We have recently returned from a family holiday in Cornwall and we had a really great time. So I thought I’d share our top 10 family days out in Cornwall (and within reach of Cornwall) based on our experiences and with a little insider knowledge from some of the lovely local people of Bude in Cornwall.
If you are interested in plants and wildlife then this is a great day out. If you or your kids require a bit more excitement and entertainment then this may not be the best day out for your family.
Our kids loved it here. They liked the rainforest biome which includes loads of unusual plants, including cocoa, coffee, bananas and pineapples as well as many colourful plants.
They enjoyed the canopy walkway and a bridge, which forms a cloudy mist every few minutes.
There is a Rainforest Lookout which is an aerial platform overlooking the tropical canopy below. The platform is at the top of the 165-foot-high Biome. We climbed the steps along with our kids, but you can’t carry children and it might be too scary for some. We managed quite well, but it was a little bit wobbly at times.
The restaurant offered a range of lovely home cooked meals and I really enjoyed my Moroccan lamb meatballs.
The website claims there are activities and events for families throughout the year, but we discovered that these are mainly focused on school holidays. Because our half term was different to the local schools, there was not a lot to offer beyond the general walk about. We discovered a craft activity 10 minutes before they packed up, but there was no mention of this on the activity list when we entered, which was a shame.
We felt this small village was well worth a look round.
It is probably most famous for the flooding issues suffered in 2004 then further flooding in 2007.
It is very pretty with a couple of tearooms, pubs and hotels. There is a stunning harbour and a lovely view out to sea. We stopped on our way back one evening so we just had a brief look around.
There is a youth hostel and a museum of Witchcraft, as well as a few shops including a pottery shop, but we only stopped for a quick wander so we didn’t get to experience these.
We really liked the town of Bude.
The staff in the tourist information centre are really helpful and friendly and they have a file detailing local events that you may not otherwise be aware of as a visitor.
We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Castle, which includes some local artwork. We watched a little projection film showing a sea life animation using artwork from children at the local school. I enjoyed sampling a bottle of the local cider along with a Ploughmans lunch, while looking out at a beautiful view.
The beach is lovely with lots of rockpools to explore and there is an outdoor swimming pool, which had people swimming in it both times we visited during our stay in February.
I imagine that Bude is packed during the summer holiday period and there are lots of facilities aimed at surfers, but it was nice and peaceful during our visit.
4. Beaches – take your pick
Our kids just loved collecting pebbles on the beach and wandering about through the rock pools.
Our favourite beaches that we discovered in Cornwall were Sandymouth, Bude and Duckpool, but there are beaches all over that are gorgeous.
I cannot imagine what they are like during the crowded summer holidays, but we were really lucky to see them at their most peaceful during February. We even had a sultry mist to add to the atmosphere on a couple of days.
5. Bike Trail Camel Trail (Wadebridge to Padstow)
Following the recommendation from a lovely local lady we hired bikes in Wadebridge and we cycled into Padstow along the Camel Trail. It was a great day out. Our kids loved it. The views were pretty and it took us about an hour each way to leisurely ride there and back.
We stopped in Padstow and locked up our bikes. We then had a good wander round the beautiful town of Padstow. There are lots of lovely places to eat and we settled on a fish and chip restaurant, which was great. We loved the Cornish pasties and the ice creams and we were lucky enough to stumble across a food fayre where we bought some chutney and cheese.
There are lots of companies to choose from, but we used Bridge Bike Hire and we were very happy with the bikes and the service. Click on the link to see the website and arrange a booking – Bridge Bike Hire, Wadebridge
6. Cream Tea – choose a venue
I had really looked forward to this before going down to Cornwall and lots of people had told me to try the scones with cream and jam. I think we picked a dodgy venue as ours wasn’t as good as my Mum’s, but maybe we are spoilt by her scones. I am sure that a tearoom would have a better offer than the seaside cafe we tried. It was nice to enjoy a cup of tea and a scone with a beautiful view of the sea.
7. Eat Proper Cornish Pasties – loads of places to find these beauties
I love a cornish pasty and we were not disappointed. We had a few of these during our stay from a bakery, a restaurant and a fish and chips restaurant and they were all great. There are bakeries all over the place selling Cornish pasties. We must have spotted about ten in our short wander around the town of Bude. My favourite was from one of the bakeries in Bude, where we also bought a lovely croissant with cherry jam and almonds.
There are loads of walks around the Cornwall coastline.
We headed off to Sandymouth beach one day and picked up a path and followed it.
It was a great walk with stunning views of the beaches and rocky coastlines. Our 6 year old managed well, our 2 year old relied on lots of carries. We were there in Winter so it was wet and muddy in places. The kids were fine in their wellies. Our trainers were less suitable, but we managed. We walked to Duckpool.
I think we took in some of the South West Coastal Walk. We brought picnic with us and had the most amazing view as we sat eating our sandwiches.
9. Try the Local Cider
There are lots to choose from. I liked the Orchard Blush cider. Somebody recommended the Rattler Cloudy Cornish Cyder, but they also warned it was quite strong so I stuck to a refreshing bottle of Orchards.
10. Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford, North Devon
We were advised to try this place for some family fun, including rides and indoor play as well as shows including birds of prey. There are specific areas for little ones, including a show for under 5’s. We never made it to this adventure park, but we would have gone if we had managed to fit it in. Maybe next time. Click to see the website for Milky Way Adventure Park.
Bude Tourist Information Centre
The staff in the Tourist Information Centre in Bude were really friendly and helpful. They keep their leaflets up to date and they have a file to look at with all the local events that you may not otherwise discover.
We stayed in a lovely caravan park in Sandymouth, which was beautiful and it had fantastic facilities. I have written a separate blog post with tips for going on a family caravan holiday.