Top picks for the Summer Holidays

We all hope this summer we be filled with sunshine and families enjoying themselves in Cornwall...

Here's a few ideas for what we hope you will be able to do...

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

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 Cornwall, 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. For more information check Cornwall's museums webpage.

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 Cornwall 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 also visit nearby Merlin's Cave. The castle also features in the tale of Tristan and Isolde, as does Castle Dore on the outskirts of Fowey. Those seeking further Arthurian adventures should check out our King Arthur pages.

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. Check out our beach pages here.

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 and Sterts Theatre on the edge of Bodmin Moor, though your unlikely to see basking sharks! A programme of shows runs through the summer months at both of these venues. Around Cornwall other outdoor sites will be used by touring companies, such as Miracle Theatre and Kneehigh. From Restormel Castle, near Lostwithiel to Trebah Gardens near Falmouth there are some epic locations to check out.

Sail the seas

Throughout summer many companies have sea trips that can give your family the chance to see Cornwall from the delights of the water and spot some wildlife during the trip. AK Wildlife Cruise operate from Falmouth providing a fantastic opportunity to observe wild dolphins and seals, or you can go kayaking up Frenchmen's Creek with Koru Kayaking who also operate trips along the coast from St Agnes.

For a more gentle experience you can enjoy one of the many ferry trips that provide a sense of adventure for the children and offer beautiful coastal and riverside views for the parents. Fal River Ferries connect Falmouth and Truro as well as St Mawes and Place, providing views of unspoilt natural beauty.

Visit the Zoo

Why not spend the day with amazing wildlife at 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. Or journey down to the Helford river and the wonderful Seal Sanctuary.

You can also enjoy a day spent with wildlife at the Paradise Park and Jungle Barn. Situated just outside St Ives, there's a colourful world of parrots plus red panda's, penguins and lots of other feathery friends. At the other end of Cornwall, why not pop along to the Tamar Valley Donkey Park, where you can see lots of donkeys amongst other things.

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

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