Visiting West Cornwall with children

15th June 2021

West Cornwall is simply the best place to be a child. We’re speaking from experience here: as well as running a busy family campsite, many of the Polmanter team grew up here, and are now raising their own Cornish kids.


If you’re heading to West Cornwall with your brood this summer, here are just a few of the things you can enjoy together.

The beaches

We’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t love time on the beach. Splashing in the shallows, running on the sand, digging moats, peering into rock-pools, learning to surf, eating chips with a little wooden fork, collecting shells and sea glass… A beach really is a paradise for active and inquisitive young kids.

We know we’re biased; however, the beaches in St Ives are among the best in the county. The largest two, Porthmeor and Porthminster, have a fantastic combination of subtropical beauty and great facilities. Smaller Bamaluz Beach doesn’t have as much to do; but because it welcomes four-footed family members all year round, is a much-loved spot.


Child-focused attractions

We’re close to so many family-focused places to visit, that it’s hard to know where to start. St Michael’s Mount is a short drive from Polmanter, and simply getting there feels like an adventure even before you reach the old, cobbled harbour and castle.

The local mining heritage museums (such as nearby Geevor Tin Mine, as well as several National Trust mining attractions) all have a real commitment to involving children, and there’s always lots going on. And for good old-fashioned family fun, go and see the animals at Hayle’s Paradise Park before hitting their massive soft play area.

Most attractions are operating on a timed ticket basis at the moment, so you’ll need to book your visit in advance.

Activities for children

St Ives Surf School on Porthmeor Beach, or Ocean Sports in Carbis Bay both have lots of watersports on offer, and run classes for all ages and abilities. If your kids (and you!) have wanted to learn to surf, SUP, or kayak, West Cornwall is the best place to do so. You could also take a look at Global Boarders. Alongside surf lessons at Gwithian, they also offer coasteering adventures at Praa Sands – an awesome experience for older children and parents. Quote POLMANTERTOURINGPARK and receive 10% discount!

There’s usually theatre on for families during the school holidays. Look out for family shows at The Minack (you may catch the amazing Squashbox Theatre), Rogue Otherworld in Tehidy Woods, and St Ives own’ youth theatre group, Kidz R Us.

St Ives has always been a centre for artists, and we start them young here! Watch out for family sessions at Tate St Ives, while The Leach Pottery runs family sessions during school holidays.


Young boy standing on a surfboard in the sea learning to surf with St Ives Surf School in West Cornwall

Source: St Ives Surf School

Scamper space

As well as miles of yellow sands, West Cornwall has plenty of other places for the kids to run around and explore. Close to Polmanter, there are Steeple Woods and Knills Monument, as well as the beautiful moorlands with lots of footpaths. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of walking stretches of the South West Coast Path.

Other local woodlands include Trevaylor Woods near Penzance and Tehidy Woods near Redruth. National Trust garden Trengwainton, again near Penzance, encourages kids to run and explore with a range of traditional games. There are also plenty of places to work off some energy and stay active on rainy days.

Family-friendly food

As parents ourselves, we know how important it is to find places where your children are made to feel welcome. In St Ives, the Hub is a favourite hang-out for many local kids, and the whole Wharf Road area has plenty of super places for families to eat. At Polmanter, we’ve put a lot of thought into our Stable Bar and Restaurant, as we want you to be able to actually relax and enjoy your own meal as your kids happily tuck into delicious, home-made food.

And there’s also the beauty of seaside food. Fish’n’chips eaten on the beach (watch out for the gulls) or licking the drips off an ice-cream cone. Make the most of real Cornish pasties – and maybe you’ll even get chance to barbecue your own line-caught mackerel on the beach (and if that’s a no-no for the kids, pick up some local sausages from the farm shop at Splattenridden).


Family playing Uno at The Stable Bar in West Cornwall


Sorry – we probably got a bit breathless there! As you can tell, we’re really enthusiastic about how much there is in West Cornwall for kids. From super-organised families who like pre-booked activities, to those who just want to hang out on the beach for a week, there will be plenty to occupy you and your children in St Ives.