February half term in Cornwall
In the middle of the winter its always good to have something to look forward to, with the nights already starting to get lighter as we head into February, it’s a great time to plan a family holiday to Cornwall. Whilst the weather isn’t always guaranteed at this time of year, with the thought of foreign travel, airports, delays and long haul flights to find some sunshine being a headache, it’s just as easy to load up the car with family, children and your beloved four legged friends and head down the M5/M4 and A30 to St Ives to enjoy a winters week by the sea!
Whatever the weather, this time of year there are many attractions for all the family to enjoy that are indoors, so there’s no worries there. However if you still want to brave the elements there’s plenty of outdoor fun and exploring to be had too in this wonderful county that are all well within a 90 minutes’ drive from your cosy Cherished Cottage in St Ives.
Some of my old favourites remain great fun year in, year out, and often improve their offerings as the years go by.
If you are staying with us this half term or just visiting the area for the first time we can definitely recommend visiting some of the following classic attractions that Cornwall has on offer :-
The breath-taking St Michaels Mount is a world famous Cornish landmark with the iconic castle and chapel (home of the St Aubyn family since 1650) sitting proudly on top of the island enclave set in the pretty mounts bay boasting 360-degree views. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water and is managed by the National Trust .
The best way to visit this enchanting place is by walking over at low tide to really appreciate its statue however in peak season the tractor boats ferry you across when the tide is in. The boats do not run in the winter so plan your visit around the tides and check on the website itself or look into tide times for the area online so you don’t make a wasted trip.
The pretty harbour and village area are open most of the year to explore and the castle itself opens from mid-February onwards to coincide with the Feb half term. Your best bet is to prebook tickets online from mid-January onward. Dogs are very welcome too and there’s a huge expanse of beach to walk them on the mainland that starts at Marazion and goes on for a good few miles off down to Penzance so they will most definitely enjoy the day out and it’s a great way to tire the children out too!
The harbour/village on the mount has a lovely café with hot drinks and homemade food and if there’s a sunny dry day sit out in the café garden and enjoy the views. The stunning castle gardens reopen in the spring, but you can save that visit for another time. Plenty of car parking by Marazion and the pretty village which overlooks the mount is well worth a visit, with some lovely pubs, cafes, restaurants & galleries.
Open through the winter months (Good idea to check on the website as occasional days it’s closed) this is the perfect place to visit and keep warm on a more inclement weather day in winter! Although it opened 22 years ago, its still one of the best and ever evolving tourist attractions to visit especially over the February half term half term as it’s so much quieter than the summer but still offers plenty to see and do.
Feb Half term sees a special deal where kids go free! One free child aged between 5 – 16 years old to visit per adult between 11-19 February 2023 . Booking essential via their website.
This is such a fab day out with the family and the kids will love it and are well catered for. Eden is a feast for the senses with many ways to enjoy, whether a calm immersion in nature or a fun packed day of excitement there’s plenty on offer for all.
Visit the Mediterranean Biome for typical sights and scents of the Mediterranean, California, South Africa and Australia, the hot and steamy Rainforest Biome, a lovely trek through the tropics, and if the weather is kind to you explore the fantastic outside gardens or take a stroll around the Invisible worlds exhibition . Dogs are very welcome to explore the outdoor garden paths and Eden even provide water bowls and undercover dining areas for pooches! Please note your pets are not allowed in the Biomes.
For the adventurous among you, you must have a go on Eden’s very own large Ice-skating rink for thrills and spills for all ages which remains open until 19 February. Definitely book this in advance though! Also this Feb half term the kids will love the Doodletastic Adventures where the team behind Tom Gates will be hosting an amazing half term programme bursting with epic creativity, colour, fun and creativity…even better the kids go free!
In need of sustenance during your visit? There’s plenty on offer to tickle the tastebuds! The Eden cafes offer delicious menus from stone baked pizzas to freshly rolled burritos, sourdough toasties and heart salad bowls, a great selectin of cakes and hot and cold drinks! See their website for more details .
This is a must the children especially the young ones who will love this place this half term I took my son up there from St Ives religiously every February half term until he was 12 years old, and he was never disappointed. Again, a great place to visit during the winter as it is all indoors and is located right beside the beach so you couldn’t get much closer to the ocean, a very fitting setting and of course its lovely to wrap up warm and go on a bracing beach walk afterwards . (Please note dogs are welcome on the beach up to easter day so pack them into the car too!) .
Inside you enter a watery and mysterious world, a brilliant underwater haven, both fascinating as well as educational, of creatures from beneath the waves in amazing exhibits with mood lighting to really show off the animals in what would be their natural environment in the wild. Get up close and personal and wandering by some of the exhibits the kids will think they are underwater too in the huge fish tanks, its great!
You will see loggerhead turtles, giant Pacific octopus, black tipped reef sharks, huge lobsters, Cayman, lionfish and catsharks and many more incredible weird and wonderful species underwater as you explore. As well as exploring the Sealife and marine creatures there are timed talks on daily with highlights being the ocean feed and shark talk and the tropical rivers talk and feed.
The Aquarium has hundreds of animals of all shapes, sizes, and colour from beautiful tropical fish that school around the water to crabs that live on the seabed. The children won’t be disappointed . For special February half term events check back on the website for the latest announcements . Onsite café and gift shop.
Another family favourite of mine from the past but no less exciting and well worth a visit over the February half term with the children is the Seal Sanctuary over in Gweek situated among the south coasts sheltered waters and creeks, about a 45 minute drive from St Ives.
The great thing about the sanctuary it’s both a wonderful educational attraction for the family and a charity that rescues and rehabilitates grey seal pups from around the Cornish coastline .
Each season (September – March) the sanctuary rehabilitates around 70 seal pups that have been rescued for various reasons either being malnourished or separated from their mum. The sanctuary also provides a permanent home to animals that need special care from the team of marine animal experts which is great to see and learn from, when you visit you will be up close and personal to learn everything about these wonderful seals.
Seals can be viewed in their pens not only from above but also from the incredible underwater viewing areas where you can admire them as they swim by and literally touch the glass, it is very exciting.
As well as the many grey seals you will also be able to view Diego, a handsome resident Southern Sea Lion and the sanctuary also has a lovely collection of very amusing little Humboldt penguins that are native to Peru! You will learn about seal rescue and seal rehabilitation and eventual seal release back into the wild, so its not only a real marine feast for the eyes but a very educational and fun day out….just wrap up warm!
Booking is not essential at this time of year and there are toilets on site as well as a café and small retail shop. Allow 2-3 hours to visit depending on talks that may be occurring throughout the day. Dogs are very welcome but must be kept on a lead and there’s plenty of onsite parking too.
If you have enjoyed your visit and love seals, then why not help fund their future and adopt a seal to ensure the future safety of these amazing marine animals.
If you love the great outdoors no matter what the winter weather may throw at you, and you love exploring enchanted gardens with the family then you simply must visit these beautiful gardens!
Just 30 years ago the historic gardens were virtually unknown, and unseen, lost to the brambles of time since the outbreak of WW1. It was only the chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the restoration of this former great estate and over the years the gardens are back to their former glory, where they belong, among pride of place in the finest gardens in England.
There’s over 200 acres of paradise for the explorer, with an abundance of plants, magical gardens, and wildlife to take in . Heligan is a garden for all seasons and you will love the winding paths laid out over two centuries ago to explore the jungle which takes you on a subtropical journey through bamboo tunnels, majestic tree ferns, past giant rhubarbs and bananas whilst seeing that the estate reveals a lost world of traditional and rare breeds, wildlife and ancient woodlands As it’s a garden for all seasons it’ll be buzzing in the summer so February half term will be the ideal time to explore in the quieter tranquil winter months.
If your kids aren’t quite as interested as you then there’s the Heligan farm animal collection of rare pigs and cows to see with a variety of chickens running about too, and if you time it right the estates piglets should steal the show and keep the kids entertained, or they can visit the insect hotel to see a wide variety of insect and invertebrate life and of course there’s a kids play area too (might be best suited for the spring and summer)!
With a network of magical gardens and woodland walks and farmland brimming with interest and intrigue, that should guarantee a great day out
Dogs are welcome to explore the meandering paths but must be kept on lead.
Kitchen & garden Bakery (open 9am – 4pm)
If you are peckish then visit the kitchen bakery for a Cornish cream tea or sample some of the heritage fruit and vegetables that are grown on the estate (seasonal). You can grab breakfast and lunch as well with a fabulous menu including breakfast baps, Belgian waffles, full estate breakfast, pastries, soups, toasties, quiches and salads, coffees, tea and soft drinks too.
Allow up to 4 hours to visit and once again wrap up warm if you visit during the February half term!
So why not come down and stay in St Ives this winter and time it with the half term, there’s always plenty to see and explore even in the winter in the fabulous county of Cornwall.
If you are looking for very special places to stay this February half term, we have everything covered! Cosy fisherman’s cottages and large family houses with log burners, luxurious sea view apartments and romantic studios for two, and many of our properties have gardens/outdoor space & parking . Two have lovely big outdoor hot tubs, and over 20 are pet friendly!
Wishing you a happy half term winter visit from Team Cherished
Author : Tim Petersen 26 January 2023