It’s that wonderful time of year where mums and dads everywhere get to spend six whole precious weeks of bonding-time with their lovely little ones. I’m joking, I know the reality is a lot bleaker! In all seriousness, I can imagine it’s pretty hard-going for those of you who are trying to juggle work alongside this. It must be a nightmare and very costly planning childcare. However, I feel equally as sorry for those stay-at-home mums who are desperately trying to think of different ideas to keep their children entertained – not an easy or enviable task. We’re very fortunate here in Cornwall – we’re spoilt for choice of cheap days out to the beach, woods, nature trails etc. However, there’s only so many times you can tolerate the same beach and the same walks. Nevertheless, there are plenty of options if you’re happy to drive around.
I’ve compiled a list of my top 3 places which I think are the best locations to keep little ones entertained in Cornwall – particularly toddlers. If you also have any other favourite spots/places that I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to leave it in the comments below!
1. Heligan Gardens
We’re members at Heligan so it works out very cheap considering the amount of times we visit! It’s a truly magical place – an abundance of nature to explore. There’s a lovely cafe on site serving delicious cakes, sandwiches, salads, soup and more! The quality of the food is fantastic. If you’re like me, constantly looking for places with open space for your toddler to run around, this is the perfect location. There’s a couple of large grass areas where they can run wild, pick up leaves and spot various birds and bees! If your little ones love animals, then you’ll be glad to know there’s also plenty of farm animals to look at too! At the moment they have the cutest little piglets running around. There’s also a lovely farm shop located right next to Heligan – a haven for foodies! Have a look here for entry prices and opening hours.
2. Pinetum Gardens
Pinetum Gardens is another fantastic space of exploration for little ones. There’s masses of open space to run around and play hide and seek! It’s a great place for a picnic too. Alternatively, you could have lunch in their cafe. The food is OK in the cafe, but I think it’s the perfect place for a picnic. They do good coffee though.
There’s a big lake at the bottom of the gardens where you can usually spot lots of Canadian Geese – they can be a bit feisty though so watch out! We tend to stay in the upper gardens as it’s easier with an overly-adventurous toddler! There’s a smaller pond at the top of the gardens and you can buy duck food and feed the ducks there. Molly absolutely loved feeding the ducks. Have a look here for entry prices and opening times. Again, locals can get a membership. I really do love this place, Molly loves to collect leaves and sticks here. Each time we go we seem to find new little areas to explore. This is one of my most favourite places to take Molly. It’s so peaceful and serene.
3. Cardinham Woods
This is a great place if you’re looking for a fairly cheap day out in Cornwall. You do have to pay for parking, but that’s it. What child doesn’t love a walk in the woods?! There’s various different trails of different gradients/lengths etc. There’s also a little park at the beginning and the cutest little cafe. They serve the most delicious cakes!! It’s worth going just for the cake!!
Cardinham woods is such a great day out rain or shine! Its also possible to splash in the streams/rivers at shallow areas. Molly loved washing her hands in the river and picking up stones! It does get very busy, but because its such a large space it doesn’t ever feel like you’re on top of everyone else.
If you’re someone who loves a bike ride you can also now rent bikes from Cardinham. Alternatively, bring your own! There’s some great bike trails to explore. Have a look here for more information on car park fees, bike hire fees etc.