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4 Top Family Days Out In Devon And Cornwall This Summer

Matt Crisp April 29, 2024

It’s almost time to start planning the big summer getaway, and for staycationing Brits the number one destination is often Cornwall and its near neighbour and friendly rival, Devon. It’s not difficult to understand why when you consider the myriad attractions of the region, particularly for young families.   

There’s miles of stunning coastline featuring classic sandy surfing beaches, secluded coves, and picturesque fishing villages. Meanwhile, Devon has two beautiful and ecologically important National Parks, Dartmoor and Exmoor. The south west region is easily accessible by coach or car from London and all the major urban centres of the UK. 

Whether you want a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustle of the city, an action-packed week with the kids, this region has it all in buckets and spades. Here’s a guide to some of the top family days out this summer.

Clovelly, North Devon

The charming harbour village of Clovelly in north Devon was once owned by William the Conqueror and passed down royal and aristocratic lines until the 19th century. In fact, the secluded clifftop village remained almost unknown to the outside world until this time. It’s still under private ownership, and there’s an entrance fee for visitors.

Cars need to be parked a short distance outside the village because there’s no vehicular access. On admission, you can explore the Clovelly Court Gardens, the quayside, tour a fisherman’s cottage and small museum. There’s also shops, a crafts workshop, a pub, and the famous Clovelly donkeys, who provide transport up and down the steep cobbled street. 

The Milky Way Adventure Park

Just one mile away from the village of Clovelly is the Milky Way Adventure Park, a little gem that has just been voted the UK’s top theme park, and number five in the world, according to TripAvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards. It’s geared towards families, with rides such as the Cosmic Typhoon coaster and Droid the Destroyer Dodgems. 

For younger visitors, there’s a soft play centre, the Milky Way Train, and the Cosmic Caterpillar. There’s also live shows, crafts sessions, and sporting events. The tickets are great value for money, currently ranging from £7.95 for children to £14.95 for adults.

Speaking to The Sun, park manager Tara Stanbury said: “We have guests who return regularly with their children and it’s great to see them growing older and getting excited about being able to finally ride the bigger coasters – for some of them it’s the highlight of their year.”

She added:“We have a place where parents can play with their children and not just sit and watch them. We’ve designed our play areas to fit adults who want to accompany their younger kids, because often soft play areas can be a horrendous experience for grown ups – they aren’t designed by people who spend any time in them.”

Pirate’s Quest, Newquay, Cornwall

Pirate’s Quest, situated in the popular Cornish seaside town of Newquay, is the ultimate combination of adventure, fun and learning for visitors of all ages. Visitors can walk through purpose-built sets to travel 300 years back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy, where they will be guided on their journey by theatrically trained actors.

There’s a chance to view the wreck of the Royal Anne Galley, which was a pirate hunter’s ship wrecked off the Cornish coast in 1721. Youngsters will be given a treasure map and invited to take part in a special quest, where they will encounter Smuggler’s Passage, The Captain’s Ship, and the infamous Locker of Davy Jones. 

The venue is inclusive of a newly refurbished indoor crazy golf course, with photo opportunities aplenty. It’s strongly recommended to pre-book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. 

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall

Heligan was once a well developed garden estate that was abandoned at the outbreak of WWI, and not rediscovered until 1990. After an enormous restoration project, the gardens have now been meticulously restored over 200 acres, and it’s now a haven for native species, wildlife, and an outstanding example of Victorian gardening expertise.

During the summer months, there’s a programme of events such as arts and crafts workshops and children’s outdoor activities. There’s also a jungle featuring a 100ft high Burmese Rope Bridge, open for those who dare!