When you’re visiting the west-country with small children in tow, and you’re on a limited budget, it can be a little challenging trying to find suitable activities to keep the whole family busy – especially when the weather is on the cooler side of warm and not quite beachy enough to spend hours playing in the sand and sea.
My husband and I love going for long walks (well, I do, anyway – I may be assuming that he does too, seeing as he tends to just go along with whatever. Apparently I am the expedition-organiser), so I did a little digging to find some walks we could go on that would be suitable terrain for a two- and five-year-old.
The first, and certainly easiest, walk is Penzance to Marazion, which can be found on the South-West coast path website. This walk was perfect for us, for our five-year-old to burn off her boundless energy, and our two-year-old to enjoy a traditional sea-front walk from the comfort of her stroller. The walk begins at Penzance station, perfect for any young rail enthusiasts. With the railway on your left, and the sea stretching out to forever on your right, it’s a pleasant stroll to draw in some healthy sea-air at your own pace. There are beautiful views of St Michael’s Mount, the castle on the hill, nestled in the sea, like something from a fairy-tale. The walk itself is 2 miles long, and with our five-year-old only having little legs, we didn’t quite make it all the way to Marazion. Despite pleas for ice-cream, we didn’t encounter any along the walk. However, as a first option for somewhere to stretch our legs and let off some steam, this buggy-friendly walk is ideal for a family with young children. As it’s suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, it’s also great for scooters and cyclists alike.
Our second (and my favourite) walk, was Kennack Sands and Kuggar. It’s not buggy-friendly, but it is a family-friendly coastal walk that loops round from the beautiful beach at Kennack (in fact, I’m reluctant to share this, as I felt as though I’d found my own new little piece of heaven aside from my forever love of Studland Bay in Purbeck, Dorset). The small beach offers all-day parking, and was relatively quiet (although perhaps due to it not being peak-season). After paying to park our car, we followed the coast-path sign towards Coverack, through the Lizard National Nature Reserve, navigating up into the woods of the Gwendreath Valley.
Eventually finding our way out of the woods onto the road (or rather, country lane), we continued our journey back along a footpath skirting the outside of a campsite, which brought us out into a lush green field. We followed this field into the next one, over a number of ‘coffen’ stiles (horizontal slabs of rock), returning to the road leading back to the beach. Our youngest one was a little star, and although she needed to be carried at times, it wasn’t too strenuous (although I did continually question why I had neglected to bring my Connecta carrier). As an advisory, it’s definitely worth printing this walk off, as it isn’t difficult to take a wrong turn. However, if followed correctly, this walk is a beautiful, fun adventure for the whole family.
Our final walk was a little more taxing for our trooper-toddler, which involved a steep walk up the cliff for our coastal-walk to the beach nearest to where we were staying, and also involved a fair amount of carrying. This walk was extracted from the Mullion & Poldhu route of the South West Coast Path, beginning from Point 5: Mullion Cove. We didn’t travel the entire route to Poldhu (4.5 miles), but chose this walk in order to discover Polurrian Cove, another beautiful hidden gem. Although not perhaps the best walk for parents of a nervous disposition, once the steep path has been navigated, the beautiful views over Mullion Cove and Polurrian Cliff (National Trust) are worth it. The rest of the walk along the coast path towards Polurrain Cliff is fairy easy terrain to tackle, although if your toddler is tired, be prepared to do a little more carrying (and perhaps remember your baby- or toddler-carrier!) on the easier path down to the beach. There are two paths – one is steeper than the other, and we chose the lesser of the two on the recommendation of the local.
On arriving at the beach, I was delighted to have found another little Cornish secret. Polurrian Cove, tucked beneath the Polurrain cliff; sand peppered with fine grains of rock, enough stones to build a mini-fort, and a sea that shimmers under the rays of the sun. Peaceful and perfect in every way.
So there you have it. If you’re feeling adventurous and watching the pennies, or just would rather be at one with nature than spend a fortune in commercial attractions, then pack up a picnic and take your young family on an adventure.
These experiences and memories are ones that money just cannot buy.
This post was written for Wiki Places for Kids – the go-to site for ideas on what to do with your kids at any given time (especially when you just NEED to get out of the house – even if just for an hour).