Cornwall's Top Ten Family Attractions
by Dinah Hatch (April 2012)
As if the gorgeous beaches weren’t enough, Cornwall also has a whole host of children’s attractions that will keep little ones busy year round. So whether you’re a local looking for something a bit different at the weekend or a holidaymaker exploring the area, read on for my top ten fun kids’ activities in the county…
Showing below are all 10 records in "Cornwall's Top Ten Family Attractions"
Culdrose Manor, Helston
Suitable for all ages, you get great bang for your buck at Flambards, which is bursting with activities such as thrilling fairground rides, go-karting circuits, fascinating exhibitions (such as Britain in the Blitz), huge indoor play areas and a Cornish mine train that shuttles you about. Superb fun and often with great online entry fee offers, our favourite was the brilliant Victorian Village (a life size replica with 50 shops) and the peaceful Garden Aviary.
General Station, Bodmin
There’s something about steam trains and young kids that go hand in hand so go and have a Railway Children-style afternoon, starting at the beautifully restored Bodmin Station where you can stock up on Cornish pasties and ice cream. Then hop onto a locomotive for a 13-mile round trip through the breathtakingly beautiful West Country scenery and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a 1950s Cornish branch line.
Spread majestically across the hills of the North Cornwall coast, my kids adored clambering up the winding stairway to this magical ancient ruin and haring around between the “rooms” (while I sat and stared at the frankly amazing views). On the way down, I told them about King Arthur, reputedly born here, and we popped into nearby Merlin’s Cave before lunching at the gorgeous beach café. Just wonderful.
Murrayton House, Looe
Meet the sanctuary’s 28 very individual resident monkeys and learn all about their characters and foibles during keeper talks. Then try to stay calm during a walk through the Bat Cave – home of the endangered Lesser Horseshoe species. Enjoy your picnic in the really quite lovely wildlife gardens and then let your own monkeys loose in the huge play area. A great day out.
A good bet come rain or shine, Dairyland Farm offers plenty to keep young children busy all day. If it’s fair weather, try pet patting, bottlefeeding the lambs, tractor and pony rides, milking the cows and taking a nature trail (don’t forget the sheets telling you what to look for). If the clouds open, there’s a huge indoor play area, a milking parlour tour, the farm museums and Clarabelle’s kitchen for a slap up lunch.
Poldark Mine, Wendron, Helston
One for older children, the fabulously atmospheric Poldark tin mine is well known as a haunted hotspot and the ghost tours conducted here are huge fun. Paranormal investigators lead you through dripping caves by candlelight to tell you of strange goings on in the mine. Regular tours also explain tin mining from medieval times to the 1780s and are a fascinating insight into a mainstay of Cornish industry.
Bodelva, St Austell
The multi-award winning Eden Project is a real one off. Not only are the biomes fascinating (we spent AGES in the rainforest one) but what appeals to kids' minds seems uppermost to the creators who have carefully laid everything out to be accessible to all ages. Don't miss the wonderful storytelling amongst the orange groves and the rainforest lookout that you climb for views across the treetops. Mums and dads may also like the excellent cream teas in the restaurant too!
Stadium Retail Park, Par Moor Road, St Austell
Sit back and relax. The children will be busy for hours at Kidzworld. Whether it's making like a monkey along the ropes of the Sky Trail, scaling the heights of the climbing wall or going crazy on the dodgems before finishing up with a game of mini golf, the entertainment is all laid on here. Young ones will love the sand and water play area where the beach is brought to the park and my adventure-seeking five year old got a big kick out of the Treehouse Scramble.
Set in the pretty Helford Estuary, the national rescue centre for seals is a super, educational day out for the kids. You’ll learn about the underwater training that goes on with the rescued seals and get to hear about what goes on in the seal hospital. Little ones love stroking crabs in the Rockpool Experience and meeting the sanctuary’s other residents - penguins, ponies and otters.
10. Newquay Zoo
Trenance Gardens, Newquay
It’s hard to beat a zoo for keeping the kids entertained and this one is no exception. From watching the creepy crawlies in the tropical house to witnessing feeding time with the Big Cats, there’s loads to do here. Watch the black wildebeest, the Nyala antelope and the graceful zebras cavort through the African Savannah area or take a gentle stroll through the Oriental Garden. Kids love the Toad Hall exhibit which explains the dangers faced by UK amphibians and my two were particularly keen on the Village Farm, the Dragon Maze and the Tarzan Trail.
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