We pit Cornwall v Kent in the ultimate family-friendly holiday contest to see where's best to take your children

The Cornish Coast

STAY: Want self-catering bliss? Our chalet in the luxury resort of Gwel an Mor, set back from the north-coast town of Portreath, was just that.

As well as every mod con (including super-fast Wi-Fi), lodges have a sun deck, BBQ area and hot tub.

There’s also the Terrace restaurant (it does a delish Cornish crab linguine, £12.95), plus spa, pool, play centre, golf course and fishing lake on site.

EXPLORE: Portreath beach as well as clifftop walks are on your doorstep – try an hour-long trot over to cute old lighthouse, the Pepperpot.

Later, drive to the small town of Gweek and the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, where you’ll not only find dozens of seals, but also penguins, otters and sea lions. Entry costs from £10.85 for adults, £8.75 for kids.

Then get a history fix at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth. From awe-inspiring 19th-century vessels to rescue boats you can clamber into, it’s easy to lose an afternoon here. Tip – don’t miss the Lookout Tower.

Entry from £13.50 for adults, £6 for kids.

REFUEL: Behind the front door of what could be an everyday semi in the tiny fishing village of Par near St Austell, we stumbled across the Yummy Scrummy Bakery. They serve lush cakes and a great Cornish Brie ploughman’s, £9.95, plus there’s a garden and children’s play area.

Later, drop into Rick Stein’s Fistral, overlooking the beautiful beach at Newquay. Food is served in boxes, but it’s not just a chippy, as you’ll also find proper curry options, divine fish tacos and glasses of fizz. Cod and chips costs £9.45 and all kids’ meals are £5.95.

DON’T MISS: Feadon Farm in Gwel an Mor, a non-profit wildlife centre, offers rock pooling and woodland safaris. And during Meet The Animals, you get close to creatures including baby mice (we held one), foxes (we kissed one) and snakes (no!). There are also toads, owls and reindeer.

BOOK IT: Lodges at Gwel an Mor start from £545 a week, sleeping four.

Plan your trip at Visitcornwall.com.

The Kent Coast

Fabulous’ Picture Director Alan Gittos dived into kite buggying and crêpes with wife Vivienne, kids Sofia, 11, and Thomas, seven, and family friends in the Garden of England.

STAY: One mile outside the charming village of Appledore, The Hop Pickers Oast is a huge house with a private lake. It’s perfect for a reunion of the clans – and for pretending you won the lottery.

Eat breakfast in the open kitchen/diner or the cosy sitting room. There’s a massive games room and, outside, a huge lawn that leads to a private play area – perfect for the kids to bounce, slide and swing on a sunny evening, while you sip drinks lakeside and fire up the pizza oven.

EXPLORE: If you can tear yourself away from your plush pad, the old-world charm of Rye in East Sussex is a few miles away. The medieval houses on Mermaid Street are Insta gold. Then… shopping.

We loved the interiors at The Shop Next Door and Glass Etc, which is owned by Antiques Roadshow’s Andy McConnell, while kids won’t be able to resist retro sweet shop Britcher & Rivers.

Seeking the unusual? Ride the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. Hop on this mini steam train at New Romney and travel to the wilderness of Dungeness. Return tickets cost £10 for adults, £6.50 for children.

Beach lovers, however, should head to Camber Sands on the Kent and East Sussex border. Try a kite buggy lesson across 2 miles of unspoilt dunes and keep your eyes peeled for celebs – the likes of Matt Damon and George Clooney have been spotted here as it’s often used as a film location.

A 2.5-hour lesson costs £59 (Thekitesurfcentre.com).

REFUEL: The Apothecary coffee house in Rye looks like it belongs in a Harry Potter movie, and serves the best savoury crêpes, from £3.50.

And The Ferry Inn at Stone-in-Oxney has an amazing steak and chorizo burger, £12.95.

DON’T MISS: Your own private boat! Rowing out to the island in the middle of the house’s lake at dusk was the weekend’s hottest ticket.

BOOK IT: The Hop Pickers Oast, sleeping 16, costs from £25 each per night.


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