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…
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah writes: I absolutely loved theLost 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.