September and October are great months to visit Cornwall with younger children. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, which wafts warmer temperatures our way all the way from the Gulf of Mexico, the weather’s still sunny in Cornwall compared to the rest of the UK, but the end of the school holidays means our beaches and roads are peaceful and quiet. Here’s our pick of lovely Indian Summer activities to do with young children in Cornwall:
1.) The Birds of Paradise, Hayle
Meet Archie the Bald Eagle, Bruno the Eagle Owl, Andros the Harris Hawk and a Kookaburra close up as they fly over and around you during the park’s flying displays. After, you can explore the park, as there are more than 650 birds and 140 different species, at Paradise Park. There’s also an outdoor and indoor play area.
2.) Talking with the Animals at Dairyland, Newquay
Dairyland Farm World has ball pools and slides for little ones, as well as nature trails, tractor and pony rides. You can watch the cows being milked, feed the goats and meet all sorts of other friendly animals.
3.) Sandcastles on Porth Beach
There are plenty of baby and toddler-friendly beaches in Cornwall that are ideal for an afternoon of sandcastle building. One of the best, though, is Porth, just down the road from us. It has a stream that flows down one side that’s great for toddlers to paddle in. Dogs aren’t allowed, so you don’t need to worry about an over-enthusiastic hound bounding up to ‘play’ with your little one and knocking him over.
Grab a fishing net and see if you can find crabs, prawns and anemones in the rockpools at South Fistral Beach in Newquay. Or head to The Fern Pit Inn, where you can hunt for crabs and take the ferry over to Crantock Beach for a play on the sand.
5.) Cycle the Camel Trail, Wadebridge
The Camel Trail is 18 miles of easy cycling through the beautiful Cornish countryside. The trail takes you along a disused railway line between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow. The track is largely traffic free, smooth-surfaced and virtually level all the way, making it perfect for little ones to practice, or for parents to pulling a trailer. Bikes, trikes and child trailers can be hired from Bridge Bike Hire.
7.) Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
Young Octonauts fans can enjoy close encounters with sharks, seahorses, pufferfish and jellyfish at the aquarium. There’s an exciting underwater tunnel to walk through, feeding demonstrations and rock pool encounters.
8.) Lappa Valley Steam Railway and Leisure Park, near Newquay
Small children always love trains. Some grown-up children too. You can ride the miniature trains through tunnels and woodland, past the lake and back into the station. There’s a maze, too, designed especially with toddlers in mind.