Over the past few years I’ve been exploring Cornwall with my young grandchildren, seeking out the best places to go for families with pre-school age children. Together, we’ve explored the length and breadth of the county, venturing off the beaten path and trying out new places.
Walking is a great way to see the best of what Cornwall has to offer – there’s always something new to look at and plenty of scope for activities along the way. But it’s not always easy to find walks which work just as well for little legs as big ones, or that you can do with a baby in a buggy – you need to know where to go.
So following on from last week’s blog post, here are some more of my favourite family friendly walks in Cornwall. Several of them can easily be done on the train from Bosinver, which is ideal if you’re holidaying without a car or prefer to use public transport.
Newlyn to Mousehole
This is a level off-road walk of approximately two miles from the harbour at Newlyn to the pretty village of Mousehole – the setting for the children’s book The Mousehole Cat. There are cafés at either end of the walk, and the harbour’s a lovely place to stop for an ice cream.
Polzeath to Daymer Bay and St Enodoc church
A 1.5-mile level coastal walk with spectacular views across the Camel Estuary, the Doom Bar and out to sea. Pack a picnic and enjoy the view, or pop in to one of the cafes at Polzeath.
Penrose Estate (near Helston)
Park in the free car park opposite Coronation Lake on the outskirts of Helson (where you’ll also find a great playground and café). From the car park, cross the River Cober and head for Penrose House on the west side of Loe Pool. The level walk takes in beautiful parkland, and there’s a seasonal café at the house where you can stop and refuel.
For more information about walks in this area, visit the Penrose pages on the National Trust website.
West Looe to Hannafore Point
This walk offers spectacular views of Looe Island and the river. Park at Millpool car park and head for Looe town centre (making sure you keep to the car park side of the river). Turn right at the bridge to pass through West Looe to the headland, following the coast for approximately two miles. Hannafore Beach has some fantastic rock pools to explore, while Looe Beach is a safe, sandy beach ideal for families. There are numerous cafes in Looe to choose from, plus public toilets.
Travel by train: take the train from St Austell to Liskeard, then transfer to the scenic Looe Valley Line.
The Camel Trail
I have purposely avoided the Camel Trail between Wadebridge and Padstow (lovely as it is) as it can be busy at times so not ideal for toddlers. Instead, I recommend the less busy and much safer stretches from Bodmin to Wenford Dries or Bodmin to Wadebridge instead. Park at The Borough Arms pub one mile out of Bodmin on the Wadebridge road and walk either way on a hard, level surface alongside the River Camel through tranquil woodland until you decide to turn around!
Travel by train: take the train from St Austell to Bodmin Parkway (approximately three miles outside the town) and then catch a bus or take a taxi.
Penzance to Marazion
This is a scenic two-mile coastal walk on pavement from the main car park near the railway station in Penzance. Enjoy panoramic views across Mounts Bay as you walk towards Marazion.
If you’ve got time, it’s well worth stopping off at St Michael’s Mount – the National Trust staff and volunteers are brilliant with young children.
There are cafes at either end of the walk, and you can choose from the Island Café or the Sail Loft restaurant on the Mount itself.
Travel by train: there are regular trains between St Austell and Penzance.
Car-free days out in Cornwall
If you’re looking for a day out without the car, take at our ‘50 things to do without a car from Bosinver’ ebook. Whether you choose to walk, cycle, take a bus, train or ferry (or any combination you like), there’s plenty you can do without driving. And for each of the days out, we’ve included suggestions for things to do and instructions for how to get there.
Where’s your favourite place to go for a family walk in Cornwall? If you’ve got any suggestions about other buggy friendly walks in Cornwall, why not share them below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @bosinver?