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Holidays with children certainly have their challenges, as well as their joys! Beach days are great of course, as is exploring the countryside, but what to do when it rains in Cornwall – or if your kids prefer other forms of entertainment?

The good news is there are plenty of activities in and around St Ives for children of all ages. From horse riding and water sports, to theatre and art workshops, the Cottage Boutique team has hands-on experience of entertaining little people during the holidays and we’re happy to share that with you!

What’s more, guests at our properties are very welcome to ask for personal recommendations depending on their interests. Whenever you’re visiting Cornwall, our St Ives-based team are here to help, with bags of expert knowledge and personal experience at the ready.

In the meantime, here’s our top tips on days out with the kids in and around St Ives. Enjoy!

Water babies, let loose!

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St Ives is one of the best places to learn to surf in the UK

Once you’ve exhausted the possibilities of sandcastle competitions and paddling in the shore break, water lovers will enjoy a trip to Jubilee Pool in Penzance. A 20-minute drive from St Ives and Carbis Bay, this art deco lido is one of the most impressive in the whole of the UK, and even has a geothermally heated section.

Back in Carbis Bay itself, there are a range of water sports to try at the beach, all pre-bookable with The Ocean Sports Centre. You can simply hire equipment like stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, or book lessons and group sessions. To stay near the action, book one of our Carbis Bay properties by the beach!

Meanwhile on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives Surf School offer courses, 1:1 lessons and group sessions with highly experienced instructors; why not learn to surf in Cornwall next time you visit?! Older children (12+) can also embark on a coasteering adventure for a real adrenaline-fuelled, confidence boosting session. The majority of our St Ives holiday lets are just moments from the town’s many golden beaches…

Feed their creativity…

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Tate St Ives offer family activities during school holidays

Tate St Ives run family workshops during the holidays, bringing a fun and inclusive approach to experiencing art. Become a ‘beach art explorer’ or take part in mass participation artworks – there’s always something to get involved with.

Outdoor theatre is alive and kicking in Cornwall, and some of the best experiences are hosted by Rogue Theatre at Tehidy Woods. During school holidays magical happenings take place, with stories and stages weaving throughout these beautiful woods a short drive from Hayle.

A little further afield, The Minack at Porthcurno is a jaw-dropping location for live theatre, and the programme includes performances aimed at children during the school holidays.

Animal lovers, unite!

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See Red Pandas at Paradise Park in Hayle

Younger children will love a visit to Paradise Park in Hayle. This wildlife sanctuary has an amazing array of birds and animals to see, with interactive sessions throughout the day including penguin feeding, eagle displays and rides on the jungle train. There’s also a large indoor JungleBarn with soft play and slides – perfect for rainy days.

At Trink Dairy just inland from Carbis Bay, you can visit a working dairy farm. Watch the cows graze and visit the milking parlour – there’s also a milkshake bar with 6+ flavours which kids and grown-ups alike will love!

Older children have the chance to see beautiful West Penwith from horseback, with a trek departing from Penhalwyn Stables near Halsetown. There are hacks for beginners through to experienced riders, and family rides for mixed abilities are available. Standing Stone Stables at Trencrom near Carbis Bay is another great option for budding equestrians, with lessons in the arena and hacking both available. Rural St Ives is a great holiday location for exploring the wide open spaces of the Penwith moors.

Raise true explorers…

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Take a sea safari to spot seals and dolphins

A great way to explore our patch of West Cornwall is by hiring an e-bike. St Ives Bike Hire has both regular and electric bikes available to hire (we know which we’d choose!) and a great collection of recommended circular roots departing from town.

Finally, a great way to see the Cornish coast from a different perspective is to take a boat trip. A 1 ½ trip to Seal Island is a great way for children to experience a seafaring adventure and spot some wildlife at the same time. Sea safaris, dolphin watching, and lighthouse tours are also available.

Haven’t booked your dream break in St Ives and Carbis Bay yet? Check out our 60+ properties and find the perfect one for you and your brood!