By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Cornwall is a dream destination for family holidays. While out and about, you can have family fun with trains, museums, and even the zoo.
Train and boat travel
One of the best ways to take in the scenery is by rail. Hop on the scenic coastal railway from St Erth to St Ives and you can take in the landscapes that have inspired the many artists that have lived here over the years. Disembark at dreamy Porthminster Beach and spend a fun day meandering around the galleries of this fishing-village-turned-artists’-colony, then hop on the train for a sunset ride back along the coast.
Or why not try the Looe Valley Line Rail Ale Trail – stopping to sample local ales in a series of characterful country inns along one of the Great Scenic Railways of Devon and Cornwall?
Launceston Steam Railway is an enchanting narrow gauge railway offering train rides through the unspoilt countryside of the Kensey Valley. All trains are hauled by lovingly restored Victorian steam locomotives.
Scenic ferry hops include the Black Tor ferry between Rock to Padstow – where you can pad along golden beaches and dine out in some of the county’s top foodie spots. If you’re in Southeast Cornwall, cross the border on the boat cruise from Cawsand to Plymouth’s waterfront Barbican and spend a day gawping at sea life in the National Marine Aquarium.
If you want to explore further afield book a day trip on the Scillonian Ferry from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly – a stunning archipelago 28 miles from Lands’ End.
If the weather takes a turn, there are plenty of fun all-weather attractions to entertain the kids. Try the Tide Climbing Centre near Padstow, or the climbing walls at Penryn’s Granite Planet. Camel Creek Adventure Park in Wadebridge is a year-round, all-weather attraction, with heated indoor play for the coldest winter days and an array of rides and animal attractions for the whole family.
In Newquay you can bounce around at the indoor Trampoline and Play Park, or dive into the underwater world without getting wet at the Blue Reef Aquarium.
The Eden Project’s iconic biomes are still one of Cornwall’s biggest attractions, where you can ice skate in winter, visit the rainforest in every season and get interactive at exhibitions spotlighting the natural world. It’s also home to England’s longest and fastest zip wire, as well an aerial assault course and giant swing.
Want to get up close to Cornwall’s wildlife? Meet rescued seal pups dipping and diving their way to recovery at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, and witness lobsters at different stages of their life cycle at the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow.
A fun day at Newquay Zoo is always a real crowd-pleaser, where you can stroll from the African Savannah to Madagascar, observing more than 100 species of wildlife from lions to poison dart frogs.
Both the Screech Owl Sanctuary (near Newquay) and Paradise Park (in Hayle) put on incredible free-flying bird shows. In addition to its many species of exotic birds, Paradise Park has farm animals and a fun soft play barn that lures visitors on even the rainiest days.
Cornwall’s natural beauty may have drawn you here, but don’t miss out on the county’s rich history – particularly its majestic castles. Wait for low tide and you can cross the causeway to St Michael’s Mount, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims and a legendary giant as you climb to the turrets of the mighty fortress.
Even more beguiling are the remains of Tintagel Castle, a crumbling edifice atop a rocky, sea-lashed promontory, where a life-sized bronze sculpture nods to the legend that it was here King Arthur was magically conceived.
If you want to experience the sights and sounds of battle, you’ll love the interactive exhibits at Henry VIII’s iconic Pendennis Castle, which protects the world’s third deepest natural harbour at the entrance to the River Fal.
Tintagel Castle, a crumbling edifice atop a rocky, sea-lashed promontory, where a sculpture nods to the legend that it was here King Arthur was magically conceived
Falmouth stands out for its rich maritime history, and you can discover its seafaring heritage at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. The town’s scenery is dominated by the comings and goings of boats and cruise ships from the harbour.
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