Finding new and fun activities to do as a family can be hard work. But with tons of great things to do right on our doorstep, there’s no need to look any further than St Austell and the surrounding area.
Check out our guide below for 10 great things to do as a family.
1. Go crabbing in Fowey
A fun activity for both young and old, Fowey is renowned for its great crabbing spots. For the best, head to Albert Quay Steps, the slipway on Passage Street or the riverfront at Caffa Mill.
There’s no need for a hook, simply tie on some bacon rind, drop your line into the water and wait! It shouldn’t take too long for the crabs – most commonly The Shore Crab – to take the bait.
If you want to keep your catch in a bucket for little while to look at, make sure you only put a few in at a time and place them in the shade – they don’t like bright sunlight.
Once you’re finished your crabbing session, remember to carefully put the crabs back into the water.
2. Step back in time and let imaginations run wild at Restormel Castle
Standing proudly one mile north of Lostwithiel, why not pay a visit to Restormel Castle. Let children’s imaginations run wild as they explore the ancient castle and its beautiful grounds.
Dating back to the 11th Century, the castle was built by the Normans, making it one of the oldest motte-and-bailey castles in the West Country. Its 13th Century circular shell-keep has done a brilliant job of enclosing the principal rooms in good condition.
Once there, make sure you read all about the Castle’s fascinating life and really bring history alive! As well as learning about who lived there and the military action it saw, be sure to keep an eye out for some spectacular wildlife and birds – the grounds are a well known haven for it.
Entry is free if you’re an English Heritage member and it’s open from April 1st through to October 31st. There is parking and toilet facilities, as well as plenty of places to enjoy a picnic.
3. Hunt down the Heligan sculptures
Visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan and challenge your children to find the attraction’s famous sculptures. Set within some 60 acres of traditionally managed woodland, The Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady are just waiting to be discovered. Pick up the garden’s Woodland Walk and see who can find them first! For younger children why not make them an ‘I-spy’ print out with pictures of the sculptures to help them hunt them down.
There are plenty more things to explore, discover and enjoy whilst you’re at Heligan. For more information on the attraction, click here. (Link to founder member page)
The attraction is open all year round, except Christmas Day and there are parking, toilet and café facilities available. Entry prices apply.
4. Take on the ‘Children’s Challenge’ in Lostwithiel
A free activity that helps you discover snippets of the town’s history and what is has to offer to locals and visitors today.
The challenge will take you on a trail of discovery to the town’s museum, the town bridge, war memorial and railway station, among many others.
If it’s nice weather, why not pack a picnic and pick a spot to refuel along the river, or choose to enjoy lunch in one of the many town’s eateries.
You can find a downloadable PDF of the Children’s Challenge here https://www.lostwithiel.org.uk/exploring-the-town/ - don’t forget to take a pen and paper!
5. Build sandcastles at Caerhays Beach
When the sun makes an appearance, why not head down to Caerhays Beach - also known as Porthluney - and get sandcastle building.
With its large expanse of golden sand, you’ll have plenty of room to get creative with your castles.
There’s a large, chargeable car park very close to the beach and dogs are required to be kept on a lead. There’s also a popular café and beach side shop nearby offering tasty refreshments.
If your sandcastle game is strong, but you fancy a different beach, check out our beach guide here. (LINK to beaches)
6. Delve into the mystery of Roche Rock
Get your walking shoes on and head to Roche to discover the mysterious Chapel at Roche Rock.
Arguably the village’s most well-known feature, the chapel was dedicated to St Michael in 1409. It has two storeys – a chapel above and a room below. It has been a ruin for at least 250 years but no one truly knows who lived there and why, so it’s a great chance for children to use their imaginations and come up with a thrilling story.
You can walk around the rock and up to the castle. Once there, there’s a ladder to the room and then a second ladder to the higher level. This is done at your own risk - make sure you take care when exploring. Due to this rocky ground underfoot, this won’t be suitable for prams of wheelchairs.
On-street parking is available throughout the village and there is an information board at the beginning of the path, with plenty of information about the area as well as various myths about why the structure was built!
7. Get adventurous and try something new at Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre
Well known locally for hosting school camps – Porthpean Outdoor Centre also offers jam-packed multi activity days on weekends and throughout school holidays for families and group bookings.
From £35pp, you can choose from climbing, archery, high ropes, mountain biking, problem solving, bushcraft, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and coasteering – plenty to keep your family entertained!
For more information visit their website here. (LINK)
8. Get out on the water
We’re lucky enough to have some of the country’s most beautiful coastline, so make incredible memories and see St Austell like never before.
There are dozens of companies across the wider Bay area that hire out equipment to get you out at sea. From self-drive boats and guided trips to kayak, banana boat, canoe and stand-up paddle board hire – there is something for everyone to enjoy together as a family.
Businesses offering such hire can be found right across the Bay, from Fowey and Golant, to Polkerris and St Austell. For more information check out our business directory, here. (LINK)
9. Get hands on at Wheal Martyn
Capture your children’s imaginations and help them discover the area’s heritage with a visit to Wheal Martyn.
As well as giant waterwheels, vintage trucks, a train and adventure play area, there are tons of hands on exhibits at this attraction.
The indoor interactive centre features a making and drawing area, dressing up and voice recordings and film footage that give you your very own virtual tour into a working pit. Meanwhile outdoors, there’s a trail that takes you around a Victorian clay works, crib hut and flat-rod tunnel.
There are also quizzes to do along the way, as well as a Wheal Martyn teddy bear hunt and the chance for youngsters to wear a hard hat during their visit.
Wheal Martyn is £9.75 per adult and £5 for children, Under 5s go free. Family tickets are available. The best part is if you buy a full price ticket, you then get in free for a whole year.
There is parking on site, as well as a café and gift shop. For more information visit their website here. (LINK)
10. Spy Mission Treasure Trail
Why not transform your family into a team of spies and take on the Spy Mission Treasure Trail!
Available to either purchase for £6.99 and download online, or have it posted to you, this trail starts at Holy Trinity Church in the town centre, follows the bed of an old branch railway line, passes through Trenance Valley viaduct, the Carlyon Farm China Clay dry, finishing at the Wheal Martyn Museum.
You’ll need to work together to solve clues as you make your way along the specified trail route. Once you’ve got all the clues you can then crack the code and complete the mission!
The route includes both walking and cycling and should take around one-and-a-half hours to complete.
For more information on the trail and to purchase visit here. https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/cornwall/st-austell