Ten of the Best Family Activities in Cornwall

From surfing to wildlife spotting to ziplining and more, there are lots of family-friendly activities in Cornwall. Whether you are looking for high-energy activities or laidback outings, you are sure to find something that all the family can enjoy during a harbour holiday. The perfect way to unite the generations and create memories to last a lifetime, here are ten of the best family activities in Cornwall.

1. Boat Trips

Family boat trip from Padstow in Cornwall

Family boat trip from Padstow in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of Wavehunters

One of the best family activities in Cornwall has to be boat trips. Perfect for all ages, this wonderful activity gives you the chance to see the Cornish coastline like never before – affording a whole new perspective of the coast and the chance to see marine wildlife in their natural habitats, like seals and dolphins. Wavehunters, Padstow Sealife Safaris and the Jubilee Queen operate from Padstow harbour and provide boat trips out to sea and tours up the Camel Estuary. 

2. The Camel Trail

Camel-Trail-Cornwall

Family cycling on the Camel Trail

A former railway line, the Camel Trail runs for 18 miles between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. Thanks to its smooth and virtually level surface, this multi-purpose trail is ideal for dog-walking and cycling. And, best of all, it’s almost entirely traffic-free, too. If you fancy spinning along on two wheels but don’t have bikes with you, then you can easily hire them. Padstow Cycle Hire and Trail Bike Hire are two cycle rentals based in Padstow, with a range of bikes, accessories and hire services.

3. SUP Tours

Family SUP tour in Cornwall

Family SUP tour in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of Cornish Rock Tors

A family-friendly activity in Cornwall that’s becoming more and more popular is stand up paddleboarding. If you are an experienced paddleboarder, then the seven bays around Padstow provide ample opportunity for exploration. That said, if you are still new to the sport, then we thoroughly recommend taking part in SUP tours. Cornish Rock Tors in Port Gaverne and SUP in a Bag in St Agnes are just two of a number of companies delivering guided tours.

4. St Eval Go Karting 

Go Karting activity in Cornwall

Go Karting for all the family. Photo courtesy of Sr Eval Kart Circuit

If you’ve ever felt the need for speed, or even just a medium-paced pootle, then St Eval Kart Circuit could be the place for you. Cornwall’s largest go-karting circuit located between Padstow and Newquay, it’s a great thing to do with kids in Cornwall. And, making sure everyone in your family can join in, there are four different circuits available on-site, including dedicated tracks for those aged 3-6, 7-11, 12 and over, and 18 and over. 

5. Zip, Swing and Soar with Hangloose at Eden

Hangloose zip wire adventure in Cornwall

Zip wire adventure in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of Hangloose

If you are considering what to do with teenagers during your holiday in Cornwall, then turn your attention towards Hangloose at the Eden Project. Offering the chance to soar on England’s longest and fastest zipwire, navigate an aerial assault course, plummet at 50mph from 65ft on a giant swing, base jump and more, this one will create plenty of stories for your kids to proudly share with their friends. Just be aware that age limits do apply, and most activities are for those aged 8 and over.

6. Surfing 

Family Surfing at Harlyn in Cornwall

Family Surfing at Harlyn in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of Harlyn Surf School

What better way to introduce your children to the Cornish coast than with a day or two of surfing? With surf schools like Harlyn Surf School and Waves Surf School based near Padstow and plenty of hire companies renting boards out, you can take to the waves like a veritable Kelly Slater and see what all the hype is about. From beginners to salt-weathered pros, everyone can get involved and enjoy expert tuition – so there’s no excuse for mums and dads not to get in as well!

7. South West Coast Path

Hiking on the coast path in Cornwall

Hiking on the coast path in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of South West Coast Path

For family days out in Cornwall that allow you to go at your own pace, the South West Coast Path is an attractive proposition. Affording miles of well-maintained footpath and the most glorious views imaginable, you can bundle up all the family and pick up either fast-paced or leisurely strolls around the coast. With plenty of places to pitstop along the way for cool dips in the ocean and picnics on the beach, this multi-generational activity will bond all the family. 

8. Retallack Aqua Park

Retallack watersports Cornwall

Aquapark fun at Retallack Resort. Photo courtesy of Retallack

Suitable for everyone aged 6 and over, Retallack Aqua Park is Cornwall’s biggest ‘total wipe-out’-style adventure park. An inflatable aqua park with a giant trampoline, climbing obstacles, balance beams, bridges, ‘steppingstones’ and more, it’ll challenge the whole family and produce lots of laughs. And watery immersions. Pace, race and try not to fall in (it’s all but impossible) as you charge around the course and create anecdotes that you’ll be sharing around the dinner table for years to come. 

9. Mini Golf at Greens of Padstow

Crazy golf in Padstow

Crazy golf in Padstow. Photo courtesy of Greens of Padstow

Not everyone wants to take part in high-energy adventures, which is why activities like mini golf are great for all generations. Offering traditional fun, Greens of Padstow have a family-friendly golf garden lined with specimen plants and peppered with sculptures across 18 holes. With an ever-changing space, testing golf challenges and amazing views over Padstow and the Camel Estuary, it’s one that all children will enjoy, from tots to teens. 

10. Camel Ski School

Family waterskiing in Cornwall

Family waterskiing in Cornwall. Photo courtesy of Camel Ski School

The Camel Ski School in Rock is the largest water ski centre in the UK and has been teaching people how to conquer this thrilling sport since 1977. Allowing you to skim across the water’s surface on two skis or a ‘mono’ ski, water-skiing is something that everyone can try, and the Camel Ski offer tuition for everyone from complete beginners to experienced skiers hoping to polish their skills. As well as water-skiing, families can also try wakeboarding, wake-surfing, kayaking and more.

For more inspiration see our guide to the best days out with kids in Cornwall or the top watersports to try in the Padstow area.

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