Active family holidays in Cornwall

Kirstie Pelling's take on family activities in Cornwall

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Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie Pelling
HomeAway travel expert

An active family holiday in CornwallLooking for a summer holiday that will engage all the family but won't involve blobbing around on the beach? Consider Cornwall. Admittedly in some parts of the county you’re never far from world-class surf and stunning dunes, but Cornwall for an active family is about much more than sea and sand. It’s a garden paradise with the space, time and expertise to pump up the adrenaline, and then slow it all down again.

In Cornwall you can do wheeled activities like 4x4 driving or go karting, get high into the trees or down into the ground, fire at targets and clay pigeons, bike the established Camel Trail or walk a 60 mile mine trail. You can go wild swimming or just go wild. There are many qualified adventure providers who'd love to take you out, but you can simply grab a map and set off on bike or foot, discovering for yourself some of England’s most picturesque towns and villages.



The Family Adventure Project


Surf school on the beach Surf school on the beach

There is one thing you must do when you come to Cornwall. And I don’t mean gorge on cream teas. The white stuff really is the best in the UK so if you’re an active family you should grab a board and give it a go. If you’re a beginner don’t be tempted to hang out with the dudes on the waves; that’s the route to a sore head. Instead, pick up skills at a surf school like Harlyn, near Padstow. They run two sessions a day and a summer camp for children and teenagers. And if you get a taste for being dunked, they do an exhilarating family coasteering package too. Beware the Spider Pool Tunnel! You have been warned.  

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Watersports in the park Watersports in the park

Siblyback Lake Country Park is an attractive yet active stretch of green near Liskeard. Here you can get to grips with water sports without the sea hassling you to get on with it. You can try canoeing, wind surfing and sailing, and you can also give wakeboarding on the UK’s only clockwise cable a go. You can even have a ride on a banana. Who wouldn’t want to do that in Cornwall? Feet back on the ground, there are bikes for hire and plenty of hiking and biking trails, or if you prefer your wheels motorised, you can hire a segway.

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Adventures in a quarry Adventures in a quarry

The wobbly bridge of doom and the net of chaos are just two of the obstacles in the challenging Adventure Quarry near Penryn. This quarry is one of three set in 60 acres of land and home to the outdoor company BF Adventure. Families can pick from a wide range of activities, or if the kids want to go it alone, there are ‘no parent’ days in the school holidays offering rock climbing, canoe contests and beach safaris. Perhaps they might teach them to tidy their bedroom if there’s a spare minute? 

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Driving in the clear blue sea Driving in the clear blue sea

The Cornish water, fed and warmed by the Gulf Stream, is perfect for diving. If you are in the south of the county then the most southerly diving centre in the U.K. is keen to welcome you and your family. If you are aged between 8-80 instructors from Kennack Diving, near Helston, will teach you some scuba diving skills in the safety of a swimming pool. If you are over 12 and are happy in the water, you can then progress to some one-to-one instruction under the sea. How good is that?

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Treasure hunting in town Treasure hunting in town

Can’t afford a big day out? For less than the price of a round of coffees, you can buy a family treasure hunt and set off round pretty St Ives solving a murder mystery. Or you could harness your smart phones by doing a family GPS treasure hunt. And then you can finish off by gorging on those cream teas I mentioned at the beginning. Well, all that exercise can build up an appetite, after all!

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Cornwall Holiday Cottages

Beautiful house in Rock perfect for families or larger groups

Medrose is a simply stunning property, one of the most beautiful homes in the area. The accommodation comprises of five bedrooms all with en-suite facilities. There is an extensive open-plan living space leading out on to to a decked sun terrace ...

Bentleys - Spacious Home By The Seaside, Perfect For Large Groups

Bentleys is a contemporary, semi-detached holiday home featuring a private garden in which to escape from the outside world. Perfect for large groups, Bentleys is light, clean and spacious, featuring 6 bedrooms, including 3 double bedrooms (1 has ...

Newlyn apartment, with stunning views across the whole of Mounts Bay, sleeps 2-7

This apartment commands glorious port and ocean views. Entrance to the property is at the rear of the house, where a car can be driven, to off load in front of a large wooden doored garage, parking is on main road. Along from the garage door, ente...


Awake to sunshine an absolute luxury. Penthouse apartment with fantastic views of the harbour and bay.(Surf's Up, next door is also available. 2 properties together giving 360 degree views of St Ives. Property no 68415). Accessed by spiral stairca...

Llawnroc - Fantastic House On Beach Sleeping Up To 10

Sit on the deck at the end of the garden overlooking the Atlantic and listen to the waves lapping at the water’s edge or sip a cup of coffee on the balcony and view the power and majesty of the sea. A fabulous new build, Llawnroc is located on the...

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