Kids on holiday need constant refuelling, and it’s not always easy to find family restaurants in Cornwall at the drop of a hat. Over the years, I’ve compiled a mental list of go-to cafés and restaurants that do food that kids will love. So, whether you need emergency ice creams or a slap-up dinner, now you’ll never be more than a short walk or drive away from a brilliant place to turn hangry into happy.
The Jam Pot is only steps away from Gwithian Beach, and it’s the perfect snack stop, serving ice creams, tea and coffee, cake, cream teas, freshly made rolls, and pasties. Even the way this cute little café looks is appealing to kids (it’s a former coastguard lookout), and they have a lovely garden with seating that looks over to St Ives.
This is a great breakfast, brunch and lunch spot, owned by the National Trust. It’s great for everyone, including dogs which makes it popular, so get there early in the summer months to avoid queues. Thankfully, during the busy seasons, they have a separate ice cream hut next door, selling Roskilly’s ice cream and Deli Pop ice lollies (both made in Cornwall). There’s plenty of outside seating and space for kids to play, as well as an ‘upper deck’ balcony with sea views.
This is a fantastic post-beach lunch or dinner option, near the Godrevy Beach Café. There’s an emphasis on seafood, but the menu always has plenty of variety, with vegan options and a kids’ menu, including fish & chips. Their chocolate brownies are particularly awesome. You can eat inside or on the outdoor terrace.
Sanders in nearby Hayle does proper fish & chips, and they have a good children’s menu too. It’s not a fancy place, but the fish is fresh, and they have a solid reputation locally. You can either eat in, find a spot by the estuary or hurry home to Three Mile Beach.
Mr B’s make artisan ice cream with Cornish ingredients, and it’s somewhere you must go while you’re here. They have two shops on the main road running through Hayle – keep a lookout for the distinctive pink signs. They’re known for their weird and wonderful flavours, including Ferrero Rocher, Snickers, Wild Cherry Ripple, Snickers, Battenburg, and one called ‘Triple choc chunk choc fudge choc chip ripple’ (try saying that one fast).
I adore this place, with its first-class farm shop and big, buzzy restaurant, which is especially great for Sunday lunches. Whatever you eat, please make room to peruse the dessert counter, with its huge selection of cheesecakes, puds, and trifles. They’re really geared up for families here, providing child seats and baby changing areas, and kids are given their own menu and a tub of crayons for colouring. Before or after your meal, don’t forget to explore the farm park – kids love seeing the pigs, sheep, donkeys, and ponies. In summer, you can pick your own fresh strawberries or raspberries.
When you’ve been out and about with the kids, it’s always good to have a quality pizza or pasta option tucked up your sleeve – ours is the Old Forge in Lelant. As well as being a restaurant serving freshly prepared sourdough pizzas, it’s a cool coffee shop, breakfast joint, and wine shop (stocking over 300 varieties). In summer, hang out in their pretty courtyard, and when it’s chilly, hunker down next to the wood burner.