I love our annual trip to Padstow, but things change. When you’ve got teens and tweens, they don’t want to spend all their time making sandcastles on the beach. They want entertainment! They want danger! They want excitement!
Throw in some dreadful weather (after a lovely long, hot, sunny summer – what are the chances?) and you need to find something else to keep them entertained. So here’s my suggestions of some of the best things to do with bigger kids in the Padstow area.
High speed boat trips
These go around the bay all afternoon through to about 7pm. It’s a 15 minute trip costing £7 per person. You can’t miss them because there is a man there permanently yelling about them to drum up trade. The boats go very fast and you will get wet! (These are also suitable for younger children if they like going fast and getting wet.)
Cycling the Camel Trail
The Camel Trail is the disused railway line running along the Camel Estuary from Padstow to Wadebridge, Bodmin and beyond – it’s about 17 miles in total. If you can stick your own bikes on your roof rack you will save money, otherwise there are bike hire places in both Padstow and Wadebridge. Be warned, they get very busy – if your teenagers keep to traditional teen hours, you may find they are sold out of bikes by the time you get there! Trail Bike Hire is the cheaper of the hire places in Padstow at £12 for an adult bike (including helmet, lock and pump/ puncture repair kit) or £8 for a child’s bike. They also do trailers and tag-alongs if you have smaller children too.
Be prepared and take along some ID. Funnily enough, I didn’t have my passport or driving licence with me when I went to hire a bike, so they wrote my bank card details on the hire sheet instead, which was a bit of a worry.
We have always only cycled Padstow to Wadebridge and back, which used to take a good proportion of the day when we had to stop for crying children/ nappy changes/ drinks/ snacks etc, but now it takes only about 40 minutes each way, so it’s time to up our distance.
Go Karting at St Eval
Kids love driving fast, so go-karting at St Eval is a great activity for when the weather isn’t brilliant.
St Eval is slightly in the middle of nowhere – kind of near Newquay and Padstow, but kind of near nowhere. It’s another place that gets very busy – if you can drag your kids out of bed early, you will save yourself a lot of queuing. Oh, and it’s not open on Sundays! If only we’d had WiFi at our holiday house we might have checked that and saved an hour’s round trip on Cornish roads.
Kids can drive go-karts from age 7 and the karts for 7-11 year olds cost £10 for 1o minutes, £20 for 20 minutes or £25 for half an hour. Karts for age 12+ (which adults can also drive, although there are more powerful karts for adults if you prefer) cost £12 for 10 minutes, £24 for 20 minutes and £30 for half an hour.
Water skiing with Camel Ski School
Camel Ski School is based across the estuary from Padstow, in Rock. You just need to catch the ferry which runs all day to get there. My husband used to water ski in his teens and early 20s and has been out with Camel Ski School a few times over recent years. This year he decided it was time the boys had a go too! I wasn’t so sure, but what do I know?
Needless to say, it’s not cheap. For my husband and the two boys to go out together on the boat and have 15 minutes
bobbing around in the water water skiing each cost £80. But as this was our only holiday this year, we thought the cost was OK. And the good thing is, the boys loved it!
We only booked the session a few days in advance. There is actually no minimum age for water skiing with Camel Ski School, so it’s up to parents to decide when they think their kids are ready. For us landlubbers, 10 seemed to be as young as we would be prepared to go.
They don’t just do water skiing – they do kayaking, paddle boarding and even a boat driving course!
Those are our suggestions of the best things to do with big kids in the Padstow area, but feel free to let me know of any more in the comments below. We know we’ll be back at Padstow again next year and, judging by how busy it gets, I’m sure a lot of other people will be too!