Family Holidays in Cornwall: The Insiders Guide

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A family holiday in Cornwall is the perfect way to create lasting memories with your children. From exploring magical castles and discovering hidden coves to delicious ice cream and paddling at the beach, there’s something for everyone. To help you plan the perfect family holiday in Cornwall, we answer all your questions about planning your trip, when to go, things to do, and more.

Planning your trip

Is Cornwall child friendly?


Cornwall has no shortage of activities and attractions that parents can enjoy with their children. From theme parks to beaches, there are plenty of opportunities for fun family days out. Of course, one of the main attractions in Cornwall is its stunning coastline – perfect for beach days filled with paddling, sandcastle building and rock pool exploring. For those who are feeling adventurous, why not try some water sports such as surfing or kayaking? Not only will you have lots of fun but you’ll also get to explore some of the hidden coves along the coast. 

Which part of Cornwall is best for families?

The South Coast.

The South Coast: Falmouth and the surrounding area

Falmouth is a great base for exploring the south coast of Cornwall. The town itself has a number of family-friendly attractions, including a maritime museum, several beaches, and a number of parks. Just outside of Falmouth, you can also visit Maenporth, home to some of Cornwall’s most stunning scenery. If your family lives for adventure, try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking at Maenporth Beach

The North Coast: Newquay and beyond

Newquay is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a traditional seaside holiday. The town has a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering accommodation to suit all budgets, and there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained, including several beaches, an aquarium, and a zoo. Just outside of Newquay, you’ll also find the Eden Project, a unique attraction that’s well worth a visit.

The Bodmin Moor: Bodmin and more

Bodmin Moor is an area of outstanding natural beauty located in the centre of Cornwall. The Moor is home to several picturesque attractions including Collingford lake, Golitha Falls, and Sibleyback Lake.  Wild ponies and highland cattle can also be seen grazing across the moor. The Jamaica Inn dates back to 1750 and smugglers historically used to frequent here!. As well as a great place to eat, there is a museum where can you learn all about the history of the Inn. 

How many days is enough for Cornwall?

Seven (7).

When it comes down to deciding how many days is enough for exploring Cornwall with your family, the answer really depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. The answer to this question really depends on what type of activities your family likes to do on holiday. If your family loves outdoor activities like hiking and surfing, then it would be wise to plan at least a week in Cornwall. This will give you plenty of time to explore some of the more popular attractions like the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan. It will also give you ample opportunity to take part in some outdoor pursuits such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and beach activities.

If your family prefers a more relaxed holiday with plenty of sightseeing opportunities, then 3-4 days should be enough time. During this time you can visit some of the area’s most iconic landmarks including St Michael’s Mount and Tintagel. You can also spend a day at one of Cornwall’s beautiful beaches or take a boat trip along the Cornish coastline. 

If your family just wants an escape from everyday life for a few days, then 2-3 days should suffice. Spend some time exploring one or two small towns or villages such as Falmouth or St Mawes before heading off for a relaxing evening by the sea or enjoying dinner at a seafront restaurant or beach cafe. Alternatively, simply kick back and relax in one of Cornwall’s luxury resorts with spa facilities and soak up the atmosphere.

What do I need for a week in Cornwall?


When packing for your trip to Cornwall there are a few items that you should include in your suitcase: sunscreen (even during cooler months), sun hats, sunglasses, waterproof clothing, comfortable shoes (for long days exploring), beach towels and money for souvenirs.

Cornish weather

What is the best time of year to visit Cornwall?


Summer in Cornwall

Summertime is when Cornwall really comes alive. All of the attractions and beaches are open, and there are plenty of events and festivals taking place throughout the county. If you’re thinking of visiting Cornwall with your family during the summer months, just be aware that accommodation prices will be at their highest—so book early to avoid disappointment (and to get the best deals). 

Autumn in Cornwall

Although autumn may not be peak season in Cornwall, there are still plenty of reasons to visit during this time of year. The crowds have thinned out somewhat, so it’s a great time to explore some of the county’s quieter corners. And if you’re lucky enough to experience a sunny day during your stay, there’s nothing better than walking along the coast with the autumn leaves crunching underfoot. Just be sure to pack a sweater—the evenings can start to get chilly at this time of year.

Winter in Cornwall

Cornwall may not be known as a winter wonderland, but there’s still plenty to do if you’re brave enough to venture out during this time of year. Christmas markets and festive light displays make it a magical place to be during December, while January and February are perfect for cosy pub lunches by roaring fires.

Springtime in Cornwall

Cornwall is a beautiful place to be in the springtime. The weather is mild and there are often sunny days, making it perfect for exploring all that the county has to offer. One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering a springtime visit is that many of Cornwall’s attractions will not yet be open for the season—so if you’re looking to hit the beach or visit some of the area’s famous tourist spots, you may want to wait until summer. That said, spring is an ideal time for nature lovers, as the flowers are in bloom and the countryside is looking its best. 

Visit Cornwall during the shoulder season (April-May or October-November). This can be a great time to visit as there are often fewer crowds and you may find better deals on accommodation and attractions.”

What is the driest month in Cornwall?


August is Cornwall’s warmest and driest month, with average temperatures hovering around 19C. The sun shines an average of 10 hours per day and rain showers are rare; making it ideal for beach days and outdoor adventures. This makes August the perfect time to get out and explore everything that Cornwall has to offer – from its stunning sandy beaches to its vibrant waterside towns. 

Where to stay

What kind of accommodation is best for families?

Self-Catering Resort. 

One of the best accommodation options for families travelling to Cornwall are self-catering houses or apartments. These provide plenty of space for children to play and explore, as well as a fully-equipped kitchen so that you can prepare meals at home. They also often come with gardens and patios where kids can enjoy some outdoor playtime. Plus, there are a variety of cottages and houses available that are suitable for different budgets and group sizes – making them ideal for large families or groups travelling together. 

Family friendly accommodation options 

When it comes to accommodation options for families, there are plenty of choices in Cornwall. If you’re looking for something more traditional and cost-effective then a family-friendly resort might be your best bet; they offer self-catering facilities and luxury amenities to enjoy. Look for a resort equipped with an indoor swimming pool and kids play area to keep the little ones happy on holiday.

Things to do

Which beach is best for the kids in the UK?


Cornwall’s beaches are some of the best in England, and there are plenty of options that cater specifically to families with young children. Maenporth Beach, just outside Falmouth, is one of our favourites. With its shallow waters and gently sloping sandbanks, it is perfect for little ones who are just learning how to swim or who need a bit more confidence before they can take on bigger waves. The beach also has plenty of rockpools to explore and even offers kayak and paddleboard rentals if your kids are feeling adventurous.

What can you do in Cornwall with kids when it’s raining?

Cornwall has some great museums and galleries that are perfect for rainy days. The Eden Project is a must-see – it is a massive indoor rainforest with loads of interactive exhibits. The National Maritime Museum Cornwall is also great for kids – they can dress up as pirates, climb aboard a replica ship, and learn all about Cornwall’s seafaring history. And if your kids are into art, the Tate St Ives is definitely worth a visit. There are often special exhibitions on, and the museum has an excellent café where you can warm up with a hot drink after exploring the galleries.

Go to the cinema or bowling alley

If you’re looking for something to do that doesn’t involve getting wet, why not go to the cinema or bowling alley? The Phoenix in Falmouth shows popular films on 5 screens, including 3 luxury spaces with sofas, armchairs and waitress service. Truro Bowl is a kid-friendly ten-pin bowling alley with great food, drinks and fun UV lighting.

Enjoy some indoor time

There are some great indoor spaces in Cornwall that are perfect for rainy days (or when kids need to let off some steam). Raze the Roof in Penryn features laser tag, virtual reality, and a huge indoor play area for kids of all ages. Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay offers close-up views of exotic species, sharks and turtles, coral reef display and feeding sessions.

Getting around

What airport do you fly into for Cornwall? 


The main airport for visitors to Newquay and Cornwall is Newquay Airport, located 7km outside of Newquay on the north coast. If you’re flying into Cornwall, then chances are you’ll be landing here. The airport is served by a number of major airlines, including Ryanair, EasyJet, and British Airways. Eastern Airways flies 3 times a week from London Gatwick, and Aer Lingus flies from Belfast up to 4 times per week. In summer, the airport can get very busy so it’s worth booking your flights in advance.

Is driving in Cornwall difficult?


Road conditions 

The roads in Cornwall are quite good and well-maintained. The majority of roads are two-lane highways, with some single-lane roads leading off them. There are also some winding country lanes which require extra caution when driving. Some of these may be narrow and have sharp turns, so parents should be sure to drive carefully and keep their eyes open for other vehicles or pedestrians on the road. 

Driving tips 

When navigating the roads in Cornwall, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First off, double check all signs and obey speed limits at all times. It is also important to watch out for wildlife crossing the roads – particularly at night – as animals such as deer or badgers may not be visible until it is too late. Finally, always pull over if you need to consult your map, or make a phone call; do not allow distractions while driving.

Can you get around Cornwall without a car?


Public transportation

Cornwall is well-connected by public transportation, making it easy to get around without a car. The main mode of transportation is the bus, and there are plenty of routes to choose from depending on your destination. You can also take the train if you’re looking to explore further afield. The railway network in Cornwall is extensive and covers most of the county. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the station on the day of travel. Lastly, there are also boat services available which are a great way to see Cornwall’s coastline from a different perspective.

Walking and cycling

What to eat

What foods is Cornwall famous for?

The cream tea: A Cornish tradition 

No trip to Cornwall would be complete without indulging in a cream tea. This classic dish consists of scones served with clotted cream (a thick cream made from cow’s milk) and jam, usually strawberry or raspberry jam. It can be enjoyed anytime throughout your stay in Cornwall and is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike! 

Seafood galore 

Cornwall is known for its abundance of fresh seafood, so why not treat the family to some classic fish n’ chips? Head down to one of the many local seaside restaurants for some freshly caught fish and chips. For something a bit more upscale, sample some locally caught crab, lobster, or mussels cooked the Cornish way with scrumpy cider, smoky bacon and leek.

The Pasty – a national treasure 

The pasty is an iconic British dish that originated in Cornwall but has become popular all over the country. A pasty is a savoury handheld pie, filled with diced vegetables like potatoes, swede, onion, and beef. They are usually served hot but can also be eaten cold — ideal if you’re out exploring for the day and need something quick and easy to eat on-the-go.

Pizzas, too!

Enjoy pizzas and a stunning view of the ocean at the Life’s a Beach café on Maenporth Beach. Their pizzas are made with fresh, local ingredients and they are absolutely delicious. There are a variety of different toppings to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. The pizzas are also reasonably priced, so you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy a meal here.

Cornwall is the perfect destination for a family holiday

Cornwall is the ideal destination for families looking for a fun and memorable holiday. Its unbeatable beaches, delicious culinary experiences and exciting attractions have something to offer people of all ages. From exploring magical castles to paddling in the sea, you’re guaranteed to return home with your heart full of memories that can be cherished for years to come. If this sounds like a dream getaway for you and your family, don’t wait: book your holiday today and make your Cornish holiday dreams a reality. 

Interested to learn more?

Explore all our guides To enjoy the best that Cornwall has to offer! Book your family holiday in Cornwall with Maenporth Estates today.

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