10 unmissable things to do in Cornwall with kids

Last updated on November 3, 2023

We’re huge fans of Cornwall with its gorgeous sandy beaches, dramatic coastline and cute seaside towns. We like it so much we got married there. And since having kids, it’s become a favourite family holiday destination. It has oodles of things to do, from simply hanging out on the beach to visiting the incredible Eden Project or having an adrenaline-filled day at a theme park.

Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Cornwall with kids.

Map of things to do in Cornwall with kids

10 best things to do in Cornwall with kids

The Eden Project

The Eden Project is a sight to behold – the iconic domes in the Cornish countryside are biomes housing the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Eden has a mission to connect people to nature and create a better future. And the Eden Project itself is an incredible family day out in Cornwall – offering more than just the epic biomes. It’s even home to England’s longest and fastest zip wire, SkyWire!

An unmissable part of your visit is walking through the biomes and experiencing the humid tropics and Mediterranean climate. A highlight is the canopy walkway that scales the top of the rainforest biome and gives amazing views across the forest. Our kids particularly love the rope bridge, waterfall, and a machine that creates a cloud of mist periodically that you can run through. They also loved the sculptures dotted throughout the domes.

The outdoor gardens are spectacular too and include a brilliant kids play area. And older kids can get involved in some of the adventure activities on offer, including SkyWire, an aerial assault course and a giant swing.

And don’t miss the Invisible Worlds exhibition that explores the world beyond our senses with fun, interactive exhibits.

Finally, be sure to check our the Eden Project’s programme of events. They host lots of family-friendly events, especially during the school holidays. And our favourte is the Eden Sessions where we once saw the Fleet Foxes (one of the best concerts of my life with a hefty dose of that due to the setting).  

The Eden Project has some useful suggested itineraries for kids on the website. It’s easily one of the best days out in Cornwall for kids and adults alike. It’s top of the list for us for families in Cornwall.

Learn to surf

Summerleaze Beach, Bude

Cornwall has some of the UK’s best surfing spots and is a good place to learn. Just be sure to stay in between the lifeguard’s black and white flags (or in between the red and yellow striped ones if you’re swimming). A red flag means danger and don’t go in the water at all.

Popular surf spots for beginners include: Newquay, Harlyn, Bude (Widemouth Bay or Summerleaze), Perranport, St.Ives and Polzeath. Specific schools offering beginner lessons include: St.Ive’s Surf School, SSS Surf School in Newquay, Big Blue Surf School in Bude, and Wave Hunters in Polzeath.

With lessons for all ages, it’s a great thing to do in Cornwall with family.

Flambards

If you’re looking for a theme park, Flambards Theme Park is Cornwall’s biggest. It includes everything from rollercoasters to log flumes to carousels, and also has a separate immersive, indoor-world attraction where you can explore life-size replicas of historic scenes.

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There are plenty of family-friendly rides in the theme park, like teacups and rockets, as well as adrenaline-fuelled options, including SkyRaker, a thrilling drop ride that twists as it falls.

The indoor attractions include a Victorian Village and Britain in the Blitz. The Victorian Village has over 50 sets, including a local pub, Victorian home and sweet shop. And there’s also a perfectly preserved chemist from 1909, as well as special exhibitions.

You can book tickets for the indoor attractions only, separate to the theme park.

Other theme parks in Cornwall include: Camel Creek Adventure Park near Wadebridge and the Milky Way Adventure Park which is actually in North Devon, but only 30 minutes from Bude.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are as magical as they sound. The fairytale garden is most famous for its iconic woodland sculptures that rise out of the forest ground. Don’t miss The Giant’s Head, Mudmaid and Grey Lady, which are sure to enchant all ages.

But beyond the sculptures, there’s 200-acres of ancient grounds to explore, including a jungle area that has its own microclimate, five degrees warmer than the other gardens. It has one of the UK’s longest Burmese rope bridges and is filled with exotic plants, pools and wildlife that you can explore via a network of raised boardwalks.

There’s also a brilliant adventure playground, and lots of farm animals throughout the gardens. It’s a fantastic family day out in Cornwall.

Blue Reef Aquarium

Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is right on the seafront in Newquay and has over 40 different habitats with everything from sharks to turtles to octopus. A highlight is the ocean tunnel where you can see sharks, lobsters, pufferfish, loggerhead turtles, and a rainbow of tropical fish.

There are also talks and feeding times throughout the day, and lots of educational exhibits, teaching about sea life and conservation.

For another nearby animal attractions in Cornwall, there’s Newquay Zoo or the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe.

Dairyland Farm Park

Dairyland Farm Park is a farm and adventure park aimed squarely at younger kids with all sorts of fun animals and play activities. It includes tractor rides, a play park, pony rides, trampolines and an indoor soft play. It’s one of the best things to do in Cornwall with toddlers and younger kids.

You can even do a meerkat encounter, helping to prepare their food and feeding them. And there are other opportunities to pet and feed the animals, including guinea pigs and baby goats.

Another nice farm to visit in Cornwall is Roskilly’s Farm, a working farm that produces Cornwall’s famous ice cream and the clotted cream you’ll most often get with cream teas.

Lappa Valley Steam Railway

If you have a kid that loves train, be sure to head to the Lappa Valley Steam Railway. As well as miniature railways to ride through the woodland, there are also lots of other fun activities, including crazy golf, a boating lake with pedalo swans, and a big adventure play area.

Most recently, they opened the Engine Shed, an indoor multi-level soft play with a coffee shop so adults can sit back while the kids play.

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Another good railway to try is the Bodmin and Wenford Steam Railway

Tintagel Castle

This probably isn’t one you’ll want to brave with younger kids (the steps are seriously steep and the drops sheer), but for older kids, Tintagel Castle a cool Cornwall experience, bathed in myths and legends.

The castle ruins are perched dramatically on the clifftop, linked by an epic footbridge. Some believe it was the birthplace of King Arthur, and you can also explore Merlin’s Cave down on the beach. There’s a museum and displays throughout the grounds that bring to life the story of the castle and the people who have lived there.

Don’t miss Gallos, the life-size bronze figure inspired by the legend of King Arthur.

Tintagel is one of the best family attractions in Cornwall, and is a perfect Cornwall family day out.

Try a cream tea

Rustic Tea Room Bude

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? And Cornwall is famous for its classic cream tea. Be sure to try one while there – it’s essentially scones with clotted cream and jam, accompanied by a pot of tea. Kids can substitute the tea for a babycinno or some such, so it’s a treat the whole family can enjoy.

You’ll find tea rooms throughout Cornwall. We often like the ones that double as walkers’ huts as they tend to be quirky and with a dose of added charm. This one in Bude is very cute. Although sometimes you can’t beat a proper tearoom, like Charlotte’s Tea House in Truro.

Stay somewhere unique

Rosewood Yurt near Bude

Cornwall has some of the UK’s best glamping. You can stay in yurts, shepherd’s huts, railway carriages, cabins, converted barns and all sorts of unique accommodation. We’ve put together a guide to some of the best Cornwall lodges with hot tubs and the best Cornwall Airbnbs.

And we’ve also written reviews of the beautiful Rosewood Yurt near Bude and this railway carriage near Saint Austell. Most recently, we stayed in this cute family cottage near Port Issac.

If you want something a bit more fancy, there’s the fabulous Watergate Bay Hotel, or one of these other luxury family hotels in Cornwall.

Cornwall also makes a good Christmas break and we’ve included it in our guide to the best UK Christmas family holidays.

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More UK travel guides

We have loads of UK travel guides. And oodles of tips for London and Bristol – where we lived/live now. Here are some of the highlights…

UK road trips: Best UK road trips | Best Scotland road trips

UK destination guides: Bristol | Isle of Mull Frome | Liverpool | London | York

UK family travel guides: Birmingham with kids |Bristol with kidsCornwall with kids | London with toddlers Edinburgh with kids | Manchester with kids | Best UK family Christmas breaks | Travelling with a baby

And if you’re looking for somewhere special to stay in the UK, we have loads of UK Airbnb and hotel guides for destinations from the Lake District to Devon. See all our UK guides.

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