When you think of things to do in Cornwall, sun, sea and sand spring to mind — but sometimes...
Holidays in Cornwall aren’t all about extreme water sports, hikes along the South West Coast Path and days lounging on the beach. There are plenty of attractions and things to do in Cornwall with toddlers and babies that will keep the little ones entertained and give parents a much needed minute to relax, explore and have fun too.
Cornwall is a stunning holiday destination all year round but is especially beautiful in the summer months when the temperature is up and the skies are brilliant blue. If you’re visiting the county in the summer season, these outdoor activities are sure to be fun for the whole family and are especially great for keeping the toddlers entertained.
If you’re not sure what the weather’s doing, a day out at Lappa Valley will ensure you have plenty to do to keep the little ones busy come rain or shine. Take a ride on the woodland railway, explore the toddler’s path maze and follow the nature trails. There’s an outdoor play area plus indoor play areas inside train carriages! There are plenty of family events throughout the year including Halloween fun and Santa trains at Christmas.
Dairyland is a fantastic all-weather attraction on a farm near Newquay. Young children can enjoy tractor rides and pony rides, feed farm animals, watch cow milking, follow nature trails and burn off energy on the play areas and rides. The Bull Pen indoor play area, soft play areas & ball pool are great in the rain, whereas the mini tractors and adventure playground are great in dry weather.
The Seal Sanctuary in Gweek is a great all-weather attraction where you can meet the seals and sea lions both indoors and outdoors. September to February is the best time to go and meet the new seal pups and Parent and Toddler tickets are available for one adult and one child aged 5 or under, for just £10.00 to visit during off-peak periods between Monday to Friday.
Visiting Roskilly’s Farm is completely free, so you can have a fun day out meeting the animals without spending any money! The free entry includes seeing the farm animals, going for a stroll around the meadows, and enjoying the tranquillity by the ponds. However, we’re sure you’ll want to sample Roskilly’s award-winning ice cream too!
Try their ice cream, sorbet or frozen yoghurt, all made on-site, and enjoy in a tub or cone with spectacular rural views. Daily milking takes place between 0830-1030am which you can watch from above in the milking gallery. You can also pick up bags of animal feed from the Croust House restaurant to feed the animals roaming around the farm.
Situated just down the road from St Ives, Paradise Park is a popular choice with families staying at our St Ives holiday cottages. Children love watching the penguin feeding and meeting all the different birds of paradise and other animals, Paradise Park is home to 140 species and 650 birds! Be sure to take a ride on the Jungle Express train and enjoy the Jungle Barn indoor play centre, which also has a toddler’s area with soft play and a ball pool.
Where else can toddlers step into a rainforest, explore the Mediterannean and get up-close to nature with weather-proof, child-friendly facilities at hand? Exploring our natural environment, children can step inside jungle huts, take a walk in the rainforest canopies, enjoy story-time in the iconic biomes and ride a tractor-train up through the gardens. As well as themed events throughout the year, during winter Eden hosts toddler ice-play sessions on the ice rink.
One of the questions we are asked most often is ‘what can we do with the children if it rains?’ The answer is, plenty! Cornwall has many indoor play centres, museums, galleries and all-weather attractions, many of which are also fun places to visit for toddlers and young children. Read on for things to do in Cornwall with toddlers when it’s raining.
This fun play centre has kept the parents in mind as well as the children. The eating facilities at One2Eleven have been positioned around the indoor play area creating the perfect opportunity for parents to watch and interact with children whilst enjoying a drink or snack.
Play equipment includes slides, a cannon park, ball swamps, climbing frames, an assault course, rope walkways, set across different levels. There’s also a toddler zone for 1-4-year-olds with a soft play horse carousel, soft play rocking horses and giant puzzles. On One2eleven Street there’s also an animal hospital with cuddly toys, a costume castle dressing up area, a ‘let’s pretend’ supermarket and much more.
Roar Jungle Play in Redruth has everything you need to keep kids occupied for hours! This jungle-themed play centre has bouncy castles, play frames, ball pools, roller skating, an under 4’s area and much more. There’s even a jungle-themed cafe to grab some refreshments after working up an appetite.
The Tropical fun pool at Waterworld in Newquay consists of a leisure pool, 2 water flumes, snake floaties, water play hut with cannon and tipper, erupting volcano and snake fountain. The perfect ingredients for family fun in the water! Little ones can splash about in the shallows and kick about using floats. Waterworld also has a 6 lane 25m swimming pool adjacent to the leisure pool.
Boats, helicopters, pirates and sea life; experience maritime adventures with your feet firmly on dry land. At the National Maritime Museum, kids can take the helm of a model sailing boat, check out the underwater gallery and climb aboard a rescue helicopter. With interactive exhibitions designed especially for younger children, family trails and half-term art and craft workshops, it’s no wonder that this was the winner of the What’s On Cornwall award for Best Gallery in 2017.
Peering into the underwater kingdoms on display at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium, children will feel as if they’ve just dived into the Finding Nemo film set. Come face to face with all sorts of sea life from clownfish and sea cucumbers, to spider crabs and a giant octopus. The highlight is the underwater tunnel, where children will be mesmerised by close encounters with stingrays, reef sharks, turtles and tropical fish.
Lanhydrock has a spectacular Victorian country house surrounded by beautiful gardens and a spacious wooded estate. There’s plenty of space to explore on balance bikes, lots of routes suitable for buggy walks, and a great adventure playground which is situated next to the cafe.
Stithians Lake Country Park has plenty to do, both on and off the water. The pirate-themed adventure play area is great for young children, there are nature trails and lakeside pathways to explore on foot, with buggies or on bikes, as well as canoeing, sailing and other watersports available.
Get dizzy on the Giant’s Stride swing, find the heart of the cherry laurel maze, wend through the bamboo jungle and take shelter under giant Gunnera plants. Glendurgan is the perfect setting for a day out in the garden with toddlers. Tumble through sub-tropical gardens, picnic on the beach, skim stones in the Helford River and scoff ice cream in the family-friendly café.
For more buggy-friendly walks check out our guide to the best walks in Cornwall.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Cornwall with toddlers, why not grab your picnic blanket and basket, bucket and spade and sun hats and get ready for a day on the beach! If it’s really hot, don’t forget to slather on the sun cream and bring a little tent or a windbreak to provide some shade for the little ones. On chilly but dry days, bring jumpers and woolly hats and keep everyone moving with fun beach games, shell collecting, rock pooling and sandcastle building.
The beauty of a beach day is that children can entertain themselves for hours just playing in the sand, allowing you to relax a bit whilst keeping an eye on them.
Carbis Bay is the ideal spot to get your toddler’s toes wet. With sandy shores that stretch out into shallow waters, it’s the perfect place for you to give your little one their first taste of a Cornish beach. The shallowness of the waters means they’re much warmer for little ones to sit and splash in safety. And, with the beach conveniently located so close to our Carbis Bay luxury coastal cottages, you’ll only be a short walk from home during your stay; perfect for spontaneous beach trips or popping back if you forgot the towels!
Take your fishing nets down to the rocky shoreline to search for starfish, sea anemones, crabs and crustaceans, and see if you can identify different types of seaweed from bladderwrack to sea oak. Godrevy, close to the lighthouse, is one of our favourite places for a spot of rockpooling, there’s always something exciting to discover!
Walk in the footsteps of a legendary giant when you cross the causeway to the sea-wrapped castle of St Michael’s Mount. The tidal causeway is only visible at low tide and makes a lovely walk towards the Mount with the ocean on either side of you. When you reach the Mount, try and hunt for the giant’s stone heart etched in a cobbled pathway, climb to the castle turrets and return by boat once the tide has come in.
Enjoy all of these toddler-friendly days out in Cornwall while you’re staying in one of Carbis Bay Holidays’ cottages in and around St Ives. Our family-friendly cottages are ideal for babies and young children, and we provide all sorts of equipment from travel cots and toys to highchairs and toddler steps.