We had a fabulous family holiday with a toddler in Newquay. There is so much to see and do there, both on a rainy day or when the sun is shining. There’s activities for all ages, but I’ve chosen my top three on the basis that these were particularly great for a preschooler and are fantastic value for money.
We could have spent hours in Newquay Zoo, which is just on the outskirts of the town. It has a large car park and close to a bus stop for those reliant on public transport. It’s not the largest zoo I’ve been to over the years, but has over 1000 breads of animals, from pigs to penguins, plus an adventure playground and lots of picnic space. From the moment we arrived we we were entertained with lots to see. It feels more like a large park than the zoos I grew up with, as they’ve made a real effort to make it feel tropical and lots of greenery, despite being in an urban setting. In fact, one of their conservation campaigns is around planting wildflowers in unused spaces. I have mixed feelings about zoos but Newquay does a lot of work around conversation and biodiversity so that goes a long way with me.
In terms of facilities, there’s a snack bar and a small cafe (the portions and choice of good is great there!), and lots of grass and benches. If you’re on a budget, this is a good day out. There are enough places for you to stop and eat or buy a coffee if you want to, but not so much that they don’t provide other options. Plenty of people were whipping out their cool bags and sandwiches.
What also makes this great value is although there is an admission fee, children under three years of age go free. We were also given the option to opt to upgrade to a weekly pass for free. We just had to have our photos taken so we couldn’t pass our receipt on but that was that. If we’d known we would have gone on day one of our holiday to Cornwall and visited several times. Small Boy loved it that much.
Dairyland Farm Worldi
Of all the places we visited on our family holiday in Newquay, we thought this represented the best value for money and had the most potential for repeat visits. Dairyland Farm World is just on the outskirts of Newquay with lots of parking and an excellent range of activities for young children in particular. We paid £11.75 each and Small Boy was free. Like the zoo, that also gave us unlimited visits for a week. We wish we had gone there on day one of our holiday as we could have easily gone for an hour or two each day. It has nature trails, animal petting, cow milking, a huge soft play centre, trampolines, pony rides and more. There is so much to see and do, yet it has a very relaxed atmosphere and there’s a huge amount of open space. We all loved it here and we will definitely going back on our next trip to Cornwall.
Blue Reef Aquarium
Thanks to this place, Small Boy finally learned to say fish! The Blue Reef Aquarium is nestled in Newquay harbour, looking out onto the beautiful sea. It isn’t a particularly big venue but it manages to contain 40 naturally-themed habitats, with a tunnel which lets you see the largest from many angles, including underneath. It houses sharks and a large rescued turtle who, despite being blind, circles the large tank happily. He’s beautiful and his rescue story truly moved me. I’m not sure you could spend more than an hour or two there with a small child, but if you time it right you might catch some of the feeding and demonstrations. We didn’t sadly but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Small Boy thought it was a total hoot and fell in love with the loggerhead turtle in particular.