Big Days Out In Cornwall

January 23, 2019

Big Days Out In Cornwall

Big Days Out In Cornwall

If you are anything like me, it gets to the school Summer holidays and my brain freezes. What shall we do? What would make a great day out for the family? And more importantly, how much will it all cost?
To get ahead of the game (only a week to go as I write) I thought I’d put together one of my many lists. This one lists all the big days out that I can think of in Cornwall. I’ve summarised what there is to do there and how much it should cost you.

Paradise Park – Hayle (Sat Nav TR27 4HY)

I’ve started with Paradise Park in Hayle as it is somewhere I know very well. It is only a short drive away from my house and we visit it lots.

Paradise Park is a beautiful bird sanctuary filled with all sorts of exotic and fascinating species. They also have lots of small animals such as the cute red pandas, penguins, rabbits, guinea pigs and lots of farm animals. They have lots of feeding times and flying shows throughout the day (the flying shows are only in the warmer months), and you can feed the farm animals yourselves. There is a little train that runs through the park that is really fun for the younger kids.

The big draw for my kids is the soft play zone at Paradise Park called The Jungle Barn. It is a big soft play building with lots to keep them occupied and great for burning off energy on a rainy day!

  • Dinosaur Quiz Trail
  • 2 Outside Play Areas
  • Lots of outside seating and picnic areas
  • You can take your own food and drink
  • 2 cafes
  • 2 gift shops
  • Toilets and baby changing facilities
  • Free parking (big car park)

Opening Times

Summer Opening Times are 10am – 6pm (last entry 5pm)

Admission Prices

Adults: £15.45
Children 3-15 years: £11.95
Under 3’s go free
Over 60s: £10.50
Family ticket (2 adults, 2 kids): £52.95

Not Dog Friendly

Only assistance dogs are allowed into Paradise Park.

Once you have bought a ticket, you can purchase a return ticket (before you leave) that you can use until 31st March 2019
You can usually find discount vouchers for Paradise Park in the information leaflets that are outside most supermarkets and in tourist places. There are also vouchers in magazines such as Blackbird Pie – the current one gives £1 off per person for up to 6 people. Not a huge discount, but it does help!

Visit Paradise Park Website

St Michael’s Mount – Marazion, Penzance (TR17 OHS)

St Michael’s Mount is a superb place to visit this Summer. You can turn the visit into many things – from just a lovely walk over the causeway to look at the rockpools, village and harbour (which is free to do) to visiting the castle and gardens or taking part in one of the many activities they put on for children.

  • Castle
  • Gardens (limited opening times to reduce wear, tear & erosion)
  • Village & Harbour
  • Walks & guided tours
  • Storytelling
  • Rockpool explorer adventures
  • Garden activites for kids
  • Church services
  • Sail Loft & Island Cafe
  • Gift Shop
  • Toilets
  • Car Park in Marazion – please do note that this is not free to National Trust members and it is a cash only car park.

Opening Times

Please do note that St Michael’s Mount is CLOSED every Sunday.

The castle opens Mon – Sat from 10am – 5:30pm but you can get into the village and harbour earlier. If you are planning on walking across, you need to check the causeway opening times as these vary from day to day. These are on the St Michael’s Mount website.

It is FREE to walk across to St Michael’s Mount at low tide. If you need to get the boat, it costs £2 each way for adults, and £1 for children.

Admission Prices

Adults: £10.00 for the castle, £8.00 for the gardens or £15.00 for both
Children: £5.00 for the castle, £4.00 for the gardens or £7.50 for both
Family Ticket (2 adults & up to 3 children): £25.00 for the castle, £20.00 for the garden or £37.50 for both
Single Family Ticket (1 adult & up to 3 children): £15.00 for the castle, £12.00 for the gardens or £22.50 for both
National Trust Members get FREE entry

Dog Friendly

Dogs are welcome on the island providing they are kept on a lead and not left alone. They can’t go into the castle or gardens though. Guide dogs are an exception to the rule.

Visit St Michael’s Mount Website

Cornish Seal Sanctuary – Gweek (TR12 6UG)

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is always on our Summer holidays bucket list. It is primarily a sanctuary for injured seal pups, with a seal hospital and rehabilitation areas. They rescue about 60 seals a year, most of which are released back into the wild, once they have recouperated. It is really educational, and the older my kids get, the more inspired they are by it.

  • Seals, otters, sea lions, penguins & other sea life
  • Seal hospital
  • Big pools with underwater viewing areas
  • Woodland walks & nature trail
  • Talks, feeding times & demonstrations.
  • Quiz trails for the kids
  • Pirate play area
  • Rockpool discovery area
  • Safari Bus (Summer time only)
  • Adopt a seal!
  • Cafe
  • Picnic areas
  • Gift shop
  • Toilets
  • Free car park

Opening Times

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is open 7 days a week, 10am until 5pm. Last admission is at 4pm.

Admission Prices

Please do note that is is significantly cheaper to book online before you go!

Adult: £15.50 or online £10.85
Child: £12.50 or online £8.75
Under 3’s go free
Students & Seniors: £14.50 or online £10.15

Off peak parent & toddler tickets: £10.00 online only (1 adult & 1 child under 5). Add an additional visitor for £10.00.  This is only for Monday – Fridays OUT OF SCHOOL HOLIDAYS.

Dog Friendly

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is dog friendly! There are a few areas where you can’t take dogs, such as the seal hospital, the safari bus and inside the cafe. But the rest of the park is dog friendly (on a lead please). There are plenty of water bowls around the site and even doggy treats at the reception.

Visit The Cornish Seal Sanctuary Website

The Minack Theatre – Porthcurno (TR19 6JU)

The Minack Theatre is one of my favourite places to visit. It is carved into the cliffs overlooking Porthcurno & Pedn Vounder Beach and has the most stunning and dramatic views you can get.  We always visit every Summer to go to the wonderful storytelling sessions and the occasional show. We usually combine our visit with a trip to the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum, a play on Porthcurno Beach and then a walk up the cliffs to The Minack.

  • Theatre carved into the cliffs which you can wander around when there is no performance on
  • Regular shows and storytelling throughout the Summer
  • Exhibition centre telling you all about the history of The Minack
  • Beautiful, sub-tropical gardens
  • You can bring your own food and drink to eat on the terraces
  • Cafe
  • Gift Shop
  • Toilets
  • Large free car park

Opening Times

The Minack theatre opens daily from 9:30am and closes to visitors at 11:30am for matinees and 6:30pm for evening performances. If you are just coming to visit for a look around, you do need to check the website to see whether or not there is a performance during the day.

The cafe closes at 5pm

Admission Prices (not tickets for a performance)

Adults: £5.00
11 – 15 years: £2.50
Under 11’s: 0.50p
Under 2’s go free

Ask for a re-admission voucher at the end of your visit which lets you come back to visit all year round!

Admission is free if you have a show ticket for that day.

Dog Friendly

The Minack is dog friendly EXCEPT during performances as dogs can bark and ruin the event. Guide dogs are allowed at all times.


Visit The Minack Theatre Website

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum – Porthcurno (TR19 6JX)

The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is a really family-friendly museum that is well-worth a visit. It’s main focus is on the telegraph cables and all their history, but it also covers a lot of World War II history in a very interactive and interesting way. They have lots of hands on exhibits that children can get involved with – if you have kids that like pressing buttons (like mine) you may never leave!

  • Museum
  • Lots of interactive exhibits
  • Dressing up area
  • World War II Tunnels
  • Valley trail
  • Cable Hut
  • Children’s Monthly Science Workshops (free)
  • Family friendly & crafting events
  • Cafe
  • Shop
  • Car Park

Opening Times

The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum is open daily from 10am – 5pm

Admission Prices

Adult: £9.50
Child: £5.50
Under 5’s go free
Students & Seniors: £8.00
Family ticket: £27.00 (2 adults and 2 children 5-16)

Not Dog Friendly

Porthcurno Telegraph Museum isn’t dog friendly. You can take dogs onto the terrace (the outside bit of the cafe), but dogs aren’t allowed into the rest of the place.


Visit The Porthcurno Telegraph Museum Website

Newquay Zoo (Sat Nav TR7 2NN)

Newquay Zoo is a lovely zoo to visit. It isn’t the biggest or grandest zoo you have ever seen, but it is beautifully laid out and really well run. The keepers are so engaging and enthusiastic about their animals, they really help to make you love even the littlest of animals there.

  • 2 African Lions
  • Zebra
  • Wildebeest
  • Lynx
  • Warty Pigs (so cute!)
  • Sloth
  • Monkeys (lots of different types)
  • Loads of birds including roaming peacocks
  • Penguins
  • Red Pandas
  • Capybara (like a massive guinea pig!)
  • Snakes, lizards & frogs
  • Meerkats
  • Deer & more!
  • Lots of feeding times and talks
  • Cafes
  • Picnic areas
  • Toilets
  • Parking is nearby in the local council car park which you do have to pay for at certain times of the year (free until Easter)

Opening Times

10am until 5pm daily. Last admission is at 4pm.

Admission Prices

Adult: £15.25
Child: £11.45
Under 3’s are free
Student & Seniors: £13
Saver ticket (2 adults & 2 children): £47.75

You can get annual passes – check their website for details

Not Dog Friendly

You can’t take your dog to Newquay Zoo unless it is an assitance dog.

Visit Newquay Zoo Website

Blue Reef Aquarium – Newquay (TR7 1DU)

The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay is the big blue building on Towan Beach promenade. It is a lovely place to visit for a few hours – we like to combine it with a nice play on the Towan beach and a shopping trip to Newquay.

The aquarium is quite small but has lots of exotic species, sharks and turtles, coral reef display and feeding sessions.

  • 40 naturally themed habitats
  • Black tip reef sharks
  • Giant pacific octopus
  • Dwarf Caiman crocodile
  • Loggerhead turtle
  • Lots of colourful corals and smaller fish
  • Underwater viewing tunnel
  • Feeding times and talks
  • Cafe
  • Gift Shop
  • Toilets
  • Parking is in town – the closest car parks are St Georges Road and Manor Road

Opening Times

10am until 5pm daily. Last admission is at 4pm.

Admission Prices

It is cheaper to book tickets online beforehand!

Adult: £10.95 or £9.86 if you book online
Child: £8.50 or £7.65 if you book online
Under 3’s are free
Seniors & Students: £9.95 or £8.96 if you book online
Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £37.90 or £34.11 if you book online

You can get annual passes – check their website for details

Not Dog Friendly

You can’t take your dog to The Blue Reef Aquarium.

Visit The Blue Reef Aquarium Website

Eden Project – St Austell (PL24 2SG)

The Eden Project is a good drive from us in St Ives, but we always go several times a year. It is a full on day out and we find it both inspirational and quite tiring! It does involve lots of walking, lots of learning and lots of fun too.

  • Rainforest Biome
  • Mediterranean Biome
  • Outdoor Gardens
  • Western Australian Garden
  • Vegetable Garden
  • Wild Cornwall
  • Giant Bee
  • Rainforest canopy walkway
  • Skywire
  • The Nest climbing frame
  • Soft Play
  • Exhibitions & Events
  • Cafe
  • Baobab Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Amazing Gift Shop!

Opening Times

Open times do vary throughout the year. In general though gates open at 10am (you can get there at 9am to park though) and close at 8pm in the Summer and 6pm in the Winter.

Admission Prices

It is cheaper to book online before you go. If you buy online you can use the ticket again all year round. You do need to buy online at least ONE DAY in advance though.

Adult: £27.50 or book online for £25.00
Child: £14.00 or book online for £12.60
Children 0-4 are free
Family ticket: £71 or book online for £64

You can buy a locals pass if you live in a TR, PL, TQ or EX postcodes. These are available from 1st November and last 1 year. They cost £20 per adult and £11.50 per child.

Partially Dog Friendly

Dogs are allowed in the outside gardens. They are not allowed inside the biomes. Assistance dogs are allowed in all area.

Visit The Eden Project Website

Land’s End – Sennen (TR19 7AA)

When I first visited Land’s End as an adult I was a bit surprised. I was expecting it to be just a great view and a signpost. Either my memory is really bad or it really has changed since I was a child. There is a pretty big entertainment complex there now. There is lots to see, do, eat and buy, but I’m not convinced why it is there at beautiful Land’s End – it does slightly confuse me.

The bits I like!

  • The view – simply breathtaking and worth paying the car park charge for the view and a walk
  • The famous signpost – do be aware that you have to PAY to have your photo taken infront of it (so cheeky!)
  • RSPB Discovery Centre
  • Heritage Trail
  • South West Coast Path
  • Wreck of HMS Mulheim
  • Enys Dodman rock formation
  • Decommissioned lifeboat and helicopter
  • The End To End Story
  • Greeb Farm
  • Fireworks every Tuesday and Thursday evening 24th July – 30th August
  • Pirate Day – 26th July
  • Family Fun Day – 2nd August

And the entertainment…

  • Arthur’s Quest
  • Shaun The Sheep Experience
  • 4D Film Experience
  • Land’s End Doughnut Company
  • West Country Shopping Village
  • First And Last Inn
  • Cornish Pantry
  • Lots of other places to eat & drink
  • Ice Cream Parlour
  • Gift shop
  • Car Park – there is a charge if you don’t have a local’s pass!

Opening Times

The main Land’s End attractions are open from 10am until 4pm.

Admission Prices

For entry into Greeb Farm, Shaun The Sheep, 4D Film & Arthur’s Quest

Adult: £14 or online £12.60
Child: £10.00 or online £9.00
Concessions: £12.00 or online £10.80
Under 4s are free

There are also various family tickets you can buy which can save you money. And at the moment they are offering a free 7 day return with free parking. You need to ask about it at the Visitors Centre.

Locals Pass available – 50% off all attractions plus free car parking

Partially Dog Friendly

Dogs are allowed basically anywhere outside. They are not allowed inside the attractions or eating areas.

Visit The Land’s End Website

National Maritme Museum – Falmouth (TR11 3QY)

I love the National Maritime Museum, it is such a fabulous museum. It encompasses all the amazing things about the sea that everyone must love if they love being in Cornwall. It honestly is my best day out – you MUST visit it if you love the sea.

  • The Main Hall with the National Small Boat Collection, some of it hanging overhead!
  • Survival Zone – all about surviving and sea rescues
  • Boat building workshop
  • Titanic Stories in The Hold
  • The Flotilla
  • Cornwall and The Sea
  • Tidal Zone
  • The Lookout Tower
  • The Nav Station
  • The Lighthouse
  • The Boat Pool
  • and so much more amazing stuff about the sea. It really is the best!
  • Waterside Cafe
  • Picnic & Play area (in the school holidays)
  • Brilliant gift shop!
  • Pirate School (for the kids during the school holidays)
  • Treasure Island Play Zone
  • Car Parking is in the public car par about 100 metres away from the museum. It is a pay and display.

Opening Times

Open daily 10am to 5pm

Admission Prices

Pay once get in all year

Adult: £13.50
Child: £6.00
Under 5’s go free

Not Dog Friendly

Accessibility dogs are allowed in the museum. All other dogs are not allowed. However, a “dog bed” is set up outside the museum in a sheltered and protected location near the entrance with a dog bed, lead tie up and water bowl.

Visit The National Maritime Museum Website

The Flambards Experience – Helston (TR13 0QA)

Flambards is a big amusement park near Helston.  There is lots of entertainment for all ages, including some high-adrenaline thrill rides down to the indoor soft play for the younger ones and some sensible attractions such as Britain In The Blitz for the more grown up ones amongst us.

  • Rollercoaster
  • Sky rides
  • Log Flume
  • Traditional Carousel
  • Space Shuttle
  • Pirate Ship
  • Dino Express
  • Jurassic Journey
  • Go Karts
  • Outdoor Adventure Play
  • Mini Golf
  • Indoor Soft Play
  • Victorian Village
  • Britain In The Blitz
  • Concorde Life-size simulation
  • and lots more rides and attractions
  • Firework displays
  • Lots of food & drink places
  • Picnic areas (take your own if you want to)
  • Ice cream kiosks
  • 2 main gift shops
  • Old fashioned sweet shop
  • Free car parking on site

Opening Times

Ride & Attraction Days (usually school hols) 10am to 5pm with last admission at 4pm

Indoor Attraction Only Days 10am to 4pm with last admission at 3pm

Firework Spectacular Days – last admission is at 6pm

Admission Prices

It is cheaper to book online but you do need to do this at least a day in advance.

Rides + Attractions

Adult: £21.95 or £19.76 online
Child 111cm to 15 years: £15.95 or £14.36 online
Junior 95cm to 110cm: £9.95
Under 95cm go free

Indoor Attraction Days
Adult: £11.50 or £10.35 online
Child: £6.95 or £6.26 online
Under 95cm go free

7 days free return.


Visit The Flambards Experience Website

Pendennis Castle – Falmouth (TR11 4LP)

There aren’t many castles in Cornwall but Pendennis Castle is a good one. It was built for Henry VIII as a coastal fortress and is quite impressive. It is owned by English Heritage.

  • Fortress Falmouth & First World War Exhibition
  • Weapons of war
  • Tunnels to Half Moon Battery
  • Observation Post
  • The Tudor Keep
  • Guns and Cannons
  • Great view over Falmouth and the estuary
  • Sandcastle Building Workshops  (21st and 22nd July)
  • Family Fun – Hands On History events with activities and storytelling (25th July – 31st August excluding event days)
  • Tudor Pageants (31st July – 2nd August)
  • Grand Medieval Jousts (7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd August)
  • Pendennis At War (29th and 30th August)
  • Free Car Parking on site

Opening Times

10am to 6pm daily

Admission Prices

Free to English Heritage members (prices start from £56 per year)

Adult: £11.60 or £10.50 without gift aid
Child: £7.00 or £6.30 without gift aid
Under 5’s are free

Visit Pendennis Castle Website

Heartlands – Pool nr Redruth (TR15 3QY)

Heartlands is the place we take the kids when we are a bit strapped for cash and need a bit of something different to entertain them. It is a free, family-friendly 19-acre site with mining attractions, botanical gardens, a superb adventure playground and a lovely cafe.

  • Diaspora Botanical Gardens
  • Adventure Play Ground
  • Art Studios & Galleries & Installations
  • Totem Circle
  • World Heritage Exhibitions
  • Robinsons Mining Shaft
  • Engine House Tours
  • Mining Exhibits
  • Steam Winders & Boilers
  • Geology Wall & Experiment Tables
  • Local Businesses (shopping)
  • Red River Cafe
  • Various Events
  • There is a paid car park. You can also park for free next door in Tescos or Pool Market if you are also going to shop there.

Opening Times

Heartlands is open every day of the year. The visitors centre opens from 11am until 4pm and the cafe takes orders up until 3:30pm

Admission Prices

Heartlands is FREE!

Dog Friendly

Heartlands is dog friendly.

Visit Heartlands Website

Lappa Valley – Newquay (TR8 5LX)

Lappa Valley is great for those train enthusiasts among you (like my son!). When you arrive you catch a train into the park where there is lots of family friendly things to entertain you.

  • Woodland Railway
  • Newlyn Branchline
  • Canoeing Lake
  • Toddler’s Maze Path
  • Crazy Golf
  • Play Areas
  • Nature Trails
  • Indoor Play Carriages
  • Childrens’ Rides
  • Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Ice Cream Express
  • The Carriage Cafe
  • Picnic areas (you can bring your own)
  • Free car park on site

Opening Times

Lappa Valley opens at 10am and the ticket office closes at 4:30pm

Admission Prices

Adult: £12.50
Child: £10.50
Under 2’s go free
Concessions: £10.50
Dogs: £1
Family tickets are also available.

Dog Friendly

Dogs are allowed at Lappa Valley providing they are well behaved and kept on a lead. They charge £1 per dog. Assistance dogs go free.

Visit Lappa Valley Website

Geevor Tin Mine – Near Penzance (TR19 7EW)

Geevor Tin Mine is the largest preserved tin mine in the country. You can go underground to explore the mine and get interactive in the museum with things like panning for gold! There are often lots of other activities that the kids can get involved with. It is all great educational fun!

Geevor sits in the most beautiful spot and is actually an Area Of Outstanding Beauty.

  • The Underground Tour
  • The Hard Rock Museum
  • The Dry & Miners Talk
  • Victory Shaft
  • Mineral Panning
  • Stone Carving
  • Hand Drilling
  • Kibble Filling
  • Dressing Up
  • Count House Cafe – free entry if you just want to use the cafe
  • Shop
  • Free Car Park

Opening Times

Geevor is CLOSED on Saturdays

April – Oct 9am until 5pm
Nov – March 10am until 4pm

Admission Prices

Adult: £14.60
Child: £8.50
Under 4’s go free
Students: £8.50
Seniors: £12.50
Family Ticket (2+3): £45

Partially Dog Friendly

Dogs are welcome on site but are not allowed in the underground, shop and cafe.

Visit Geevor Tin Mine Website

Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm – Newquay (TR4 9LW)

Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm is another great place to visit if you are bit strapped for cash! It is free parking, free entry to the farm and you even get free samples of cider, wine, juices and jam!

  • Farm animals
  • Free roaming peacocks
  • Guinea Fowl
  • Fred The Farm Cat
  • Guided Tours
  • Orchard
  • Cyder Museum
  • Visitors Centre
  • Farm Shop
  • Restaurant
  • Cornish Cream Tea Experience!
  • Healeys Car Collection
  • Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival (14-16th Sept 2018)

Opening Times

Opening times vary throughout the year but over the Summer they are open from 9am until 8pm.

Admission Prices

It is free to get into Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm. You do pay for the guided tours which are priced at £10 per adult for the classic tour and £5 per child (under 6’s go free). There are various options to the tour so please the website for details.

Partially Dog Friendly

Dogs are welcome to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm. There are a few areas they cannot go, such as the vats & production halls plus the main restaurant. They are allowed in the cafe and pretty much the rest of the farm though.

Visit Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm Website

Dairyland Farm World – Newquay (TR8 5AA)

Dairyland Farm World is a lovely kids’ adventure park offering pony & tractor rides, animal feeding, games and lots of play areas. They also have a massive indoor play area called the Bull Pen if it is raining.

  • Farm Animals
  • Pat A Pet
  • Pony Rides
  • Hay Rides
  • Feeding Times
  • Lakes and Nature Trails
  • Maize Maze
  • Milking Parlour
  • Animal ark
  • Trampolines
  • Raging Bull Ride
  • Mini Tractors
  • Tractor House with display of tractors and engines
  • The Bull Pen Soft Play  – Take Socks!
  • Clarabelle’s Kitchen Cafe
  • Gift Shop

Opening Times

Dairyland Farm World is open daily from 10am until 5pm. Times in the Winter vary, so check the website for details.

Admission Prices

Adult: £11.75
Child (over 80cm): £9.25
Child: (under 80cm): Free
Concessions: £9.25

You get unlimited weekly entry on full paying admission tickets. Family tickets and annual tickets are also available.

Not Dog Friendly

As this is a farm with lots of free ranging animals it is not dog friendly.

View Dairyland Farm World Website

Map Of St Ives

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