On a budget: free things to do with the family

Beach art
You can't take it with you, but it can be lots of fun. Use stones, driftwood, shells and seaweed to create your own beach art. Maybe draw a fish in the sand, or a mermaid, and use whatever comes to hand to fill in the gaps and make your own unique piece of art - just remember to take a photo before the evidence of your labours get washed away with the tide.

Rockpooling Perhaps one of the most popular seaside pastimes, rockpooling is the perfect beach activity to keep the family entertained. With over 300 beaches, we're sure you'll find the perfect rockpooling spot!

Search the pools to see what you can find and be sure to return the sealife to the water afterwards.

Heritage trail
Many towns and villages in Cornwall have heritage trails that can be followed for free. Information can usually be found in Tourist Information Centres or museums and provide a great fun way of learning about the history of a place.

Garden glory
It's totally free to explore over eight hundred acres of impressive parkland at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park at Cremyll in the far south-east of Cornwall. Open every day of the year, dogs and bicycles are also welcome, and an all-weather multi-use track takes you through the Park.

One of Cornwall’s most important medieval gardens can be found at Godolphin House near Helston. More than 500 acres of countryside, including sheltered woods, river banks and Godolphin hill can be explored for free, all set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There's also the Princess Pavilions at Falmouth where the wonderful period gardens have been lovingly restored, get to the beach via a hidden tunnel or just sit and enjoy the music from the bandstand on a sunny afternoon.

Cornwall in pictures
Discover the work of artists inspired by the light and landscape of Cornwall at scores of galleries throughout the county. See some of the greats and spot the stars of the future for free at the Falmouth Art Gallery, which houses an important permanent collection of works and showcases upcoming talent and has won a Family Friendly award. This summer (2023) they have an exhibition of art inspired by the King Arthur stories. And don’t miss the Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Penzance where there’s no charge to enjoy exhibitions of contemporary work from international and local artists. Under 18's are also free at The Tate St Ives, for the best in contemporary and modern art overlooking the beach in beautiful St Ives.

Pioneering spirit
Discover Cornwall’s innovative past for free at the Marconi Centre perched on the cliff at Poldu on the Lizard peninsula where, back in 1901, the first ever radio transmission was sent across the Atlantic Ocean changing the world forever.

Also scattered around Cornwall, are memories of the county’s industrial past, the tin and copper mines that once shaped the world’s fortunes are yours to explore across several areas listed as World Heritage sites. This includes Heartlands at Pool near Camborne which is a visitor attraction with a community hub, mining museum and engine house, cafe, botanical gardens and huge free kids outdoor adventure playground.

Coastal lookouts
The landscape in Cornwall is always free of charge and there’s no better place to see it all than from the Cornish stretch of the South West Coast Path. Snaking over 300 miles up soaring cliffs, meandering along tranquil estuaries, passing vast beaches and wandering through whitewashed fishing village. Wherever your vantage point may be, Cornwall’s heritage, culture and jaw dropping scenery are vibrantly revealed.

Legendary tales
Cornwall is full of magical stories and children will love visiting some of the legendary locations which are free for everyone discover. Explore Merlin’s mysterious cave on the beach at Tintagel. Head to Zennor, where mermaids have once visited. At Minions on Bodmin Moor visit the Cheesewring, a pile of stones supposedly left by a giant who used them for throwing at giants on other hills!

Wild world
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust manages over fifty reserves throughout the county. Perfect locations where you can discover the diverse nature of Cornwall. There's also Cardinham Woods near Bodmin where you can lose yourself on several woodland trails.

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Things to do

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