sure to look for the giant’s heart which is made on a cobbled pathway leading up to the castle turrets. Once you’re back on land, you can come back on a boat when the tide comes back in.
22. Visit Godrevy
Godrevy, which is close to the lighthouse, is one of our favourite places for rock pooling. There’s always something that can be found here, and you can introduce your kids to various types of seaweed as well.
From sea oak to bladderwrack, you will find every kind here. What’s more, you can teach your toddlers the basics of fishing by taking your fishnets to the shoreline. You can catch crabs, crustaceans, and sea anemones here.
23. Take Your Kids Cycling
For a great bike ride and tour, Cornwall is the perfect destination. The Camel Trail consists of an 18-mile trail which is free from traffic, extending between Wadebridge, Bodmin, Wenford Bridge and Padstow for you to enjoy the ride with your little one on a bike.
You will find bikes at Padstow, Wadebridge or Bodmin, or you can hire a tag-along and trailers. What’s more, you will love the cycle trails that go all the way into the Lanhydrock National Trust property. There’s a new playground as well for kids to play around.
Be it exploring the Camel Creek adventure park, Mr Frog’s wildlife trail or the Lappa valley steam railway, you are sure to have a great time with younger children. Most family-friendly gardens will have a slide and rocking horses as well as interactive exhibits.
You should check out the rope bridge and toddlers friendly beaches as well. Just make sure you reach on time and plan the day well.
On the other hand, if it is a bright and clear day, you can enjoy a boat trip to a boating lake in Cornwall. We would recommend taking one of the cottages that are near these activity areas so that you can save time travelling.
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