Family days out in Cornwall this summer
Summer holidays in Cornwall make happy memories. Many families return year after year for a relaxing break by the sea.
There are plenty of family days out in Cornwall to keep everyone entertained this summer. Read on to discover some of the best activities, attractions and events to make your Cornish holiday a memorable one.
Family activity holidays in Cornwall
Family days out in Cornwall can be as adventurous as you like. If you’re an adventurous lot, Cornwall is definitely the place to be. From sea swimming to surfing and cycling to segway tours, there’s something to suit all tastes. Activities are great for burning off some energy before a relaxing afternoon or evening on the beach. Plus you can work up an appetite for your seaside dinner!
St Ives Surf School offer a variety of fun activities for all ages. Take part in a lesson or guided tour, or hire kayaks or stand up paddle boards. This is a great way of exploring the Cornish coast from a different viewpoint. If you’ve got dare devils in the family, have a go at learning to surf or go on a coasteering adventure.
If you’d rather stay on dry land, why not opt for a unique segway tour experience? Cornwall Segway is based at Goonhilly Satellite Station near Helston, and at the Clowance Estate near Camborne, both of which are in easy reach of St Ives. They describe the segway experience as being similar to riding a magic carpet! Glide through stunning scenery on a unique adventure.
Alternatively, you could hire bikes and pedal your way through Cornwall’s spectacular scenery. West Cornwall Bike Hire are based in Gwithian, near St Ives, and can deliver your bikes to your holiday accommodation too! Zig zag your way through the countryside and discover secret beaches and breathtaking coastal views. Make sure to bring some comfy shoes with you so you can explore the stunning south west coast path by foot too.
Cornwall attractions for families
There are lots of attractions that make great family days out in Cornwall. Just up the road from St Ives in Hayle, you’ll find Paradise Park which is one of the best family attractions in West Cornwall. You can meet a wide variety of animals and tropical birds, ride the Jungle Express train, watch the penguins being fed and explore the gardens. Kids love the Jungle Barn which is an indoor play centre with a soft play area, ball pools and slides.
Pendennis Castle in Falmouth is a fantastic day out for all the family. History buffs can learn all about weapons of war and watch the exciting gunfire re-enactment at midday. Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the castle to enjoy breathtaking views across Falmouth bay and spot boats and wildlife. Watch eerie shadows tell the dramatic story of the castle coming under attack with the new immersive installations in the Tudor keep. If it’s a sunny day, there’s a large grassy area that’s perfect for picnics. During the summer holiday, the grand medieval joust is not to be missed.
Make sure you pack your swimming costumes for fun family days out in Cornwall in the water! If you fancy a splash somewhere a bit safer than the sea, head to the Jubilee Pool in Penzance. The Art Deco lido on the promenade is ideal for families. Go for a swim in the fresh salt-water and then grab a bite to eat and a refreshing drink from the cafe whilst you enjoy spectacular views of the sparkling sea. We recommend an afternoon swim before relaxing by the cafe where they serve pizzas and cocktails from 5pm – 9pm.
Summer events in Cornwall
St Michael’s Mount is a must-see attraction for your Cornish holiday. Walk across the cobbled causeway and explore the castle, town and harbour. There are tons of fun events happening at the mount during the school holidays too. Summer events include storytelling, rock pooling and craft days such as Myths and Legends from the Sea and Tall Stories of the Castle. Learn about sea creatures and giants, get creative and explore the castle grounds!
Outdoor theatre is a great option for family days out in Cornwall. A visit to an open-air theatre is a lovely way to spend an afternoon or evening during your holiday. Three of our top choices are the iconic Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, Penlee Park Open Air Theatre in Penzance and Trebah Gardens near Falmouth. The Minack has spectacular sea views, Penlee Theatre is situated in a beautiful park and Trebah has beautiful sub-tropical gardens. All are stunning locations to sit and watch a theatrical performance! Choose from a wide range of shows including Cornish themed stories like Jamaica Inn and the Pirate’s of Penzance, outdoor cinema, live music events and plenty of children’s performances and family fun.
Roll up, roll up, the circus has come to Cornwall….Circus Funtasia features a range of fabulous acts including fire breathing, acrobatics, tightrope walking, motorbike globe riders and the terrifying wheel of death. There’s also lots of witty comedy thrown in. The 1 hour and 45 minute show will keep the whole family entertained. Nobody can resist the magic of the circus!
Cornwall summer festivals for families
Summer festivals are great family days out in Cornwall. This year the Harbour Fest in Hayle takes place on the 3rd and 4th of August. The fun family event takes place on the harbour in Hayle and will include street food, children’s activities, bouncy castles, craft stalls and licensed bars. There will also be live music on the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening from an Elvis tribute, a ska band, acoustic singers and more, plus live DJ’s on both evenings.
Falmouth Week takes place from the 10th to the 19th of August. Highlights include the sailing regatta events, live music and a fantastic firework display. There’s also the popular Falmouth carnival on the Saturday, children’s storytelling events and workshops, and the impressive red arrows display. The programme is available on their website.
Boardmasters takes place on the 8th to the 12th of August and has a fantastic music lineup as well as adventure activities such as kayaking, coastal runs and aerial yoga. The main music event is at Watergate Bay but there’s loads going on at Fistral too. Pop down to Fistral beach for the day where there will be stalls and rides for kids. There’s lots to see and do including the surf competitions and skate and BMX displays. You can also go for a surfing lesson or chill out at the beach bar. Fistral comes to life with live music in the evening.
Theme parks in Cornwall
Thrill seekers will love the theme parks in Cornwall. Flambards Theme Park in Helston in West Cornwall has a brilliant selection of rides including rides for small children such as the balloon race, the pirate ship and the dino express. For the more adventurous, there are demon drops, the exciting G-force skyforce ride, hornet roller coaster, log flume and many more. You can also travel back in time and explore the Victorian Village and Britain in the Blitz which are both fun and educational. These are great places to retreat to if it rains, as are the indoor play centres.
Camel Creek Adventure Park in North Cornwall has rides and attractions for all ages. Swampy’s super slides, the kiddies carousel and the safari land train are perfect for younger children. Then there are the more thrilling rides such as vertigo, wave rider and the demon drop slides. For animal lovers, there are shire horse stables, pets corner and meerkat manor. They also offer a great junior keeper experience for children where kids get given a hat and badge and can enjoy meeting and grooming animals and even get given a certificate at the end! Plus, there are special events during the summer which feature some of children’s favourite characters from Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.
If your children are over the age of six and you fancy a family adventure that’s similar to Total Wipeout, head to Retallack Aqua Park near Newquay. Jump, splash, bounce, climb and slide at their huge inflatable Aqua Park. Race each other through the exhilarating obstacle course and have a memorable family day out. Be prepared to get very wet and have lots of fun!
Free things to do in Cornwall
Family days out in Cornwall don’t have to cost the earth! If you’re lucky with the weather, the best thing to do is head to the beach! St Ives Bay has twelve beaches to explore and if you’re staying in St Ives or Carbis Bay, you’ll be within walking distance of a beautiful sandy beach. Pack a picnic, some beach games, bucket and spade, a wind break and a good book and you’ll be sorted for the day! Don’t forget to pack the sun cream and re-apply it after your refreshing dip in the sea! Even if you do get a rainy day, there’s nothing more invigorating than a brisk walk on the beach.
Heartlands is a free visitor attraction and World Heritage site in Cornwall. Based in Redruth, once the mining hub of Cornwall, Heartlands has lots of things to do, whatever the weather. The 19 acre site has a great adventure playground for kids and beautiful botanical gardens to explore. There are also art exhibitions and craft studios, plus a unique cafe in an old carpenter’s workshop. They even have a range of free events on including engine house tours, farmers markets, cultural festivals, dance shows, music events, art exhibitions and theatre.
Family days out in Cornwall: exploring the countryside
Another brilliant free thing to do in Cornwall is to head out for a walk. With miles of coastal paths, moorland, countryside and woodland to explore, there are tons of free adventures on your doorstep. Explore the south west coast path from St Ives by walking towards Hayle or in the opposite direction to Zennor. Alternatively, drive down the West Cornwall Coast Road for breathtaking views of the rugged landscape and stop off at Sennen where you can enjoy a beautiful walk to Land’s End. Or drive down to Praa Sands and explore the coastal path between there and Prussia Cove. For a fantastic woodland walk, head to Tehidy Woods, the largest woodland area in West Cornwall which has 250 acres of peaceful woods and lakes to explore, together with a café and a picnic area. Family days out in Cornwall are all about enjoying your surroundings and walking in the countryside is a great free activity.
Finally, no visit to Cornwall would be complete without watching a sunset, so pack your jumpers, drinks and snacks and head to the clifftop for the best views.
We hope you now have plenty of inspiration for family days out in Cornwall. We’ve got a great selection of St Ives apartments and holiday cottages for families which are the perfect base for your summer adventure in Cornwall.
If you enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy our blog about toddler friendly days out.