Ten of the best family attractions in Cornwall

Cornwall’s ultimate family attraction has to be the beach – from digging a hole in the sand (to try and get to Australia when I was a child – did everyone do that?!), playing in the surf, building elaborate sandcastles with moats and bridges, deciding which ice cream to order from the Kelly’s van – hours of fun is right at your sandy toes. But for the days when the weather isn’t playing ball, or when you’ve *whispers* had enough of the beach – here are ten fantastic family attractions in Cornwall.

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Falmouth

This award-winning museum in fabulous Falmouth is packed with fun for kids. It’s an impressive sight, perched proudly on Discovery Quay – a vast building with five floors of maritime heritage stowed inside. In the main hall, a suspended flotilla of small boats hangs overhead, in the RNLI Rescue Zone kids can discover ride-on rescue vehicles and role-play area, and each floor is full of interactive exhibitions and engaging displays. Little ones love the Tidal Zone with its underwater viewing windows, and in The Treasure Island Play Zone they can dress up as pirates and adventure across the high seas. The Waterside Café caters for the whole family and has wonderful views across the harbour, and there is a really well-curated gift shop to pick up a special souvenir.

To visit their website click here.

Flambards, Helston

Growing up in Cornwall, a day trip to Flambards was a seriously big deal. Home to the thrilling Hornet rollercoaster, what I assumed was the world’s best log flume, and to a replica Victorian village, it seemed positively exotic in scope and scale. Today it markets itself as ‘the best day of the week’ and has upped its ride game with additions like Skyraker – a twisting, dropping adventure and Sky-Force, the South West’s biggest thrill ride. Ferdi’s Funland offers lots for little ones, including the Teacups and Space Shuttles. They can hop on the Western Mine Train and explore the Wild West, go on an adventure and discover dinosaurs in the Jurassic Journey and uncover fossils in the Dino Dig.

To visit their website click here.

Tintagel Castle

Inspire their imaginations with a trip to Tintagel Castle – an icon of ‘land of myth and legend’ Cornwall. Spectacularly situated on a breathtaking coastline, steeped in history, sprinkled with tales of King Arthur, the remains of the 13th-century castle are dramatically split across the mainland and an ocean-whipped headland. It is an awe-inspiring sight, sure to capture curious young minds and it can all be explored on foot. Discover the dramatic ocean views as you venture across the footbridge, meet Gallos, the larger-than-life bronze sculpture of an ancient king, explore Merlin’s Cave , and go rock pooling on the beach – Tintagel has something for all the family and is a truly memorable day out.

To visit their website click here.

The Monkey Sanctuary, Looe

Home to 40 rescued monkeys of five varieties, including macaques, capuchins and marmosets, the Monkey Sanctuary is a focused on creating the very best environment for their animals. The result is a lush, exotic hideaway, right on the Cornish coastline, commanding beautiful sea views. As well as spotting monkeys in their vast, densely planted enclosures, there are wildlife gardens to explore, a wild play area, a tearoom and a gift shop.

To visit their website click here.

The Eden Project

It’s hard not to include the Eden Project on this list because it’s such an iconic Cornish tourism destination. It’s worth a visit if only to marvel at the sight of the almost extra-terrestrial-looking biomes, nestled in the Cornish countryside. The rainforest biome is always particularly fun for children, with its high walkways, humid climate, and water features. And the flora and fauna in the Mediterranean biome make it a colourful place to explore. If you can, it’s worth timing a visit for when they have something extra on for kids in their entertaining spaces. There was a brilliant Beano event on last time we went which my girls probably enjoyed as much as the biomes themselves. There can be quite a bit of walking, so I’d recommend having snacks/ bribes on hand to avoid any moaning. There are good food & drink options on-site, and particularly good coffee – always a bonus on family days out I find…

To visit their website click here.

Camel Creek, Wadebridge

Perfect for children up to about thirteen years old – Camel Creek is an adventure park with rides, indoor & outdoor pkay, and small animal experiences. For hot summer days there are some great water rides to cool down on, but there’s plenty of indoor fun for wet weather days too. There are rollercpasters, carousels, a 5D simulator, a pirate ship and drop rides. There are teacups, gentle rides and soft play areas for the dinkiest members of the family, and super child-friendly food and drink options, making Camel Creek an exciting day out for children and an easy day out for parents – win win!

To visit their website click here.

Bodmin Jail

One for older kids, this is recommended for those aged eight and up. Following an £8.5 million investment, Bodmin Jail offers an immersive, atmospheric experience and delves into the hidden history of the impressive buildings, originally built in 1779 for King George III. The ‘Dark Walk’ experience features theatrical, high-tech effects to transport visitors back to Cornwall’s murky past, and a first-hand experience of the penal life of a working 18th and 19th-century prison on the edge of dramatic Bodmin Moor. It’s not for the faint-hearted, finishing up at the UK’s only original, fully working Victorian Hanging Pit where 55 prisoners met their grisly ends. There are staff on hand to help any more sensitive visitors bypass the more sinister parts, and separate guided tours aimed more at younger guests which explore what life was like in this famous Cornish jail, and tells the stories of its most well known prisoners. Bodmin Jail certainly captures the imagination and is seriously well done.

To visit their website click here.

The Camel Trail

The Camel Trail is a famous 18 mile cycling route along a disused railway line between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. It’s mostly level, largely traffic free and incredibly scenic – making it a brilliant family-friendly bike trail. Park up at Wadebridge and hire bikes, children’s seats, kid-carrying-trailers – whatever you need depending on the ages and cycling proficiency of your gang and cycle the 5.5 miles to picturesque Padstow for Rick Stein’s fish and chips, a proper Cornish pasty, or a spot of shopping. Or head the other away towards Bodmin on a serene and scenic route alongside bluebell woods and winding streams. Last time we cycled the Camel Trail, we hired through Camel Cycle Hire ), they were fantastic and had the added benefit of a really good coffee van on-site whose ricciarelli (soft little almond biscuits) I have craved ever since!

To visit their website click here.

The Lobster Hatchery, Padstow

This is a cute little attraction, right on the quayside in Padstow – it’s not a day out, but somewhere perfect to pop in for a couple of hours with children on a day trip to Padstow. The visitor centre gives guests the chance to learn everything they could ever wish to know about lobsters – the UK’s most valuable fish – and about marine conservation and how they are working to increase the lobster population in our seas. You can get a close look at tiny baby hatchlings, spot other coastal critters and meet their giant crustacean – Captain Barnacles. If your children fall in love with the cute little baby lobsters they can even adopt their very own and track its progress as it grows up – a fantastic way to engage young minds on environmental issues, and to learn about the finely balanced ecosystems of the oceans.

To visit their website click here.

Shipwreck Treasure Museum, Charlestown

A veritable treasure-trove of Cornish delights – the Shipwreck Treasure Museum is home to 8000 discoveries from over 150 shipwrecks. It boasts the only complete barrel of coins ever recovered from a wreck, as well as gold bars, copper nuggets, ship surgeons’ medicine bottles, cannon balls and more! Charlestown itself is one of Cornwall’s most beautiful and unspoiled historic ports, home to a fleet of breath-taking tall ships anchored in the harbour and bursting with the rugged romance of old-world Cornwall. The Shipwreck Treasure Museum is another string to its bow and makes Charlestown a really appealing destination for a family day out. Being entirely undercover, it’s also a great option for rainy days.

To visit their website click here.



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