A Week in Cornwall (by all of us!)

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Jess, aged 14, says: This summer, our family spent just over a week exploring Cornwall. Although we spent a long time in the car, we visited lots of different places, and saw absolutely beautiful views. The county is essentially one large postcard, and we really enjoyed exploring its towns, beaches, and cliffs. Please watch our video below to see our highlights of the trip…

Day one!

We set off for Cornwall at ten in the morning, and stopped off at Bridgewater in Somerset for lunch. We found a small tearoom, and soon found ourselves back on the motorway, arriving at our accommodation in the early evening.
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We stayed at The Valley, a set of self catering cottages located just outside Truro – Cornwall’s only city. The location was very convenient, as we were right in the middle of the county. Luckily, there was a large SPAR only half a mile away, which was useful for buying food.
Our cottage was really spacious.
Our cottage was really spacious.
We were pleasantly surprised with how big our cottage was. It had a large hall, two bedrooms (one with an en suite), a large living room, and a kitchen. Everything was clean and tidy, and there was lots of space; perfect for a family.
Robert and I enjoyed playing football outside
Robert and I enjoyed playing football outside
The Valley also has an outdoor children’s play area, two pools, a cafe, and lots of places to play sports. Robert and I immediately ran off to play football, although we did get stung by nettles when retrieving it from a bush…

Day two

Robert aged 11, writes: The Valley had an assortment of activities to try and throughout the holiday we had a go at quite a few. As you entered the compound you could see a giant field to play on. There was a goal which we used to play football and loads of space to run around. At reception you could borrow rackets to play either squash or tennis. There was a proper squash court which you had to book (this was really easy as barely anybody wanted to play) I had never played squash before and found it really fun.
Playing squash
Playing squash

The tennis court was usually taken, so try and go early in the morning or late afternoon when there are less people. The Valley also had a games room which housed pool, table football and bar billiards although the only one you didn’t have to pay a pound for was table-tennis.

There was also a play area with a climbing frame that Robert enjoyed.
There was also a play area with a climbing frame that Robert enjoyed.
We played table-tennis a lot of times throughout our stay, no one ever seemed to come to the games room so it was always free. One tip would be to try and bring your own bats and balls as the ones they provided were not very good.
There was an indoor and outdoor pool which both needed an code to enter, the indoor one was heated but rather small whilst the outside pool was much bigger but freezing cold. There was also a jacuzzi inside.

 

The views at St Agnes were beautiful!
The views at St Agnes were beautiful!
Sarah says: After relaxing at the Valley in the morning, we decided to enjoy some Cornish views in the afternoon. We set off for St Agnes, which was less than 20 minutes away by car. It was a great decision as it was such a beautiful place!
We parked by Wheal Coates, which was a terrific place to visit. It’s the ruins of a tin mine and is really dramatic, especially as it’s all surrounded by heather and gorse and with a mine shaft that goes right down to the sea.
We enjoyed walking through the ruins.
We enjoyed walking through the ruins.

 

Small boards gave us information about the history of the buildings and Robert even went inside one of the ruins! Then we walked along the gorgeous cliffs, enjoying the fabulous views and colourful flowers. It was really lovely – and a world away from London! In fact, the whole area is a World Heritage Site and you could see why.

Finding a geocache was one of the highlights of the day.
Finding a geocache was one of the highlights of the day.

 

We walked back via a geocache site which greatly pleased both children, and then onto Chapel Porth beach which sits nestled between high cliffs and which was very busy, with lots of surfers and people enjoying the bay. We also had a treat: a flapjack (me) and delicious “foxy” ice creams (Brian and the kids), which were vanilla, covered with clotted cream and flapjack pieces.

Day three

Sarah says: One of my dearest friends had told me we should visit Mousehole, so we did! It’s a delightful Cornish village, extremely picturesque, full of tearooms, galleries and ice cream places and with a lovely, safe harbour.
Mousehole (which is pronounced Muzzill) is not far from Penzance and great for an afternoon’s visit. It’s very pleasant to walk around the narrow, cobbled lanes, enjoy the beach and views and go paddling.
Mousehole Harbour was shallow enough to stand in!
Mousehole Harbour was shallow enough to stand in!
You may remember this village from the loss of the Penlee lifeboat, the Solomon Brown, in 1981. There is a memorial in the village now. Be warned that parking was not easy and is very limited in the village. The roads are also very windy – though this was the case across lots of Cornwall.
Some of our delicious cream teas
Some of our delicious cream teas from Mousehole

Day four

Jess writes: Today we visited the Eden Project, which was exciting as I had wanted to visit for ages. We explored the two biomes, which replicated the conditions in the rainforest and the Mediterranean. We learnt about plants from all across the world, tried baobab smoothies, saw the views from the top of the biomes, and learnt about the production of some of our favourite foods. I would have preferred for the information to be a bit more in depth, but it was excellent for children and there was lots to see and do.
Rainforest Biome
The view when you walk into the rainforest biome
The day wasn’t over yet. We went through an exhibition on dinosaurs, explored the gardens, and ate delicious (albeit very spicy) vegetable burritos for lunch. Robert enjoyed taking part in adventure activities at Hangloose such as the “the Drop” and “Big Air”.
Big Air
Robert jumped on a beanbag from seven metres in the air!
Overall, we had a really exciting day, with lots to do. I was amazed by the biomes, loved the food, and had a great time looking around.
Disclosure: We were fortunate enough to be given free entry to the Eden Project and to try out the rides at Hangloose in order to write about it. All our opinions, however, are our own. A package to do the Drop and Big Air costs  £18. A family ticket for the Eden Project (for two adults and two children) costs £62 if you book in advance.

Day five

Today was a rest day. We woke up late, went swimming, played more squash, table tennis, and tennis, read our books, and relaxed.
For our supper, we drove to the nearby Carnon Downs and got cod, onion rings, and chips from the fish and chips van. The van is only in the area on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and while the fish was very nice, the chips were somewhat disappointing. However, it was quite cool to get our food from a van!

Day six

Brian says: We drove to Land’s End, which was one of the highlights of the our trip. I’d wanted to go there my whole life, so it was very exciting to have photos taken in front of the famous signpost. We then walked along the cliffs, and enjoyed the dramatic scenery.
It was amazing to visit the iconic Land's End sign!
It was amazing to visit the iconic Land’s End sign!
Robert writes: “The Lost World”, which is a 4D film was shown every half hour and was one of my favourite parts of the day. Throughout the film our chairs moved unexpectedly and water was shot in our face. I really enjoyed all the cool effects and thought it was one of the best 4D movies I’ve seen.
Inside the Shaun the Sheep exhibition
Inside the Shaun the Sheep exhibition

 

There was also a Shaun the Sheep exhibition and another “interactive experience” called Arthur’s Quest, which was actually a bit disappointing.
We did enjoy End to End, though, which was an exhibition on the journey from the most northern point of the UK, John O’Groats, to Lands End.
St Ives is such a picturesque town, which we thought was lovely.
St Ives is such a picturesque town, which we thought was lovely.
Jess says: After this, we drove to St Ives – a large town on the sea. We were surprised by how busy and touristy the area was, and although it was lovely, we don’t think we would have enjoyed staying there because of this. However, the beaches were great, and Robert really enjoyed splashing around in the sea – especially when he spotted a seal behind him! There was also lots of ice cream, sweet, and fudge shops, which we all definitely appreciated, and fantastic scones which mum and dad really enjoyed.

Day seven

Sarah writes: I absolutely loved the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which I would recommend to all, with or without children. Its natural wonders were lost for years before being restored in recent years. The result is spectacular, with botanical gardens (and a fabulous rope bridge), plus so much space to walk in, to admire the living sculptures and see piglets and emus, as well as bright red poppies growing freely.
The gardens's Sleeping Lady was magnificent to look at.
The gardens’s Sleeping Lady was magnificent to look at.
This is not a petting zoo or an “obvious” family attraction, but it is lovely for a day out. When we went it had just launched its summer activity, “The Lost Summer”. and we had great fun building a den too. The food is also rather delicious!
On the ropebridge at the Lost Gardens of Heligan
On the ropebridge
The Lost Gardens of Heligan costs £35 for a family ticket (two adults and up to three children). You could easily spend a day there!
Brian says: As a keen golfer, I was very excited to try Football Golf, near St Austell. As the name suggests, you have to kick your football along the fairway and then into an (oversized) hole. It was really fun, and was not as easy it sounds – there were bunkers, and other obstacles to go round, over or through. We played 18 holes, and thankfully I won!
Football Golf costs £24 for an adult ticket, for two adults and two children.
Dad won at football golf.
Dad won at football golf.
Sarah writes: We decided that we couldn’t stay so near Truro (Cornwall’s only city) and not visit. We had expected it to be really busy, so we were surprised by how quiet it was when we stopped by for supper! It looked like a good place to go during the day, and had a beautiful Cathedral and loads of shops. However, it wasn’t perfect for supper – we only found a few restaurants to be open!
 

Day eight

Jess says: Today we visited Tintagel, which is a really gorgeous village. We walked around, and were very taken by how kind and and friendly everybody was (and how many fudge and ice cream shops there were!). We made our way to Tintagel Castle, which is an English Heritage site and has a long history. King Arthur was allegedly conceived there, and we spent time exploring the remains of its dark age settlement and learning about its trading history.
We learnt about King Arthur at the castle.
We learnt about King Arthur at the castle.

 

The views from the top of the castle were absolutely wonderful (definitely one of the best we’ve seen in the UK), and we enjoyed finding out about what life was like in the small exhibition. My only qualm was that some of the steps were very steep, but there was lots of space to rest on the grass and admire the view.
The views at Tintagel Castle were all astounding
The views at Tintagel Castle were all astounding

Tintagel Castle costs £20.50 for an adult ticket, but we had our English Heritage membership, so we didn’t pay this.

That afternoon, after enjoying a savoury cheese scone tea at The Village Tearoom in Tintagel, we drove to our second hotel – St Moritz in Polzeath. Mum enjoyed a full body massage (which she thought was excellent), Robert and Dad went swimming, and I relaxed in the room.
Walking around the gardens in St Moritz
Walking around the gardens in St Moritz
We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was very posh; we may have seemed slightly out of place with our copious number of quizzes! However, the servers were very nice and there was a menu for children. All of my food (tomatoes and mozzarella, trout, and a panna cotta) was delicious, although mum and dad said that their cod fell slightly flat. Robert enjoyed his fish and chips, and they made some truly scrumptious carrots for him as he dislikes peas. I really enjoyed my meal, though the service could have been faster.

Going home!

Robert writes: As we started the journey back to London we stopped off in Daymer Bay which was only five minutes drive from our hotel. It was a lovely day so I played with the sand before running into the warm sea, It was quite shallow so I could wade out very far. I had loads of fun and it was one of the nicest beaches in England that I’ve been to.
Robert splashed around in the sea at Daymer Bay.
Robert splashed around in the sea at Daymer Bay.
Jess says: Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Cornwall. There was a lot to do, and it was all really interesting and exciting. I would recommend it to families both with and without children, although you do need to be aware of the amount of walking. The views were incredible, the fudge was scrumptious, and everyone was really friendly and helpful.
Disclosure: A week in a Villa Gallery (which has accommodation for four) at The Valley, Cornwall costs £1770.We were fortunate enough to be offered a discounted media rate, but that has not influenced our review in any way.
We were also offered a complimentary overnight stay at the St Moritz hotel, which costs in order to write for it – but similarly, they had no input into this, or any blog post.
Visit Cornwall helped us with our trip – particularly with recommendations of places to go.
 
More of our guides to places in the UK:

What to do in Margate, Kent

What to do in Norwich (by all of us!)

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31 Responses

  1. Christine

    Glad you enjoyed Cornwall – you visited a couple of my favourite places too, Mousehole and Lost Gardens of Heligan. We once made the mistake of visiting St Ives on a Bank Holiday weekend which was horrendous, but we have been back on a sunny autumn day and it was much better!

  2. Ting at My Travel Monkey

    Phew I am pretty exhausted reading what you got up to in your week! Cornwall is one of my favourite places as is The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I just love it there and could spend all day wandering. Glad you had a great time

  3. Kara Guppy

    Looks like you had a fabulous time exploring Cornwall. We loved Lands End when we visited although found it pricey and the new adventure stuff at Eden Project look right up our street!

  4. Cathy (MummyTravels)

    What a great week – I do love Cornwall and there’s so much to do, you packed a lot in including a few of my favourites. I still haven’t made it to the lost gardens though but they’re very much on the list.

  5. Becky

    Curious – for those of us with more limited time, how long do you think is appropriate for Cornwall? It looks lovely, but a week in one city is hard to swing for an American!

    • Sarah Ebner

      Cornwall is a whole county, not just a city (in fact, it only has one city, Truro). I would suggest a week going south west, taking in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, if you want to move around more. It’s all very beautiful!

  6. Sia

    I haven’t heard of the Eden project, but it looks amazing, thank you for sharing it with us! All the places you’ve visited are really interesting. Would love to visit Cornwall one day as well. England might not be popular with the beaches but the Daymer bay looks so clean and calm!

  7. Bethan

    Wow really looks like you had a fab time in Cornwall! We always used to go camping there.. Wish we stayed somewhere like you did! We used to visit the mousehole!!

  8. Kenny

    Looks like a lot of fun and a great trip with kids, there are a lot of outdoor activities and active things to do!

  9. Cristina

    One of the places I regret not having visited when I lived in England. Looks like you had a lot of fun, especially the kids :).
    Cristina

  10. Joanna

    I have only spent 3 full days in Cornwall last year, on the August bank holiday and loved it. It is such a beautiful part of England. I didn’t get to see as many places as you did, but I do remember how busy St Ives was and the seal from the harbour which was fed by children with mackerel. She was adorable. Next time you do I would recommend to do a stop at Looe and Polpero also. They are small but lovely! 🙂

  11. Liz Burton

    Ahh I’ve relived some of my own family holidays through this post! I adore Cornwall.

    Tintagel is one of my favourite places in the whole world, although that statue is new since I was last there.

  12. Louise

    Cornwall is so beautiful – we haven’t been for a few years but would love to make it again soon. There is so much to do for families with children. xx

  13. Nikki Thomas

    What a wonderful week! I love Cornwall and you visited some of my favourite spots there. Tintagel especially is amazing and you are right, the views are just unbelievable.

  14. Kate Williams

    We moved to Cornwall a couple of months ago so we’re spending the summer exploring it too, there are so many great places to visit with the kids!

  15. Jen Walshaw

    We haven’t been to Cornwall since the boys were small. The journey from where we live in N Yorkshire puts me off, although I used to go every summer with my parents when I was younger for two weeks.

  16. Otilia Stocks

    So much to do and so much information you share! Hopefully one day I will get to visit Cornwall with my family. It will be really wonderful to do so!

  17. Nikki

    Your Cornwall experience looks amazing! I always go to Newquay with my fiance for our holidays and will be going back in a couple of weeks. Love it there.

  18. Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    We’ve been visiting Devon a lot lately but not been to Cornwall for years. You’ve all given me lots of ideas. Definitely fancy The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
    Just been reading another post about football golf in Swansea – it must be catching!

  19. Becki Svare

    What a fantastic adventure! So many things to enjoy! I would love to take my family there, too. Those ruins look really interesting and Tintagel and I can see my kids enjoying that Big Air place!

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