It’s been a Coronacoaster. Family holiday arrangements lie in decay and disarray. If you are like us, family diary plans are heartening and bolster morale. It’s a staycation type of year and Cornwall offers milder autumns and winters (thanks to its maritime climate) as well as fresh air, socially distant space and new experiences. We have LOTS of ideas to fill your autumn and winter holidays with. If you want complete short break and week long itineraries, take a look here.
Own a beach
The exact number of Cornish beaches is a matter of some dispute, but it’s more than 300 and less than 400. October through to June, you can have one all to yourself. Maybe a craggy cove like Palace or Parsons on the South Coast, or a majestic, sweeping stretch of sand like Crantock, Trevone or Porthcothan. There’s nothing like untamed sea, the roar of waves and making the first footprints on fresh sand to bring peace and perspective to any situation. Timeless family activities including rock-pooling, beach targets, wild art and stone skimming are ESSENTIAL. Maximise the family-friendly quotient with a creamy hot chocolate in a family-friendly cafe or increase the detox with a wild swim. Take a look at our top winter beach picks here.
Go dolphin and seal spotting
Cornwall is blessed with terrific wildlife spotting opportunities. Take a Sealife Safari from Padstow harbour to stand an excellent chance of seeing dolphins and grey seals at any time of year. Our tip is to go on a day with low winds if you have younger children. The RIB boat ride is amazing but can be a little too exhilarating with really young children. Good alternatives would be seal-spotting at Godrevy or visiting the Gweek seal sanctuary, which offers the opportunity to see rescued seals and learn about their conservation.
Lanhydrock and Camel cycle trails
Enjoy graded mountain bike trails at the National Trust’s Cycle Hub at Lanhydrock, just ten minutes drive from Tredethick. The Hub, with excellent cafe and loo facilities, also has a balance bike skills area to hone early bike handling skills. The Camel Trail is a family-friendly cycle track stretching from Bodmin through to Padstow. We love a family bike ride! Take a look at our guide to taking a young family on the Camel Trail and visiting Lanhydrock bike trails. Don’t forget our balance bike track at Tredethick too, it presents a perfect opportunity to improve balance and biking confidence in a traffic-free environment.
Kayaking, SUPing and surfing
These aren’t just summer sports. Encounter Cornwall has plenty of winter weather gear to keep little (and big) hands warm and dry when kayaking. Its guided kayak trips are suitable for families with children aged three and above. Polkerris Beach offers SUP lessons and hire, just 20 minutes from Tredethick. Or head to the north coast for surf lessons or SUP safaris at the Extreme Sports Academy at Watergate Bay. SUP and surf lessons are suitable for adults or children aged eight up.
Family friendly walks with sea, moors and stepping stones!
We’d challenge you to find more beautiful walks! The South West Coastal Path can be broken into manageable chunks and has some stretches suitable for baby carriers if not buggies. Take a look at Rock to Polzeath, for example, and reward your walking crew with a trip to the Cracking Crab. You can find full details here. Explore the Saints Way, an ancient pilgrimage route with traverses from South to North Cornwall, or stay closer to the farm: grab a coffee from Lerryn River stores and wander across the stepping stones into Ethy Wood. It’s just five minutes drive from the farm, and we’ve never known a family walk yet that isn’t improved by stepping stones!
Learn about ancient Cornwall
Much of Bodmin Moor has open access status, so you can walk freely within designated areas. It’s an amazing landscape dotted with history from disused 18th century mine workings to rate Neolithic quoits and ancient stone circles. Close by there’s Dozmary Pool, where King Arthur’s Lady of the Lake is reputed to dwell and the beautiful, buggy-friendly Golitha Falls.
It’s a quirky, timeless British past-time. Here’s our guide to local crabbing and do watch this brilliant video on how to crab with Colin the Crab to ensure that crabs don’t suffer any unintentional harm and to stop them becoming too stressed. Anecdotally, locals report the crabs are missing their regular bacon bait this year! Have a go, it’s the stuff childhood is made of.
Visit Three Cornish Giants
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project and St Michael’s Mountare Cornish icons and need our support through this days. Heligan and Eden are less than 30 mins drive from Tredethick and offer well-regulated, fascinating family days out. St Michael’s Mount is a little further, but well worth the trip. Don’t forget to check the tides so you can walk around the cobbles from island to shore.
Find the best hot chocolate
Funnily enough, this is ALWAYS popular with children! And Cornwall will give you a good run for your money. It could be a good opportunity to bring along Uno or backgammon, or to curl up with a book as you sample and savour. Check out offerings at the Beach Hut, Watergate Bay and the C-Bay, Crantock. Or go all out and treat the kids to pancakes at the Blue Tomato in Rock.
That’s a full itinerary even before we look at your family-friendly, all-weather options at Tredethick:
Five of our cosy cottages have log burners so there’s a hugge-filled home for your woolly socks at the end of each day.
We’ve 4* gold cottages available all year round, set in acres of bucolic Cornish countryside. Check availability here.