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Children in Charge: A Visit Cornwall Birthday?

Sunset Lands End Cornwall
Written by Stuart Wickes

Children in Charge: Let’s Visit Cornwall

It’s a double birthday week in the house this week, which makes for some crazy goings on with everyone trying to make cards, hide presents and plan birthday surprises. With the teenage years rapidly approaching and in an effort to encourage greater responsibility I asked one birthday boy if he’d like to plan his own birthday outing. And he ended up surprising me.  

Take charge of your birthday

“I had my third puberty assembly this week,” announced Matthew one afternoon.

A puberty assembly? Can you imagine? I didn’t like to ask. But I did.

“Well we had to talk about how girls’ bodies change. In front of the girls. It was so funny.”

I bet it was. And wasn’t. All part of growing up. Well, he is 12 this week.

“You know in one year’s time I will actually be a teenager,” he told me as we discussed the approach of the big day.

“Old enough to plan a birthday outing for yourself then.”

“I’ve done some research,” he announced two hours later, presenting me with the following printed itinerary. “I think we should go to Cornwall.”

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall. An unmistakeable landmark.

My Cornish birthday mini-break..

“We’ll fly into Cornwall, travelling in style, waving at the people below. Then, after touch down, head to Cornish Camels for a wildlife day, wandering among camels petting them and feeding them until I’m hungry myself.

Then we’ll have lunch in the organic café before heading off to the National Lobster Hatchery, the place where all the lobsters we eat (well everyone else eats) come from. There are baby and giant lobsters, tough lobsters and cowardly lobsters. There are crabs too, like the edible (but still icky) crab and the spider crabs. I’m just going to look though as I really don’t want them served up on my plate, especially not on my birthday.

Then onto the Seal Centre for enthralling tales of seal rescue and marine salvation, and a chance to meet both heroes and victims. For a place to stay I’ve researched one of Sykes Cottages in Cornwall to rent; something Cornish looking on the outside but filled with modern technology, TV, wi-fi, computers and games.

Cornish Tin Mine Ruins

Tin Mine Ruins reveal Cornish history

The next day after breakfast we’ll head to Classic Escapes where we’ll pick up a classic car and drive it around. I’m thinking Jaguar, or maybe MG or Triumph. We’ll drive to Restormel Castle where we’ll have a full scale battle with some of us trying to attack the castle while others try and defend it. After that we’ll drive to Crackington Haven Beach, just because it has a funny name, to relax and maybe catch a few waves, before returning the car.

The next and final day we’ll head to Oasis Fun Pools where they have flumes, fountains, a waterfall and best of all a geyser! Carrying on the water theme, we’ll go to Kennack Diving, the most southerly diving centre in Britain. We’ll start in the training pool but soon be in the sea, which incidentally is where the lobsters live. Although I’d rather try and find a Cornish shipwreck. Finally we’ll head to the Eden Project where after admiring the biomes we’ll go skywiring over the top of them, to finish off like we started, waving at the people below.”

Bude Beach, Cornwall

Biking on Bude Beach, Cornwall. On our Lands End John O Groats trip.

Visit Cornwall? Not quite what I had in mind

“What do you think? Can we visit Cornwall?” he asked when I’d had a chance to read it.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

“It sounds brilliant. Interesting. Exciting. Educational. Fun.”


“And a long weekend. A long way away. A long way beyond our budget”

“I know,” he said matter of factly. “Maybe we could just go tubing at the Chill Factore in Manchester. That would be cool. Get it?”

I do love a responsible dreamer.

Sledging in a washing basket

Sledging in a washing basket… more my kind of fun. And budget!


Have you ever let your kids plan their own outings or holidays? With what results? 


 Disclosure Note: This post was brought to you thanks in part to support from Sykes Cottages.

About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


  • He didn’t say that, did he? Really, complete with all the background research and all the irony of meaning nothing of it? That’s an amazing story then. Gives me hopes for the years yet to come, years I am admittedly also slightly scared of.

    And a happy Birthday to Matthew! (I know it has since happened.)

    • You know Thomas, my kids never cease to amaze me with their dreams & understanding of the limitations of our financial realities sometimes! Whenever I level with them they take it on the chin and I’m sure the challenges of long distance touring has taught them something of that. And the fact they see me doing the same, dreaming of that RTW cycle tour & settling for something smaller. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not though.

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