Trains, mini-golf, boating...Lappa Valley Steam Railway and Leisure Park has it all...if you can manage to find it. Lappa Valley was recommended to us by the front desk staff at our hotel. The Sands Resort and Spa. Unfortunately, their directions coupled with poor signage and a lost GPS signal created a recipe for a long detour.
Lappa Valley is located off-the-beaten path in the middle of the Cornish countryside. It's a beautiful place to get lost, but not so much when you have a little kid who wants to get on those trains!
After much driving, we finally turned a corner and saw the entrance.
Our Lappa Valley day started at the ticket office, where we learned that there is only one way in and one way out, via steam train.
The mile long train ride took us through the woods and opened up into the beautiful Lappa Valley, a verdant playground with rolling hills. In the center was a giant lake with canoe rides ( included in the ticket price) and paths leading to both other train rides and play areas. One of the play areas had a maze made out of stepping stones and another had train themed gym equipment. Most popular seemed to be the mini-golf course, which was also included in the ticket price.
Nearly everything was included in the entry, making for a nice surprise. Most of the places that we have visited with the kids were filled with hidden extras, usually something so enticing to the kids that we felt compelled to fork out extra.
Lappa Valley is primarily about the trains and there are several. One train took us to another hidden playground, where we rode it and waited five minutes for it to reverse directions. We learned quickly that some of the trains run infrequently and that there can be long gaps, where you can get stuck in one segment of the park or face a long walk through the woods back to the center.
Lappa Valley has The Whistle Stop Cafe for refreshments. You can't get any fried green tomatoes there, but they make a mean carrot cake!
Lappa Valley is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you have young children or if you're a train enthusiast. I saw many adults who were clearly more excited about the trains than the children. Make sure to plan your visit in advance to make the most of your day and also acquire clear directions before you head out.