Find 35 Top Things to do in Devon with the kids this Summer!

SUNsational Summer fun in Devon

Monday 25th July 2022 6:30 am
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Devon’s Top Attractions

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DEVON’S Top Attractions have a fun-packed Summer of fun waiting to be enjoyed. The county’s top attractions, many who are multi award-winning, will be offering a great selection of non-stop family fun this summer. There will be a super collection of wonderful Devon days out and experiences, plus some extra special seasonal events too. With so much choice and so many events, there is something for everyone and perfect days out for all. For a special slice of summer fun this year, head to one of Devon’s Top Attractions and make a day of it!!

Marketing Manager for ‘Devon’s Top Attractions’ Anne Blackham, said: “Our member attractions are ready and waiting to welcome everyone through their doors. They have a SUNsational Summer waiting to be enjoyed, packed full of family fun and entertainment. They have been working hard to make sure there is a super choice of great days out, special events and experiences on offer. So, whether you are a local or a holiday maker, if you are looking for a Devon day out to remember then Devon’s Top Attractions is a great place to start.”

Find 35 Top Things to do in Devon with the kids this Summer!

Head for a Top Devon Beach

Fancy a top beach day, then head to Blackpool Sands near Dartmouth. This award-winning blue flag beach lies in a stunning picturesque bay, surrounded by evergreens and pines and is one of South Devon’s most beautiful natural treasures. With clear turquoise waters, you could be anywhere on the Mediterranean. The beach offers a range of water sports and a beach front café, serving delicious hot and cold food and takeaway service. You can also visit Blackpool Gardens, situated close by.

Feel Like a Giant in a Miniature World

Step into a miniature world at Babbacombe Model Village and explore the four acres of award-winning gardens showcasing hundreds of model scenes, vehicles and people. The Village is famous for its miniature landscaped gardens and is one of Europe’s premier model villages. Marvel at some of the scenes of iconic landmarks and famous places, including Stonehenge and recent additions of the famous Royal Crescent in Bath and Shakespeare’s Globe. Also new for2022 is a 9-hole crazy golf course and is included in your admission. Visit by day or from the beginning of August enjoy the popular evening illuminations, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The light effects will surround you in a spectacle of enchanting colours as you journey round the site, giving a magical and enchanting experience.

Visit a Devon Castle

Devon has castles too, head to Powderham Castle and learn about their 600-year history and the Courtenay family who still live there today. The castle is located in a unique, picturesque setting within an ancient deer park beside the Exe Estuary, just south of Exeter. Visit the walled garden and let the children see all the animals and play on the adventure play equipment. Wander through the rose garden, take a ride on the deer park train and enjoy a cream tea in the Castle’s courtyard. A beautiful day out for all ages, plus check out their events calendar of summer outdoor theatre and music festivals.

Head north for another Devon castle. This time Watermouth Castle near Ilfracombe but this isn’t just a castle, this is also a family theme park like no other. The site is an enchanting mix of children’s activities and nostalgic blasts from the past and takes you back in time to the simple pleasures of Victorian Life. With animated scenes, a must-see patriotic water show, mechanical instruments and many curios around every corner. There is a dungeon labyrinth and a whole host of rides and outdoor family fun. Popular rides are their hill side toboggan ride and the big river ride. A super day out enjoyed by all ages!

Visit a Devon Theme Park!

Head to Woodlands Family theme Park in South Devon but don’t just play, you can stay too at their onsite caravan and camping site and make a holiday out of it. Woodlands offers a wonderful family day out and is suitable for all ages. Boasting the biggest indoor play centre in the Southwest, full of slides, play areas, soft play and climbing adventures, it really does not matter what the weather is doing. They have an incredible Zoo-farm with 5 huge indoor barns full of wild, exotic, and cute animals. With 10 play zones full of rides, attractions and a falconry centre spread over 100 acres, it is truly a kid’s fun paradise. This summer they have a super events calendar packed full of special themed days and character days. Meet Rex a real-life dinosaur and some other lovable favourites like Paddington Bear, Peppa Pig, Hey Duggee, Chase from Paw Patrol and Titan the Robot, all of whom will all be making an appearance on selected dates throughout the summer holidays.

Head to Crealy Theme Park & Resort for another top Devon day out. Set in 100 acres of glorious Devon countryside this multi-award-winning family attraction has over 60 indoor and outdoor rides and attractions, over 200 animals and 75,000 square feet of undercover play and extensive outdoor adventure areas for visitors to explore. Plus, you can stay and play at Crealy Meadows, their own holiday resort for the ultimate staycation break. NEW at Crealy for 2022 is Sooty Land. Explore new rides and indoor attractions all dedicated to Sooty, Sweep and Soo! Outdoors, ride on Sooty’s Magic Bus and Sweeps’s Flying Circus and prepare to spin faster on Soo’s Sweet Balloon ride and Izzy Whizzy Let’s get Dizzy! Go inside and check out The Pier which includes the South West’s first ever strike Arena, Sooty’s Hall of Fame, the world’s only Sooty Store. Check out the soft playrooms including giant Twister, Tetris, Magi Blocks and a dance studio. Refuel at the themed restaurant and then head to Sooty’s Big Top Arena for the hilarious Sooty Show!

If you are looking for some world-famous summer fun, then head to North Devon to The Big Sheep where big fun and big smiles await you at this top family attraction. It’s both a farm park and theme park. There are rides to thrill and adventures and animal encounters all across the park. See the animals up close, watch the hilarious live shows and much more. With a massive EWEtopia indoor play area, it can certainly boast being an all-weather attraction. A super day out for all the family. Plus, they have a whole calendar of live entertainment, gigs and outdoor theatre as well as seasonal events too!

Still in North Devon we have another family theme park that is out of this world! Head to the Milky Way Adventure Park for some multi award winning fun! Check out their recent additions, the Ninja Stars games arena with tag scoring and another new, and already firm favourite, is Ziggy’s Blast Quest -- a brilliant interactive ride for all ages where you can pilot a cyber scooter and use your Blasteroid laser to destroy rogue asteroids and meteors before they destroy the planet. Plus, there’s rollercoaster fun if you ride on the Cosmic Typhoon or whizz down the huge gravity rider donut slide. Find your way out of the maze or bump around on the Droid Destroyer dodgems. Head there for a guaranteed full day of family fun whatever the weather!

Get Active and Outdoors at a Devon Activity Centre

Head to River Dart Country Park and get active. Packed with outdoor fun for all ages and over 90 acres to explore, there’s excitement around every corner in this extensive adventure playground. Explore the activities and test your balance on the agility trail, check out the stunning views from inside the treetop tower and get to the top of the climbing pods. Let imaginations run wild aboard the Pirate Ship and cool off in the lake. Let the kids take the assault course or try out the bike pump track. For those wanting a quieter experience, there are scenic walks along the beautiful River Dart and the rugged woodlands. There’s a licensed café bar and if that’s not enough, you can stay and play at their award-winning campsite which includes free entry to the extensive playgrounds.

Make your way to Haldon Forest Park for some great family fun, fresh air and exercise. There’s so much to do there for all ages. Explore the forest park with an off-road mobility vehicle, take your bike……. they have super cycling and mountain biking facilities. Dogs love Haldon too, take in the views while on one of the walking trails in this idyllic forest setting. Go on a treetop adventure with Go Ape or on a guided Segway tour. Take a break at the Ridge Café with homemade light bites, locally made cakes and hot and cold drinks.

Take the Superworm adventure trail and become a forest SUPERHERO! Discover the small but mighty creatures in the much-loved story and learn about the everyday heroic feats of minibeasts in the forest. The new self-led trail features brightly illustrated panels and a trail pack full of fun activities, including your very own mask. A super day out for all ages.

Take an Island Adventure to Lundy Island

There’s a unique island adventure experience waiting in North Devon. Why not take a trip to Lundy Island? The adventure starts in either Bideford or Ilfracombe where you depart onboard the MS Oldenburg as you take your crossing sailing to this amazing island. On arrival, you have four to six hours to explore the island and immerse yourself in a place of wide spaces and big skies. A place without roads, cars or pollution. Walking and wildlife watching are key, so do not forget your binoculars. The rugged cliffs are home to important seabird colonises including Puffins and Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots, Razorbills and

Lundy Island has a thriving population of resident Atlantic grey seals. A day trip or a longer stay on the island will be a memory-making experience like no other.

Step into the Stone Age

There’s a ‘Mammoth’ day and a Stone Age Summer on offer at Kents Cavern. Take one of the entertaining cave tours which will tell the story of the 15-year-long Victorian excavation which uncovered some of Britain’s most ancient secrets. The caves are at a constant 14 C temperature and a lovely escape from the heat on a blazing summer’s day or if the weather is wet outside. You will be led through the large caverns, following in the footsteps of the early adventurers who unearthed an array of early bones and artefacts. As you journey through, you will see the spectacular stalactites and stalagmites which line the cave walls, and experience total darkness. Outside, enjoy the Woodland Trail where you can hunt for Ice Age beasts. Kents Cavern run a series of seasonal events throughout the year, this Summer they have their unique Cave Cinema offering classic films and family favourites in the South West’s only pop-up underground cinema on selected dates from 26th July until 26th August.

Discover Devon’s Natural Attractions

Head into the Teign Valley on the edge of Dartmoor and you will find Canonteign Falls. There are over 90 acres of estate land, woodland lakes and waterfalls with breath-taking views from the top of the falls. These can be reached by climbing the 90 original Victorian steps which lead up through the Victorian fern garden and onto the top. A perfect way to enjoy a family day out with added fresh air and exercise. Canonteign Falls have an events calendar which will be running throughout the Summer and Autumn which include an Opera by the lake and a live music event, plus, NEW for this year are guided walks and history tours.

Becky Falls on Dartmoor is a beautiful place to spend a day. Explore the 50 acres of stunning ancient woodlands and the waterfall which sits at the heart of the park in a stunning boulder strewn valley. Marvel at one of Dartmoor’s iconic landmarks and its unique natural beauty. All the shows and activities are included in the admission price and its dog friendly too. They have a varied animal collection and zoo with free animal shows, plus a woodland café and picnic area. A super day out for all the family.

Set Sail on a Devon Boat Cruise

Join Stuart Line Cruises on board one of their two striking vessels, the ‘Tudor Rose’ or the ‘Pride of Exmouth’, their flagship vessel. Both painted in their striking yellow, blue and red colours that’s have become something of an emblem of what they offer. Cruise on the calm and sheltered waters of the River Exe and along the World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast cruises during the Summer Months. They have many different cruises; favourites include their Cream Tea River Cruise or Mini Coastal Cruises as well as their bird watching winter cruises. Set Sail for a memorable Devon day out!

Farmyard Fun - Visit a Devon Farm Park!

If you are looking for some farmyard fun, then visit one of Devon’s Top Farm Parks. Head to South Devon to

Pennywell Farm and cuddle one of their world-famous miniature pigs. With over 150 friendly animals, tractor trailer ride, miniature train ride and much more, there is always a fun packed day out waiting with a new activity every half an hour, just listen for the bell. Popular activities include the hilarious pig racing, goat milking, ferret racing, pony pampering, deer feeding and egg collecting as well as pond dipping. The animals come in all shapes and sizes, you can meet Connery a retired horse from the Household Cavalry or the miniature ponies and donkeys and the friendliest of rabbits. Head there for a memory making day!

Over in East Devon you can pay a visit to World of Country Life, an award-winning family day out for the whole family. They have an amazing mix of animals, play areas, museums and entertainment and acres of fun to explore. Daily activities not to be missed are the goat walking, ferret racing and Deer Train Safari. They have a wide variety of animals to interact with and a fabulous on-site restaurant. Head for their transport museum and see the wonderful collection of vintage cars, motorcycles and working machinery. You can even see the Charabanc used in the filming of Downton Abbey. A fun packed day out for all the family.

Animal Antics!

Bring out the best in your herd and take the family to the The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth. A magical place like no other and home to hundreds of donkeys -- rest assured you will fall for these adorable creatures. Test your knowledge and follow the NEW summer quiz trail to become a Donkey Guardian! This free to visit attraction has much to offer including an award-winning restaurant and a well-stocked gift shop as well as plenty of outdoor space and activities, trails and talks and its dog friendly too!

Visit a Devon Zoo

Head for Exmoor Zoo, home of the Exmoor Beast. There’s a full day out waiting to be enjoyed with all the keeper talks, this year including a Cheetah talk, Exmoor Beast talk and Meerkat talk. Catch the animal encounters and enjoy the animal feeding sessions. Experience wildlife from around the world from creepy crawlies of the Amazon to the wobbly wallaby joeys of Australia. There’s plenty of hands-on activities and a children’s playground and picnic area too. Plus, check out the newest arrival to the Zoo, ‘Abou’ or Doris is her nickname, she is a Shoebill and only one of eight in Europe and has just taken up residence. This fascinating prehistoric looking bird with a huge bill is a must see at the zoo this summer!

Visit a Devon Wildlife Park!

Head to East Devon to Wildwood Escot and let the kids go wild. Meet the adorable bear cubs, wolves, Lynx, wildcats, red squirrels, otters and wild boar. But that’s not all as there is so much more to do. Enjoy the adventure play, indoor soft play, get lost in the amazing maze, visit the Saxon Village and whizz down the 40-metre zip-line and then dare to do the tree-top drop slide. Take a break and refresh with a delicious snack in the Coach House Café. With 220 acres of parkland there is plenty of space to explore and have a full family day out.

Glorious Gardens – Visit one of Devon’s top gardens

Head to the magnificent gardens of RHS Rosemoor in North Devon, it’s a perfect day out for garden lovers with lots to do for all the family, too. Rosemoor is run by the Royal Horticultural Society and the gardens are set in over 100 acres of woodland with the river Torridge running along the western border. Rosemoor is a beautiful place whatever time of year you visit, and blends formal and informal plantings to magically stunning effect. They also offer seasonal family activities, workshops and this summer have a full calendar of events including a Vintage Weekend, the Rosemoor Flower Show, a summer holidays Great Garden Adventure and several Rosemoor Live events including a summer evening of Opera.

Devon is full of gorgeous gardens to explore and to enjoy and Bicton Park Botanical Gardens is definitely one to pay a visit. With over 64 acres to explore, this is a true gardener’s delight spanning 300 years of gardening history. The park is home to many rare and beautiful species collected from around the world. See the stunning Italian Garden, see the tropical house, Arid House and the Palm house which was built 20 years before the Kew Gardens Palm House. Ride on the Bicton Woodland railway for an overview of the whole site. Then visit the Countryside Museum containing a huge collection of bygone days artefacts. Let the kids enjoy the indoor and outdoor play areas and picnic in the grounds or enjoy a bite to eat in the Temple Orangery restaurant. This Summer they also have some great special events including A night of Queen, a picnic concert, and a special Orchid Day!

Visit a Devon Abbey

A visit to Buckast Abbey is a winning day out. A working Benedictine Monastery, welcoming visitors to enjoy its tranquillity and beauty. As well as the magnificent Abbey, enjoy the beautiful gardens, state of the art interactive exhibition, shops and restaurant. Nestled in the shadow of Dartmoor, in a beautiful, wooded valley beside the river Dart it offers visitors a tranquil refuge from the hectic pace of everyday life. With free entry and free parking. They have a whole host of summer events on offer too, including outdoor theatre. Bee workshops and Buckfast Abbey’s Summer Fair.

Take a Devon Tour

A visit to North Devon’s Dartington Crystal and Visitor Centre will not disappoint. It is a super mix of a factory tour, visitor centre and factory shopping experience. As the UK’s only remaining glass factory, a visit here is a unique and fascinating experience. Discover the story and development in the exhibition centre, watch skilled glass makers in action on the factory floor and the master engravers, then make your way to experience the factory shopping and the relaxing Pavilion restaurant. NEW for this summer is the opening of the new Visitor Centre. The new visitor experience houses an updated and upgraded exhibition of Dartington Crystal spanning over 50 years of history and includes a new cinema area, where you can get a behind the scenes look at the factory and check out the newly installed studio furnace area. Take part in the creative activities and create a cast of your child’s hand forever in glass a perfect gift or souvenir. Dartington Crystal offers several family activities and events throughout the year.

Visit Morwellham Quay and go on a Living History Tour. Escape the hustle and bustle of 21st century life as you step back in time and wander through this enchanting village. See the miner’s cottages, cooperage, the blacksmiths and assayer’s workplaces, quayside, and village centre. Dress up in costume to look like a Victorian lady, gent or child. Take part in a typical lesson in the Victorian schoolroom, rock break on the dressing floor. Take a bite to eat at the Ship Inn and visit the village shop which is well stocked with a wide range of gifts including ironwork and pottery all made on site. Morwellham also have a number of seasonal events and live music concerts. NEW for 2022 is the miners indoor adventure play and coming soon is the eagerly awaited reopening of the interactive Mine Train Adventure.

Visit Plymouth – Britain’s Ocean City

A visit to Plymouth will always please, with a vibrant waterfront city packed full of attractions and sights to see. Steeped in history and heritage and a great mix for a day out or short break, Plymouth is in a beautiful location sandwiched between the incredible southwest coastline and the wild beauty of Dartmoor National Park. Plymouth is a both a fashionable and cultural city with great food and drink, shopping, arts and entertainment. The city puts on a number of large seasonal events throughout the year including the famous annual British Firework Championships which lights up the city on two evenings in August and this year the world’s most competitive race on water returns to Plymouth for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix event on 30th -31st July.

Buzz over to North Devon and Find Out About the Bees!

Make a bee-line for Quince Honey Farm in North Devon. It is a working honey farm based in South Molton and offers a full day out for the whole family to enjoy. Learn about how bees make honey, enjoy a honey tasting session and roll your own beeswax candle. You can join a tour and get a close up look at how honey is extracted from the hive and then bottled and then you can buy it in their well-stocked shop. See the Bee Shed and the interactive hives and see millions of bees at work safely behind glass. They offer several workshops, including beekeeper taster sessions and have seasonal events on throughout the year. There is plenty for children too, they can buzz around in the Play Hive indoor adventure park.

Museum Magic – Visit one of Devon’s Top Museums

Head to the Exeter based world-class Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM). This free-entry, all-weather attraction is an ideal stop this summer with some stunning displays and galleries, fabulous exhibitions, and modern amenities. They have a whole host of activities and exhibitions going on over the summer holidays including lots of LEGO Activity workshops. Check out the Dinos on the Move, Exo-Motor madness LEGO, Robot wars junior and senior league – LEGO and Brick by Brick history of Exeter plus lots, lots more!

Head to Torbay to Bygones Museum, to bring the past alive, with three floors of pure nostalgia. Wander back in time, visit the authentic life-size Victorian street, including forge and sweetshop and find the unexpected as there were no supermarkets for our great grandparents! Take a thought-provoking walk through their recreated WW1 trench and imagine your ancestors on the front line or taking cover in a WWII Anderson Shelter.

Head to Coldharbour Mill, near Cullompton. The Mill Museum is one of the last surviving Victorian woollen mills and has been in production since 1879. Discover the story of power generation, looking at the waterways and waterwheel, steam engines, retort house and chimney! Explore the factory floor and learn about the heritage of spinning and weaving. Relax at the Grist Mill Café bar and take a stroll around the Mill Pond and wildlife meadow discovering the flora and fauna of the glorious Devon countryside. They have summer events, including the Power of Water Day and a Steam Punk Sunday event. At the Steam-Up events you can enjoy and experience the sights and sounds of their steam complex in full swing.

Clovelly Village in North Devon is a picturesque, historic fishing village, steeped in maritime atmosphere and history, and was once owned by the Queen of England. The village has a quintessential English feel to it with its cobbled street and flower-strewn cottages tumbling down a 400-foot cliff leading to the ancient fishing harbour and 14th century quay with glorious views along the way. Clovelly is traffic-free, and donkeys and sledges are the only means of get supplies to the village. You can stay there too at the Red Lion Hotel and get a feel to what living in this unique village would be really like. Clovelly have a number of events over the summer including outdoor theatre, a Gig Regatta and a Lobster and Crab Festival with live folk music and cookery demonstrations.

Enjoy a Ride on a Narrow Gauge Tram

There is an electric day out in East Devon at Seaton Tramway. Get a top-deck panoramic view on a narrow-gauge, half-size heritage electric tram of the glorious Axe Valley and the estuary. The Tram journey travels through two nature reserves alongside the Axe estuary to historic Colyton. Ride on enclosed saloons in wet weather and your dog can travel with you too. Find out about history and journey back in time to a golden age of travel. Summer events include the popular Twilight Trams where you can experience the Axe Valley at night by tram light. Visitors can travel to Colyton by tram and experience the trip by moonlight! Meals can also be booked to be enjoyed at Colyton Station before returning to Seaton. Other summer events include family themed events like the Fairy, Dinosaur or Pirate Tram and Bird Watching tram events.

Devon Railways – Ride on a steam train!

Head to Pecorama in Beer for a Devon Railway and a glorious gardens experience. One of East Devon’s leading visitor attractions and which is home to the famous PECO Model Railway Exhibition and the Beer Heights Light Railway. The Exhibition Hall displays wonderfully detailed railway layouts in many different gauges. Venture outdoors and you will find a fleet of miniature steam locomotives which pull passenger trains on a mile long route through the stunning grounds, over bridges, through steep sided cuttings and a long dark tunnel! Pecorama also features the Millennium Celebration Garden, a series of five celestially themed garden rooms which is impressive and worth a look.

The multi-award-winning South Devon Railway at Buckfastleigh is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the South West. Enjoy the extensive grounds, gardens and linked attractions at each end of the line. Take a ride on a real steam train and experience the stunning scenic, seven-mile line as it hugs the beautiful River Dart almost all the way from Buckfastleigh to Totnes. Enjoy the fantastic views along the valley and take in the unmistakable sights, sounds, and smells of a journey on a real steam train. Steam trains run frequently throughout the summer from their heritage rolling stock and offer a wonderful all-day, all-weather experience for families and people of all ages. Special events this summer include Sunday Lunch and Afternoon Tea dining trains and the popular ‘Days out with Thomas ™’returns in September and The Polar Express ™ is back for Christmas.

Head to Devon Railway Centre and Model World near Tiverton where they pride themselves on offering a warm welcome and great value for money. Visitors can ride on two different railways and children clip the tickets and wave the flag to start the train. The model railway exhibition and Edwardian model village incorporates push buttons and I-Spys to add to the fun! Explore the fantastic railway themed indoor soft-play area and indoor play coaches which provide a delightful experience for the children. Just the ticket for a family day out for any budding junior train fans!

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