England: 6 Day Itinerary for Visiting Cornwall with Kids

Having never visited Cornwall before we were excited to taking a road trip and spending a week exploring as much as we could. Mr ESLT booked us a lovely lodge, complete with a hot tub just on the outskirts of the beautiful St Ives that we used as a base for 7 nights. The drive from Yorkshire to our lodge took us 11 hours. Needless to say by the time we arrive at 8.00 pm, our first day was a right off. However, our following 6 days certainly made up for the journey. As we had the girls in tow, we made the trip as child-friendly as possible. Therefore, we researched where to visit thoroughly before creating our 6-day itinerary for visiting Cornwall with kids and booking tickets. Here are the places/things/attractions we visited, each of which kept everyone happy and entertained.

Day 1 – St Ives Beaches

Visiting Cornwall with Kids at the Beach

As we were staying close to St Ives and we had all been couped up in the car for 11 hours the previous day, we decided to stay close to ‘home’ on day one and visit the beaches of St Ives. Parking close to the beaches, especially during the peak tourist season is tricky. Therefore, we opted to park at Trenwith Carpark (TR26 1DD), the largest car park in St Ives. We then hopped on the number 10 bus which took us directly to St Ives Tate opposite Porthmeor Beach. Armed with beach towels, buckets, and spades, we took a short walk (7 minutes) to Porthgwidden Beach located on St Ives “Island”. As we arrived pre 10 am, the beach was more or less empty. Therefore we had the pick of where we wanted to set up our beach equipment for the day.

As it is billed as a hidden gem we thought it would not get too busy. However, as time went on, the beach became extremely crowded with people cramming themselves and their families into the tiniest of spaces. Therefore, making even getting to the shoreline quite difficult but then again St Ives in August what did we expect. The beach itself has clean free toilets and the lovely Porthgwidden Take Away and Bar where we bought drinks, ice creams and yummy Cornish pasties from throughout the day. There are also 36 charming multi-coloured beach pods that can be booked online before your visit. £150 without £170 with a terrace per week). A great, entertaining and fee day out when visiting Cornwall with kids.

Day 2 – Pendennis Castle

Mr ESLT had visited Pendennis Castle when he was a kid, loved it, and was eager to take our children during our visit to Cornwall. Pendennis Castle is an English Heritage property located in the coastal town of Falmouth. It is a mighty fortress built by Henry VIII to defend the country against invasion. We booked tickets in advance which is always advised, especially during the summer months, however not essential.

Adult with a donation – £13.50, child (5-17 years) with a donation – £8.10. Family tickets are also available. It is important to note that there is a short walk (5/10 minutes) from the car park (free) to the entrance. However Blue Badge holders can park on the castle grounds behind the Royal Garrison Artillery Barracks, simply follow the signs.

We spent approximately 5 hours at the castle. That involved having a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe, taking a guided tour of the castle, wandering around the grounds, having a picnic followed by ice cream and a visit to the gift shop. I was initially worried that there wouldn’t be enough to keep the kids (4 and 7) engaged/entertained. But they loved it. My kids love being outdoors and the fact that it was dry and pretty warm when we visited meant they could run wild (and tire themselves out). They also had great fun pretending to fire the cannons, of which there are a lot dotted around the castle and its grounds.

Day 3 – Dairyland Farm Park

After a ‘castle day’ which was for us all, we decided to book an attraction solely for the girls. After researching suitable things to do when visiting Cornwall with kids, we opted for Dairyland Farm Park located in Newquay. Having visited a number of farm attractions over the past couple of years we thought we knew what to expect. Yes, there are animals here, but it is all the additional extras that made it a day great out.

Children under 80cm are free, children over 80cm – £11.95 and adults (15-60) – £13.95. Family tickets are also available which may save you a few pounds. Day tickets are valid for 7 consecutive days. I wish we had been staying closer to Newquay (and had a space day in our itinerary) as we definitely would have returned, therefore making it even better value for money.

When we arrived, we booked a 30-minute indoor play session in the Bullpen, the indoor soft play centre. Booking is essential as numbers are limited per session. The kids loved it, especially as there was enough equipment to keep them both entertained. They bounced on trampolines, built sandcastles on the ‘beach’, raced each other on pedal tractors, enjoyed swinging and sliding in the playground, learnt how to milk a cow, said hello to the animals, ate ice cream and even got to take a pony ride. For £3 per child, they can take a 5-minute pony ride with a member of staff supervising the whole way. We were apprehensive as neither of our kids had ridden a pony before, but they loved it. So much so they ask all the time if they can do it again.

Day 4 – St Michael’s Mount

Having seen photographs and seen it on the TV, St Michael’s Mount was an attraction we had to visit while in Cornwall. Booking tickets in advance is essential. People were actually getting turned away at the mount if they did not have pre-booked tickets. Booking the right ticket is also important. We discussed how we would like to get to the Mount. We both decided that we would like to walk. Therefore, we booked the first tickets available on the day that we wanted to visit. This is because the causeway would be passable. On the day we visited this was 11.15 am. However, when we got there, it was still partially covered in water. Therefore, we had to wait an additional 15/20 minutes.

Some people we taking their socks and shoes off to wade through the water. We opted to stay on dry land until it was clear to cross. If the causeway is covered when want to travel to the island, you need to book a boat ticket. £2.50 per adult, £1.50 per child. You can buy your return tickets on the island. You also need to decide if you want castle tickets, garden tickets (open during summer months) or a combi ticket. We opted for garden tickets, which worked great for us. The weather wasn’t the nicest but it was dry and the kids loved running around and exploring the gardens. We decided to grab lunch at The Island Cafe. However, we would recommend taking a picnic or at least snacks as we had to queue for just short of an hour, which isn’t ideal with hungry kids in tow.

Day 5 – Land’s End

We thought we’d visit Land’s End, take a snap by the signpost and visit a nearby beach. However, when we arrived we saw there was so much to do and realised we could spend the whole day there. When visiting Cornwall with kids or without, Land’s End is a must-visit destination. If not only to say you’ve been. Visiting Land’s End is free. However, you need to book car parking in advance. Tickets are £7 and valid all day. First with the negative – you have to pay for a photograph at the signpost. Yes, £11 gets you a ‘professional’ photograph with personalised wording on the signpost – we saw family names, dates and people’s hometowns. A nice souvenir, if you like that sort of thing but as we’ve never managed to get a nice photo of the four of us, plus the queue was extremely long, we gave it a miss.

We did however opt for the Experience Ticket ( Adult £15 Child £10). This allowed us to visit the 4 attractions located at Land’s End. You can pay individually for the attractions if you only want to do one or two. But if you buy the Experience Ticket and do visit all 4 attractions, it does save you a few quid. We explored the life-sized world of Aardman, we took a journey through the magical world of King Arthur, immersed ourselves in the Jolly Roger 4D film experience and met the farmyard animals at the 200-year-old Cornish Farmstead – Greeb Farm. The girls played in the playground, we visited the gift shop, ate ice cream and had lunch at Land’s End Restaurant & Bar which offers views across the Atlantic Ocean. Land’s End was a great, yet unexpected, day out.

Day 6 – Eden Project

Visiting Cornwall With Kids - The Eden Project

Did we save the best until last? In my opinion, we did. I’ve wanted to visit the Eden Project since it opened 20 years ago. Therefore, when planning our itinerary for visiting Cornwall with kids, it had to feature. I didn’t really consider if there would be enough for the kids to do (oops!), luckily there is. It’s is not a cheap day out, especially as a family (Mini ESLT was free as she’s under 5). We did still pay just shy of £100 for Mr ESLT, Junior ESLT and me. They are annual tickets, which means you can visit as many times as you like within 12 months. Therefore the more you visit the better value the tickets are. It’s such a shame we live nearly 400 miles away therefore unable to use our tickets again, as I would go at least once a week if I could.

The Eden Project really is a sensory extravaganza. It may have helped that we visited on a beautifully sunny day, but all the colours looked amazing. The girls loved exploring the gardens and seeing the flowers. The two Biomes are something else. In the Mediterranean Biome, you can experience sights, scents and stories from the Mediterranean, California, South Africa and Western Australia. You can also explore the largest rainforest in captivity and trek through the humid tropics from tropical islands to SE Asia, and West Africa to tropical South America in the Rainforest Biome. I of course loved the Biomes, however, the kid’s favourite thing was the Minibeast Mansion play tower which they would have stayed on all day if we had let them!

We hope our itinerary of visiting Cornwall with kids helps you when planning yours!

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