Family Holidays In St Ives With Teenagers
Choosing family holidays can be tricky. Finding somewhere that ticks all the boxes that will keep teens on their toes and away from their electronics is harder than it sounds. Long gone are the days of simple buckets and spades! Taking a teen on holiday is a challenge that can shape your future holidays, but get it right and your teen will be holidaying with you willingly forever more.
As a mum of a teen and tween along with the hundreds of friends that come part of the package, living in St.Ives I feel I can offer some top tips to keeping your teen occupied and happy here in Cornwall, which in turn will make your holiday happy too. Most of these top tips will work for young at heart adults too so book as a family and make the most of what we have to offer right here on your holiday home doorstep!
St Ives Surf School
Most teens on holiday in Cornwall have a secret wish to be a surfer. You can’t help it, surf shops on every corner, super cool boards in the windows and also tucked under the arms of suntanned barefoot dudes running down to the beach when the surf looks good.
St Ives Surf School, situated on Porthmeor beach, can pretty much guarantee by the end of a half-day lesson that your kid will feel they can at the very least stand on the board and catch a wave. Fun for all, the surf school is an ideal activity for the whole family to enjoy together. Wetsuits and rash vests provided, and of course the board.
The instructors are all super friendly, great fun and absolutely fantastic surfers. You’ll be in great hands!
The Eden Project
The Eden Project is a well known day out in Cornwall and appeals to young and old alike. The impressive domes and recreation of the tropical rainforests impress us every time we visit, but not so well known is the incredible zip wire experience there. Imagine hurtling head first over the entire Eden Project at a great height, so fast it’s quite a shock. You can take this incredible thrilling zip wire in pairs so it’s perfect for a mum son experience, two siblings together or a dad and daughter. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted but it really is better than any fair ground ride, and you can say you really have seen every aspect of the Eden Project once you have done this. There are age and height restrictions so check it out beforehand because once your kids see this they will definitely want to go on it.
The Eden Project also run other amazing adrenaline activities for all you thrill seekers out there. Ranging from the Giant Swing, Aerial Trekking, Air Bag and The Drop; all awesome activities if your teens are the outgoing kind!
Pier Jumping In St Ives
If you want a real local experience then pier jumping in St Ives is a must for your teens (disclaimer not included!).
Wander down at the highest tide on a calm day and you will see various local kids flinging themselves off Smeatons Pier. It’s a rite of passage for those born and bred in St Ives and as much as they must drive the local fishermen insane, if the truth be known they did it too when they were lads!
Every jump has a name; the back wall and the arches are firm favourites with the teens. They will gladly share their knowledge and show you a few flips and then, if the mood takes your teen, they can fling themselves off too.
Word of mum advice, the tide MUST be high, don’t jump near seals or touch them, beware of the boats and only jump if you’re a competent swimmer as there is sometimes a strong current off the back wall. The rule of thumb is watch what the local kids are doing first – they learn from their dads and grandads before them and know exactly what they are doing and where to jump from. The second bit of mum advice is that you don’t have to back flip off the extremely high wobbly railings – that is just for the crazy kids, but it’s epic to watch!
Art Courses In St Ives
St Ives is a haven for artists; the light is perfect and the colours incredible, so if your kid has an interest in art get them booked onto an art course while you are staying here. There’s a range of courses aimed at children of all ages at St Ives School of Painting, Barnoon Arts or the new St Ives Art School Cygnets. I have also booked my teen on adult courses and have gone along with her. All the schools are run by local artists and the spaces to work in are ideal. My personal favourites are Porthmeor Art Studios and Barnoon because of their fantastic locations. A lovely way to spend a day or just a few hours, you leave feeling totally inspired.
From St Ives there is a really easy and extremely beautiful coastal path to the next village Carbis Bay. There is also a tiny train from the train station above Porthminster beach if walking isn’t your thing. Head down to Carbis Bay beach and over to the Ocean Sports centre that’s based on the sand. Hire out stand-up paddle boards, kayaks or a massive mega SUP for the whole family and spend an hour or two on the calm turquoise sea (or just hanker down and sunbath and send the kids out to sea!).
Carbis Bay beach is safe with lifeguards in the summer season, and when the sun is high and the sea is sparkling you could easily be in Thailand! This beach hosted the G7 summit this year so it’s well on the map now.
St Ives Skate Park
This year St Ives has opened a brand new skatepark attracting skaters from all over Cornwall and beyond. Tucked away at the top of town, if your kid is a skater drop them here for an afternoon and they will be in skater heaven.
Funded by a group of amazing local mums this skatepark is a work of art and something our town is extremely proud of. If skating isn’t your thing it’s worth a look as the concrete creation is awesome and it has a small park next to it for the Littles with a community orchard to the side.
A short drive from St Ives to St Erth and you can book into Coast To Coast Karting. This lovely friendly karting track is great to do on a day when you’re ready to leave the beach for a bit. Walkable from here is the RSPB bird watching area too, so it’s always an option to drop off the adrenaline junkies of the family and wander down to a more tranquil spot while they race the afternoon away.
Coast To Coast is dog friendly too, so if you are holidaying with your pooch they are welcome here.
Retallack Water Park
On the other side of the bay follow the coastal road past Hells Mouth and a bit more and you will arrive at Retallack. A perfect water adventure suitable for the whole family with the range of activities they offer, but also a great place to sit and watch all the action. We personally love the inflatable course, with jumps and slides into the water it’s an hour of total fun. Wetsuits included or bring your own. Oh, and it has a lovely cafe too!
St Ives eBikes
Only recently launched, St Ives now has its own bike hire company St Ives eBikes. There is nothing better than hitting the open roads and exploring West Cornwall by bike. We have some absolutely stunning rides, but believe me unless you are training for the next Tour de France you will not want to do it without power! St Ives eBikes hire electric bikes from the age of 14.
Family run and located near Ayr Park (up the steep hill from Porthmeor beach), Ben and his team will team you up with the right size bike and off you go. I have tried it on the hill to end all hills and I didn’t even break into a sweat and felt so smug watching the ‘normal’ bike people pushing theirs up! A lovely day out for the family and Ben’s website will fill you in on all the best routes. Follow them on Instagram for all the latest places they have been with their bikes to get some inspiration before your holiday.
Via Ferrata and BF Adventures
The ethos behind Via Ferrata BF Adventures is amazing. Working with children with disabilities and disadvantaged children during the week and raising the funding to do so by opening up this amazing centre for families to experience.
Nestled in a quarry there is something for everyone; we have scaled cliff faces, jumped from amazing heights into the water, zip wired over the quarry, kayaked, paddle boarded, had a bash at archery, this list goes on! The instructors are incredible, bring out the best in everyone and are such good fun, whilst the cafe is top class and so reasonable. I thoroughly recommend you check this place out. It’s about a 45 min drive from St Ives but can be teamed with a visit to the lovely town of Falmouth where you will find the fab Maritime Museum, some lovely yachts moored in the harbour and fantastic art galleries and shops. A great day out of St Ives, and the drive is really pretty too.
Sand Dune Surfing
Grab a bodyboard and head over to Hayle beach and whizz head first down the sand dunes. A cheap and fun day out! The beach is lovely and there is a great cafe called Lulas that is suitably cool for any teen to hang in. The hot chocolates here with ‘the lot’ are a great way to end the day. In the evening this cafe often hosts music and firepit nights, but we also enjoy taking our BBQ and watching the sunset while roasting marshmallows on the sand.
There is a lovely surf this side side too so the body boards can double up for sand or sea.
BLOG WRITTEN BY JENNY INGERSON VITULLI
Family Friendly holiday properties
We have many different types of properties that are perfect for your St Ives family holiday. Check out our lovely family friendly accommodation in St Ives and Carbis Bay at So St Ives