The Best Days Out for Families in South Cornwall

5 reasons to Visit Cornwall this tear with kids

In conjunction with Classic Cottages we’ve put together some of the best days out for families in South Cornwall. We know there are loads more too, so if you have any other recommendations do get in touch and let us know.

South Cornwall extends from the Rame Peninsula, just south of Plymouth, all the way to the Helford River, on the northern fringes of the Lizard Peninsula. 

If you are considering visiting South Cornwall why not take a look at Classic Cottages holiday cottages in South Cornwall or even their glamping options as a fun way for families to enjoy all that South Cornwall has to offer.

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So in no particular order here are some of the best days out for families in South Cornwall.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, located near St Austell and Mevagissey is Europe’s largest garden restoration project. 

The 200 acre estate is looked after by over 20 gardeners and estate workers who painstakingly work the land, cultivate the gardens, grow vegetables and farm livestock to recreate that thriving community of times gone by.

There are woodland walks, play areas, rope bridges, adventure trails and more.

Find out what we thought of The Lost Gardens of Heligan in the rain and on a more favourable weather day!

5 Reasons it is Worth Visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan in the Rain with Kids?

St Mawes Castle

St Mawes Castle in Cornwall, is managed by English Heritage.

It’s £5 for adults to get in and £3 for children over 5.

When they are done well Castles can be really fun for younger children but sometimes they can be a little sign heavy with not enough thought given to children.

St Mawes Castle is interesting to kids for a number of reasons, and it isn’t dependant on an extra activity!

You can read our 5 reasons why to visit St Mawes Castle. Yes it is to do with the cannons!

St Mawes Castle Cornwall with kids

Pendennis Castle

Another English Heritage day out in South Cornwall.

The barracks at this Tudor fortification were manned for more than four centuries before it was finally decommissioned in the 1950s. Indeed the cliff top observation station and air raid shelter appear to have only recently been vacated by the troops stationed here during the Second World War. It’s an eeire and fascinating place that makes for a great day out with kids in South Cornwall.

You can read more about Pendennis Castle in this review by Tin Box Traveller

Pendennis Castle
Image: Tin Box Traveller

The Eden Project

The Eden Project is described on their website as “a unique education centre that runs transformational social and environmental programmes that change the way people think about the world. ” The entry fee helps them to continue the work they do.

We visited when our kids were (I think too young at 5) and you can see our review of the Eden Project here, but for balance I’m sharing another reviews of The Eden Project so you can make up your own mind. It isn’t a top rated attraction on Tripadvisor for nothing.


Should you visit the Eden Project Cornwall with kids under 8?

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The Best Days Out for Families in South Cornwall

National Maritime Museum Cornwall

We actually took the ferry across the estuary from St Mawes to Falmouth and visited the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

The museum is a 10/15 minute walk from the ferry so it’s the perfect way to get to Falmouth, my kids even thought it felt like a fairground ride itself!

You can of course simply drive to Falmouth and park close by.

The museum itself was perfect for kids, from the little huts outside that they decided they could play pretend houses in front of the museum.. to the signs within the museum that said ‘Climb Aboard’ rather than ‘Don’t touch!’ It was interactive throughout and a perfect place to while away a morning with 3 five year olds and a 2 year old who thinks she is 5!  All for only £5 per child too.

You can read more in 10 Reasons to Visit the National Maritime Museum Cornwall with Kids

10 Reasons to Visit the National Maritime Museum Cornwall with Kids

Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum in Charlestown near St Austell

Home to Europe’s largest private collection of shipwreck treasures, Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum gives you a great insight into life in the area hundreds of years ago.

There are two parts to the attraction: the harbour and the museum. You can pay for either attraction separately or a ticket for the two together. The harbour is accessed down a slope which incidentally has lovely views out to sea. We picked up free treasure hunt sheets for the children and straight away they were hooked on finding letter clues and coloured anchors.

In the Shipwreck Museum itself the treasure hunt continues with clues hidden amongst the museums unique collection of artefacts from around the world: in fact over 8000 artefacts from over 150 shipwrecks! We were fascinated to see a genuine barrel of coins that is the only one of its kind in the world that has been recovered and put on display! Proper treasure – the kids were thrilled! 

You can read our full review of Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum here.

Charlestown Harbour and Shipwreck Museum, St Austell Cornwall

Tall Ships

You can often see the tall Ships in the harbour of Charlestown or at the tall ships regattas held in Falmouth throughout the year.

Trelissick House & Gardens – National Trust

Trelissick House is far from your usual country house experience. Set in over 300 acres of countryside, woodlands and beautiful gardens, the house is partly furnished with some of the original furniture obtained by the Trust and boasts a contemporary art gallery and a lovely cafe.

Claire, from Tin Box Traveller, says: “The combination of children’s treasure trails, wide open spaces and houses packed full of curiosities has been a winning one as our girls start to explore the world around them”

Read Claire’s blog to discover why Trelissick is a great family day out.

Saltram Mansion – National Trust

Saltram‘s magnificent Georgian mansion lies just minutes from Plymouth’s city centre. The gardens and woodlands offer up plenty to keep children occupied. From building dens to finding the fairydoors in the trees and following the clues of the garden trail. Saltram also puts on themed activities throughout the year.

Claire, from Tin box Traveller, says: “Saltram has a wooden adventure playground at its entrance which you can use even if you are only visiting the estate for walk in the grounds. Tin Box Tot and Baby loved going down the slide and jumping across the tree stumps”

Read Claire’s review of Saltram.

The River Helford

The River Helford is a laid back little spot perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding and generally whiling away the time doing very little. There is a little passenger ferry from Helford village over to Helford Passage. The small beach at Helford Passage is backed by the 300 year old Ferry Boat Inn, perfect for a quick drink after a busy afternoon messing about on the river. Helford River Boats operate a little kiosk next to the beach where water sports can be arranged and an essential ice cream can be purchased.

You can read more about the River Helford in this post from Smudged Postcard about visiting the The Lizard Peninsula.

The River Helford
Image: Smudged Postcard

The Minack Theatre

The Minack Theatre was created by Rowena Cade, whose home, Minack House, sat at the top of the cliff. Rowena wanted to make a place for local drama enthusiasts to perform Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. This performance happened in 1932 and the theatre has thrived ever since.

It now welcomes 80,000 people to open air theatre shows all year round. A further 150,000 visit the far south west of Cornwall just to see the spectacle of this wonderful place and its epic sea views. The gardens are also acclaimed for their tropical plants nestled in one acre of flower beds.

Claire took her children to The Minack Theatre at Easter and you can read their full review here.

For further ideas about walks and other places to visit in South Cornwall with Kids why not check out this Places to Go in South Cornwall guide from Classic Cottages.

Why not PIN this post about The Best Days Out for Families in South Cornwall

The Best Days Out for Families in South Cornwall
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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