My best family days out in Cornwall

The family day out – something we try to enjoy once a week (my 5 year old’s increasingly busy social calendar allowing), a chance for us all to catch up, relax and make the most of where we live.  When you are on holiday in Cornwall with your family, every day is a family day out (you lucky things) – I am sure everyone has their preferences and top tips, but I thought I would share some of my family’s favourite ways to spend a day.  I started this piece with my 10 top in mind, then I realised how much I can go on about things, so to not overwhelm with text and my recommendations – here’s the first 3 (in no particular order):

Falmouth Area

Start the day with a picnic breakfast on the beach at one of Falmouth’s sandy shores – Gyllyngvase, Castle Beach, Maenporth or Swanpool.  Our favorite with young children is Castle Beach – with its small beach, plenty of rock pools and places to explore before the sun has warmed everything up – there’s also the very friendly Castle Beach Cafe, free parking and public loos there too.

If feeling more adventurous we might head for a dip at Swanpool and last year we managed to get the eldest in a double kayak, on hire from Swanpool Beach – A lovely hour can be had paddling about and exploring the local coast line. Very much recommended!

There are a number of good fish and chip shops in and around Falmouth that you can choose from for lunch – I must admit, we have not braved Rick Stein’s Fish on Events’ Square with the nippers just yet for fear or bringing down the tone of the establishment, but it is a very nice plaice and I am sure it’s family friendly.  Harbour Lights comes well recommended and you can wander down to the Quay and enjoy your lunch al-fresco (be warned, the seagulls are becoming increasingly brave) if the sun is out.

If you are in Cornwall on one of the very rare days when the sun is not blazing and find yourself subject to some mizzle then a winner for keeping children entertained is the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.  We make good use of our annual passes here, there’s enough variety to interest the most ardent landlubber – even if it’s just the stunning views from the Look Out or the underwater observatory, but with a regular rotation of feature exhibitions, it is well worth a look. It’s big, and dry, it has a cafe which sells ice cream, Cornish beer & wine and there are usually activities laid on for children and lots of hands on exhibits – so definitely one to visit, and very popular in our house.

The Far West

If you are in the far west of Cornwall then there’s plenty of stunning scenery and many beautiful beaches to enjoy.  Much as I like to rave about the Cornish coastline, words can only go so far and my words, no doubt, don’t go very far at all, so I shall take it as a given that kids + beach = peace (relative) + less stressed parents (this is not a balanced equation and does not stand up to any mathematical scrutiny, but I like it).

When I first heard of the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, I must (now shamefully) admit that I did not immediately think of it as a destination to take two under-5s for a day out.  Much as I would hope that they grow to appreciate the significance of this part of the world and one day understand the challenges of early transatlantic communication, I guess I thought that this would be best delivered post-degree or when they start thinking about retirement. I couldn’t have been more wrong – the museum is fantastic, the staff are kind, knowledgeable and friendly and there is lots to do for children: from dressing up in period costumes, running about in the underground tunnels, taking part in the activities laid on, playing with the entertaining interactive exhibits and, when we last went, hunting for pigeons (toy pigeons I must add) around the museum in order to win a prize.  I found the place fascinating too and the delivery and relevance of what one might consider to be a dry subject was excellent.

Whilst you are in the Porthcurno area, I would also recommend a visit the the unique and special Minack Theatre, Cornwall’s outdoor theatre carved into the cliff – there’s plenty that’s already been written about the place but you will not forget your first visit.  They have lots of family friendly shows and storytelling on especially in the holidays. Very much recommended.

Newquay Area

Newquay is a popular spot in the summer for a number of reasons, and if you want to explore the surrounding area there are lots of places that can fill a day and keep everyone happy.

There are plenty of beaches of course, our personal favorite is Polly Joke – it’s just far enough off the beaten track to be relatively quiet even at the height of the summer. If you are happy to walk a few minutes down a hill (and then back up on your way home), then you will be rewarded by a lovely cove with rock pools and nooks to explore. You may have to share the beach with some cows though. So don’t be alarmed.

A few miles from Polly Joke you will find a small culinary haven just off the main road.  Firstly, Healey’s Cyder Farm – it’s free to get in and to look around, there are farm animals, peacocks, rabbits and other bits for the children to enjoy – the tractor tour of the orchards is a winner.  They also have cyder tastings (be careful, some of these bite) and a very pleasant barn restaurant. All in all a great place to visit.  Just a minute down the lane is another super local producer – Callestick Farm – who make some amazing ice cream. They too have animals, a play area and bits to keep the kids busy, and here the children can enjoy the produce more freely!


There’s always plenty to do and if you are reading this in preparation or planning for your holiday in Cornwall, then please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like any more information on the places I have mentioned or other ideas for things to do in Cornwall. We are here to help!

Here are some holiday cottages that might be of interest:




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