Stuck for ideas of what to do with the kids during the school holidays? We’ve come up with the following suggestions to keep them entertained without spending a penny!

The Tamar Trails Centre is a fantastic resource for letting off steam, with 25km of trails running through the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on the border between Devon and Cornwall, just 30 minutes from Plymouth. Here are our top things to do with the family to make the most of this amazing landscape:

Go for a stroll

Setting out on foot is a brilliant introduction to the Tamar Trails and its fascinating mining heritage. There’s even a printed map available with a suggested circular walk for families, with numbered markers identifying points of interest along the way. Dogs are very welcome too.

To really ignite young imaginations, combine a walk with an initiation as a junior detective…

From identifying trees to hunting out archaeologically significant rocks and making your own journey stick, there are a whole heap of adventures to be had with our free Woodland Adventure Club worksheets from the Woodland Trust’s nature detective’s series:

Hunt for big trees – learn to measure and identify the trees you encounter on your walk

Discovery & Adventure – what’s the smelliest, tiniest and wildest thing you can find?

Rock hunt – can you find minerals in the rocks?

Journey stick – learn how to create your own journey stick to tell the story of your experiences during your visit

Design a postcard – time to get creative, design a postcard describing your day of adventure and discovery

Pick up one of these free activity sheets from the Tamar Trails Centre or go to the Nature Detectives website for more inspiration at

Mountain Bike the Tamar Trails

Mountain Biking has become an increasingly popular family activity, a great way to cover lots of ground, see new sights and burn some energy. Bring your own bikes and explore at leisure.

There are various trails for cyclists to choose from depending on requirements and ability. Consisting in the most part of gentle, compacted stone tracks with a few steeper gradients, much of the terrain is perfectly suited to mixed ability groups and families, with a few options for longer and more challenging rides. What’s more, the trails are free to use and open all year round.
The best option for families with younger children and first time mountain bikers is the Mineral Railway Trail, which heads north from the Tamar Trails Centre for 2km or south for 3km. The trail journeys through tranquil woodland along parts of the old mineral railway that once linked Devon Great Consols Mine with Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar. It is generally a level, wide track with some short steeper sections, and kids will love hopping off to learn more about the mining heritage at the Old Mine Office.
For a more adventurous ride, try the Wheal Maria Trail. This track has a number of steep descents and climbs, passing through woodland with spectacular views across the Tamar Valley. Take the Mineral Railway Trail 2km north (20-30 minutes cycling) from the Tamar Trails Centre to join this circuit.
We also offer bike hire, perfect if you’re visiting Devon and Cornwall on holiday or just fancy giving it a try. There are even helmets and bikes with tag-along units and trailers for children.

Pack a picnic

A family outing needn’t involve an expensive lunch bill. There’s something very British about a picnic, harking back to soggy sarnies with sand in from childhood outings. You can make it as fancy or as frugal as you like, and with a little pre-planning can add extra touches such as home-made bread, salads and cake (a great opportunity to get everyone involved in the kitchen!).

The BBC has some great ideas at

The most important thing is the setting. There are some fantastic spots dotted around the Tamar Trails with views, under tree canopies and overlooking the River Tamar.

Looking for further inspiration? The Tamar Trails Centre is a hub of activities, many which can be tried from just £10 including one of the best zip wires in Cornwall or Devon.