As we had a long journey back home from St Ives we wanted to do something in the morning that was on the route home – and being just off the A30, Lappa Valley fit the bill. Lappa Valley is a miniature steam railway and park, aimed at younger children – there are 3 different trains to ride, as well as a whole host of other activities including indoor soft play, mini ride on tractors (a toddler favourite!), crazy golf, boats, and all the usual park swings, slides and sand pits.
When you arrive in the car park, you’re actually located a mile away from the park itself, and you need to buy your ticket from the ticket office and ride the steam train to get there – very exciting! Unfortunately we missed the train so had to wait 40 minutes for the next one. There is some playground equipment at the ticket office, but not a lot, so it’s worth checking the train times here before you go.
Like most toddlers, Max is a huge fan of trains – Thomas the Tank Engine, Chuggington, real life ‘choo-choos’ – so he was really excited on the train ride. The ride up offered lots to look at – my husband even saw a fox but sadly Max and I were not so sharp eyed.
Once we arrived in the park, Max made a bee-line for his favourite – the mini ride-on tractors! Not so much a favourite of mine, as he’ll ride them for ages but hasn’t yet learned the art of steering and isn’t quite tall enough to touch the ground with his feet, so it means someone has to push – not great for the back! I think Max would happily have spent all day on these, but we did eventually manage to persuade him to move on.
There is a huge play area with pirate ship, sand pit with mini diggers, slides, and swings, and Max loved exploring.
There is also a small indoor play area which Max ventured into and then quickly back out again – who can blame him as we were lucky to visit on a sunny day!
Like the train that takes you to the park, the two other trains both run to a timetable, so it’s worth working that out to make sure you get on. We loved the Express Train, which circles the play area so you get lots of waves from passers by, and it feels really fast! My husband was so impressed that he asked the driver how fast he thought we were going – apparently somewhere around the 5mph mark! Not quite as fast as it felt then.
Lappa Valley is the perfect place to visit if you have a small child and are looking for somewhere to stop on that long route out of Cornwall. I do feel that £12.50 for an adult entry is quite pricey, but there are lots of discounts available if you’re local and can visit more regularly, and if not, then I guess you need to accept paying the tourist tax!
Eating and Drinking
There are two cafes in the park, only one of which was open on our visit. It offered a range of pasties, sandwiches and drinks. We all shared a pasty (Max developed quite a taste for them on holiday!) and ate on the picnic tables outside.
Lappa Valley Steam Railway, St Newlyn East, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 5LX
Child (3-15): £10 (under 3’s free)
Family: (2 adults, 2 children) £40
Do you have a little one with a big love of trains? Have you visited Lappa Valley or do you know of somewhere similar that we might like? Do leave me a comment and let me know!