Seven Adventures For The Perfect Family Staycation In Cornwall
Things that come to mind when you think of Cornwall are the picturesque Cornish coast, time with the family, a traditional Cornish pasty, and fun adventures at every turn.
That’s why so many of us decide Cornwall is the destination for a family staycation year after year.
Imagine this scene: the kids have finished school for the term-time holidays, you’ve been getting everything organised and packed all week, and now is finally the time to head off on the family adventure you’ve been dreaming about for months.
To get the most out of your stay in this wonderful part of the country, we’ve come up with seven ideas for the family to experience everything that Cornwall has to offer.
All you have to do is relax, relish the excitement, and let us take you on some unforgettable experiences.
Where to set up base
There are many gorgeous cottages and hotels to choose from in Cornwall. But have you thought about setting up camp at a holiday park?
The family will immediately feel at home, surrounded by the beauty of Cornish landscapes, entertainment, and a strong sense of community.
“Our Perran Sands park is blessed with stunning locations, views, and something for all the family,” says Gerard Tempest of Haven Holidays.
“There really is something for everyone, from entertainment to suit all ages and activities for those loving adrenaline-fuelled fun, to those who enjoy a slower pace of life.”
Day one: Camel Creek Adventure Park
The huge array of rides and adorable animals here will send butterflies to your stomach as you park up the car and race to the entrance.
But what will you decide to conquer first? Maybe the big splashes from Thunder Falls as you plummet 20 feet into the pool of water below? Or waving your hands in the air on Dina’s Dancing Flowers?
Perhaps Swampy’s Sky Ride Ferris wheel overlooking the park will take your fancy?
The little ones will love Creeky’s Water Rush mini log flume adventure, and Toddlers Cottages will melt your hearts as you watch over them in the soft play area.
Maybe the kids have always wanted to find out what it’s like to become a keeper? The junior keeper experience will get them hands-on with the animals, from meerkats to reptiles and ponies – they’ll proudly show off the experience certificates they’ll receive to all their friends at school.
Delicious smells of burgers, hot dogs, and chips as you’ve been wandering through the park all day will probably set some tummies rumbling. Pull up a pew at Creeky’s Burger Co. for some tasty treats, and pick up something extra naughty at Swampy’s Chocolate Factory before hitting the gift shop.
You can buy your very own Creeky or Swampy as a way of bringing a bit of this marvellous adventure park home.
Day two: Cornish Wave
Ever thought about hitting the waves on the Cornish coast?
The family will love this unique bonding experience of learning to surf together at Cornish Wave.
Spend the next few hours getting to grips with the basics and building your confidence, before putting it all to practice when you hit the water.
You’ll likely be wanting a well-deserved break after all the excitement. Just a short away is El Huichol, the street food icons bringing authentic Mexican food to the southwest.
Day three: Eden Project
When you visit Cornwall, you’ll likely hear many locals and tourists recommending a visit to the Eden Project.
It’s been connecting us with the living world since the mid-90s and now you’ll get the chance to explore this fascinating attraction, home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world.
“There's plenty for young visitors to explore and enjoy,” says Simon Davies of the Eden Project. “Our Edentify Trail takes you on an exciting tour around our spacious gardens, with clues designed especially for kids. There’s a surprise at every turn!”
You’ve probably heard of the Eden Project’s famous zip wire, a must-try experience for all visitors here.
Fly at up to 60 miles per hour overlooking the indoor rainforest, Project Biomes, and we dare you to take on the Gravity swing, dropping 65ft over a cliff edge, to build up some adrenaline.
See if you’re also brave enough to walk over the Rainforest Canopy Walkway. Feel the sensation of a real tropical rainstorm, and discover the links between rainforests and climate change through the University of Exeter’s research at the Rainforest Research Camp.
Day four: The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The 200 acres of magical woodland walks, landscaped gardens, and a gorgeous natural playground will build up some excitable energy.
Tucked away in the picturesque country lanes near St Austell, The Lost Gardens of Heligan is the biggest garden restoration project in Europe.
You’ll instantly feel inspired by its incredible beauty, but what area will you start your adventure with?
Maybe a tour of the Productive Gardens to check out the blossoming fruit plants, or head down to the farm to make friends with the Berkshire pigs and Jacobs sheep.
We’re sure the majority of your time here will be spent exploring the Jungle!
Your gaze will be drawn to the lush foliage and exotic plants as you’ll feel you’ve been transported to the depths of the Amazon.
Step quietly over the raised boardwalk so you don't disturb any fish in the four ponds, brushing past the banana plantations and giant rhubarb, before becoming mesmerised by the towering bamboo tunnels.
Perhaps after the Eden Project yesterday, you’re wanting to experience another adrenaline rush?
You and the kids will love the thrill of the rope bridge, thought to be one of the longest in Britain. Hold on tight as you find your balance walking above the ancient tree ferns in the Jungle.
Before hitting the road, we recommend picking up an assortment of homemade cakes to have with your tea and a freshly baked loaf of bread from the Heligan Bakery.
Day five: Pentewan Beach
It wouldn't be a trip to Cornwall without a day at the beach.
Day five is the perfect opportunity to pack the car with seaside essentials, sandwiches with the bread you bought from the Heligan Bakery and hit the road to Pentewan Beach.
The idyllic off-white sand looks like the mirror image of a Caribbean retreat, and the crystal blue waters immediately invite you for a paddle. The east-facing beach makes perfect conditions for some watersports.
Canoes are available for hire from Pentewan Sands Holiday Park – you’re probably still feeling the rush from your surfing lesson earlier in the week!
You’re more than welcome to use the facilities at the holiday park if you need to stock up on refreshments throughout the day too.
But maybe you’re all in the mood for a hearty late lunch? Stop at Polgooth Inn, a traditional, feel-good watering hole to refuel before the journey back.
“Our burger is out of this world using our own meat patty recipe, Cornish Gouda cheese, and a local bakery has designed a bread roll exclusively for us,” says Tanya Williams, the Polgooth Inn’s owner. “Our filthy fries are another firm favourite and you won’t get them anywhere else!”
Day six: Flambards
The drive here will start a buzz in the car as you all chat about what rides to take on first. Build up some adrenaline at Sky-Force as you’re whizzed 25 metres up in the air, spinning 360 degrees.
You’ll find the indoor exhibitions of a London street during World War II and a Victorian village mesmerising.
Take a break at Ferdi’s Burger Bar before hitting a tour of Jurassic Journey – we’re sure the magnificent T-rex, Stegosaurus, and five-metre tall Brachiosaurus will immediately catch your eye.
Dig up some dinosaur remains with the little ones at the special prehistoric boneyard, and see if you can spot the newborn creatures and baby velociraptor at the Dino-Nursery & Hatchery.
Finish the day by picking up some treasured mementos at the gift shop, and the jars of sweets from the Victorian sweet shop will keep everyone entertained for the journey back.
Day seven: Road trip to Land’s End
It’s been a week full of thrilling adventures across most of Cornwall. Pack a picnic blanket and some homemade treats for an alfresco feast on the Atlantic coast to Land’s End – a perfect time to reflect on the wonderful moments you’ve all experienced.
The drive takes a little over an hour, still leaving plenty of time for you to venture around the icon of all Cornwall holidays.
Feel the fresh sea breeze across your face and smell the raw scent of the coast as you make your way to the infamous landmark for a family selfie.
You’ll also probably want to make the short drive up the west coast to Penzance.
Sit with a warm cappuccino between your hands at The Cornish Barn before taking in the architectural gems, and wander down to Penzance Harbour to admire the docked boats.
You’ll already be planning for next year
After the week you’ve had, we bet you’re already thinking of plans to visit Cornwall again next year.
There are so many destinations still to explore in Cornwall and some you’ll want to keep exploring, reminiscing on your first family holiday to this spectacular part of the country.