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10 fun things to do in Cornwall this summer

10 fun things to do in Cornwall this summer

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Cornwall is famed for its incredible coastline where surfing pros can catch some of the UK’s best waves. But it’s not just the beaches where you can find good times. There’s a whole host of fun things to do in Cornwall to keep the whole family entertained.

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I’ve been visiting Cornwall since I was a kid and in recent years have been taking my own children for weekends away and longer breaks in this South West holiday spot.

I’m always blown away by its natural beauty and its unique places to visit. If you are planning on spending time in Cornwall with your family I have some suggestions.

Here are my top picks for things to do in Cornwall this summer:

1. Walk Bedruthan steps

Bedruthan Steps beach
At the bottom of the steps you’ll find Bedruthan’s hidden beach

One of our favourite south west coast path walks in Cornwall is Bedruthan Steps. They are a gathering of rocky sea stacks along the Atlantic Coast near Newquay.

The views are spectacular and it always feels like an accomplishment to make it down 120 steps to the beach.

At the bottom of the steps you’ll find a sandy beach bordered by rocky cliffs and caves. These are great for exploring at low tide but can be submerged or inaccessible at high tide.

It’s worth checking the tide times if you want to spend a bit of time at the bottom.

The National Trust has all the information you need to know about tide times.

You can also read our tips for visiting Bedruthan Steps with kids.

Here are some more walks in North Cornwall including moorland hikes and coastal stomps.

2. Go crabbing 

Two Girls Sitting On Harbour Wall Catching Crabs

Crabbing is a fun and relatively cheap way to entertain kids in Cornwall this summer and Looe is one of the best spots to drop a line.

Visit at the end of July to take part in the annual crabbing competition as part of National Marine Week.

If you’re planning on going crabbing then one of our top tips is to bring your own kit – bucket, line, net and bait. Bacon works really well.

There are lots of shops around popular crabbing spots that will sell you the gear but you will pay inflated prices.

Also check the tide times and make sure your children take off any shoes (and any other loose clothing) that might slip off while they are sitting on a harbour wall.

3. Catch a show at the Minack Theatre

Cast on station - The Railway Children at The Minack Theatre in Cornwall
Cast of The Railway Children on stage at The Minack Theatre

An enduring memory from my childhood holidays in Cornwall was a visit to The Minack Theatre. Who could forget being perched on a grassy terrace, wrapped in a blanket against the elements, with the Atlantic Ocean stretching out in front of you? 

The Minack Theatre is one of the unique places to visit in Cornwall. 

We’ve taken our kids to see storytelling and a production of The Railway Children – both were excellent. You can also visit just to admire the place itself. Booking is essential as this is a very popular spot.

Take a look at the this year’s programme.

4. Fly on Skywire at Eden

Eden Project is famed worldwide for its incredible biome that have been flourishing in a former china clay pit over the past two decades. But did you know it’s also home to England’s fastest zip wire? 

Skywire covers 660m right over the top of the Eden domes. But you’ll have to keep your eyes open as you’ll be travelling at up to 60mph as you whizz by. 

This is definitely something tweens and teens in your family will want to try.

Find out more about things to do at Eden Project.

5. Climb a giant’s island

St Michaels Mount looking towards Marazion

You have probably heard of St Michael’s Mount – it has to be one of Cornwall’s most iconic landmarks. But did you know it was built by a giant? 

Well, that’s the legend and it’s a tale you will have heard about  – Jack and the Beanstalk or Jack the Giant Killer.

The story goes that a giant built the Mount and would wade ashore to feast on the local farmers’ flocks. One day Jack from Marazion, the village opposite St Michael’s Mount, set off to sleigh the giant. 

He dug a pit half way up the mount and sounded his horn. The giant came running and fell into the hole, which Jack quickly filled.

If you cross the causeway and walk up the cobbled hill towards the castle there’s a heart-shaped stone which is said to mark the spot when the giant fell.

Looking up the stone path towards the castle on St Michael's Mount. Stone in the shape of a heart in the foreground
Can you spot the giant’s heart?

Find out more about visiting St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall.

Here’s some more castles to visit in Cornwall and neighbouring Devon.

6. Walk through a jungle

Burma Rope Bridge at the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Burma Rope Bridge at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

If ‘gardens’ don’t sound like the type of place that would enthuse your kids bear with me. These historic gardens are much more than winding paths and flower beds. 

There’s adventure playgrounds, farm animals and even a jungle with its own rope bridge that crosses the sub tropical valley.

There’s also plenty of history packed into Heligan which was ‘lost’ after WWII as the team employed to work on it died in the war. 

In the 21st Century it was rediscovered. The walled gardens were recultivated, rare breeds of farm animals reintroduced and plenty of fun family activities added.

Find out more about visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

7. Step inside a mine

Family panning for gold in water trough at Geevor Tin Min with tin sculpture of miner in background
Panning for gold at Geevor Tin Mine

Geevor Tin Mine near Lands End tells the story of tin mining in the extreme south west of England.

It started and ended its working life in the 20th Century but people have been digging for minerals here for thousands of years.

It is now a mining heritage centre and the mine, its buildings and museum are fascinating, and surprisingly family-friendly. Kids can go underground, pan for gold and play with the hands-on exhibits.

Parts of the mining complex are quite eerie as it looks like the miners have only just put down tools.

If you enjoy industrial history and want to find out more about Cornwall’s landscape and heritage then Geevor is a great attraction to visit. 

Find out more about Geevor Tin Mine.

8. Be bewitched in Boscastle

The popular tourist destination village of Boscastle in Cornwall, UK with the Valency River running down the centre to the harbour
The pretty fishing village of Boscastle is home to one of Cornwall’s most unique attractions.

The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is a small museum packed with the World’s largest collection of witchcraft-related artefacts and regalia.

In total there are more than 4,000 objects and 7,500 books telling the story of magical people and practices over the millennia. 

Some exhibits once belonged to famous witches and there are reproductions of magical homes.

Find out more about visiting the museum.

9. Meet King Arthur

King Arthur's bronze statue at Tintagel Castle with blue sky background
King Arthur’s statue at Tintagel Castle

A trip to Cornwall wouldn’t be complete without seeking out one of its most famous legends: King Arthur. 

It is said he was born at Tintagel Castle, which now stands in ruins on the cliffs of Tintagel Island. 

In reality, the castle was built in the 13th Century – well after the supposed reign of King Arthur – but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good fairy tale.

There’s a moody, bronze statue of the King guarding the headland which is now looked after by the National Trust.

If the weather and tide allows you can also visit Merlin’s Cave at the base of the island.

Find out more about visiting Tintagel Castle on the north Cornwall coast.

10. Solve riddles in the Hidden Valley 

Tot looking at map of Hidden Valley Discovery Park
Each child is given a map of the Hidden Valley to help them on their quest

If your family enjoys a puzzle the Hidden Valley has to be one of the most fun things to do in Cornwall this summer.

This unique and quizzical day out near Launceston features plenty of puzzles and trails all ages can enjoy.

There’s also a miniature railway, village of hobbit houses and maze to explore.

Read about our day out at the Hidden Valley Discovery Park.

Where to stay

Modern holiday cottage with pitched roof, balcony and solar panels in Cornish countryside
Shore Break beachside lodge in Gwithian, Cornwall

Find the perfect base for your holiday in Cornwall among the family and dog friendly cottages available from Aspects Holidays.

They have accommodation close to all my recommended places to visit, from Lands End to Looe. They even have cottages that sleep more than 15 people so you can turn your trip into a multi-generational mega-holiday.

More fun things to do in Cornwall

If you are looking for more inspiration for your family days out in Cornwall check out these posts:

Have you holidayed in the South West of England? Where would you add to my list of fun things to do in Cornwall?

Disclosure: this is an advertorial feature with Aspects Holidays.

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Sunday 19th of February 2023

Wow, Cornwall seems to have so many activities and sights to offer, from its stunning coastline to its historical landmarks. I especially love the sound of the Bedruthan Steps walking and crabbing at Looe! The Minack Theatre and St Michael’s Mount also sound like must-visit places. I can’t wait to plan my own trip to Cornwall and explore all these wonderful places. Thanks for the great recommendations!

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