Updated: Feb 3, 2021
When visiting Cornwall, most people envisage time spent on its miles of golden sand, playing in the turbulent waves, or wandering the seemingly endless South West Coast Path and soaking up the views. But there’s lots more in Cornwall to keep families busy than bucket and spade days by the sea. Whatever the weather, the Duchy is home to a host of activities and attractions that are sure to help make your holiday one you’ll never forget.
For those looking for something a little different, or perhaps for experienced riders hoping to saddle up in Cornwall’s gorgeous surroundings, horse riding is with Reen Manor Stables is a must! Based near Perranporth on the north coast, Reen Manor offers a number of different types of rides, including the popular and beautiful beach ride, accessed along the extensive dunes above the beach and numerous safe bridleways. For the littluns, there are also children’s rides and for locals, a Saturday Kid’s Club. All rides are accompanied by experienced riding personnel, who are on hand to help make the most of your riding adventure.
On days when the weather’s not so good, a trip to one of the region’s nearby aquariums comes highly recommended. The National Marine Aquarium – just a short hop over the Cornwall/Devon border in Plymouth – is open daily, opening kids and adults alike up to the world beneath the waves. Expect sharks, seahorses, turtles and countless other marine critters, with a wealth of information on hand to make your trip not just exciting, but educational too. Alternatively, Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium, which is situated on Towan beach, offers undersea tours, giant crabs, lobsters, tropical sharks and much more – perfect, again, for kids and adults alike who are keen to learn more about life in our oceans.
Alternatively, if you’re in the Newquay area and the weather’s fair, then why not head to Newquay Zoo? Home to more than 130 different species, from reptiles to red pandas, with its Tarzan Trail, kids play area, and the Dragon Maze, Newquay Zoo is a part of the Wild Planet Trust, which champions the conservation of, and the education about, the world’s wildest places that now, more than ever, need our protection. A fantastic day out for all ages, this is a great place to spend the day, with plenty of activities to help the kids burn off all that excess energy!
Cornwall is also home to a number of highly acclaimed gardens, perhaps none more so than the Eden Project. Nestled in a huge crater near St Austell, this iconic attraction really needs no introduction. Its famous biomes house the ‘largest rainforest in captivity’, with stunning plants, exhibitions and stories serving as a backdrop to the site’s striking contemporary gardens. There is also a regular calendar of ‘Eden Sessions’ – concerts from some of the world’s biggest artists held on the site – as well as an exciting year-round itinerary of family events. Immersive, educational and quite simply spectacular, the Eden Project is one of those attractions that, if you haven’t already, you simply must visit!
There are so many other attractions in and around Cornwall, from historic sites and museums where you can learn about Cornwall’s rich mining and maritime history (Geevor Time Mine or the National Maritime Museum) or be transported back to the age of steam (Bodmin & Wenford Railway), to those that give an insight into the future and allow you to help decide what life might be like in the next hundred years (Goonhilly)! Add to these theme parks (Camel Creek, Flambards) animal sanctuaries (Cornish Birds of Prey, The Flicka Foundation, The Monkey Sanctuary), and fantastic theatres for the evenings (Merlin Cinemas, The Minnack Theatre, Hall For Cornwall), and you’ll have absolutely no problem filling in your Cornish holiday itinerary!