Always a popular choice in the summer holidays, Cornwall provides one of the best family holiday destinations in the UK. The county offers a variety of things that keep the family entertained including fun attractions, cultural heritage sites, and lots of beaches for plenty of summer amusement. Cornwall provides an affordable option for families looking for a staycation. We have picked our top free things to do in Cornwall to make your trip great value for money.
Take a look at these top ten free things to do in Cornwall for a fun holiday escape to the South West.
Start planning your escape by looking through our collection of holiday cottages in Cornwall and enjoy a fantastic break exploring the South West.
This award-winning attraction based in Redruth was named the UK’s first cultural playground. An eclectic mix of heritage exhibitions, a huge adventure playground for the kids, festivals, and farmers markets make up this fantastic free attraction, perfect for all the family. Heartlands is the perfect day out with plenty to do and see whilst providing a great option for free things to do in Cornwall.
2. The Camel Trail
If walking or cycling interests you, The Camel Trail is a perfect way to explore the Cornish countryside and provides a safe and free activity for all the family. The trail spans from Padstow to Wenfordbridge with several manageable sections to walk or cycle. There are numerous trails in Cornwall dependant on where you are holidaying, and all create a great affordable activity for the whole family.
3. The Royal Cornwall Museum
With many museums in the UK, admission is free for kids and the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro is no exception. With a fabulous collection of artefacts and archaeological treasures, you can experience the history and culture of Cornwall dating back to prehistoric times. The museum is a brilliant place to visit for people of all ages, for younger visitors the museum offers a fabulous timetable of activities to enjoy during the summer holidays.
4. Roskilly’s Organic Farm
If you want to experience a working organic farm, Roskilly’s located in St Keverne is a great place to see a traditional dairy farm in action whilst enjoying the Cornish countryside. Roskilly’s offer guided tours, tranquil walks, and the opportunity to sample and buy delicious local produce including ice cream and fudge. This is a great place to experience rural Cornwall with the whole family.
5. Rough Tor
Many of the beautiful natural places throughout Bodmin Moor are free to explore, and Rough Tor at sunset must be one of the most captivating sights in the region. Follow this walk to Rough Tor and you’ll climb to the summit of Cornwall's highest hill, neighbouring Brown Willy, and can look down from Rough Tor on the Fernacre stone circle.
6. Trelissick Gallery
With proceeds from the sales of paintings helping to keep this gallery going, you are welcome to visit for free with only a parking charge for non-National Trust members. View beautiful artwork by local artists, both established and emerging talent, and discover your new favourite painter or sculptor.
National Trust members are welcome to explore the rest of the estate for free as well, although anyone without a membership will have to pay.
7. St Michael’s Mount
This iconic destination is a fantastic day out for the family. You will have to pay if you want to explore the magnificent castle and pretty gardens, but crossing the causeway and wandering the harbourfront is free.
Start the day at Marazion’s sandy beach before making the walk across the causeway, when the tide is low enough. Visit The Barge House Visitor Centre to see the exhibition, then pop into the Island Café before heading back across the water to Marazion. You may find you are able to cross the causeway there and back for free, but if you do decide to take a boat or the tide comes in while you’re enjoying yourself on the island the ferryman’s fares are low at £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for children.
8. The beaches
This is a no-brainer. Cornwall’s golden sands and rolling waves provide a fantastic setting for a day out, whether you’re heading there as part of a family, with a big group of mates, or just you, your partner and your doggo.
A couple of our favourite beaches along the Cornish Coast include the epic stretch that is Praa Sands, the surfer-haven of Fistral Beach and the scenic, tranquil cove of Hemmick Beach. Discover a beach near where you’re staying in our guide to Cornish beaches.
9. Trenance Gardens and Leisure Park
Cornwall is known for its beautiful gardens, from the Eden Project to Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, but if you’re searching for free gardens then the place to go would be scenic Trenance Gardens in Newquay.
With playgrounds and parks for excitable youngsters and a big skate park, this is a fantastic place for families to while away an afternoon and the beautiful foliage provide a romantic setting for an evening stroll.
10. Journey along the South West Coast Path
Probably the best free thing to do in Cornwall is getting outside in the stunning countryside, where you can enjoy nice walks, a bit of stargazing and wildlife watching. The South West Coast Path is the best place to do that with scenery, challenging and easy stretches to pick from, and the opportunity for breathtaking views of the coast.
Taking a break from busy family life in the UK’s top holiday hotspot is a perfect way to unwind and enjoy a trip. Take a look at our cottages in Cornwall for a fantastic holiday in the South West.