If you’re planning a family holiday on British shores, Cornwall is always high up on any list of potential destinations. The long car journey to the far south west of the country is definitely worth it and usually a haven for holidaymakers far and wide. Enjoy beautiful beaches, quaint towns and villages and a superb range of restaurants keeping tourists entertained, fed and watered.
Cornwall is a brilliant area to take young children, with numerous activities, beauty spots and attractions for families to enjoy during a stay. Plus, with YHA accommodation across the county, you need not worry about a place to rest your head at the end of the busy days of enjoyment. To help you plan your trip, take a look at YHA’s list of top attractions in Cornwall for families of all ages.
Cornwall’s number one tourist attraction is a must visit for any family travelling to the county for the first time. With unique biomes hosting plants from across the globe, the site offers so much to see for children of all ages, plus plenty to engage the grown-ups. Whether it’s the rainforest, the Mediterranean, seasonal plants or sculptures you enjoy, there is something for everybody to be engrossed by over the course of a day out. Plus, if you explore the site, you’ll find ‘the core’ – an interactive and educational exhibition area, a children’s climbing area, and SkyWire – England’s longest and fastest zip wire which offers unbeatable views across the site and the countryside beyond. All in all, no trip to Cornwall should be complete without ticking off the Eden Project. And what’s more, you can stay ON SITE with YHA, in our unique Snoozebox accommodation! Perfect.
YHA stay: YHA Eden Project
If you’re keen to do something that is truly inimitable during your time in Cornwall, visiting the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno should feature high on your list. There are few places which allow you to enjoy an open air theatre with such dramatic surroundings. Carved into the granite cliff and set in glorious gardens, the seating area overlooks Porthcurno Bay, meaning the lapping of the waves will add a rustic sound effect to any performance taking place. The summer season runs from May to September, presenting drama, musicals and opera in this most theatrical of settings. Alternatively, visit during the day to learn about the history of the venue.
YHA stay: YHA Lands End
While Britain isn’t necessarily known for its high calibre of surfing beaches (relative to other parts of the world), Cornwall is certainly the place to go if you’re keen to give riding the waves a try. Surfing hotspots are scattered across the expansive Cornish coastline, though it is important to select the correct location to avoid the hordes of tourists and enjoy the best conditions for beginners to learn their skills in. Harlyn Beach is well known as one of the safest beaches in the county in which to begin on the board, with a long-established surf school offering lessons and courses for surfers of all abilities. If you’re staying further down the coast, St Ives surf school is also a good option for kids and families to learn to surf.
St Michael’s Mount
One of Cornwall’s most impressive sights, St Michael’s Mount is a remarkable rocky island with hundreds of years of interesting history for visitors to explore. Whether at low tide and on foot, or at high tide via a boat, reaching the island is well worth the voyage, with features including a medieval castle, a sub-tropical paradise and a harbour. Introduce the kids to history and myth which surrounds the island, with various educational and entertaining paths, quizzes and gardens for them to discover and enjoy.
YHA stay: YHA Penzance
For a more relaxed couple of hours in a quintessential Cornish town, you can do much worse than visit Charlestown. Just a couple of miles down the road from St Austell and an ideal stopping point after a busy time at the Eden Project, Charlestown boasts a pretty harbour, views over St Austell Bay and plenty of cute shops, pubs and restaurants, as well as a focally placed ice cream vendor selling beautiful local ice cream. With one of these in hand, the kids will be desperate to explore the harbour and the rocky beach area which flanks it – ideal for crabbing when the tide is low. Plus, of interest to the adults, the town is a filming location for the likes of Poldark and Dr Who.
Situated in the south of the county, Flambards is a child’s paradise – a theme park which makes for an excellent family fun day out with a range of rides, play areas, exhibitions and discovery zones for children of all ages to enjoy, particularly those aged between 3-13. The park may not be on the scale of larger theme parks such as Alton Towers, but in the space it does possess you’ll find roller coasters, go karts, carousels and plenty more to satisfy your needs. Also, the park hosts exhibitions within its indoor areas, including the Victorian Village and a feature on Britain in the Blitz – so there’s plenty to see and do during your visit.
If history, myth and legend interest your children, or if you simply want to immerse them with historical tales which require plenty of imagination, a trip to Tintagel Castle is well worth an hour or two of your time. Linked with the legend of King Arthur, this castle has inspired generations of visitors for centuries – having first been considered a tourist attraction in the 19th century during the Victorian era, when there was an influx of interest in Arthurian legends. Whether or not any of this is true is for you to imagine and to discover. Indeed, a trip to the castle is worthwhile if only to enjoy the dramatic views and length of rugged coastline which surrounds the castle’s sprawling grounds. The village of Tintagel is well worth a stop off too, with various quirky shops including sweet and fudge stores to satisfy those little appetites!
YHA stay: YHA Tintagel