Are you looking for things to do with older kids near Fowey this winter? I’m Victoria, mum to three boys and owner of Readymoney Beach Shop. As our children have got older (currently 14, 11 and 9) we’ve had to start looking for different ways to spend time together as a family as the older two would quite happily stay in bed all day.
Although we are happy to let them chill out with screens after busy weeks at school, we also still really enjoy getting out as a family whilst we still can. Finding family activities near Fowey for older children without too much teenage grumbling can be a challenge though! We tend to stay near to our hometown of Fowey in the winter whilst the days are short.
We’ve taken many a trip to traditional favourites like the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the past and now it’s time to start thinking a bit outside the usual box. So here's 6 ideas from me things to do with older kids near Fowey this winter.
1. A Walk in the Woods
Having dogs always gives us an excuse to drag the boys out of the house and living in such a beautiful part of the world means we can always find suitable outdoor family activities near Fowey. Our top pick is often Cardinham Woods, the major draw of which is the excellent café nestled in the trees.
There are several different walking and cycling trails at Cardinham. We normally just do the Lady Vale loop walk alongside the river as it’s not too steep so keeps the moaning to a minimum. You need to pay to park at Cardinham but the facilities are excellent with sizeable toilets. There is also a nifty dog and welly wash area. Plus a lovely playground area and picnic site by the river. Note: that Cardinham is currently closed for forestry work (until 21st January 2023).
Last weekend we instead explored the Luxulyan valley, Just over 7 miles away from Fowey we had a fascinating (albeit muddy) walk through the woods, across the Treffry viaduct and past various mine workings. There are lots of different trails of differing lengths and we'll definitely be exploring further. You can find an interactive map here.
2. Score a strike: indoor family activities near Fowey (#1)
I used to hate my old office ten-pin bowling trips: bad chicken in a basket and those awful shoes, yuck!
So, it was with some trepidation that a friend and I took the kids to Ozzell Bowl in St Austell at half-term. But it was SUCH fun (and we could keep our trainers on, woo hoo!). We didn’t book but got a lane quite quickly and the kids chose to have the bumpers up which was super easy to set up when we registered. One game was plenty. Turns out my bowling skills these days are mixed, two strikes and pretty much no points in-between, I’m blaming my arthritic fingers!
I would book in advance next time though as it was surprisingly busy although we didn't wait long. There were people of all ages bowling so definitely one of my top things to do with older kids near Fowey. It's a 9 mile drive from Fowey with a carpark right outside.
We didn’t explore any chicken in a basket options, just steered the kids masterfully past the tempting lights of the arcade games for a short stroll through the town centre to my next recommendation.
3. St Austell Market House: indoor family activities near Fowey (#2)
Having recently undergone a fabulous transformation to open up the windows and vaulted ceiling in the entrance, there’s a light and airy café at the front and a variety of interesting independent shops which my kids could spend hours in.
My boys particularly love the comic shop on the ground floor and the hobby and gaming shop on the top floor. The latter is stuffed to the rafters with Warhammer figures, Pokemon cards, Lego collectables and SO much more. They even have gaming tables available to borrow and play at if that’s your thing.
There’s a piece of ceramic art upstairs which forms part of the Whitegold project which has brought many ceramic installations to St Austell to celebrate the town’s strong China clay heritage. Have you seen any of the other around the town? The Flookan ceramics hub is worth a peek too, it's where our lovely supplier Hilary makes these.
4. Cake in Mevagissey
Family activities near Fowey often involve venturing a bit further out along the coast, this time to Mevagissey , 15 miles away. Some good friends rave about their family outings to The Cake Hole, popping into the wool shop opposite for crafting supplies. The Cake Hole is dog friendly and given that they have the same wallpaper as I do in my living room, this is definitely a place we need to visit asap, not just because of the excellent cake and enormous hot chocolates!
There are many reasons to visit Mevagissey, almost enough for a blog post of its own. I’m secretly quite glad my boys have grown weary the model railway museum (although my dad will NEVER grow out of it), it was always one of our top family activities near Fowey when they were younger. I’m rather partial to a galette from She Sells on the harbour side and love how the people of Mevagissey love any excuse to adorn the harbour railings with themed crochet and knitted items (presumably keeping the aforementioned wool shop in trade).
I’ve been following award-winning Teacup Tearoom on social media for ages and they are also very much on the must visit list. Their gluten free cream teas are the stuff of legend and they are a dog-lovers paradise so do pay them a visit too!
5. Sunday lunch
One of the best things to do with older kids near Fowey is feed them up! I swear my eldest two would eat constantly if they could and a good old pub roast stands a decent change of satisying them. One of our roast highlights of last year was hopping on the Bodinnick ferry over to the Old Ferry Inn for a spectacular slow roast three meat board. Sadly they are closed for winter but definitely one to watch for when they reopen. If you are feeling especially energetic you could do the Hall Walk first to build up your appetite (you'll need it!)
Fowey's iconic pink pub The King of Prussia came under new management in 2022. They have an amazing roast menu which we haven't yet tried but bacon wrapped stuffing, I'm there!
We're also big fans of the roast options at The New Inn just down the road in Tywardreath. Head chef Stuart's cauliflower cheese is the best! The Ship Inn next to the church in the centre of Fowey also has a roast special and the added bonus of a toasty real fire: the perfect way to while away a winter day in Fowey. I'm sure that a bit of a walk followed by crisps and lemonade in a pub have been popular family activities near Fowey for decades.
6. Hot drinks and warming pastries at Readymoney Cove
A trip to our lovely little beach in Fowey is quite often our fallback activity. We are lucky enough to live close to the top of St Catherine’s Parade but there’s free parking on the road opposite the Parade gates.
St Catherine’s Parade is the old carriage road to Point Neptune, the Italianate Victorian mansion with amazing sea views. Most famously known for its previous owner, comedian Dawn French (she sold up last year). You’d struggle to drive a carriage down the Parade these days (and it's strictly footpath only anyway so don’t bring your bikes or your carriage). It’s about a 10-15 minute comfortable walk down to Readymoney Cove. Perfectly passable with a pushchair if you’ve got littlies with you but often quite muddy.
The footpath winds delightfully through the trees with crunchy leaves aplenty, past the Readymoney carpark (which is free from 1st November to 31st March if you want a shorter walk) gradually sloping down to the beach. My kids’ top picks on arrival are our warming spiced apple drink and our new weekend bake: the bacon & cheese turnover, SO good. We have plenty of other food and drinks on offer too including proper Cornish pasties. Plus a range of vegan and gluten free options. Click here for more info.
Don’t forget that we’re open here at the beach every day, apart from Christmas Day, whatever the weather. You can even order your pastries in advance online to avoid disappointment. Our gift range is mostly all available online too so if the kids interrupt your ordering with “Muuum can I have…” then you can order online at your leisure.
I guess it’s all part of the rich tapestry of life having to rethink days out with the kids as they get older. But if you’re in or near Fowey this winter then I hope you’ll find my 6 things to do with older kids near Fowey to be a useful read. If you have any recommendations of family activities near Fowey your own, especially with older kids in mind, please do add a comment below. I’d love to add them to my own must do list!