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Riverside Family Holidays in Cornwall


Guide to Activities on the Water in Cornwall this Summer

Summer is finally here in Cornwall, and as temperatures rise, the azure sea has never looked so tempting. It’s the perfect time of year to book a stay at one of our classic cottages in Cornwall and enjoy the stunning scenery from a different angle – the water. Surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and home to winding rivers and vast estuaries, there are plenty of places to enjoy the water in Cornwall.

Here’s our guide to fun and relaxing water activities in Cornwall this summer:


Sailing in Fowey

Boat trips

What better way to soak up the Cornish scenery and breathe in the fresh coastal air than on a boat trip in Cornwall. Whether it’s a cruise down the River Fal to Truro passing the lush emerald wooded river banks, heading out across the sea from Falmouth Bay to St Mawes to visit the historic castle, or enjoying a ferry ride from Fowey to Bodinnick, Mevagissey or Polruan, there are plenty of boat trips that offer a picturesque view.


Kayaking in Fowey


Glide along the water on a kayak, and if you’re lucky, you won’t even have to get wet! From sea kayaking voyages to peaceful river adventures, kayaking is a great way to reach places that can’t usually be accessed by car or boat. Weave in and out of the forested creeks on the Fowey River and you’ll reach Pont Pill which is said to be the inspiration behind Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows, or take a trip on the Helford River to the remote Frenchman’s Creek, a tranquil area made famous by author Daphne du Maurier.

If you’re feeling brave, head out for some sea kayaking in St Agnes and visit the hidden caves, or paddle out around the bay in St Ives and catch sightings of seals and dolphins.




Surrounded by coastline, Cornwall is a great place to go fishing and pick up some local delights while enjoying the magnificent views. You can start on dry land, fishing for crabs on the harbour in Looe or Fowey, or head out further to sea on a guided fishing trip in Newquay and try and catch some Cornish mackerel, bream or pollack to bring back and cook in your Cornish cottage.


Stand up Paddle Board Fowey

Photo from Fowey River Hire

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

This trendy water activity has been a method of getting around in many global destinations like Hawaii, for decades, and now you can enjoy it in Cornwall on the river or in the sea. Test your balance skills and paddle your way across some beautiful parts of Cornwall and enjoy the coastal views from the water. In St Ives, you can paddle over to Carbis Bay. In Newquay, you can glide along the shore at Lusty Glaze, or in Padstow, you can glide along the estuary and soak up the views at sunset. Not only will you visit some unique places in Cornwall, you’ll also work out and tone up your core, arms and legs, bonus!

Animal Cruises

Cornwall is teeming with diverse wildlife species, both on land and in the water. Take a wildlife safari from Padstow Harbour out to the coves and caves and look out for sea birds and wild seals, or take a guided tour along the Fal river and find out about its inhabitants. In St Ives, you can take a pleasure boat out to Seal Island and watch the beautiful creatures laze about on the rocks in the sun, and in Penzance, you can head off on a catamaran trip in Penzance to look for dolphins and whales.


Surfing in Cornwall


Cornwall is renowned for its surfing hotspots and because it boasts a north and south coast, there are plenty of places to catch some waves, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. North Cornwall is famous for its swell, and places like Fistral Beach in Newquay and Polzeath near Rock are great if you want to surf or just watch the waves roll in. On the south coast, Porthleven near Helston is a fantastic spot for reef breaks if you’re experienced, and if you’re lucky you can catch a heavy barrel near high tide at Praa Sands.


Cinema on the river - King Harry Ferry

Cinema on the river

A relatively new thing for Cornwall, but outdoor cinemas are growing in popularity, and where better to watch your favourite film than on a river. The King Harry Ferry near Feock in Truro hosts floating cinema nights on the Fal River during the summer, where you can relax and enjoy a classic surrounded by natural beauty.