Outdoor adventures in forests and castles, attractions for rainy days and beaches for days, Cornwall was made for family holidays in one of our luxury villa rentals. Whether you’ve got tottering toddlers or fully-fledged teens, this scenic corner of England offers endless opportunities for creating magical holiday memories. You’ll have no trouble finding distractions but if you’re looking for the best of the bunch, check out our shortlist of the best things to do with kids in Cornwall.
1. Inspire mini master chefs at the Rick Stein Cookery School
Next-generation Rick Steins can hone their culinary skills in classes at the legendary chef’s own cooking school. Ideal for young attention spans at three hours long, the half-day courses are led by professional chefs who guide youngsters step-by-step through a trio of gourmet courses. From marinated salmon to baked chocolate mousse, mini master chefs will bag of inspiration for cooking at home. Kids will leave armed with new impressive kitchen skills, such as descaling fish and caramelising fruit. The eight to 11-year-old class learn straightforward challenges, while the 12-year-olds and teens tackle the trickier stuff.
2. Explore a storybook setting at St. Michael’s Mount
Spending a day on the island of St Michael’s Mount is like stepping into a fairy tale. Packed with myths and legends, and crowned by a medieval hilltop castle, this tiny island world has tons to explore and enchants kids of all ages. Wander ancient corridors, gawp at centuries-old armour and follow in the footsteps of a legendary giant at this one-of-a-kind family must-see. There is a castle, fortress, and steep hill slopes awash with tropical gardens. O the mainland itself, there’s an ancient village, complete with idyllic village green and local pub. When the tide is in, you can sail there on a boat instead.
Located high on the rugged Cornish coast and famous for inspiring poets throughout the centuries, the remains of the 13th-century Tintagel Castle are a dramatic sight in an equally dramatic setting. With links to King Arthur, the castle’s history is brought to life as you walk the medieval garden ruins. Kick off your visit at the exhibition space, where you can get up to speed on the site’s rich history. Then climb the steps onto the island, trace the ruins in the fresh sea air and explore Merlin’s Cave.
4. Get spooked at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
If your brood are transfixed by mystery and magic then they’ll love this dinky museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of weird and wonderful witchcraft-related artefacts. It’s more folk magic and Wicca than Harry Potter, which is plenty to interest youngsters for an hour or two. From ‘magic’ dolls and pagan costumes to antlered skulls and cabinets stuffed with curiosities, it is a treasure trove of bizarre items that, thanks to their handy written explanations, tell a fascinating story of witchcraft throughout the ages.
5. Snap a selfie at Land’s End Landmark
Taking a selfie at the iconic Land’s End landmark, on the westernmost point of Blighty, is a must! Surrounded by sweeping coastal scenery, the spectacular granite cliffs of Land’s End are also covered in family-friendly walking trails. This beauty spot is well-stocked with shops, cafés and kid-friendly attractions, including Shaun the Sheep-themed activities, a quirky transport exhibition, a 4D film experience and a charming petting farm that is home to the likes of piglets and llamas.
6. Feed the sea lions at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
It’s one thing watching this sanctuary’s resident sea lions slosh about in their pool, but it’s quite another stepping inside their home and meeting them face-to-face. Sign up for a VIP meet-and-greet and you’ll get up-close to a pair of lively sea lions as they eat their lunch. A tour behind the scenes of the seal hospital kicks off the experience, where you’ll learn about the sanctuary’s work and how they prepare fish for the sea lions to eat. Then it’s off to meet the stars themselves and help serve them their favourite food.
7. Follow the trails at Trebah Garden
Kids will love the family-friendly walking trails that wind around these subtropical coastal gardens. Named one of the top 100 gardens in the world, lush Trebah looks like something straight from a storybook and blooms all year-round, with ancient rhododendrons and magnolias blanketing the landscape in spring, huge leafy gunnera taking over in summer, hydrangea sprawling across the pond in autumn and enormous champion trees taking centre stage in winter. The garden’s trademark exotic flowers tumble down to secluded sands that stretch out into the open sea.
If you can’t wait to start planning your family holiday in Cornwall, check out our complete travel guide and our collection of luxury Cornish villas.
If you’ve not settled on the Cornish coastline take a look at UK family holidays for further holiday inspiration.