Mama recommends: Newquay
We LOVE Cornwall. As a kid most of my family holidays were to Cornwall and I will never tire of going there. This time round, we’d decided we needed a holiday but had very little money (having just moved and had some time off work). So, we were on a tight budget.
We were looking to spend a maximum of £150 on accommodation and go for a week. I thought it was going to be impossible. However, thanks to a last minute deal at Hendra Holiday Park we found the bargain we were looking for. I have always been a bit unsure about the idea of a holiday park but after this holiday I am totally converted.
First though, the journey and Exeter services…
Ok, so it might seem weird to mention a service station in my recommendations but if you’ve driven long journeys with kids you’ll understand! If your kid is anything like mine (i.e. a wriggly, forever-trying-to-escape, monkey) then you’ll appreciate what an amazing find it was. The changing table straps were chunky and there were also little plastic toys to play with whilst I changed him!
Whilst the little guy slept we listened to the Scummy Mummies podcast. I enjoyed them so much that I was actually a little disappointed once we arrived and had to stop listening. If you haven’t listened to the Scummy Mummies yet, you must. They are hilarious!
We stayed for a week at Hendra Holiday Park, just outside of Newquay in October. The week we’d picked happened to be toddler themed so we had the added bonus of extra activities for him. When you become parents your holidays look different and finding a place with free soft play is a win rather than a place with a good bar. Hendra ticked all our family holiday boxes.
The accommodation (a caravan/mobile home) was clean and well-kept. The bedrooms were a good size and the heating was really efficient so we could keep it warm in the colder evenings.
There was a hiring shop on site so we pre-booked a travel cot and picked it up when we arrived. This made packing the car so much easier! Our caravan also only had a shower but we hired a baby bath.
On site there there is a free soft play. I have no good photos as the little guy was too busy learning to walk! However, the whole floor is padded so it’s the perfect space on a rainy afternoon for a toddler.
There’s a brilliant pool with water slides. You have to pay extra to swim but totally worth visiting as the water was lovely and warm. In low-season there was hardly anyone else there so we had loads of space to swim on our own.
Great for toddlers
Because it was a toddler week there were daily activity sessions. Basically a load of toys out on the floor but our kid loved this. There’s also a ‘land train’ that drives around every morning. Really boring for the adults as it’s super slow, but kids just love that sort of thing!
The park also has two hippo mascots that made regular appearances. As it turns out, our kid loves people dressed in mascot costumes. I, on the other hand, find them creepy and steered clear.
There’s also a restaurant/cafe, a fish ‘n’ chip shop, and an Italian place. You can eat in or get a take-away. The Italian place did an excellent deal with kids eating free and a bottle of wine (for us obviously) included. So, he ate his body weight in pizza and we ate an equally large amount of pizza and drank wine. It was great!
If you like to be able to stop and do nothing, to sit and drink wine and watch TV, read, or play board games with your evenings on holiday then Hendra is ideal.
We were very fortunate to go in low-season. I’m not sure I’d go back if it was a busy time, a) because it’s super expensive in comparison but b) we loved having things to ourselves. So, I’d recommend Hendra in one of the less busy times. Unless of course you love crowds then sure, go mad, go in the Summer!
There are so many places to visit in Cornwall. We didn’t actually venture too far out as it was really nice just to relax at Hendra but here are some of the places we did go…
If your kid loves animals then Newquay Zoo is a brilliant day out. It’s not huge so you can get round the whole place pretty quickly then go back and visit your favourites again, or go to the play park. The great thing about going here is that your tickets are valid for the week so you can go back again another day so I’d recommend going early on so you can go back again.
There’s a ‘Village Barn’ section where you can pet the animals and we spent a lot of our time in there stroking the goats. We were pretty much there or watching the squirrel monkeys leap all over the place for most of the day!
Take me to the beach
If you’re a regular Cornwall visitor you will know that Cornwall’s beaches are amazing! It doesn’t matter whether it’s the hottest day in summer or a drizzly autumn day, the beach will still be beautiful.
We stumbled upon Perranporth beach accidentally as we’d headed to a church service in Newquay only to discover that the Newquay 10K was on and therefore the roads were all inaccessible! So, after driving around a little aimlessly we ended up in Perranporth and wandered along this beautiful beach. There were lots of dog walkers so the little guy ‘dog watched’ for absolutely ages. He was in heaven!
When we visited Newquay it was drizzling but the beach was still a lovely place to walk towards the sea. This was the first time the little guy had walked on sand!
The Blue Reef Aquarium looks out onto Newquay beach so we visited after we’d had a little beach walk. Again, tickets are really good here as you can pop in and out and visit as many times as you like on one day.
Anyone who knows me will know I could quite happily visit an aquarium everyday and not get bored of it. I think fish are incredible! The little guy shares my fascination and the Blue Reef aquarium was great for him as loads of the tanks are at toddler height so he didn’t need lifting up to see anything.
It’s not a huge attraction but walking at toddler pace it’s big enough! And, as you can come back again later in the day this works really well.
Tea, Coffee and Cream Tea
Every good holiday needs tea and coffee and every good Cornish holiday needs a cream tea.
If you’re wandering down Newquay high street and want a family friendly place for coffee and cake or a little lunch then head to the Concho Lounge. The Lounges are an excellent chain and I’ve visited plenty of them, the Newquay one was bright, the staff were friendly, they had highchairs and they had yummy cake!
We had lunch at C-Bay, in Crantock, went for a walk to the beach and then went back for cream tea. It was that good! They’re seriously family friendly, it was packed with children, the family dog was wandering around, and the staff were super attentive. They also have a pool and in term time do ‘Swimming Wednesdays’ where you can swim for free if you book to eat.
Lappa Valley is a steam railway which takes you up to a sweet little park with lots of activities. There’s mini golf, a mini train and more steam trains, a huge park, an indoor play area, and a woodland walk.
It was the perfect place to take a picnic lunch, potter about and buy a cup of tea in the cafe.