5 must visit Cornish villages for your family holiday this May half term

Posted by Select Cornwall

on 12/04/2024

These 5 picturesque Cornish villages have so much on offer for families this May

As May approaches and the warmth of spring envelops the English countryside, there's no better time to embark on a family seaside adventure than May half term, so we have pulled together a list of beautiful gems not to be missed! Nestled along Cornwall's rugged coastline are hundreds of charming fishing villages and traditional coastal towns, each offering a unique blend of natural beauty, rich heritage, and family-friendly activities.

From picturesque harbours to sandy beaches and quaint cobblestone streets, Cornwall's villages and coastal towns provide the perfect backdrop for spending some quality family time together. Join us as we delve into why Cornwall is the ultimate destination for a May holiday with the kids, and give you 5 top rated family destinations to visit, with nearby accommodation still available!


Scenic Looe is situated in South-East Cornwall and offers a huge array of activities for families. This cute seaside village is a haven for seafood lovers and boasts many cafes and family friendly waterfront restaurants, including family favourite fish and chips! Looe also has lots of indoor activities on offer and plenty of lovely shops to browse, as well as an indoor arcade should the weather turn. There is a pretty pier out to sea that you can walk along, and a calm, sheltered beach just a short stroll from the town centre. This is a great spot to paddle board or learn some water sports as a family! Take a beach picnic and enjoy a delicious ice cream from many of the seafront cafes. Did you know, Looe became a thriving town in the 18th century and was once one of Cornwall’s largest ports, exporting tin, arsenic and granite?


Port Isaac is undoubtedly one of the prettiest seaside villages in Cornwall, offering a sheltered beach due to its breakwater, and boasting a traditional harbour with stunning scenery all around. For families that love walking and hiking and are more on the adventurous side, Port Isaac is a perfect spot to start from, with beautiful walks to neighbouring coves and beaches, including pretty Port Quin.

There are lots of fishing trips that leave from the harbour should you fancy a family sea adventure, you might even catch some local mackerel or spot a basking shark! The beach stretches out at low tide and gives families shelter from the winds, due to the cliffs surrounding the harbour. There are lots of rockpools to explore and therefore crabbing to be done!

Port Isaac was made famous by the ITV series Doc Martin, the town used as the filming location fictionally known as Portwenn. It’s not hard to see why this picturesque Cornish town was chosen- the charming, traditional cottages and buildings are steeped in history and character that seems unchanged since the 14th century. Doc Martin isn’t the only reason for the villages fame… The famous sea shanty group Fisherman’s friends also call Port Isaac home, and are still sometimes caught singing here.


Falmouth is a bustling seaside town further West in Cornwall, with not just one, but four idyllic family friendly beaches, including blue flag Gylly and Swanpool! As well as offering plenty of opportunities for cheap days out on the beach, there are plenty of boat and wildlife trips that run from the port, as well as lots of  engaging galleries, museums and castles to explore.

Did you know, Falmouth has the 3rd deepest port in the world?! The town boasts some of Cornwall’s top family attractions, including the national maritime museum. There is rich maritime history here and a great and lively arty and cultural scene. As you are walking through the pretty town centre, full of independent, quirky, boutique shops and high street favourites, you will catch glimpses of the sea and harbour through gaps and passageways. Make sure to take your bucket and spade and do some crabbing along the harbour walls!


St Ives is famous for its cobbled streets and dog friendliness. With golden, soft sandy beaches and clear blue waters in the summer, this is a must visit for any beach loving family! Why is St Ives so family friendly? You won’t be short of family friendly restaurants to visit that surround the glorious beaches and beautiful harbour. You also won’t be short of water sports activities to take part in! It’s a fantastic place to learn to surf. The quaint streets and white stone passageways make for an idyllic stroll to find ice cream, you’ll find yourself glued to pretty shopfronts filled with local artwork.


Perhaps the most well known of all Cornish towns and villages is buzzing Newquay. Yes, Newquay attracts visitors of all ages, but don’t be fooled- it’s not just a party town and surfers paradise. Newquay is also a perfect place for a family holiday, with an array of stunning, family friendly beaches and activities to be enjoyed, including Crantock beach and Perranporth! Newquay makes a great location to stay and a base for lots of top local attractions, including Newquay Zoo, and without needing to say- offers a ton of water sports and opportunities to learn to surf.

The vibrant seaside town has everything you could wish for on a family holiday, including tons of eateries, shops and ice cream stops, shops selling beachy essentials, and the famous Fistral beach and Watergate Bay close by. If the weather isn’t on your side, Newquay town centre offers lots of indoor adventures, including the Blue Reef Aquarium, and a Pirate’s Quest adventure golf experience – where you can meet colourful characters and learn about Cornwall’s history in underground caves and passages!

If you’re brave enough to get wet and don a wetsuit though, we’d highly recommend a coasteering experience together, jumping from cliffs and adventuring around the headland. These are family memories that will last a life time.


Need to get away but on a budget? Why not enjoy a short weekend break, many of Select Cornwall's accommodations offer short weekend breaks or 4 night mid week stays, including this child and baby friendly cottage near beautiful Looe..

Owl cottage is nestled down a quiet country lane, just 3 miles to popular Looe and the unique coastal fishing village of Polperro. With oak beams, coastal cottage character and a south facing garden to enjoy the May sunshine! The lawns are ideal for picnics and barbeques with plenty of lawn space for the kids to play.

This refurbished, dog friendly, town house in Newquay is available this May half term, just up the hill from the family loved Porth Beach. It’s perfect for kids as it has a river to play in and is sheltered from any strong winds thanks to its alcove shape. World renowned Watergate Bay is just a 20 minute walk along the coast path from here too. Newquay town is a 5 minute drive away or a 25 minute walk. 

Trevean is a picturesque, grade 2 listed cottage in the heart of St Teath, just 10 minutes to the quaint, now world famous, village of Port Isaac.

This cottage is still available this May half term. This gorgeous cottage is dog friendly and sleeps 3, a stones throw from local amenities including a pub, shop and café. This holiday cottage boasts a peaceful location in a conservation area, 15 minutes to some of Cornwall’s best beaches, including Polzeath and Daymer Bay. There is a log burner to cosy up to as a family, a patio and enclosed garden space with shallow pond too.

Why not splash out on a self-catering, luxurious cottage? This luxury, 3 bedroom Croft Cottage at The Valley Cornwall sleeps 6, and is 20 minutes from Falmouth.

This exclusive, gated woodland resort is nestled in a peaceful countryside valley and offers amazing facilities if you are on a bit of a budget, including 2 swimming pools (both open this half term), a new on site restaurant, tennis courts and squash courts and much more. The site is based just a few miles from Truro and is nearby to the bustling seaside town of Falmouth.

This family friendly cottage site is perfectly positioned in the centre of Cornwall, so you can easily visit all your favourite beaches and family attractions. There are plenty of cottages still available this May half term, for short weekend breaks, mid week 4 night breaks, or 7 nights to 10 days. Smaller cottages are available, and cottages without private hot tubs at better value also.