We have been on holiday to Padstow in Cornwall every single year since my son was born. He is now approaching 15 and we also have a 12 year old son and 10 year old daughter.
You might think going to the same place every year would get boring. But the beauty of Padstow keeps drawing us back. The secret to not getting bored is finding different things to do every year. We will always do our favourite things, but there is plenty to choose from and, as the kids get older, it’s easy to find new activities for them.
These are the new things we tried with our teenager and tweens this year…
Fish and chips at Rick Stein’s
You can’t go to Padstow without getting your dose of Rick Stein. Unless you’re mega-rich, you won’t be going to The Seafood Restaurant (and my kids would be way too fussy for it anyway!) so the best way to get your little bit of Stein is at Rick Stein’s Fish & Chip Shop. We’d never been before because two of us are strict vegetarians and the chips are cooked in the traditional way – in beef fat.
But it seems Rick Stein finally realised he was missing out on valuable trade by not selling veggie chips. So he’s introduced them! For the first time we were all able to get a bit of Rick Stein action. He’s even introduced veggie burgers, which is great news. And if you’re not vegetarian, but you still don’t fancy beef-flavoured chips, you can order the veggie versions too.
You can queue to get a takeaway or queue to sit down in the restaurant, which we did. It took an hour, but it was just about worth it. After all these years of going to Padstow, it was nice to finally sample some of Rick Stein’s famous chips.
The Eden Project
It’s not actually in Padstow, but the Eden Project is a must-see if you’re in Cornwall. It’s 20 miles, or a 40 minute drive, away from Padstow and my eldest was very keen to visit. At £25 for adults and £14 for children, it isn’t cheap, although you can save 10% if you book online in advance. You can get a family ticket for £69. It goes without saying that a family ticket is only for four people!
It was the first time we’d visited in five years, so the kids had pretty much forgotten it. The boys were very impressed, but my daughter wasn’t quite so keen. We went on a rainy day, which a lot of people do, but the downside of that is the queues and the crowds!
We could have spent a lot longer there as the gardens are stunning. But neither my kids or my husband have the patience for gardens. They boys were very interested in the domes. They liked seeing all the different plants and reading about the negative effect humans are having on the environment, particularly the rainforests.
Since we last visited the Eden Project, the rainforest biome has introduced a high walkway, which was a real highlight for my eldest and my daughter. It’s pretty much my younger son’s worst nightmare, so we went to queue for a pasty instead. The queue for the walkway was half an hour, while the queue for pasties was 45 minutes! The food at the Eden Project isn’t cheap and the queues are very long, but it’s all locally-produced and very tasty.
We’d never really noticed the sealife safaris before, even though they advertise them on the harbour. But this year, my younger son spotted the orange boats, as they were just like the ones he’d been on on his year 6 residential.
Padstow Sealife Safaris do a range of one and two hour trips and can even do bespoke trips. As my daughter gets seasick, we gave it a miss and left it to my husband and sons. They decided to try the one hour seals cave experience, which costs £22.50 for adults and £15 for children. Waterproofs and lifejackets are provided and you are advised where to sit on the boat, depending on how wet you want to get!
They absolutely loved it and would definitely like to do a longer trip in future. They saw one seal, but my husband wasn’t bothered, as it was essentially a thrill ride and the very biggest kid in my family rates that far more highly than seeing wildlife!
South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path stretches 630 miles across the whole of the South West, taking in Devon and Dorset, as well as Cornwall. The scenery is absolutely stunning. For a family with a couple of dedicated Scouts, it was the perfect thing for us to do on holiday. Even better, it’s completely free!
My husband worked out our route himself, so it ended up being rather longer than we would have liked. But the South West Coast Path website gives lots of suggested shorter routes, including circular routes, so you don’t have to worry about getting back to your car.
The Coast Path will definitely become an annual activity for us, as we can walk a different stretch every year.
If this isn’t enough for you and you’d like to find out about go-karting, water skiing or cycling on the Camel Trail, check out my original Things to do with big kids in Padstow post over at MumofThree World.