Family-friendly campsites aren’t hard to come by on the rugged coast of mid Cornwall, whether you want something small-scale and low-key or something a little more full-on. Haven’s Perran Sands site unashamedly falls into the latter category, with a choice of mobile homes, chalets, yurts, ‘supertents’ (pre-erected tents with fridges and cooking facilities) and geo-domes, plus a waterpark with indoor and outdoor pools (one for kids) and a flume, and masses of facilities and activities, including a surf school, a climbing wall, adventure golf, kart hire, and crafts sessions.
We first had in mind to stay in a tent, risking the vagaries of the May half-term weather, but once there we were glad we’d eventually plumped for a mobile home – the setting of the yurts and tents beside the campsite’s touring section was far less appealing. The mobile homes are closer to the wonderful Atlantic beach that forms this site’s biggest asset. Ours, one of the most modern, boasted quite chic contemporary décor, including a flatscreen TV with DVD player, plus floor-to-ceiling windows with million-dollar views over the ocean and, come evening, sunsets almost hallucinatory in their intensity.
The weather was largely in our favour, meaning we could enjoy the wide, flat beach, popular with surfers, bodyboarders and kite-surfers but also with young families, despite being quite hard work to access – clifftop paths down through grassy dunes followed by a series of steep ramps mean coming back with a buggy or young kids with easily tired legs isn’t easy. It’s worth the schlep, though.
Our pitch also overlooked a large flat expanse of grass where families played football or cricket and flew kites against those magnificent sunsets. But we made good use of the facilities and ‘extras’ – as well as spending hours in the pool complex, my two older boys signed up for an aqua-gliding session, which involved driving powered inflatables around the pool in hot pursuit of an instructor masquerading as a shark. They also took part in a football coaching session and match for ages 5–10, while their younger brother Zac, aged three, had an excellent ‘Bikeability’ session to teach him to ride a pedal-less bike.
The surrounding area has almost too much to do – Newquay with its famous surf-and-party beach, Fistral, is just up the road, and the Eden Project (‘Freaky Nature with Poo’, according to one billboard ad we saw!) is a half-hour drive away, to name just two attractions. But Cornwall really is its beaches, and if, like us, you strike it lucky with the weather, you’ll probably just find the lovely three-kilometre expanse of sand that Perranporth has to offer means you won’t be of a mind to stray further afield.
Find out more about family holidays and breaks at Haven’s Perran Sands.