During the school holidays, the majority of visitors to Cornwall are families with young children in tow. Her's our Top 10 suggestions for unusual things to do to pass a pleasant afternoon with children in North Devon.
1: Release a Baby Lobster
Located in Padstow, the National Lobster Hatchery researches new ways to may this popular crustacean sustainable. The fun Visitor Centre shows young lobsters growing up ready to be released as well as giant lobsters and crabs in aquarium displays. Most fun is the chance to adopt a lobster for £2.50, give it a name and then release it. You even get to take home a certificate!
2: King of the Castle
There are many castles scattered around Cornwall, but the ruins of Tintagel Castle are among the best for running off energy. Climb the many steps up the cliff and explore the outlines of the ancient fortress, which legend suggest was once the birthplace of King Arthur.
3: Harlyn Bay
Harlyn Bay near Padstow is a beautifully wide sandy beach, which is firmly packed by the rolling surf. It makes the perfect space for playing ball games such as family beach cricket. The loser buys ice creams from the onsite beach café, so there's everything to play for!
4: Ride a Pony
Head down to Dairyland Farm World near Newquay for a day on the farm. In season, children can bottle-feed lambs and calves. Pony rides, cart rides, train rides, watching the cows being milked are all part of the day at this working farm.
5: Jail Break!
Attend the excellent displays in historic Bodmin Jail Museum which is arranged over six floors. The prison was actually built by prisoners and the last hanging took place less than 100 years ago. There is no charge for visiting the execution pit, stables, film room and restaurant. Children will be fascinated by the more gruesome side of this historic attraction including spine-chilling tales of former inmates, both innocent and guilty!
6: Steaming Along
The newly extended Hidden Valley Railway now runs for one mile around the grounds of the Hidden Valley Discovery Park near Launceston. This coal fired steam railway runs on a 7.25 inch track gauge and includes a 100 foot long tunnel, a stone-built bridge and a signal box.
7: On Two Wheels
Rent bicycles in Padstow for all the family and enjoy a ride along the Camel Trail, Cornwall's off-road cycleway. Bring a picnic for a memorable day out. If you don't want to do a return journey, book a lift back with Bridge Bike Hire.
8: Spot Ships from Hawkers Hut
Robert Hawker was an eccentric vicar in Morwenstow in the 19th century. The hut is built of driftwood with a turf roof and it has spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, this is one of the National Trust's smallest properties.
9: Rock Pooling
The coast of North Devon has some excellent rock pools at low tide, and each tide leaves a different set of inhabitants! Visit Treyarnon Bay with a bucket and a net and investigate these microcosms of sea life.
10: Giant's Steps
Enjoy lunch at the clifftop café before descending the Bedruthan Steps to let youngsters explore the caves, rock pools and rock stacks said to have been the stepping stones of a Cornish giant. Sure to fire any child's imagination!