Top Ten picks for a sensational Summer Holiday in Cornwall

Surf's up! Cornwall Summer 2017

Take part in a Rockpool Ramble

We believe Cornwall has the best beaches in the UK, and they really are a great place to spend the summer. But if you get tired of building sandcastles, body-boarding or burying dad up to his neck, why not go and explore the rockpools?

Each pool is a mini world where crabs and starfish linger under rocks and seaweed. 100s of brightly coloured shells are home to winkles and whelks of all shapes and sizes and while underwater, the anemones are as beautiful as any plant growing in your garden.

But before you head off over the rocks, a little bit of advice.

  • Wear sensible footwear that won’t slip on the rocks and won’t spoil if you get them wet.
  • Don’t use a net, just use your hands
  • Don’t leave any creatures out of the water, always take a container full of seawater to put them in and make sure they go back at the end.

Better still, join one of the organised events run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust throughout the summer.

Visit a Museum or a Gallery


National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

The sun shines all summer in Cornwall, but there are still a few days when even the most bronzed Adonis craves some culture. Luckily there are museums and galleries all over the county, from small village based ones to the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth. Many have special exhibitions on throughout the summer and activities for the children. Throughout summer children will love the new play zone the Awesome Adventures. It is inspired by the heroic voyages of exploration by ships, they can join HMS Adventure to explore the Pacific Islands. For more information check out our museums webpage.

Pick your own

Open from May to September Trevaskis Farm in Hayle offers you and the family the chance to choose from an abundance of fruit and vegetables and information signs to help you learn as you pick. The farm is set amidst 28 acres of beautiful countryside with Pick Your Own being a wonderful family day out. Farm entrance is free and you only pay for what you pick!

This is also available at Mitchell Fruit Garden near Newquay from June to September with strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and more available for you to enjoy.

Take a Train ride

You’ve driven all the way down here, managed to find a parking space close to where you are staying and vowed you’re not going to move the car till you go home. OK, but what about exploring the area?

Cornwall has a good public transport system with bus routes to most towns and villages, it also has a great little network of branch line railways, all feeding off the mainline that runs down through the county from Plymouth (that’s in Devon) to Penzance. 

And these are not just ordinary branch lines, they are some of the most scenic in the country. Take the train from St Erth to St Ives, trundling along beside the crystal clear waters of St Ives Bay, or the quirky Looe Valley Line, where the train stops at possibly the quietest station in England before reversing down the valley to Looe.

Discover Cornish myths and legends

For a magical day out you can take the family to Tintagel Castle. Tintagel Castle is steeped in legend and mystery; said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can still visit nearby Merlin's Cave. The castle also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde. Throughout summer on selected dates you can hear the ‘Legends of King Arthur’ which includes alassic Arthurian entertainment as a troupe of performers bring the legends to life with fun-filled shows throughout the castle grounds. There are also days for ‘Hands on History’ providing a summer packed with fun as you bring history to life.

Surf’s Up

OK, so how can you mention summer in Cornwall and not mention surfing? You can’t.  We think we have some of the best surfing beaches in the UK, from Bude in the north all the way down to Sennen in the far west. The south coast beaches tend to be sparser in surfing spots, but there are still some places that draw crowds when the winds in the right direction, including Whitsand Bay in the east.

Experienced surfers know the best places to catch the waves, but if you’re new to the sport, please follow advice and only go in when a beach has lifeguards on duty and only then between the correct flags. Better still join one of the many surf schools that operate up and down the coast and learn how to do it properly.

Open Air Theatre

When you’ve spent a day on the beach, soaking up the sun’s rays, what could be a better way to end the day, than by taking in a show?  With the sun setting, there’s nothing can beat sitting at the Minack Theatre watching the actors performing on the stage below you, with the deep blue sea as a backdrop, you might even get to see a basking shark! 

The same could be said of Penlee Park Open Air Theatre in Penzance, though your unlikely to see basking sharks! A programme of shows runs through the summer months in this wonderful garden setting.  Around the county other outdoor venues will be used by touring companies from Restormel Castle, near Lostwithiel to Trebah Gardens near Falmouth.

This summer Pentillie Castle and Estate are putting on an Outdoor Theatre on Wednesday 26th July showing ‘Comedy of Errors’. This magical and comically entwined tale of mistaken identity will keep you guessing and laughing until its joyous conclusion. Sit back and take in the beautiful surroundings, historical building and wonderful Outdoor Theatre show at this comedy event. They are also showing the 'Emperor's New Clothes' on Wednesday 16th August. 

The internationally acclaimed Wildworks theatre company will be returning to Cornwall this year with a production of Wolf’s Child at Trelowarren near Helston, whilst Rogue Theatre will once again be lurking deep in Tehidy Woods.

Take a trip to the circus

For something different to do this summer, children will love Paulo’s Circus available to see from the 13th July to 2nd September in Newquay. It is enterntainment for all the family with a brand new tour. From high up in the big top, to on the ground comedy, to tricks that are down right scary and amazing they have it all and more, something for everyone! All seats are only £7 per person any day any show. 

Sail the seas

Throughout summer many companies have boat trips that can give your family the chance to see Cornwall from the delights of the sea and spot some wildlife during the trip. Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing offer spectacular ocean adventures aboard their top Cornish boats from picturesque Newquay Harbour to cruise along the stunning Cornish coastline. They offer one trip to seal cove where you can try to spot dolphins, seals, basking sharks, harbour porpoise and a multitude of sea birds. 

Alternatively you can take an AK Wildlife Cruise that operate from Falmouth providing a fantastic opportunity to observe wild dolphins and seals.

Also you can enjoy one of the many ferry trips that you can take that provide a sense of adventure for the children and beautiful coastal views for the parents. Fal River Ferries connects Falmouth and Truro as well as St Mawes providing views of unspoilt natural beauty. 

Visit the Zoo

This summer spend the day with the amazing species at the wildlife attractions throughout Cornwall. You can have up close encounters at Newquay Zoo giving you the chance to meet their popular residents and learn all about them from their keepers. Celebrate Safari summer with them throughout August to learn more about their fascinating animals including their lions and meerkats.

You can also enjoy a day spent with wildlife at Paradise Park and Jungle Barn. Throughout Summer they will have the Eagles of Paradise display and Flight of the Rainbows to entertain the little ones. Back by popular demand is the Dinosaur Quiz Trail where you can explore the grounds on your own expedition. 

Discover more things to do this summer here. 

So, if you are lucky enough to be coming to Cornwall this summer, make sure you get to do at least one of our top ten tips…   and if you have any you think should have made the list, please post them on Facebook.