Cornwall’s Family-Friendly Beaches 2017 Part 1

Blue Flag beaches are awarded not only for water quality, the award criteria also is concerned with the beaches facilities such as disabled access, life guards on duty and toilets etc. It doesn’t mean that there are no other beaches worth visiting in Cornwall with the family,(far from it, there are lots of tiny coves and sandy escapes)  this is just the tip of the iceberg and we will be featuring some hidden gems in our next Family-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall series.

Here is a snapshot of a small collection of beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag status in Cornwall, and overview on what they can offer for families looking for little bit of seaside fun…

Polzeath Beach

Image: Jamsta @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Polzeath is in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The beach here is sandy and safe, gently shelving into the sea. At high tide Polzeath beach is very small but at low tide it turns into a fantastic sandy haven for all the family, extending about half a mile in all directions. Not only does Polzeath beach boast fine golden sand but it is also fringed with rock pools and if you are lucky you could well spot the odd dolphin or puffin.

Polzeath itself is a small village located on the headland opposite Padstow. There are lots of shops lining the beach front here for family holiday-makers. Within the village itself you will find a number of restaurants, cafés and pubs.

Polzeath beach is very popular and can get busy during the summer months. It is great for rock pooling, sand castle building and is also a fun beach for learning to surf or body board. It is located in a nature reserve and so home to many interesting wildlife species.

Trevone Bay

Image: Evans1551 @ Wikipedia under Creative commons licence

Trevone Bay is a rural secluded un-spoilt beach located in north Cornwall close to Padstow. This beach has golden sand and little coves and is home to good marine wildlife. Dogs are welcome here except between Easter Sunday and 30th September when the seasonal ban comes into force. The sea is quite strong here making it popular with surfers. Trevone Bay is a popular little beach with families, it has rocky ledges either side of it, home to lots of rock pools. Apparently if it’s rock pools you are after though, you should visit the Rocky Beach (Newtrain Bay) next door as it has both fab rock pools and a big tidal pool too for splashing around in.


Porthtowan is a large west-facing beach fringed with granite cliffs. The beach is sandy, perfect for sand castle building and children will also love exploreing the rockpools for life.

Being a Blue Flag beach means that the amenities here are good. There are also a range of cafes and shops within close proximity including the Blue Boar a fashionable beachside café bar. Blue Boar Facebook Page

Porthtowan (Cornish Porth Tewyn, meaning cove of sand dunes) lies on Cornwall’s Atlantic costa just over a mile west of St Agnes, it is a family-friendly beach and is popular with surfers too.

There is a thriving local community here visit the Porthtowan website need more inspiration? visit the Porthtowan online video

Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay is located just one mile east of St Ives. It is privately owned by the Carbis Bay hotel but open to the public. The hotel provides beach facilities including washrooms, and food and drink outlets.

This wonderful golden sandy beach in Cornwall is about a mile long and the water is generally quite calm, not great for surfers but perfect for families with toddlers! There is a host of wildlife here, with occasional sightings of dolphins and other sea animals like seals and spider crabs.

Dogs are welcome here (except between the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September when the seasonal ban is in place, however dog walks are allowed between 5 and 8 am).

Image by Lantographer under the creative commons license

Gyllynvase Beach (Falmouth)

One of the most popular beaches in Cornwall is Gyllyngvase Beach (AKA Gylly) with its  wide golden arc and beautiful blue sea it is easy to see why.

Gyllynvase Beach is a south-acing family resort beach with something for everyone, from water based activities to sand castle building. The award-winning, Gylly Beach Café is built over the beach with lovely views, and prides itself with using local produce wherever possible and offers a fresh contemporary menu (shellfish, fish, tapas, salads etc). There are lots of amenities here, along with a beach café selling ice cream and beach goodies next to Gylly Beach Café throughout the summer months. Gylly beach is located to the south of Falmouth town centre which is a 15 minute walk away. There are also Green Flag Award winning gardens making the area well recognised for its environmental quality.

Image: Tony Atkin under the creative commons license

Coming next: Hidden Family -Friendly Coves in Cornwall

Top 10 ideas for your family holiday on Tresco Island

Holiday Tots Tresco

Tresco Island is the second biggest island of the Isles of Scilly in Cornwall, England. It is an idyllic holiday destination of unspoilt beauty, with turquoise sea, sandy beaches and secluded coves. You could quite easily be fooled into thinking you were somewhere far more exotic than the UK. (For child-friendly holiday properties on Tresco Island visit our website).


The island is located 28 miles south west of Land’s End, Cornwall and benefits from a relatively mild climate (all year round). Your journey begins before you even arrive whether by boat or plane…

Tresco Island is very much an  island for families wishing to holiday but also all the businesses and homes on the island are run by the Dorrien-Smith family who still live in Tresco Abbey today.

There is a real family-friendly vibe on the island with a strong community spirit: there are about 150 island residents (not including the wildlife!) with some families having lived  here for many generations.

There really is something for everyone on Tresco, the island is famed for its beauty and you cannot help but be impressed….

Here’s our top 10 things to do on Tresco Island with the family


Beaches galore

The beaches offer a mixture of white sand gently shelving into the sea; quiet coves to rugged coast line with rock pools. So it is ideal for sand castle building, paddling or foraging for crabs and sea life.



Bikes are the primary transport on Tresco and are available to hire. There are bicycles to suit all ages and also children’s trailers available. Explore the island on wheels and no need to lock it up either!


Tresco Abbey Gardens

Tresco’s Abbey Garden is a sub-tropical garden home to thousands of exotic plants. There is an extraordinary diverse selection of plant life within the garden from all over the world. The hotter drier terraces at the top of the garden are ideal for plants from South Africa and Australia where the lower down plants favour flora from South America and New Zealand. Even the most uneducated botanist will be impressed. The amazing thing is that less than 30 miles away on the Cornish mainland many of these plants wouldn’t stand a chance of survival, even at winter solstice more than 300 plants will be in flower! Good news for an out of season break – weather-wise!

sailing scilly (1)

Boat trips

Boat trips on Tresco are a must! There are regular shuttle trips for a little ‘Scilly Island hopping’. Alternatively explore Scilly’s hidden coves, private deserted beaches or try your hand at fishing either by hiring a private boat or joining one of the many guided tours. (Island Sea Safaris also offer rib excursions but these are not suitable for very young children). If sailing is your thing why not hire a dingy for the whole family or take a lazy trip in a Kayak. Whatever you are after the local sail boat club have an assortment of boats to choose from that are ideal for all ages.


Tresco and Bryher Rowing Club

Every Friday and Wednesday night (from May to September) you can cheer on the Tresco and Bryher Rowing club in their traditional races from Nut Rock to St Mary’s quay, pick a team and scream as loudly as you like!



The giant pool surrounding Tresco is perfect if you don’t mind a little chill! Alternatively there are plenty of swimming pools to choose from if the sea proves a little too cold. Take your pick from the indoor swimming pools at the Spa and Sea Garden cottages or two three heated outdoor pools dotted around the island.



The fresh air here is intoxicating and there is no better way to take it all in other than a good old fashioned family stroll! Tresco Island has a network of footpaths to explore with an abundance of nature to take in and a wealth of historical forts and monuments to discover as well as long deserted beaches. A favourite is the walk along the coastal path to Cromwell’s seventeenth century castle located northwest on the island, a short hike up the hill behind will lead you to some fabulous views of the islands and to King Charles Castle.


Bird holes

There are two fresh water pools on the island providing a haven for birds so perfect for birdwatching. Tresco also has three bird hides so if you have an avid bird loving toddler who can sit quiet for a while then this is a must. Or maybe just a visit to the fresh water pools and/or feeding the locals might be enough!


Ruin Beach Café

The Ruin Beach Café offers all day beach dining with fab view and of course wonderful food. It was awarded the Gold Standard by Conde Nast Traveller magazine in 2013. At the heart of the restaurant is the wood-fired oven producing pizzas, roasts and fresh fish as well as baking bread. Open all day, the Ruin Beach Café can offer a buffet breakfast in the morning, lunch, afternoon cakes and dinner.


The New Inn

The New Inn is Tresco’s local friendly pub offering award winning food and drink. It is filled with locals and guests all year round with regular live music, and plays host to the island’s beer and cider festivals. It really is the heart of the island community. You will also be spoilt by its menu choices from the old favourites such as beer-battered fish and chips, New Inn burger or sausage and mash to the Tresco surf and turf: succulent Bryher lobster and chargrilled Tresco beefsteak. Great for families there are baby-change facilities, high chairs, pencils and colouring sheets and a good children’s menu.


And a little for the adults

For a little adult time there is plenty on offer: diving, fishing, cricket and plenty of events held throughout the year including the Tresco Triathlon, Beer Festivals, Art festivals, Cider Festival, Food Festival and more plus…

Tresco_Island-Enjoying_Spa_1200x679_4 (1)

Leisure Spa

For adult relaxation, although Tresco has an extraordinary natural environment that is a tonic in itself, the spa will deliver. There is an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, gym, beauty treatment centre and yoga classes. The Spa also manages the astro-turf tennis court bookings if you’re feeling energetic!


There is an assortment of family friendly holiday accommodation on Tresco Island. The New Inn offers bed and breakfast, there are characterful Scillonion cottages available to rent too.


For self-catering holiday cottages that are perfect for families with pre-school children why not take a look at the beautiful Sea Garden Cottages located on the beach offering accommodation for families looking for one to four bedrooms.


Or the Flying Boat Cottages, a collection of contemporary New England style beachfront cottages offering up to four bedrooms.

These child-friendly cottages can be found on our Holiday Tots website too and if you enquire via Holiday Tots, not only do you pay the same as going direct but also get spa membership and free entrance to the Tresco Abbey Gardens (usually £12pp). Tresco is also happy to provide complementary bike hire to all Holiday Tot guests. You can view Tresco’s child friendly holiday accommodation on Holiday Tots here.

New on Holiday Tots: child-friendly holiday farm in Cornwall

The latest child-friendly holiday properties on Holiday Tots are situated near Lostwithiel in South West Cornwall.

Luxury child-friendly holiday farm, Cornwall

Luxury child-friendly holiday farm, Cornwall

A luxury collection of nine farm holiday cottages with great facilities for babies, toddlers and young children

Family-friendly luxury farm holiday cottages in Cornwall

Family-friendly luxury farm holiday cottages in Cornwall

daily animal-feed runs with farmer Tim


an indoor heated swimming pool (that English weather will not spoil the fun!), play barn and more.


The cottages have all been fully renovated and offer fabulous child-friendly holiday accommodation. They range from a small 2 bedroom cottage, ideal for a couple and baby through to three bedrooms ideal for a family of six plus baby.

There is a soft play area for a break from the outdoors and within the grounds there are plenty of ride on toys, play park and pony rides.

Play Park & Hot Tub 041



Indoor play barn

Indoor play barn

There is also a secret garden with hot tub, the ideal escape with a good book or some family splashing fun under the stars and the farm shop is open 24 hours for all sorts of goodies, even cooked meals for when you just really don’t want to cook!

Secret garden hot tub

Secret garden hot tub

The farm’s location is perfect for exploring Cornwall and has plenty of child-friendly holiday activities including The Eden project. There are lots of beaches and harbours to explore too: the nearest being just 20 minutes drive.

For availability and prices and to contact the owners visit their page on Holiday Tots.

Toddle to… The Top Half of Cornwall

Since our toddler was born we have travelled to a few places from France to New Zealand but never really explored our own country other than West Sussex. although I have fond memories of my childhood holidays to Cornwall, my husband is more worldly travelled than I and was a little sceptical about the UK providing a holiday to inspire but inspire Cornwall did!

It can be fun even if it’s not sunny!

We concentrated on the top half of Cornwall which offers a wonderful array of toddler-friendly beaches, parks and family attractions to suit all tastes and budgets. All do-able from where ever you stay in the north of this lovely county. When we travelled to Cornwall Freddie was 2 yrs 8 months at the time and would recommend it for all ages. We can’t wait to go back.

Our pick to Toddle to…

 1.    Beaches galore…

Depending where you are staying you will find wonderful family friendly beaches and rock pools to play on/in from Rock and Padstow on the north coast to Whitsand Bay and Looe on the South East coast

 2.   Lovely seaside towns

      Dotted along the coast-line where you can grab a pasty or ice cream (depending on the weather) and enjoy the fantastic views. Try Padstow and take a walk along the beach cliff alternatively park in Rock and take the small boat across to Padstow or explore other seaside towns and enjoy a bit of history.

 3.    Bodmin Moor…

Explore the Moor and it’s stunning views with streams, rocky outcrops, wild ponies and lots of safe space to enjoy.

 4.    Carnglaze Caves

These caves are a fun way to explore underground and have their own lake, the acoustics are great for little voices! There is also a woodland walk dotted with fairies and elves, far too many to count but a great challenge for children! Beware the woodland walk is steep and winding so not for faint hearted parents with little ones and definitely not pushchair friendly. Our two year old loved it but you have been warned!!

 5.    Lappa Valley Railway.


Three different train rides to hop on and off in an old mine site with play areas, boating, picnic space,

cafe etc. Great day out especially for little ones obsessed with steam trains like our chap.

 6.    Old Macdonalds Farm

A small family run farm park. Young children especially will enjoy the freedom of a visit to Old MacDonalds Farm. Pony rides, miniature train ride, play areas and farm animals. Cafe.

 7.    Crealy Adventure Park

Whatever the weather at Cornwall’s largest theme park, the fun never stops with hours of awesome indoor play. Lose yourself in the Dragon’s Lair with mini mazes, aerial walkways and breathtaking drop slides, creep through the shadows in the haunted house and especially for young explorers, you’ve your own special playhouse. Farm Animals.

 8.    Blue Reef Aquarium

Take the ultimate undersea safari at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. Enjoy close encounters with everything from tropical sharks to enchanting seahorses!

 9.    Springfields Fun Park & Pony Centre       

An action packed day with acres of space to run and play. Pony rides.

 10. Dairyland Farm World

A great hands on experience to stroke, feed, cuddle and ride some of DairyLand’s friendly farm animals. Hours of fun inside and out.

 11. Newquay Waterworld Tropical Fun Pool

where you can have loads of fun shooting the water cannon, wrestling with a crocodile, riding the flumes & kiddies slides, but beware of the spitting snakes or water tipper which may catch you unawares. 25m Swimming Pool: where you can practice your swimming & diving skills. Splash on down today!

 12. Oasis Fun Pool 

Featuring the fast and furious high speed aqua whiz flume, the exciting wet & wild 265ft super flume, and the suitable for all gentle fun slide! A river rapid ride to take your breath away, and geyser for a real soaking, then get drenched under the giant tap, fountains and waterfalls too!

 13. The Monkey Sanctuary         

The Monkey Sanctuary Cornwall

Set in beautiful woodland overlooking the picturesque Cornish Coast, we

 have been offering a safe home to monkeys in need since 1964. Much more than just monkeys, it’s a great day out for the whole family, and you can rest

assured that all income goes to support out charitable work.

For a selection of child-friendly holiday properties in North Cornwall visit Holiday Tots where you will find individual holiday cottages, farm-stays and luxury Eco lodges – perfect bases to explore from… or the official Tourist Board for Cornwall website where you will find details of what’s on as well as some lovely holiday accommodation