Île de Bréhat, Brittany

10 things to do with your family in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany

Are you thinking of a family holiday to Brittany? We stayed for a week in the Côtes-d’Armor department and discovered just how much there is to see and do in Brittany. Read on to find out our top ten suggestions for a family trip.

1. Visit the Pink Granite Coast, near Ploumanac’h

The Pink Granite Coast is one of Brittany’s premier tourist attractions. The coastal walk, which follows a former coastguard footpath, from Perros-Guirec is very popular and a great introduction to the pink rocks.

Pink granite coast, near Perros-Guirec
Pink granite coast, near Perros-Guirec

Many of the formations are named after the shapes they resemble, including a rabbit and a witch. I’ve no idea if the large rock below the lighthouse in the photograph is an ‘official shape’ but it looks like a sideways face to me!

2. Eat a crepe

It would be hard to come to Brittany and miss out on crepes. There are creperies everywhere, with traditional lemon and sugar fillings plus the ever popular Nutella option.

Crepes, Guingamp market, Brittany
Crepes, Guingamp market, Brittany

My favourite was a takeaway from a market stall eaten on a rainy morning. We ate posher crepes, with knives and forks, but nothing surpassed the simple joy of eating a crepe, oozing warm chocolate spread, direct from a paper bag.

3. Chateau de Tonquédec, Tonquédec

This is possibly my favourite castle in France. Built in the 15th Century, it is still owned by descendants of the original family. If you like your castles intact and perfectly restored this is not for you; it’s definitely a work in progress.

Château de Tonquédec, Côtes d'Armor
Château de Tonquédec, Côtes d’Armor

There are lots of interesting areas to explore; dark stairways to venture down (if you’re brave!) and towers to climb. Children will love it but do keep an eye on them as some parts resemble a medieval building site. Watch out for the local goats too; on our visit they were sitting high up on top of one of the walls.

Château de Tonquédec, Brittany
Château de Tonquédec, Brittany

4. Hisse et ho, Plelo

My kids loved this! Think of giant nets suspended from trees, rather like a cross between Go Ape and a trampoline park. There are slides, balls and hoops and bouncy nets to jump around on. Definitely a place to wear off some energy.

Hisse et ho! Char à bancs, Brittany
Hisse et ho! Char à bancs, Brittany

It’s not just for kids either. I enjoyed it too although the bounciness made me feel travel sick after a while. I was happier sitting and watching from the picnic table.

5. Watch the waves at Site du Gouffre, Plougrescant

Coastline, Le Gouffre, Brittany
Coastline, Le Gouffre, Brittany

The peninsula is probably most famous for Castel Meur, a house situated between two huge granite rocks, which features on postcards and tourist literature across the region. However, I enjoyed walking the coastline and watching the waves force water through the nearby gouffre. Although relatively peaceful during our visit the power of the waves was very evident. I’d love to return on a stormy day.

6. Centre de Découverte du Son, Cavan

The Sound Discovery Centre may sound a tad boring but it’s the complete opposite. It’s a quirky and unique attraction, which I highly recommend. Visitors follow a trail through the woodland where musical instruments are ingeniously incorporated into the surroundings. There are strings to strum, drums to tap and plenty of tubes to blow (mouthpieces provided).

Sound Discovery Centre, Cavan, Brittany
Sound Discovery Centre, Cavan, Brittany

After the woodland trail there’s a garden designed in the shape of the ear, along with a few more sounds to discover. The whole place is cleverly put together and great fun for all ages.

7. La Vallee des Saints, Carnoët

If, like me, you have an (unrealistic) yearning to visit Easter Island then a trip to the Valley of the Saints might just suffice. Perched on a hill there are currently more than 60 granite statues dedicated to Breton saints.

Valley of the Saints, Carnoët, Brittany
Valley of the Saints, Carnoët, Brittany

Visitors are free to wander around the saints, all of which are funded by donations from local communities and organisations. Over the next 50 years the project aims to create 1000 statues; a definite Easter Island contender.

8. Abbaye de Beauport, Paimpol

Founded in 1202 Abbaye de Beauport was once a centre of monastic life but in recent years the buildings have housed apartments, schools and a farm. Although parts of the abbey have been restored I preferred the atmospheric ruins. Pink and purple hydrangeas brightened up the grey stone walls. Very photogenic.

Abbaye de Beauport, near Paimpol, Brittany
Abbaye de Beauport, near Paimpol, Brittany

There’s plenty of information available in English, including a discovery trail leaflet and multi-lingual information boards. There are grounds to explore too, including a walled orchard and marshy coastline.

9. Explore Dinan

We arrived in St Malo on the overnight ferry and had a few hours to fill before our campsite was available. A visit to the medieval town of Dinan, with its half timbered houses and extensive ramparts, proved the perfect stopover.


We spent most of our time wandering through the picturesque lanes and browsing the shops. However, we exerted ourselves a little climbing to the top of the clock tower for a view over the roof tops.

Dinan, Brittany
Dinan, Brittany

I’m glad we managed to get some exercise as Dinan is also notable for providing our first, and best, taste of  Kouign-amman. This heavenly Breton cake consists of 30% sugar and 30% butter so I’m rather glad it’s not readily available in the UK!

10. Île de Bréhat

Having holidayed in Guernsey and Jersey I was keen to visit Île de Bréhat which is marketed as the French Channel Island. The island is just a mile off the Brittany coast, but after a ten minute ferry ride you feel miles from anywhere.

Île de Bréhat consists of two main islands. Both are car free so visitors either walk or hire bikes to see the islands. We chose to walk which I think was the best option to access the more remote beaches. Although it was a rather warm day for too much strenuous activity!

Île de Bréhat, Brittany
Île de Bréhat, Brittany

The island is incredibly beautiful although in August it was also incredibly busy. I felt rather sorry for the locals but I guess they also rely on the summer tourist invasion.

Have you visited Brittany? Where else would you suggest visiting?

More info:

  • Chateau de Tonquédec costs 5 euros for adults, 2.5 euros for children. It is open daily at varying times from April to September, and weekends only in October.
  • Hisse et Ho is open daily in July and August and weekends from March to November. Adults cost 12 euros, children cost 10 euros.
  • The Sound Discovery Centre is open 1-7pm from March to November, every day during the French school holidays. Entrance costs 7 euros for adults, 3.5 euros for children.
  • Boats to Île de Bréhat depart from Pointe de L’Arcouest, near Ploubazlanec. The return journey costs 10 euros for adults and 8.50 euros for children aged 4-11 years. From April to September boats generally depart every hour, there is a less frequent service from October to March. Futher details from Vedettes de Bréhat.

17 thoughts on “10 things to do with your family in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany”

  1. I adore Brittany but we haven’t been with our kids yet. Christine you have uncovered some very interesting things to do. I like how there’s a nice mix of outdoors, culture and food. Sounds like the perfect holiday to me. Thanks so much for joining us on #FarawayFiles

  2. What a wonderful trip. I’ve been to Dinan, but not the other places. The sound trail looks fun too, but you are right, it’s name doesn’t conjuror up a fun time. Amazing that the castle is still owned by the family. Wow!

  3. I think numbers 6 and 7 caught my eye the most. The musical outdoor park just sounds like kids of all ages would have a blast, and I also have an unrealistic desire to visit Easter Island. So there you go!


  4. I would add St Malo to this list too, it shouldn’t be overlooked as just a ferry port, in my opinion it’s one of France’s most beautiful towns. I love Brittany and used to go loads more when we lived in Paris but we had a great week in April this year most recently. I really like the idea of the sound park. I’don’t love it if our link this up to my monthly linky #allaboutfrance which is now on. #farawayfiles

    1. I had originally planned to stopover in St Malo as I know it’s a lovely town but I thought I might possibly revisit as a standalone weekend break (without the car) at some point in the future.

      1. I’ve just seen what a load of rubbish came out of my autocorrect typing “I’don’t love it if our link” what the???? That should say I’d love it if you’d link…!!! Sorry! Anyway you did link up which is great as it means you weren’t too put off by my meaningless words! St Malo as a destination on its own for the weekend sounds like a fab idea! Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance

  5. We are heading to St Malo in a few weeks and I know Phoebe enjoyed it there. You’d think I’d know more of Brittany since I live next door in Normandy but I never seem to find the time to get there. I did go to Fougères recently though and that is a lovely town with a great castle too. #AllABoutFrance

  6. I read about the pink granite coast and I wasn’t sure if my children would enjoy it, so we chose the south of Brittany instead. It’s nice to hear your take on it, I think I’ll keep it on my wish-list!

  7. Hi Christine, what a lovely place Brittany looks, I have never been there and it’s not somewhere I have ever thought to visit. There is not one thing in your list that I wouldn’t enjoy!… The hisse et ho, Plelo would have me laughing like a child and I’d probably need the workout after the crepes (who can ever stop at just one?)….. I was always a traditional lemon and sugar girl until I tried Nutella sprinkled with coconut!

    The Chateau de Tonquédec looks the perfect place to explore and I like the fact it’s in ruins. It adds interest. And as for watching the waves Site du Gouffre? I would happily do that!


  8. I just visited Brittany this past summer, but your post covers so many things I didn’t get to do. You have me wanting to visit again! 🙂 #farawayfiles

  9. This is fascinating – I would absolutely love to discover this region with the family sometime! The Chateau de Tonquédec looks like the ideal place for little knights and princesses to explore (I often find that the heavily-restored castles fall flat somehow…). And here in Luxembourg we have a similar “sound walk” which I find a brilliant idea: would love to do another one in a different environment.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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