Board Visits Cartel Photography

While a stay in St Ives offers plenty to keep the whole family busy for weeks on end, we love it when our guests ask for suggestions for venturing further afield. Cornwall has natural and cultural riches by the bucket load, so why not add some day trips to your holiday itinerary to get the full experience?

We’ve put our brains together to come up with recommendations for great days out with the kids, from rainy day activities to some truly must-see locations which you might recognise from films or TV dramas. And, at the end of the day, you’ll return to your holiday accommodation in St Ives with heads full of brilliant memories, and a camera roll of great snaps to tell the tale!

Nature's Playground At The Eden Project Drone
The new natural play area at the Eden Project

Score some parent points at a local attraction

Cornwall does small and manageable family attractions brilliantly well. There are some lovely experiences to be had encountering amazing birdlife at Paradise Park in Hayle for example, or riding the rails at Lappa Valley near Newquay.

For thrill-seekers, Flambards in Helston is the closest Cornwall gets to a major theme park with rollercoasters, while Kernow Adventure Park offers water-based pursuits which will tire out even the most energetic of children.

The Eden Project of course is on an all-together different scale. The two biomes, and surrounding gardens, exhibits, play areas (the new outdoor playcentre is worth a visit in itself!) and activities, will inspire and delight visitors of all ages. A good 1hr 30mins drive from St Ives, many of our guests reserve this visit for the journey home, squeezing in a few more hours of family fun.

Eden Project Gardens Matt Jessop 1
The Eden Project is a unbeatable family day out. Image – Matt Jessop

Tour the wild west for drama-worthy scenery

If a more sedate pace is your style, take a road trip out west to discover some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in the whole of the UK. Porthcurno is a major draw these days after featuring in so many roundups of the world’s most stunning beaches.

Home to The Minack Theatre and, surprisingly, a fascinating global communications museum (the first international telegraph cable was bought ashore at Porthcurno), the beach itself is a jaw-dropping sight as steep cliffs tumble away into azure blue seas. It does get very busy though, and our poor Cornish roads do struggle with the volume of traffic!

A beach day at Sennen Cove is a good alternative, with easier access and gorgeous scenery surrounding this westerly bay. From here you can gaze out over uninterrupted Atlantic ocean; next stop, America!

Make Sennen, in the far west of Cornwall, your destination on a day of exploring

Missing the metropolis? Check out the Cornish version!

Cornwall does do bustling towns and cities, albeit on a smaller scale to those you might be used to. If the weather isn’t shouting ‘beach day’, or you simply fancy a bit of culture, why not take a day trip to Truro or Falmouth?

Falmouth is a fresh-feeling university town, with a vibrant food and arts scene, and a great family attraction in the form of The National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Plus there’s a plethora of quirky cafes and lifestyle boutiques to discover. Finish your day out with a trip to Beerwolf Books – a pub-come-book-shop – and a meal at Daaku for the best Indian food in Cornwall.

Meanwhile, in Truro you’ll find independent stores and eateries mixed in amongst high street chains. If you can, go on a Wednesday or Saturday, when a thriving farmers market takes over the centre piazza. Truro Cathedral is well worth a visit, as is the Royal Cornwall Museum. Peruse the line-up at Hall For Cornwall as you’re planning your trip – there’s often superb family-friendly productions scheduled during the holidays.

Truro Farmers Market takes place on Lemon Quay twice a week

Thought Cornwall was remote? Check out this epic day trip! 

With some forward-planning, avid travellers can tick one more truly must-see destination off the list – The Isles of Scilly.

Often called the UK’s answer to the Caribbean, the tiny islands, white sand beaches and amazing wildlife of this archipelago is well worth the slightly gruelling day trip on the Scillonian ferry. It leaves from Penzance, which is an easy 20-min hop from St Ives, but prepare for an early start.

The journey lets you see the Cornish coastline from a different perspective, and there’s ample opportunity for spotting dolphins and other marine life along the way. Once you arrive, an island-hopping escapade (try and make it to Tresco Abbey Gardens, known as ‘Kew without the glass’ if you possibly can) is something you’ll never forget.

Tresco Abbey Garden Credit Emily Luxton
Tresco Abbey Garden is one of the most jaw-dropping in the UK. Image – Emily Luxton

Can’t tear yourself away from your holiday cottage for too long? Read our guide to things to do with kids in and around St Ives.