HomeUK Travel29 issues to do in north Cornwall with children

29 issues to do in north Cornwall with children

29 issues to do in north Cornwall with children

One of many issues I really like a couple of household vacation in Cornwall is that there’s a lot selection packed into one county – discovering the wild coast of north Cornwall with children, venturing right down to fairly St Ives, a keep on the gentler south coast and the prospect to discover the countryside too.

Families on the beach at Mawgan Porth in north Cornwall - and more of the best things to do in north Cornwall with kids

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But when I’m compelled to determine, it’s the north coast which is my favorite: that is the place I used to vacation as a baby, it’s the place my daughter had her personal first Cornish vacation in Newquay, and you could find free days out in addition to issues to do in north Cornwall within the rain. Effectively, that is the UK in spite of everything.

So I’ve rounded up a few of my very own highlights – together with the northern a part of the county and the north Cornwall coast – with this record of the most effective issues to do in north Cornwall with children.

Try my full information to Cornwall with children, in addition to my downloadable e book model of the information

Strictly talking, my ideas enterprise past the official boundaries of north Cornwall: Newquay and Crantock usually are not technically north Cornwall however are on the north Cornish coast, for instance.

I simply couldn’t miss out the Eden Challenge both. It’s a lot nearer to the south coast of Cornwall, however nonetheless solely 20 to half-hour from Bodmin and Padstow really easy to suit right into a household vacation in north Cornwall.

The concepts under are organized in roughly geographical order if you wish to work out which locations to go to in north Cornwall close to the place you’re staying.

So whether or not you’re a purist in relation to boundaries or are simply on the lookout for some nice north Cornwall sights for households, there ought to be lots right here to encourage – from north Cornwall household days out to child-friendly sights, north Cornwall locations to go to and wet-weather actions. Oh, and seashores after all!

Brightly coloured beach huts on the beach at Bude - checking out the different coves is one of my top things to do in north Cornwall with kids

Greatest seashores in north Cornwall

It doesn’t matter which little bit of Cornwall you go to, there are some fabulous seashores to be discovered – and so many little secret coves to find as nicely.

I all the time love getting ideas from locals on the most effective ones – one in all my favorite journey hacks is staying with a neighborhood specialist firm which might kind you out with someplace beautiful to remain in addition to sharing secrets and techniques of the place to go.

For 2 of the most effective seashores in north Cornwall, don’t miss out on a few seashores in Bude, together with Summerleaze seashore with a sea pool, and Crooklets seashore which has some nice rock swimming pools. Each have restrictions from Could to September in the event you’re on the lookout for dog-friendly seashores in Bude although.

Additional down the coast, Widemouth Bay has a protracted open stretch of sand and its personal rockpools at low tide, and the southern finish is dog-friendly year-round.

The sand dunes of Crantock Beach on the coast at Newquay in north Cornwall

Treyarnon Bay between Newquay and Padstow can be nice for rockpooling, and canine are allowed year-round right here too, whereas Crantock Seaside close to Newquay is a agency household favorite in addition to a dog-friendly choice too.

Together with large sand dunes and caves to discover, there are simple rock swimming pools for youthful children, some constant surf, plus a kiosk promoting ice cream.

Scroll down for concepts of some extra of north Cornwall’s finest seashores round Padstow and Newquay, in addition to Bedruthan Steps.

Bude Sea Pool

In the event you’re not a fan of swimming within the sea, the ocean pool at Summerleaze Seaside is improbable for households, with some shallow water – plus Bude Sea Pool can be free!

It’s open year-round, though most households will wish to persist with the summer season months when the water temperature reaches round 18C, and also you’re advisable to swim at low tide.

Do keep in mind there are restricted amenities right here as nicely – it’s higher for assured swimmers and older children somewhat than toddlers.

Watersports in Bude

Older children will love the prospect to strive browsing, bodyboarding and get up paddle boarding on the north Cornwall coast – Freewave Surf Academy specialises in classes for households and teams, so it’s good for novices as nicely.

For extra journey, you may strive coasteering as nicely, swimming by means of sea caves, visiting hidden seashores and getting your coronary heart racing with a couple of leaps into the water – sensible in the event you’re visiting Bude with teenagers.

Bude sits proper close to the border of Cornwall and Devon, so it’s simple to nip throughout into the neighbouring county too for extra issues to do with children in Devon – the Milky Means Journey Park isn’t distant.

Path running along the north Cornwall coast with the sea to one side and green scenery ahead

Stroll the South West coast path

Wherever you might be in Cornwall, there are some lovely locations to get exterior and go strolling alongside the South West Coast path – and north Cornwall isn’t any totally different, together with a number of family-friendly walks.

Discover a few of the Cornwall Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence – the Hartland stretch from simply above Bude to the Cornish border is a real problem however you possibly can do this Bude Coast and Canal choice.

The part from Widemouth Bay to Pentire Level is one other difficult one – not least as a result of it runs for 30 miles – however there are some unmissable views from Crackington Haven and the aptly named Excessive Cliff, the very best in Cornwall.

Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

Undoubtedly one for older youngsters somewhat than giving toddlers nightmares, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle has round 3,000 reveals making it the world’s largest assortment of this sort, in addition to its oldest.

Good for a day in north Cornwall within the rain or for an uncommon time out with children – visits to the museum itself are inclined to final an hour or much less.

The dramatic approach to the ruins of Tintagel castle by the coast in north Cornwall

Go to Tintagel

Greatest recognized for its hyperlinks to King Arthur and the putting sculpture that stands on the cliffs, the wild surroundings and ruins of Tintagel are someplace which stick within the reminiscence. I keep in mind visiting as a baby – it’s a genuinely magical setting.

However that’s solely the beginning of what there may be to do. Go to the seashore at low tide and you’ll discover Merlin’s Cave – test the tide tables earlier than you go, and as you’ll be scrambling in low mild, take a torch and don’t do this with toddlers.

Then there are centuries of historical past to find at Tintagel Fortress, together with its position within the legends of King Arthur.

Teetering on the headland, the 2 halves of the positioning are joined collectively once more by a footbridge – you want a timed ticket to enter, and it’s finest to guide these upfront, together with for English Heritage members. Some walk-up tickets could also be obtainable on the day, significantly within the afternoon, nevertheless it’s well-liked so higher protected than sorry at peak instances.

Tintagel Previous Put up Workplace is one other nice cease – initially a farmhouse, courting again over 600 years, the medieval constructing was later transformed into the village’s letter-receiving workplace, with a historical past path to discover and conventional crafts to strive.

The Vale of Avalon, Slaughterbridge

Not removed from the medieval city of Camelford – thought by some to be the positioning of Camelot – there’s extra for King Arthur followers on the Vale of Avalon in Slaughterbridge (previously the Arthurian Centre), round 10 minutes drive from Tintagel.

The 20 acre web site surrounds King Arthur’s Stone, and the fields are the legendary spot the place King Arthur and Mordred met for his or her final battle. You possibly can uncover extra in regards to the historical past and tales, in addition to trying out the kids’s quiz, making an attempt brass rubbing and there’s even a play fort.

And for a more moderen historic discovery, an 18th century backyard rediscovered in 2005 is at present being restored – Girl Falmouth’s Secret Backyard was uncovered throughout archaeological work and is step by step being introduced again to life.

The picturesque village of Port Isaac in north Cornwall, filming location for Doc Martin and home to one of the narrowest streets in the UK

Trevathan Farm, Port Isaac

Port Isaac itself is finest generally known as the setting for TV collection Doc Martin – however except you have got any small followers, youthful children are more likely to be extra tempted by close by Trevathan Farm.

There’s berry selecting in the summertime and pumpkin carving at Halloween, plus children can burn off their vitality on the journey playground on this working farm.

Do take a wander round Port Isaac itself although – I really like Treasure Trails for enjoyable methods to discover with children, and this Treasure Hunt model is ideal for exploring the twisty streets of a fishing village with smuggling historical past.

The Golden Lion pub even has an previous smuggling tunnel which leads down onto the seashore – one of many quirkiest issues to identify in North Cornwall for households.

Try Squeezy Stomach alley too, one of many narrowest passageways in Britain – perhaps earlier than you try the Port Isaac fudge store and pasties!

Go coasteering at Polzeath

It’s not simply Bude which is a hotspot for coasteering – Polzeath, simply down the coast from Port Isaac, is one other great spot to discover the shoreline, swimming, scrambling and leaping alongside the way in which.

You would possibly even spot seals and dolphins within the space, and there’s extra likelihood to strive browsing right here too.

There are a number of organisations which supply coasteering in Polzeath for teenagers: strive Cornish Coasteering for ages 8+ or Period Adventures runs taster periods for inexperienced persons, with a advisable age of 10+.

Uncover mermaid legends close to Rock

For a somewhat gentler different, head to the Camel Estuary and the seashore at Daymer Bay with its unspoiled dunes.

Linked to Rock at low tide, you may sit on the sand and inform the story of Doom Bar, the sand bar supposedly created by a mermaid in revenge and the reason for many shipwrecks.

The golden sands of Daymer Bay on the Camel Estuary, not far from Rock in north Cornwall

Cycle the Camel path

One other favorite from my very own childhood holidays, the beautiful Camel path cycle observe was created from a disused railway line.

The entire stretch is round 18 miles lengthy – for a shorter style, in the event you’re visiting north Cornwall with toddlers, there’s a five-mile part from Wadebridge to Padstow. Or you too can cowl the 12-mile stretch to Bodmin.

You’ll discover automobile parking alongside the route in addition to locations to rent bikes in the event you don’t have your individual, together with children’ bikes, to not point out award-winning native vineyards.

Stroll the Sir John Betjeman stroll

This attractive stretch of the South West coast path runs alongside the River Camel, passing the golden dunes of the seashores and resulting in tiny St Enodoc Church the place the poet laureate is buried.

One of many best walks alongside the coast path in north Cornwall, it’s a beautiful place to amble within the solar.

Go to the Nationwide Lobster Hatchery

One of many quirkier issues to do in north Cornwall with children, the Nationwide Lobster Hatchery is a charity with a concentrate on conservation, analysis and training. However from a baby’s perspective, it’s a spot to see child lobsters!

Set on South Quay in Padstow, you may see lobsters on the totally different phases of their life in addition to different marine life, and you’ll even undertake one and observe its progress through the web site. High tip: select a much less frequent title than ‘pinchy’ in the event you do – there are 630 on the final depend!

There are extra lovely seashores and picturesque streets to wander – Padstow does get very busy in summer season although – plus the ferry throughout to Rock right here for an opportunity to tick off two locations to go in north Cornwall in sooner or later.

Boats in the harbour of fishing village Padstow in north Cornwall, home to the National Lobster Hatchery

Camel Creek Journey Park

Round quarter-hour south of Padstow, Camel Creek Journey Park is ready on the positioning of the previous Crealy’s Journey Park. Reopened in 2018, there’s a little bit of all the pieces too – indoor and outside play, animals, a 5D theatre, varied rides…

With mild rides for little ones, together with a carousel, plus extra adventurous rollercoasters for barely larger thrill-seekers, it’s perfect in the event you’ve acquired youngsters of various ages.

You possibly can meet meerkats and Shire Horses, plus indoor smooth play and outside journey play so it’s one other nice choice for a wet day in north Cornwall with children.

Open year-round, there are particular themed seasonal occasions too in the event you’re visiting round Halloween or Christmas. Prebooking tickets is advisable.

Previous Macdonalds Farm

A bit of additional down the coast, between Padstow and Newquay, Previous Macdonalds Farm is a beautiful time out with youthful children – in addition to seeing the cattle, there are many alternatives to play, and you’ll keep on web site or flip up for a day go to.

With particular animal expertise in addition to a typical go to (could have to be prebooked, further payment applies), there are additionally particular occasions through the yr. Time your go to proper and you’ll assist bottle feed lambs and calves.

Bedruthan Steps

The granite rocks on the seashore at Bedruthan Steps have been as soon as the stepping stones for the large Bedruthan in line with legend – truly extra doubtless made up by Victorians, however why spoil an excellent story?

Both method, the rock stacks are a dramatic sight, continuously altering because the waves put on away the softer rock (don’t take into consideration paddling!)

There’s (at present no entry to the seashore due to rock falls (though the slender steps lead down have been by no means perfect in the event you’re visiting north Cornwall with toddlers) however the views are spectacular.

There’s a Nationwide Belief automobile park and café on the prime too, and a few beautiful walks, plus occasional further actions like treasure hunts to strive.

View of the beach and rocks at Bedruthan Steps in north Cornwall

Newquay seashores

My daughter’s first go to to Cornwall took us to Newquay and there are good the explanation why it’s so well-liked with households.

For starters, there are seashores galore – from browsing at well-known Fistral seashore to the summer season donkey derby at Mawgan Porth and the dunes of Crantock.

To not point out a complete string of different well-known coves: Tolcarne Seaside, Watergate Bay, Lusty Glaze Seaside, Perranporth Seaside, Towan seashore within the city itself with loads of golden sand and nice surf waves.

In the event you’re on the lookout for dog-friendly seashores in Newquay, try these choices.

Newquay Zoo

This award-winning zoo is dwelling to tons of of the world’s rarest and most enjoyable creatures, from creepy crawlies to massive cats, in addition to exercise trails and a youngsters’s play space.

You possibly can see armadillos to zebra, in addition to discovering the gardens – together with the beautiful Secret Backyard – earlier than being transported to the tropics and the south-east Asian jungle as you discover the totally different habitats.

It’s sufficiently small to not be too overwhelming in the event you’re visiting north Cornwall with a toddler, though at 13 acres, there’s nonetheless lots to maintain everybody entertained on a time out.

Blue Reef aquarium, Newquay

This beautiful aquarium is correct on the seafront in Newquay – you may relax on Towan seashore then head indoors to find what lives beneath the waves.

Sharks, turtles and an enormous Pacific octopus are a couple of of the creatures you’ll discover in 40 totally different habitats, with talks and feeding at this beautiful beachfront aquarium – one in all my favorite issues to do in Newquay.

You possibly can wander by means of the ocean tunnel, recognizing loggerhead turtles and reef sharks, in addition to seeing a few of the different uncommon inhabitants, together with pufferfish.

Set proper on the seafront, it’s good if you wish to crew the seashore with the prospect to see beneath the waves – or if you end up on the lookout for one thing to do on a wet day in Cornwall.

Try my overview of a time out at Blue Reef aquarium in Newquay with a toddler

Brightly coloured blue reef fish among the coral at the Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay in Cornwall - my review of our day at the Newquay Aquarium

Pirate’s Quest Journey Golf, Newquay

Journey again 300 years to the Golden Age of piracy, within the dwelling of smugglers and buccaneers (and mermaids) with a household pleasant journey golf course with a twist.

At Pirate’s Quest Journey Golf you’ll discover 12 holes winding by means of the streets of 18th century Cornwall, in addition to an opportunity to discover caves, uncover native legends, seek for a mermaid and pose within the shares (in addition to making an attempt for a yo ho gap in a single!)

The swashbuckling course is indoors too, in case you’re on the lookout for issues to do in Newquay within the rain.

Whereas the earlier interactive tour isn’t working any extra, children nonetheless get treasure maps to seek for pirate booty, plus an opportunity to study extra about Cornwall’s myths and legends.

Trerice Home, close to Newquay

Just a bit method inland from Newquay, this Nationwide Belief property contains the prospect to decorate up in Tudor costumes in addition to strive some conventional video games within the nice chamber of Trerice Home.

You too can uncover extra in regards to the household which lived within the sixteenth century manor over time. If it’s a sunny day, wander the gardens and take a look at a couple of video games on the bowling inexperienced, or it’s one other nice choice for a wet day close to Newquay.

Lappa Valley Steam railway, close to Newquay

Not removed from Trerice Home and Newquay, Lappa Valley Steam railway is a good attraction for youthful children – there’s extra than simply for toddlers and pre-schoolers, however they’ll love the trains which run on the small railway.

Inside, there are nature trails and youngsters’s rides, a toddler path maze plus indoor play carriages and a woodland railway. Or you may also have a go at loopy golf whilst you’re visiting so it’s a enjoyable time out in Cornwall for the entire household.

The hurlers stone circle on Bodmin Moor in north Cornwall - one of the many things to discover in the wildest part of north Cornwall with kids

Bodmin Moor

The wildest a part of Cornwall, Bodmin Moor is an enchanting place to roam, with Bronze Age and Neolithic cairns and stone circles and its personal retailer of ghost tales and legends.

For a much less spooky choice, you may go geocaching on the moor in addition to following a part of the Copper Path, a 60-mile strolling route.

Or one other favorite in the event you don’t fancy venturing too far off the overwhelmed observe is to move to the Golitha Falls Pure Reserve. Footpaths, together with one buggy-friendly path, lead by means of the valley alongside the riverside.

Older children will love clambering over tree trunks and hopping from stepping stone to stepping stone on the way in which to the falls. Apparently it’s dwelling to piskies too.

There’s free parking, so it’s a fantastic choice for an inexpensive time out in north Cornwall.

Cardinham Woods

Not removed from Bodmin Moor, the woods are Cornwall’s place to seek out the Forestry Fee’s household trails together with these impressed by Julia Donaldson’s books, such because the Gruffalo twenty fifth anniversary exercise path.

However everytime you go to, there are 4 totally different strolling trails to discover – one in all which is buggy pleasant – plus three cycle trails, a play space and café.

The one cost is for parking (except you’re a discovery cross holder) and any particular path actions so it’s one other enjoyable choice for reasonable issues to see in north Cornwall.

Bodmin Jail

Apparently one of the haunted locations in Britain, Bodmin jail reopened a couple of years in the past with a model new immersive customer expertise together with a ‘Darkish Stroll’ and overhaul of the present attraction.

Telling the historical past of the 18th century jail over six ranges, with sights, sounds and smells of life within the 18th century, you may step into the chilly cells, to think about a sentence of onerous labour forward. Much less gruesomely, the jail has additionally saved the Domesday Guide and Crown Jewels protected.

Harsh punishments and an execution pit imply this isn’t one for youthful children (though you may keep away from one or two of the scarier sections) nevertheless it’s one of the memorable north Cornwall days out with children.

Higher for older children, who love their wet days spiced up with a little bit shiver of fright than for youthful youngsters (it’s not buggy-friendly both).

Bodmin and Wenford Railway

Cornwall’s solely full-size railway nonetheless operated by steam locomotives, it’s an ideal choice for train-obsessed little ones (and a few larger ones).

Chuffing alongside the 13-mile spherical journey route of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway makes for a really enjoyable method to discover the countryside too.

There are additionally particular themed occasions throughout faculty holidays, similar to Halloween and Santa trains – and the prospect to have a correct Cornish cream tea.

Lanhydrock National Trust property - one of my top places to visit in north Cornwall with kids


Not removed from Bodmin itself, the Nationwide Belief property of Lanhydrock is designed to allow you to discover Victorian life, wandering by means of the home from the servants’ quarters and kitchens to the household’s extra luxurious rooms.

Kids have trails to observe inside the home, and you’ll also have a peek into the nurseries alongside the way in which to match to their very own bedrooms.

Outside there are bike trails to discover together with a straightforward inexperienced path that’s appropriate for youthful children and bikes with tagalongs in addition to trickier routes for older children, plus the same old expansive grounds to roam round and an journey playground.

Carnglaze Caverns

The three underground caves making up Carnglaze Caverns are on the south fringe of Bodmin Moor, a former slate mine which is now a mining heritage attraction.

Your self-guided go to (though there are some guided excursions in excessive season) explains extra in regards to the miner’s work and why offering slate was so vital, earlier than ending on the spectacular underground lake.

The caves at the moment are dwelling to 5 species of bats, whereas exterior you may hunt for faeries and dragons on the Woodland Stroll and within the Enchanted Dell on the hillside.

There’s a youngsters’s path that will help you spot a few of the fairy inhabitants, whereas the stroll takes round 25 minutes – in late spring it’s good to see bluebells, and you may also be fortunate sufficient to identify deer or a fox.

The Eden Challenge

The award-winning attraction is immediately recognisable – the labored out china clay pit has been reworked with two well-known biomes, one concealing the Mediterranean, the opposite the warmth of the rainforest.

Try my overview of our day on the Eden Challenge with a three-year-old.

This astonishing international backyard, tucked inside futuristic domed biomes, is dwelling to the world’s largest indoor rainforest in addition to interactive reveals, a sensory backyard and vegetation from across the globe.

There are storytelling periods for teenagers and different actions, exhibitions, and even smooth play. If the climate’s good, there are paths to wander open air too and many to do on the Eden Challenge within the rain if not.

For extra concepts of issues to do in Cornwall, try my prime picks and my final information to Cornwall with children

*First revealed 2020, final up to date 2024*


The best things to do in north Cornwall with kids - ideas for how to spend a family holiday in north Cornwall, UK, from the best beaches and walking to family attractions and other days out along the coast from Bude to Tintagel, Padstow and Newquay, as well as Bodmin, the Camel Estuary, the Eden Project and more.

Disclosure: Comprises affiliate hyperlinks: any purchases you make are unaffected however I’ll obtain a small fee. All opinions and advised names for lobsters are my very own.

Blue Reef picture copyright MummyTravels, all others courtesy Depositphotos