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Summer 2021

We reckon we've nailed it - we've found activities for every age, from babies to teens. Read on for the best of art, sport, festivals, music and more in Cornwall in July and August 2021

Jump straight to: YOUNGER KIDS / OLDER KIDS / IDEAS FOR WHOLE FAMILY

ONE OFF EVENTS – FAMILY FRIENDLY

Knights’ Tournament, Pendennis Castle, Falmouth (27-29 July) (castle open all summer in addition)

Set on a headland with breathtaking views out to sea, Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s finest coastal fortresses. Visit Pendennis Castle (members free but still need to book) and take the family on an outdoor adventure, with performances to watch and story telling to listen to, all included in standard admission.

And for one weekend in July, go back in time and get closer to the action as rival knights compete in the ultimate test of strength and skill. Arrows will fly, swords will clash and the winner will be decided in the Grand Melee finale. Immerse yourself in medieval life, where you can meet people from the Middle Ages.

Shrek the Musical, Sterts Theatre (15 – 17 July)

“Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek…” 

And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue.

Alice in Wonderland, Sterts Theatre (27 July)

Follow Boxtree Productions down the rabbit hole into a strange world of caterpillars, cards and tea parties.  Join Alice as she tries to navigate this curious world, but don’t lose your head! This fun-filled production will feature inventive staging, original songs, magical storytelling and a whole host of Lewis Carrol’s crazy characters.

Rock Oyster Festival, Rock (30 July – 1 Aug)

Photo by Sean Gee Photography

Hosted by local chef Paul Ainsworth and friends, Rock Oyster Festival, held at Dinham House near Wadebridge, is a north coast favourite. Expect live music, circus acts, yoga and a chance to try some of the best oysters, mussels, and artisan produce around. This family-friendly event also offers lots of fun for kids and can be reached by bike – straight off the beautiful Camel Trail.

Starcrazy: A Cosmic Comedy, Bedruthan Hotel (4 August)

Starcrazy by the Miracle Theatre is a new cosmic comedy for summer 2021 open to all ages but as a guide we recommend ages 7+ (although there is nothing unsuitable for younger children.)

October 1957: the world lives in fear of nuclear war, Russia has launched Sputnik 1, UFOs are cropping up everywhere, MI5 is on high alert and Stanley is building something in his garden shed.

He may live in suburbia but, in his mind, Stanley is voyaging through outer space. He hopes to make contact with other life forms. His neighbour, Gwen, thinks he should be exploring the unknown much closer to home…

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf, Sterts Theatre (5 August)

Little Red sets off through the forest to visit Grandma but the journey won’t be easy. The three pigs are building their homes, Goldilocks is on the run from some bears and to top it all, the Big Bad Wolf is out on the hunt for dinner!  

Filled with live music, puppetry and audience interaction, this wonderful family musical has something for everyone!

Boardmasters, Newquay (11-15 Aug)

Credit: Callum Morse (Boardmasters Festival)

{SOLD OUT} The live music and pro surfing on the stunning Cornish coast is hosted across two beautiful locations. The festival site sits on the cliff top at Watergate Bay, home to arguably the world’s best festival view. Oh and over at Fistral there’s one or two things too … pro surf comps, skating, BMX, live music, the Surf Village and much more.

The Great Steam Engine Rally, Stithians Showground (20-22 Aug)

Family friendly weekend at Stithians to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the West of England Steam Engine Society. Expect, well, Steam Engines and plenty of vintage vehicles, plus fairground and rural animals including shire horses, plus a dog show.

Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge (27-30 Aug)
The bank holiday weekend is all about folk music in Wadebridge, with four nights and three days of concerts, sessions, folk clubs, dancing, workshops, craft fairs and children’s events in the beautiful market town.

The Great Estate Festival, Scorrier (27-29 Aug)

“The most rambunctious Garden Fête!” Expect major international headline acts – 2019 included James, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and Craig Charle – and a mix of comedy, theatre, music and the arts, all within the beautiful grounds of Scorrier Estate. Look out for the vintage fairground, woodland silent disco, secret gin garden, The Whispering Woods, burlesque sessions, Madame Wong’s House of Wrong, classical corner, glamping, hot tubs, The Sanctuary and the Swamp Circus and much more. Usually in May, this year the festival has moved to the August bank holiday weekend.

ON ALL SUMMER – FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Wavelength Drive-In Cinema, Watergate Bay (16 July – 5 Sept)

Back by popular demand, Cornwall’s surf mag is hosting the most beautiful drive-in cinema on the cliff tops above Watergate Bay. Plenty of family faves to watch including The Greatest Showman, Grease, and if you think they’ll ever go in the water again, Jaws.

Heligan Lost Summer Adventures, Lost Gardens of Heligan (17 July – 5 September)

Explore your inquisitive, playful and adventurous sides as you step into an experience full of horticultural highlights, outdoor play, and summer adventures in the natural world: something we may feared may have been lost this Summer.

Head to the survival skills enclosure where the team from Canoe Cornwall will teach you how to throw an axe like a woodsman, and to take aim and fire with our target practice lessons. What skills for survival in the wild will you learn? All activities are included within normal garden admission charges but pre-booking is essential.

Cornish Maize Maze and Farm, Saltash (19 July – 5 September)

Find your way along this maize maze with three miles of paths and two look out towers, plus farm animals and a wild flower meadow.

Heritage Boat Charters, Falmouth (19 July – 24 September)

Hop aboard a boating gem and see a different view of Falmouth with a Heritage Boat Charter. Uncover more about the town’s fascinating maritime history, drink in the breathtaking views and discover a different way to explore the Cornish coastline – organised by the National Maritime Museum.

Wild Moon – Forest Days, Rogue Theatre, Tehidy Woods (18 Aug – 5 September)

Wild Moon Forest Days is a woodland theatre adventure for all ages, a celebration of the wild, and the wild magic of life! Like wandering into a fairy tale forest, Wild Moon Forest Days offers a wild hearted welcome, weaving a summer spell of woodland wonder with Rogue’s theatre magic, incredible live music, breath taking dance, humour, and a collection of moon-spun tales.

Bedruthan Creates Workshops, all month

Join various local artists and crafts workers for a series of creative workshops for children of all ages at Bedruthan Hotel (not just for guests, all welcome).

Giant Slip and Slide, St Endellion

Loads of fun – kids of all ages (including the big kids) will love to slip and slide down the giant 100m water slide with sea views near Port Isaac on the North Coast. £11.50 per person per hour, under 4s free but must be accompanied and booked in advance as an add-on to your ticket. Wetsuits highly recommended – bring your own – and no changing rooms this year, but you can bring your own picnic.

St Michael’s Mount, off Marazion, nr Penzance

Emerging out of the water in Mount’s Bay off the coast of Marazion is a tidal island with a castle perched on the top. As the tide falls, the causeway literally appears before your eyes; a magical fairytale in action, beguiling both adults and children to begin the intrepid journey across the bricks to the rugged outcrop across the bay (re-opens 23 May, you’ll need to pre-book a boat trip if your visit falls outside of the hours either side of low tide).

Plus loads more of Cornwall’s castles here & our top ten Cornish museums here too.

Camel Creek Adventure Park, Tredinnick, Wadebridge

With exhilarating rides, a gigantic indoor play centre, outdoor fun, water flumes and the UK’s most hi-tech 5D Super Sim Theatre (look out for the new time-travel film coming this summer!), Camel Creek is great fun for the kids, rain or shine. Look out on social media for their character days.

Bike Riding

Check out our piece on bike trails here which includes the Camel trailBissoe trail, through Cardinham Woods or around the woodland paths at Lanhydrock (you’ll need to book first) – all pretty kid-friendly, even for those with no gears!

The Seal Sanctuary, Gweek

On the river at Gweek, which is beautiful, find the seals – so full of Cornish character. Pre-booking essential.

Monsters of the Deep, National Maritime Museum, Falmouth

The National Maritime Museum is back with their Monsters of the Deep exhibition which was due to open in 2020. Explore the centuries-old myths and legends, when chance sightings and odd appearances led to tall tales of deep sea creatures. Learn how, even today, these stories continue to capture imaginations, fuelled by fake news and conspiracy theories.

Tate St Ives, St Ives

The Tate St Ives has a new one way route to ensure visitor safety. Catch the Haegue Yang exhibition which has been extended for the summer season, and keep an eye out for the Tate Create series of activities for children, no details have yet been released on whether these will run, but the Tate is still a great day out for the whole fam, and brings a little culture to your beach trip.

Eden Project 

Yes, it is a little touristy, but it’s still well worth an explore – the grounds are beautiful at this time of year, there’s a playground and the biomes of course are fascinating and educational. Plus, a little drier as they are under cover.

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Inspired by Netflix’ Sea-spiracy? Head to Plymouth’s harbour for the UK’s largest aquarium, with sharks, rays, octopus feeding-time and fascinating jellyfish. They’ve made some changes to their pricing so all tickets now come with a year’s free pass, and locals with a PL postcode always pay the cheaper Saver price, regardless of what time you visit. All 3-15 child tickets are HALF the price of an adult and under 3s go free. Booking essential.

ON ALL SUMMER – ACTIVITIES FOR OLDER KIDS

Tintagel Castle

Photo credit: Hufton & Crow Photography

Immerse yourself in history, myths and stunning scenery at Tintagel Castle set high on Cornwall’s rugged north coast. Inextricably linked with the legend of King Arthur, for centuries this dramatic castle and coastline has fired the imaginations of writers, artists and even the brother of a king. Now it’s your turn to be inspired – complete with a trip across the new bridge. Note that there is currently a one-way system in place which means leaving via 140 steep steps.

Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel

Restormel is said to be one of the most remarkable castles in Britain – and certainly sits among some beautiful countryside near Lostwithiel, with far reaching views across the valley to the river Fowey. The present circular structure, built in the late 13th century, was a luxurious retreat for its medieval owners and was twice visited by Edward, the Black Prince. Now looked after by the English Heritage, don’t miss the new walking trail between the castle and Muddy fave Duchy of Cornwall Nursery where you can pick up a takeaway coffee, or even some plants.

Launceston Castle, Launceston

Launceston Castle is an imposing sight in the town itself, the ancient capital of Cornwall. Building of the castle started soon after the Norman Conquest – it is an unusual keep consisting of a 13th-century round tower built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, inside an earlier circular shell-keep. The castles main function used to be a prison before Bodmin Jail was constructed. After you’ve walked up to the keep and round the town you can also head out on to the moor to see the Hurlers which are three fine late Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone circles arranged in a line, a grouping unique in England. Parking is free, but you’ll need to keep dogs on leads due to grazing lambs.

Via Ferrata Cornwall, Penryn

Penryn’s Adrenaline centre, Via Ferrata, is launching a range of new activities for the 2021 season following a successful first season in 2020. The 60-acre site hosts a high-wire and climbing route around a disused granite quarry. This year it has added kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding as well as coasteering and archery. Via Ferrata is also operating an adventure holiday club during the hols with activities for 6–13-year-olds. Options include courses in climbing, zip-lining, kayaking, canoeing and archery as well as half, full and wraparound day care

Hangloose Zip Wire, Eden Project

Skywire is England’s longest and fastest zip wire experience – soar over the Eden Project! Only for those over 8 years of age (they must also weigh between 40kg and 120kg).

Adrenalin Quarry, Plymouth

With its mega zip wires and giant swing, Adrenalin Quarry is a fun day out for the whole family. Great for stroppy teens too – throwing axes at tree trunks is all part of the fun (12+ on that).

Retallack Aqua Park, St Columb Major

Jump, splash, bounce, climb and slide at the huge ‘total wipeout’ style floating inflatable Aqua Park, including the FlowRider (above), at Retallack Resort. This huge inflatable Aqua Park has a giant trampoline, catapult, water wheel, ‘stepping stones’ climbing wall, slides, blast bags, challenging balance beams and lots more. Sessions cost £15 per person and include wetsuits, buoyancy aids and lifeguards (Age 6+) The resort also offers wake boarding.

Get on the water

Giving surfing a go is a must on a Cornish getaway (no, dipping your toes in wearing a wetsuit doesn’t count). George’s Surf School at Polzeath is great for individual coaching, or there’s Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay and the Sennen Surfing Centre, near Land’s End.

Try Stand Up Paddleboarding at Polkerris or Gylly Beach in Falmouth, and there’s also Cornish Rock Tours based at Port Gaverne, near Port Isaac, which will take you kyaking, SUP, coasteering or open water swimming. Check out Camel Ski School at Rock for waterskiing and sailing schools operate in Fowey, Rock, Mylor and Falmouth. Porthoustock, on the eastern side of The Lizard peninsular, is a great spot for kayaking.

On your mountain bike – Old Hill Bike Park near Wadebridge, which is not so much a trail as a maze of wheeled obstacle courses! You’ll need to have got all the kit in advance (helmets with face protection are mandatory, body armour recommended) – book in for a half or full day’s riding and try out jumps, ramps and drops along miles of graded tracks in what looks like off-road biking heaven. Top tip – walk the black route first!

IDEAS FOR YOUNGER KIDS

Sea Show Storytelling, The Minack Theatre, Porthcurno (19 July – 1 Sept)

The Sea Show is a quirky and hilarious mix of puppet show, natural history and comedy cabaret. Meet crazy characters like Morwenna the ‘beautiful’ mermaid, Ruan the reformed seagull and salty seadog Captain Pemburthy, as well as a cast of mischievous sea-squirts, anemones, limpets, crabs and pilchards. The Sea Show is the creation of Craig Johnson, an actor, musician and puppeteer, and long-standing member of Cornwall’s renowned Kneehigh Theatre.

Hey Duggee, Camel Creek (27 & 28 July)

Duggee, a big dog and the leader of The Squirrel Club, attempts to inspire young children to learn new things and gain experience through fun activities and adventures.

Stones and Bones, Squashbox Theatre (27 July)

This summer, come on a journey to Ancient Cornwall…A land of shuddering rocks, boiling seas and fiery volcanoes…There will be thrills and spills galore, but also lots of laughs, plenty of puppets, songs, slapstick, tall tales and crazy characters – all presented in that unique Squashbox style.

Cornwall has some of the most scenic railways in Britain – soak up the views of glorious beaches, estuaries and wooded valleys – we like the The St Ives Bay Line (from St Erth to St Ives) and the The Atlantic Coast Line crosses some of the finest countryside traversing the county from Par on the south coast to Newquay on the north. Fancy a more old-fashioned kinda trip – hitch a ride on the steam railways at Bodmin (above) or the Lappa Valley.

Playgrounds – the best have a cafe nearby for that essential coffee fix whilst you watch them, so head for Cardinham Woods, Lanhydrock, Callestick farm (above), Tanglewood wild garden near Penzance, Roskilly’s, Heartlands at Redruth – or choose a sea view and pack your own tea. My personal faves are Polruan and Port Isaac, both handily next to the car park.

Find more ideas here

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