While I love guaranteed sunshine with the best of them, there’s something about a staycation which feels nostalgic and more family friendly – as you load up the car with suitcases, toys, bikes and boardgames and set off on a roadtrip together. And one of our favourite staycation destinations has to be Cornwall, where there’s so much to keep our two little ones entertained. Here are just 10 of our favourite suggestions of things to do:
With some of the best surf this side of Hawaii, it would be rude not to try surfing while in Cornwall. There are umpteen surf schools offering tuition but we opted for Harlyn because they did family tuition where you get a lesson in the morning, then you get to keep the equipment in the afternoon so that you can practice. Our two are soon standing up in the shallows laughing at our efforts as we fall off time and time again.
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The Eden Project is a saviour in the unreliable British weather. There are more than 5,000 plant species here but, for children, the real attractions are the sandpits, and the den building activity that they take part in, pretending they’re the Lost Boys at Neverland.
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Stay in a cabin
Booking accommodation which is a bit out of the ordinary helps to make your trip extra special. We’ve stayed in a wigwam in Northumberland and a treehouse on the North West coast of France. While in Cornwall, we stay in a cute timber lodge in Newquay, where the kids get their own bedrooms and, after they go to bed, we sit on the decking with some cool white wine.
Stepping into The Lost Gardens of Heligan feels like stepping straight into one of Grimms fairytales. Created by Tim Smit, the man behind the Eden Project, there’s something unexpected around every corner. Our two love the huge mud sculptures which look like ogres popping their heads up from beneath the earth and sleeping moss giants, with long flowing grass hair.
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Near the pretty village of Gweek is one of our favourite attractions, the National Seal Rescue Centre, where seal pups are rescued if they find themselves in trouble, are sick, or get separated from their mum. The team here rehabilitates them before releasing them back into the wild. We meet Aurora who was brought in from the Isles of Scilly having become separated from her mum, and Mars, who was found trying to climb up some beach steps.
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Cornwall is renowned for its beautiful beaches so it’s hard to choose just a few to visit during our trip. One of our family favourites, though, is Porthminster which is immaculately clean and has beautiful views over to Godrevvy lighthouse. But, best of all, there’s a great beach shop which rents everything you need for a day out – including loungers, windbreaks, buckets and spades, brilliant for travelling light, something that’s usually impossible with younger children in tow.
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Traditional fish and chips
At home, I sometimes end up having to cook three different dishes for dinner. But, if there’s one thing everyone loves, it’s fish and chips. And, in Cornwall, there is some of the freshest local seafood available anywhere in the world. We head to Wreckers Bistro on Charleston Harbour where the sun is shining and we sit out on the terrace. Our kids share a cod fillet fried in beer batter while we have Fowey River muscles, washed down with a lovely dry white.
We all go on family holidays to spend more time together, without life getting in the way. But, we do take advantage of our resort’s kids clubs where our little ones meet Sid and Lizzie, a giant seagull and lizard who help our kids become popstars for the day. They’re full of news when we all meet up for dinner.
Image credit: Park Dean
And, while the kids are safely at the children’s club, it gives me the chance to try something which has been on my bucket list for some time. Well, if it’s good enough for Jennifer Anniston and Cameron Diaz… In just an hour-and-a-half, you get taken through the basics of how to paddle on your knees before standing up and, more importantly for me, how to fall into the water safely and how to get back on.
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A night-time picnic
As we stocked up on food from Falmouth Farmers’ Market the day before, we decide to put together a picnic on our last night. It’s a balmy summer’s evening, so after asking locals where the best place to see the sun set was, we head to High Cliff in Crackington, where we see peregrine falcons hovering above us.
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Katie is a travel-loving blogger from Yorkshire who loves to explore new places with her family. Breaktakingly beautiful and achingly hip, she thinks it’s no wonder Cornwall is so popular with families, just like hers. You can follow her on twitter @delightsomeblog.