Mini Guide to Cornwall
Why go to Cornwall?
Cornwall is one of the most fascinating and scenically stunning counties in the UK and is an ideal location for a family holiday. It has some really beautiful beaches – from the majestic north coast beaches with their golden sands and Atlantic rollers, to the quiet coves of the south coast. But there's plenty to see and do too, from the world famous Eden project to Lands End, from Tintagel Castle to the Seal Sanctuary. There are some fabulous restaurants such as Rick Stein's Seafood restaurant in Padstow and a wealth of art galleries such as the Tate gallery in St Ives. Great places to stay too, from classic rose-covered cottages to some of the most family friendly hotels in the UK and the unique Cornish Tipi camping experience.
The babygoes2 team have visited some great places to stay in Cornwall, and come up with our guide to the best the county has to offer:
How to get there:
From the north, simply use the M5 southbound and follow it to the West Country. From the south coast choose the A30/A303.
Travel direct to Cornwall from Paddington and Waterloo (London), Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham.
Newquay Airport offers regular scheduled flights to London Gatwick with onward connections to the beautiful Isles of Scilly.
What to see:
Crealy Adventure Park
Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Camel Trail
Where to visit:
Most famous restaurant.
Rick Steins Seafood Café Padstow, or the smaller St Petrocs House
Where to stay:
Cornish Tipi Holidays
Anne-Marie Francis experienced a Tipi holiday with her husband, 4 children and a group of friends.
This is heavenly for children and really quite wonderful for grown ups.
Hidden in the middle of the Cornish countryside (about 15 minutes inland from Port Isaac) - the site isn't even signposted - in an old quarry you find yourself in this magical tipi world. The tipis are clean and beautifully arranged with rugs covering the floor and lanterns hanging from the poles. Fridge boxes, gas cookers, cutlery, crockery and sleeping mats are all supplied which makes travelling much lighter than for a usual camping holiday. Wood for the fire is delivered daily, your bins are collected daily
and the shower and toilet facilities work well and are very clean. Quite spoilt really. There is a 'village' where tipis are arranged on the edge of a large enclosure or alternatively (like us) you can request your own private enclosure hidden by trees. We had 3 tipis set up around an open fire. There is a large lake within the grounds which we all enjoyed for swimming, fishing (wonderful trout) and boating. There were 9 children in our party aged from 7 months to 12 years. Every single one of the children
had a fabulous week. Playing in the surrounding woods, gathering wood for the fire and generally running free in a totally safe and large haven (apart from the 7 month olds who were perfectly content sitting outside watching the world go by). We saw our 6 year old about twice a day - she was off exploring most of the time. Half of the party are booking again for next year. The children refuse to even discuss an alternative holiday option.
Accommodation: Medium (sleeps 4) and larger tipis (6 people) constructed along authentic North American lines out from unbleached canvas on a framework of wooden lodge poles. Guests should bring their own towels (inc. tea towels etc) sleeping bags (1) and pillows, with all other basic equipment provided. This includes bed rolls, all cooking and eating utensils, camp stove (although many guests prefer to cook on an open fire) and cool box, washing equipment, groundsheets and rugs inside the tipi, and other miscellaneous items.
Facilities: Include chemical lavatories, standpipes and water containers, lanterns, and fuel for cooking and lighting in the form of firewood and gas bottles
To see and do nearby: Some of Cornwall's most spectacular coastline is just 5-minutes drive away. For children there's the St Kew Donkey Sanctuary less than 2 miles away. The picturesque fishing village of Port Isaac is 10 minutes away with the sandy surfing beaches of Polzeath and Daymer approximately 7 miles away. 15 minutes up the coast are the ancient villages of Boscastle and Tintagel, and the same distance inland offers the rugged solitude of Bodmin Moor. There are various shops, pubs and restaurants in the area, with fishing trips, riding, cycling, sailing and wind surfing easily accessible
Price guide: Medium tipi (sleeps 4) £250 per week: large tipi (sleeps 6) £300 per week. Children pay £10 per week; under-2s go free.
Fowey Hall (see our Location Report)
Bedruthan Steps Hotel (see our Location Report)
Sands Resort (see our Location Report)
Petra Cottage , Whitesand Bay, Sennen
Set in an unspoilt 8 acre valley, these delightful cottages provide a high standard of comfort, each enjoying its own personal garden. Their quiet and magical settings are only accessible on foot down the sandy beach path from Sunny Corner Lane.
The local inn and the attractive little fishing harbour of Sennen Cove are only 10 minutes' walk across the vast expanse of the sandy Blue Flag beach, If you're lucky, you may see dolphins, spot the odd seal or basking shark. Rock climbing is popular on the cliffs and headlands, and this is superb walking country. Dogs are permitted on the sand dunes and neighbouring Gwenver beach, with restricted access during summer at Whitesands Bay beach. Land's End is only about a mile further along the glorious coastal footpath, while in the opposite direction the path leads to the dramatic scenery of Cape Cornwall. All around this coast are countless pretty and secluded coves to explore. Inland, this wild and unspoilt corner of Cornwall, is dotted with prehistoric relics.
The little fishing village of Newlyn and picturesque Mousehole harbour, both popular subjects for artists, are 8 miles away. At Porthcurno (4 miles), is the open-air Minack theatre, in a spectacular setting on the cliff top with the sea and setting sun as its backdrop. A short drive away is St Ives, long popular as an artists' colony, with its pretty stone cottages and narrow cobbled lanes in which to wander. There are many galleries, including St Ive's Tate Gallery. The town of Penzance (8 miles) has a wealth of amenities for visitors, including museums, cinema, golf, tennis and riding, as well as many good shops and restaurants. In the summer months, day trips by ferry or helicopter are available to the romantic Isles of Scilly.
This former fisherman's cottage has its own walled garden with a bridge over the stream. Attractively furnished in `Victorian' country style, this comfortable cottage has a spacious beamed living/dining-room with granite walls, slate floor with rugs and `Victorian' coal-burning stove in inglenook fireplace. Separate galley kitchen with wonderful sea views. First floor: Double bedroom with ornate antique iron bed. Two small bedrooms, each with single bed and built-in bed (one with 2ft 6in beds). Bathroom/W.C. with shower attachment. All rooms have rugs on stripped pine floor. The kitchen has everything you would need. There are lovely snugly duvets on the bed and your towels are also provided. You can pre book high chairs and cots and even get you luggage transported to the cottage by tractor – small fee to the driver.
Price guide: From £606 per week
Other great family hotels:
Langstone Cliff Hotel
Babygoes2 the beach in Cornwall.
Some of our favourites:
Just below the Minack theatre which is hewn from the cliff face lies Porthcurno beach. You can drive to it and park 100m or so from the beach, which is glorious. A wide cove of firm golden sand backed by magnificent cliffs. There are plenty of large rocks dotted about, with rock pools. The Atlantic rolls in – sometimes calm, sometimes thunderously rough but always magnificent. It's a really beautiful beach – plenty of room for games, walking, paddling, (supervised) climbing, messing about in rock pools, building sandcastles, and just relaxing.
About a mile from Newquay, this Cornish beach - which boasts what seems like miles (it's actually two-miles long) of golden sands – has something for everyone. For toddlers there are rock pools and caves to explore and excellent opportunities to splash around (especially at low tide). While the toddlers fish in rock pools, adrenaline junkies can try their hand at some of the x-treme sports (while the children look on) which also take place on the beach – including kite surfing – the latest craze from Hawaii. Not much shade so worth taking UV tent, parasol for babies. Two car parks, means access is easy, along with two sets of toilets and café and restaurant open in high season. Close to beautiful Padstow (home to Rick Stein) with its excellent restaurants and cafes.
Porthminster Beach St Ives
The Cornish town of St Ives has so much to recommend it – from the Tate Gallery and its superb art collection (as well as the panoramic views from its café), Barbara Hepworth's beautiful sculpture garden, as well as its great beaches. Porthminster is great for families: the long expanse of golden sand is the perfect setting for play, play, playing, while the sea is generally calm and, best of all, when the tide is out, you can all toddle off for what seems like miles, into the deep blue yonder. Good facilities including shops selling beach toys and toilets. There's also an excellent cafe/restaurant overlooking the beach called the Porthminster Beach Cafe, which does everything from seafood laksa to baby food (lunch £8, dinner £25).
A number of establishments, including the chic Hotel Tresanton, overlook this beautiful beach which means it's possible to nip down for a quick paddle and splash, before retreating back to the comforts of your hotel. There are lots of boat trips to take, sailing boats to watch and rock pools to fish in.
for more information on places to stay in Cornwall and elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
Useful information sites: