Cornwall has become a surfer's paradise, but it has much, much more to offer for a fab family holiday, as Dave found out...

Published by: Dave Claridge
Published on: 7 March 2013

So whereabouts did you stay?
Base camp for our week-long adventure was a spacious two-bedroom caravan at the Hendra Holiday Park, which had an en-suite bathroom and all the mod-cons. It's a family-run complex set in beautiful countryside just a 10 minute drive from the centre of Newquay, and within easy reach of countless sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast.

What were the site facilities like?
There's everything you'd need here for a fun-filled stay so we never really had to set foot off the park. The most popular area with guests tended to be the Oasis pool complex, with a relaxing outdoor terrace which was great for chilling out on the hotter days. With the Tavern restaurant serving a good menu right through from breakfast to dinner, and Mario's Pizzeria with a chippy next door, there were plenty of places to dine. And there was also excellent nightly entertainment at the Club cabaret bar when me and my wife Michelle wanted some grown-up time!

Was there much to keep the kids occupied?
Loads. We made full use of the pool area with it's three indoor waterslides which kept my sons Charlie,17, Oliver,14 and Louis,9, happy for hours. There were also organised games on the sports field, pitch and putt, amusements and play areas for the younger kids, and a new scooter and skate park where they could tear around safely all day.

Did you venture out much?
Although there was plenty to do at Hendra, we made a daily effort to explore what else Cornwall had to offer - and were never disappointed. We got close up to all kinds of animals at the nearby Newquay Zoo, our favourite being feeding time with the meerkats. Flambards theme park, the West Country's leading family attraction, was another great day out with rides for all ages including the white-knuckle Skyraker001, the UK's first twisting drop tower. And no visit to this area would be complete without a trip to the world famous Eden Project, built on the site of an old china clay pit.

What else did you get up to?
Cornwall has more surfing beaches than you can shake a board at, so we had to give it a try. Well, what I mean is that we booked the boys a half-day lesson with the Cornwall Surf Academy at Holywell Bay while me and Michelle relaxed on the beach! It's a great way to learn, and they had a splashing time. Another day, we all got cycles from Bridge Bike Hire in Wadebridge and pedalled the 11-mile round trip to Padstow along the path of the disused railway line which follows the Camel Estuary. We might have got drenched in a shower, but it was worth it for all the picturesque views and the fresh air!.

Finally, what was your holiday highlight?
Without doubt, it had to be flying over the Eden Project on SkyWire, one of the country's longest zipwires. Climbing to the top of the launch platform with Charlie and Oliver, I was both excited and terrified! But once we'd been strapped in safely and leapt off, it was pure exhilaration as we whizzed along the half-mile cable at up to 300ft above Eden's iconic glass dome biomes and gardens. That was some entrance, and set us up for a great day, strolling around the project's stunning indoor rainforest and Mediterranean landscapes.

The facts:
*We stayed in a Perran 2 caravan, which sleeps 6-8 people. A week at Hendra Holiday Park starts from £269, with short breaks starting at £145. For more information visit or call 0844 847 1100
*Camel Trail cycle hire starts at £6 a day for a child's bike to £26 for adult tandem. 01208 813050
*Surf lessons from £25 (half-day child) to £35 (full-day adult). Five day courses and private lessons are available. 01637 831369
*Newquay Zoo's saver ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £35, under-3s are free. 0844 474 2244
*Adult admission to Flambards costs £21.95, and under-15s are £12.50. Family tickets are available. 01326 573404
*Under-4s get free entry at Eden Project. Adults and kids tickets are £23/£9.50, but there's big savings online or for using green transport. SkyWire flights are a £5 upgrade. 01726 811911

Wish I'd known before I went...
*Don't overload the car with food or essentials from home. Hendra has a shop on site and there's a huge Morrisons supermarket less than a mile down the road.
*Look out for offers on tickets to attractions like Flambards where you can return free for five consecutive days, and Newquay Zoo which allows you to revisit for a week.
*Cornwall's famous for it's scrumpy, so make sure you visit Healy's Cornish Cyder Farm in Truro - but get someone else to drive if you're sampling a few glasses!

Dave Claridge, 50, Felstead, Essex