The 15 Best Things to do in Saltash and Surrounding Areas with Kids

Following on from our guide on the best things to do in Liskeard with Kids, this post introduces you to another gem in the Cornish County. Saltash is one of the oldest Cornish towns and is considered the gateway to Cornwall. Just across the River Tamar from Plymouth, Saltash offers heritage trails and a colourful high street.

With a myriad of attractions near Saltash, you will always have something to do during your visit. There is a leisure centre, eateries, gallery, museums, historic buildings and landmarks. Not to mention easy access to many gorgeous sandy beaches. Situated on all the major transport routes by road, rail and river, Saltash is within easy reach of many major attractions in Devon and Cornwall alike.

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the union jack inn
The Union Jack Inn

What To Do In Saltash

There are so many amazing things to do in Saltash with kids. Here are the best ideas, written by a local!

#1 Visit The Waterside Area

saltash waterside

Originally a close-knit community of fishermen, ferrymen, boatmen, and boat builders. Saltash waterside fell victim to a declining river-based industry before WWI. Today the waterside is a vibrant community area featuring a great view of the bridges, statues, and monuments. Places to eat and drink, beautiful walks along the river, and a host of regattas and town events throughout the year.

#2 Admire the Royal Albert Suspension Bridge

One of the most iconic Saltash attractions, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s famous Royal Albert bridge, was completed in 1859. It provided the ability to cross to Cornwall from Devon by train and is still in use today. The bridge stands as a testament to Brunel’s engineering brilliance. Unique in design and graceful in appearance.

The Tamar Road Bridge opened in 1961 to serve road and foot traffic into Cornwall. It is a toll bridge, chargeable when travelling out of Cornwall only, at £2 per car.

#3 Swim at Saltash Leisure Centre

saltash leisure centre

With a 25m swimming pool and adjoining fun pool with water features, slides and a bubble pool, you can watch the fun unfold whatever the weather. The kids can increase their confidence around water safety at Saltash Leisure Centre with dedicated fun sessions available.

#4 Spend the Day at The China Fleet Club

china fleet and country club

When you search for things to do near Saltash, China Fleet Country Club is one of the first to pop up.

China Fleet Country Club boasts an 18-hole golf course, swimming pool with slide, aqua spa, spa, brasserie, soft play, playground, Fairy Trail and health and fitness centre. Accommodation is available, and non-members can take part in Golf, the fairy trail and Woodland Adventure Golf. Open to members, residents and Royal Navy / Royal Marine personnel.

China Fleet also offers a wide range of Cornish Ale and Beer at the main Brasserie and Cabin bar, where live music plays on the last Friday of every month.

#5 Test Your Golf Skills at Woodland Adventure Golf

china fleet and country clunb, woodland adventure golf

Crazy Golf is very popular in Cornwall, and the 18-hole Woodland Adventure Golf course at China Fleet does not disappoint. It is a great place to visit in Saltash with kids.

Loved by people of all ages, the course is well maintained and has extra audio surprises throughout.

Open to all visitors, and prices are £8 for adults and £6 per child. 

Discounts are available for members and serving Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel. Groups are a maximum of 4, and the golf course can be booked for birthday parties and other events. 

The Cabin bar serves drinks, ice creams, and light bites and has a small wooden playground.

#6 Cotehele Mill

cothele mill

Just outside of Saltash, you will find a magical location next to the Morden Stream. Discover an atmospheric reminder of the recent past and witness traditional baking demonstrations at this 19th-century Victorian watermill and workshops.

Under a canopy of ancient woodland, a ten-minute walk from Cotehele Quay car park, the mill is a wonderful place near Saltash for families. There will be something for everyone, dog-friendly, educational, and set amongst gorgeous woodland walks.

#7 Mary Newman’s Cottage

Mary Newman's cottage, things to do in Saltash

This cottage was the home of Mary Newman, the wife of Sir Francis Drake. The Grade 11 listed cottage dates from around 1480 and is the oldest building in Saltash. Furnished and filled with period clothing and utensils to give an impressive insight into the Elizabethan era. Visitors can dress in period clothing and participate in Elizabethan games in the authentically laid out gardens. The gardens showcase the plants a

nd herbs common to Elizabethan households, and it has picturesque views over the River Tamar.

#8 Saltash Heritage Museum

Saltash Heritage Museum

Saltash Heritage was founded in 1986 to put together a collection of items relevant to the history of Saltash and the district. It promotes local interest in our historical heritage and also provides a museum in the town. The museum exhibition is formed from their own collection or loaned from the public and changes each year. It is always based on an aspect of life in Saltash from years gone by and designed to be entertaining and informative.

As part of the heritage initiative, Saltash became the first town in Cornwall to have a Blue Plaque Trail in 2016. Three trails have also been mapped out for visitors to follow to see the historical landmarks around the town. Maps are available from the Museum, Saltash Guildhall and tourist information offices.

#9 Churchtown Farm Nature Reserve

churchtown nature reserve

Churchtown Farm Nature Reserve is a Wildlife Trust site south of Saltash, Cornwall. It offers wide-reaching views of the River Tamar as well as many species of animals and birds.

The use of more traditional farming methods across the site encourages more wildlife into this Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This approach has also encouraged a lot of wild food to return to the reserve, perfect for any avid foragers!

Perfect for families who love to wander in nature. Photographers, dog walkers, or anyone who simply wants to explore the gifts we have right beneath our noses!

#10 Serious Outdoor Skills River Tamar Guided Canoe Trips

canoeing on the river tamar, things to do in saltash with kids

Running to coincide with high tide times is the best way to see and experience the beauty of the Tamar valley. The river is slow flowing, and the trips take place in open Canadian-style canoes with fully trained instructors. You can get much closer to the river wildlife in a canoe, and the relaxation factor alone is worth the £29.50 per person for a three-hour trip. As well as the wildlife, you will also see many historic buildings and workings along the river’s edge. A great chance to imagine the lives of the people who lived there and get fully immersed in the beauty and history of this iconic river.

Best Things to do Near Saltash With Kids

Saltash is conveniently located to access many attractions in Cornwall and Devon easily. Many quaint little towns and rugged coastlines are key features of the southern coasts around Saltash, with many different attractions that will entertain the whole family. There are no motorways, creating scenic drives to most places you will want to visit.

#11 Visit Plymouth

plymouth, uk
Courtesy of One Plymouth, An aerial view of Plymouth from Plymouth Sound.

There are countless things to do in Plymouth, from the historic Barbican to modern wineries and shops. Plymouth is reached via the bridges in Saltash or by a short drive down to Torpoint, where you can use the river ferries (charged at £2 per car from Torpoint to Plymouth).

Once in Plymouth, I can personally recommend a wander around the historic Barbican and Plymouth Hoe. There are many places to eat and drink (our favourite is The Flower Café!), quaint local shops, history by the bucket load, and breathtaking views over Plymouth Sound. The first settlers in America sailed from the Mayflower Steps near the National Marine Aquarium, which also boasts the deepest tank in the UK.

Plymouth city centre hosts a vibrant market, new shopping centres, bars, restaurants, cinema, theatre and much more. Not to mention the newly reopened Box Museum with its very own Mammoth!

On the city’s outskirts, you will find Royal William Yard, a tidal swimming pool, trendy shops and bars, and a foot ferry to Mount Edgecombe and Cremyl on the Cornish coast. There is also the Dome at Devonport Market Hall. A newly renovated building with an immersive 15m dome shows various programs and events. Within walking distance of the Dome is Mount Wise, a great place to take fish and chips while enjoying a playpark and extensive views of the River Tamar.

Plymouth also offers the Plym Valley Railway and walking/cycling trails through Plym Valley, where you will find viaducts, tunnels and waterfalls, as well as lots of places to cool off in the summer months.

#12 Carnglaze Caverns

carnglaze caverns, liskeard

A former slate mine near Liskeard hosts one of Devon and Cornwall’s all-weather family attractions. You can discover how the miners mined and quarried the slate and visit the crystal-clear blue/green underground lake. The caverns within a beautiful 8-acre ancient oak woodland offer a glimpse of Cornwall’s industrial heritage.

Don’t forget to take a jumper and sturdy footwear! To reach the caverns, you will descend 60 steps and travel 60m below ground, with a constant 10°C temperature as you venture 150m into the hillside. The caverns also host weddings and concerts!

On a good weather day, you can also explore the zigzagging pathways of the Terrace garden to discover the Enchanted Dell. How many fairies will you spot? Prices start at £5 for children over 3 and £6 for adults.

#13 Eden Project

the eden project

The Eden Project, Cornwall, is about a 30-40minute drive from Saltash and was the first of its kind. Boasting two large biomes and surrounding gardens, Eden’s mission is to educate its visitors on the world we live in.

Hosting a Mediterranean climate on one side and a fully grown Rainforest on the other, Eden offers a great day out for all ages. With play parks, interactive exhibits, wonderfully knowledgeable staff and gorgeously landscaped surroundings, Eden are definitely worth the £32.50 adult entry fee (£11 for a child, concessions available, and free return visits for anyone living in Devon / Cornwall!).

Eden hosts a myriad of events across the year. During school holidays, it hosts child-centred fun events designed to teach children how to look after the planet through interactive workshops, games and storytelling. In the summer months, it hosts live music and food-based events. And in the winter, Eden is lit up in a kaleidoscope of colours and festive treats that will definitely take your breath away!

#14 Tregantle Beach

tregantle beach, beaches near saltash

Both Tregantle and Cawsand beaches are small and family-friendly and definitely an addition to the best family beaches in Cornwall. Tregantle is a sandy beach at one end of Whitsand Bay, and access is down a steep gravel track. Lifeguards are usually stationed there, and it is usually quite quiet due to its location. Very worth the exploration and steep hill to enjoy a day at the beach while staying away from the more touristy and busier Whitsand Bay!

#15 Cawsand Bay

cawsand bay, cawsaldn cornwall

Cawsand is a sheltered shingle beach with many rock pools and views over Plymouth Sound. The town is quaint but has places to eat and drink, and there are many coastal walks and places to explore. A foot ferry runs to and from Plymouth and docks on one side of the beach for easy access to the city.

Where To Stay In Saltash

With Plymouth and a selection of camping and caravanning sites nearby, you’ll be spoilt for choosing where to base yourself on your visit to Saltash. I have included three that I have stayed in that I can highly recommend, but there are many more depending on the activities you want to pursue or your family’s needs.

#1 China Fleet

xhina fleet and country club
china fleet country club

China Fleet offers a selection of comfortable self-catered holiday apartments suited to meet all your needs. With complimentary access to all the health centre facilities discussed in this blog post (Link to post) and the onsite brasserie, which serves delicious food all day. The staff are brilliant and helpful, and the location is perfect as a base to explore any or all of the attractions listed on this page!

Saltash Travellodge

Well placed on the main road into Saltash, this Travellodge meets all the needs for a family holiday. As with all the Travel Lodge hotels, accommodation is simple yet comfortable, with options for room types to meet your needs. There is an onsite restaurant, and the transport links are perfect for exploring the attractions listed on this page.

Brunel Inn

This inn will offer you a warm welcome on the main high street with off-street parking. With an attractive bar and restaurant serving food all day, the atmosphere is friendly, and the service top notch. The available en-suite rooms come in various sizes and layouts, so there is sure to be one to meet your needs. Being on the main high street, the Brunel Inn offers great transport links to the wider area by foot, bus or train, as well as being within walking distance to the activities in Saltash.

Discover More Saltash Accommodation

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