Things to do in Devon

A lot of people go on holiday with the aim of simply chilling out and doing nothing. But that gets boring after the third day, so make the most of our glorious guide to the adventure-packed Devonshire region. We have it all covered, from bike hire to boat trips, getting there to getting soaking wet, and wild theme parks to luxurious spas.

Trips in Devon

Boat Trips in Devon

Stuart Line Cruises Stuart Line Cruises is one of the top attractions in Devon and has been a favourite among both locals and tourists for many years now. Their tours give you and your family the opportunity to discover the history and beauty of the Devonshire coastal line. You can choose from Jurassic Coast cruises to Round Robin River cruises, or an exhilarating day trip to Brixham or Torquay. You can even go bird-watching.

Dartmouth River Cruise A boat trip is always going to be one of the highlights of your holiday, so make sure you sail with the best. The Dartmouth River Cruise fits easily into this category, with their trip that takes you from Dartmouth to Totnes on a friendly and relaxing boat. You’ll cruise past the home of Agatha Christie, spot sealions, search for impressive kingfishers, and much more wildlife. And you’ll be smiling the whole way thanks to the hilarious commentary provided by the skipper.

Greenway Ferry Pleasure Cruises Any type of cruises that refer to themselves as pleasure cruises are bound to be fun. That’s why we’ve selected Greenway Ferry in our selection of boat trips, because they come extremely highly recommended. There are an assortment of trips for you to choose from, ranging from Dittisham to Greenway to Totnes to Paignton. There are special days organised throughout the year which make the experience even more fun, so check out the website to see what’s happening during your stay.

Bike Hire in Devon

Looking for a way to write off some of those extravagant holiday meal and snack times you’ve been having? A Full English on a Sunday morning will go straight to the hips with just a day lying on the beach, and you already know that your guilty conscience will be nagging away at you. So why not go for a ride through Devon’s stunning countryside and burn some calories whilst you’re at it.

Cycling is one of Devon’s favourite pastimes, and the locals will make sure that you are more than welcome to hop on two wheels and get pedalling through the rolling countryside and seemingly endless beach-front paths. Cycling is truly a day out for the whole family. And there is little need to fret about safety: Devon takes its cyclists rather seriously. In the past 6 years, over 20,000 youngsters have been trained to cycle safely, so you can be secure in the knowledge that you’re not going to get sent flying by a fellow pedal-pusher (but still of course keep an eye out for the auto-traffic!).

If you are looking to go on a cycling adventure and need to rent some bikes then look no further than Devon Cycle Hire in Okehampton. You get the full package here, exceedingly good bicycles that are in excellent condition, and The Granite Way – an incredibly pristine family-friendly traffic-free cycle routes. They not only have bikes suitable for the whole family, but also child seats, tandems and buggies along with some drinks and home-made ice cream which will go down a treat after your intrepid exploration.

With the bike you can explore several National Parks and Nature Reserve despite the famous Dartmoor National Park:
Exmoor National Park Feel like going for a real adventure? Then Exmoor National Park is the place to head to. With nearly 300 square miles of unadulterated pure natural bliss, Exmoor is the self-proclaimed breathing space of Britain. Go for a hike, enjoy the terrific landscape and even stop by one of the lovely tea-rooms or pubs dotted around.

Lower Bruckland Farm Nature Reserve Come and bring the whole family for a brilliant breath of fresh air in the lovely surroundings of Lower Bruckland Farm Nature Reserve. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere whilst keeping an eye out for the range of creatures who call the reserve their home.

Andrew’s Wood This young wood has a mix of oak, haze and birch trees, with plenty more nature to go around. Perfect for wildlife explorers who want to check out the latest species of moth, or a tree that’s never been touched by human hands, it is also a bird-watcher’s paradise, with plenty of those winged warriors flapping about.

Agatha Christie Guided Tours

Interested in spending a naughty weekend away with a wicked woman that even your wife would approve of? No, it’s not that kind of fantasy! We are referring but innocently to a break with the Queen of Crime herself, Agatha Christie, born in Torquay in 1890. Christie is the best selling novelist the world has ever seen, and has garnered such a status in large part due to her creation of two of the best known characters in history, the audacious Miss Marple and everybody’s favourite super sleuth – Detective Hercule Poirot.

Christie fans have the chance to not only spend the day in Agatha’s favourite location – the English Riviera, but can also go lavishly lawless for an entire weekend in one of the luxurious hotels lining the coast. Diehard fans should make September the month to show up for the most famous annual murder mystery on the planet. Take a trip back in time surrounded by Agatha aficionados gallivanting around in fine period costumes, captivating tea parties, dinners and theatre on vintage bus tours and steam trains. The tour will undoubtedly inspire you to put pen to paper, even if it’s only to brag about the experience on a postcard.

Holidays with the Kids

Here we're looking to provide you with the absolute best tips to make your holiday with your children as good as it gets. Holidaying with children is always a little different - there's always a few more things to think about and a lot more to carry. Don't worry, we've looked for the best children's attractions in Devon and found lots of activities that will make your Devon holiday with children a breeze and full of great memories for all the family. Whether your kids prefer flora or fauna, picnics or play, there's something here to keep even the fussiest little one captivated and having fun.

Zoos and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Devon

Plymouth National Marine Aquarium The Plymouth National Marine Aquarium is the UK's largest and most impressive aquarium. With great prices and open all-year-round, there is no excuse not to take up the chance to experience everything the aquarium has on offer. Family tickets sweeten the deal, and mean that you and the kids can go and enjoy everything there is to see, while still having change left over for lunch. This is undoubtedly an experience that will live long in the memory, not only will you be wowed by the 4,000 marine fish marauding through 2.5 million litres of water, but you’ll also learn about the dangers that the oceans face, and how we can play our part in protecting our vulnerable scaly side-kicks. Your underwater tour will take you through four gigantic zones, from the tiny to the titanic, the starfish to the stingrays, the hermit crabs to the sand tiger sharks, you may even find Nemo. And if that isn’t enough then there is even the opportunity to ‘sleep with the sharks’ an overnight extravaganza which promises to be the most unforgettable night of your life. So don’t miss your oppor-tuna-ity by letting salmon else take your ticket, this may well turn out to be your favourite plaice in Devon. Seriously though, you’ll have a whale of a time. No squidding.

Dartmoor Zoo How do you know when you’re special? Does having a book, TV documentary and Hollywood film made about you qualify? Well then Dartmoor Zoo can indeed consider itself special. Thanks to Matt Damon and one of the most popular films of 2011, you may well already be aware of the incredible true story of ‘We Bought A Zoo’. Although thanks to the Americanisation of the script you may not know that the original zoo is not actually located in California, but dazzling Dartmoor. Back in 2006, the astonishingly daring Mee family bought a broken down zoo faced with the daunting task of rebuilding it. With unwavering commitment, the young family were able to re-open the zoo just a year later and turned it into an outstanding success and one of the country’s most vibrant and beautiful places to observe native and exotic wildlife in the heart of the British countryside. So, if you’re looking for an opportunity to give your wild animals the chance to run free with others just as wild, why not bring them to the most talked about zoo in the world? Set in 33 acres of lavish woodland with heavenly views of the countryside, Dartmoor Zoo will definitely not disappoint.

Paignton Zoo Paignton Zoo claims to be the king of zoos, which is quite a bold statement coming from a region with so many fine zoos. But Paignton Zoo can in fact hold its weight with this claim thanks to the wide range of animals which live in the zoo. You’ll find black bears, gorillas, lions, giraffes, pelicans and well, the list is endless. There are even cute little baby lion cubs which you can admire from a distance, unfortunately no petting is allowed as we are assured that, though adorable, they are vicious at even just two months of age. For those looking for something a bit different, there are many plants and habitats to explore. The children can also benefit from the wonderful learning zones, where they can find out all the important facts about their favourite animals.

Shaldon Wildlife Trust Shaldon Wildlife Trust is located in a beautiful landscape of luscious woodland. This zoo specialises in the protection of some of the world’s rarest and most endangered species. It’s where you come if you want to see some animals that you wouldn’t normally find in your average zoo. Your visit really will turn into a learning curve as you get to know about the history of the animals, and what exactly it is that is endangering them, and how you can play your part in protecting them. It’s a small zoo, with only 3 full-time staff, so the local community plays a big part in the upkeep and general running of the zoo. Everyone chips in together and the end result is a pleasure to behold. Come and have a look for yourself.

Exmoor Zoo Exmoor Zoo is no ordinary zoo. Oh no. The thing that Exmoor Zoo holds most dear is that they love their guests, yes you, to get up right nice and close with the assortment of animals that they have in their zoo. That means that you can come face to face with owls, foxes, koalas or even the Exmoor Beast. While that might not sound so tempting, there is no need to worry as the zoo handlers are all experts and will make sure that you trip, although up close, will not endanger your life in the slightest. It is not a city zoo or a wildlife park, but rather a family friendly place where you can not only meet animals, but also learn about them too.

Wildlife Pursuits in Devon

Buckfastleigh Butterfly and Otter Sanctuary Buckfastleigh, right on the border of Dartmoor National Park, is home to something that will get any child (and any adult) excited. Have you read the title? Butterflies and otters! Nestled in a quiet and peaceful location close to South Devon’s major transport pathways and within driving distance from both Plymouth and Exeter, there is really no excuse not to take the kids to this amazing and unique location that they’ll remember forever. Together with family tickets available (£25 for a family of 4), the sanctuary also offers subsidized ‘double‘ tickets, which also give you access to the South Devon Railway scheme, which is a collection of attractions based around the traditional railway system of the area, equipped with steam engines, tank engines and a wealth of other attractions. The beauty of the butterfly house (which you can explore at leisure) and the excitement of the otter feeding times and wildlife shows means that a trip to the see the ‘Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies’ offers both girls and boys, young and old, a great day out, jam-packed with unique and unforgettable experiences and memories that you can cherish forever. Don’t forget to adopt an otter! And make sure you check for butterflies in your pockets – they’re cute but they get everywhere!

Horse Riding in Devon Devon has long been noted for the quality of its land and just how well horses react to the peace and calm of the region. This in turns means that many high quality horse-breeding and riding establishments have cropped up along the length and breadth of the region, offering city dwellers the chance to really engage with the equestrian tradition, which unfortunately has been lost in many other places. Establishments such as the East Devon Riding Company and the Budleigh Salterton Riding School are just two examples of the great number of quality equestrian schools that dot the countryside and give you and your children to ride, or even learn to ride, in the peace and calm of the countryside and the good hands of some of the country’s most experienced riding teachers.

Certain schools, such as the Roylands Riding School in Croyde also offer experienced riders the chance to ride on the beaches and in the countryside, though of course this is reserved for those who are already confident on horseback. Horse riding in Devon is something that can really brighten and liven up your holiday, introduce you to a new pursuit or let you hone your skills. Especially great for kids, this may indeed be an interest that stays with them for life!

Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth serves a dual function: it helps to provide wonderful care and aid to many animals that have seen bad times, as well as providing your family a unique chance to interact with the animals and learn about welfare, charity work and what you can do to help ensure that places like this can keep on providing care and support for animals for years to come.

The sanctuary offers a petting zoo, a chance to feed and groom specially trained donkeys, adoption schemes (where you and your children will receive monthly information, updates and pictures about the donkey you choose to sponsor), as well as other events and activities focusing on the surrounding nature and wildlife. The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth is one of the places in which you can not only have fun, but also learn and make a difference. With all the flora and fauna around in Devon, you and your family will undoubtedly want to learn about what you can do to help it be preserved and maintained.

This is a perfect opportunity to get your children learning about another way of interacting with and enjoying the countryside, on how the upkeep of green areas and our country’s beautiful landscape is becoming an increasingly important consideration. A rare chance to bring together great fun and great learning!

Quince Honey Farm Quince Honey Farm is the absolute epitome of traditional and quaint country life. A family business that has thrived for more than 60 years, Quince Honey Farm is famed for its delicious, bountiful honey that adds an unforgettable golden tone to every summer.

Nestled in the countryside of the north of Devon, close to Barnstaple, Quince Honey Farm is a staple of the local community and a great attraction for visitors, offering a variety of activities, opportunities and sights that will really get you buzzing. The ‘Beeworld’ exhibition at Quince offers you the chance to look into observation hives – one of the only places in the world that you can get this close without safety equipment, thanks to the safety measures taken by the farm itself. With new displays added every year and a growing wealth of exhibition materials, Beeworld is a fascinating and unique place to learn about one of Britain’s greatest culinary traditions and rural occupations. Indeed, foodies can learn even more, with free samples of honey and the chance to buy full-sized jars from the bees that you watched in the observation hives! This makes it a fascinating way to see how the bees make your breakfast.

For those with children, the Happy Bee ‘Playhive’ is a brand new on-site indoor soft play area. Extensive, well-equipped, with safety and fun as top priorities, kids can run around, climb, slide and get active while mum and dad enjoy tea and a snack in the parents’ area.

Theme Parks in Devon

Crealy Great Adventure Park Looking for a real adrenaline-fuelled day out? Then there is no better place in Devon than Crealy’s Great Adventure Park, located in Exeter, and winner of numerous awards including the venerable ‘Best Family Attraction’ in 2011. With a variety of rides for thrill-seeking teens, to younger ones who might not be so keen about being hurled through the sky in a small metal box, Crealy’s Great Adventure Park has rides and attractions that all your children, and you yourself, can enjoy. The brave and daring souls among you can go splash-crazy on the Tidal Wave Log Flume, get your pirate on sailing the Flying Dutchman, do your finest Russell Crowe roar on the Maximus Rollercoaster, and come back down to earth from it all with a bump on the Meteorite Drop Tower. There is just as much on offer for the whippersnappers, with activities ranging from pony rides, to animal barns and Buddy Bear’s Kingdom. All of this energy-exertion deserves just rewards, and in terms of replenishing those burnt calories you really will be spoilt for choice. Chomp down on Cornish pasties, fresh jacket potato, southern fried chicken wraps and finish up with a freshly-made doughnut and wash it all down with one of Captain Jack’s milkshakes. Forget about the weighing-scales for once, you’re on holiday!

Woodlands Park Woodlands made our selection of wonderful Devonshire theme parks because it’s the biggest of its kind in the south-west of England. There are rides, attractions and a fully functioning zoo-farm. They really try to make your day-out here as much fun as possible and hold various events throughout the year. You can choose your ride of choice in a range of zones from the Empire to the Cyclone to the Toddlers to even the Circus Drone Zone. One of the park’s specialities is it’s falconry centre, where you can enjoy daily flying displays and close-ups where you can get to know the birds a bit better.

The Milky Way The Milky Way Theme Park is the largest in North Devon and prides itself on its five major rides. You can take your pick from the Cosmic Typhoon, Big Apple, Clone Zone, Dodgems or the Railway. But it’s not just about the roller-coasters at this theme park. There is plenty more for you to do in the form of slides and plays for the young ones, live shows for the whole family and even archery and laser target shooting. Those who'd rather drive in the slow lane can enjoy countryside and crafts by doing a bit of glass-work or pottery. See, everyone is pleased!

Keeping Active

Looking for a more active holiday? Or just a way to keep yourself ticking over in the middle of a quiet, sofa-based holiday? Either way, we have great attractions for you and the kids, that can be enjoyed regardless of your physical fitness, age or experience. We have something for everyone, so if you want to get off the couch and into the green, now's your chance!

Lundy Island with Children Lundy Island is a fantastic place for you and your kids to really let loose, marvel at the incredible landscapes, enjoy the rugged beauty of one of one of the world’s most unique and well-hidden corners of outstanding natural beauty. Lundy Island is especially great for families of four as it gives you a chance to provide one-on-one quality time with your children in the countryside during our holiday – something many parents crave not just while doing 9-5 but something that can be difficult to fit in during an action-packed holiday. For example, one parent can take a child to explore the countryside and appreciate the scenery – the other parent can set up a picnic with the other child and sit down, chat, relax and spend some time just reconnecting and getting that time together in the peace and beauty of Lundy Island’s landscapes. Families can also explore the island’s town, go ‘letterboxing’ (a treasure-hunt activity in which you must find the town’s 23 hidden letterboxes), go boating from the harbor, have a meal made with traditional recipes and local ingredients in a café in town, visit the number of historical churches, manor houses and castles scattered around the island. This is a place where you and your children can experience a traditional way of life and make history come alive. A place where you can enjoy both the countryside and the water, the peace of the green and the activity of the town. And puffins! Lundy Island is famous for its native Puffin population – the kids will love them.

Skating at Let's Go! For those staying in North Devon, you’ll undoubtedly end up passing through Barnstaple and the surrounding region, the transport hub of area. Why not, then, enjoy Barnstaple and its attractions while you’re there already? ‘Let’s Go!’ in Barnstaple offers a wide array of different indoor family activities, most notably the always-elusive ice skating that your kids always want to try but never get the chance to. With ice skating, laser tag, bowling, snooker, a gaming arcade, karaoke and food and drink facilities, you’re sure to find something that suits you and all of your children, regardless of their ages and interests. With lots of special ticket offers and combination tickets always available, ‘Let’s Go!’ gives you a chance to get everything in one place and on one ticket, saving money, time, petrol, and your nerves! If you want to wind down after a long day of excitement, the on-site sports bar with full Sky Sports coverage (on screens with a width of 6 feet!) is a great place to chill out after skating with the kids. So turn that trip through Barnstaple into a trip to Barnstaple and come and enjoy one of the most exciting and fun activity centers in the entire country!

Go Ape! Exeter ‘Go Ape! Exeter‘ needs no introduction. The ‘Go Ape!’ outdoor activity and adventure centers are known and loved throughout the whole country. What makes the Exeter branch different, then? This is the first Go Ape! adventure centre opened in the South West of England, and is one of the largest, best-equipped and thrilling courses in Go Ape!’s catalogue. With an unbelievable 235 meter zip wire that gives you incredible views over Dartmoor as you fly from one hill to another, with one of the country’s best assault courses, a biking area rivaled by few, great walking paths, all combined with the traditional Go Ape! Tarzan swings, climbing frames and nets, walkways and adventure equipment, kids and parents can work together (or race!) to complete the course and come out on top. After enjoying the course, you can visit the on-site café for something warm and delicious to help you refuel before you go on to enjoy the extensive walking paths, cycle trails, the kids’ play area, and the nearby woodland, all of which offer you the chance to see and do something new and spend some time getting active with the family. You can even bring the dog! Expect a good night’s sleep after this day out, and sleepy little ones in the car on the way back home.


Museums in Devon

Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon This museum is perfect for anybody looking to find out more about the history of the North Devonshire region. Natural and human stories are on display all over and you will certainly learn something interesting about this fascinating region. There’s even a regimental collection for military history enthusiasts.

Overbeck's Museum Overbeck’s is a museum for those who love to spend a few relaxing hours walking around sub-tropical gardens. Way, way up upon the cliffs of Salcombe, this mysterious garden is an absolute treat to explore and enjoy. With views of the seaside, the estuary and even an Edwardian home to wander around, it is sure worth a visit and is sure to delight children.

Torquay Museum Torquay Museum is a museum known for its wide range of exhibitions and unique collections. With displays and exhibits ranging from local flora and fauna to the oral history of the North Devonshire region, guests at Torquay Museum are uniquely lucky to benefit from expert local historical knowledge and guests, especially children, are time and again dazzled by the vibrant and dynamic exhibits and tours on offer.

Cinemas and Theatres in Devon

Theatre Royal Plymouth The Theatre Royal in Plymouth is an absolute must-see whilst holidaying in the south-west of England. Every month there are a variety of productions from ballets to operas to classic theatre shows. The quality of the acting and singing is always top-notch and you are sure to find an event suitable for adults, children and everyone together. The actors really love what they do here, and you can feel it in their performances.

Exeter Picturehouse Picture House cinemas are few and far between, dotted around the UK. But you know what they say – quality over quantity – and this sure does hold true for the venue in Exeter. Not only are there a wide range of films but you’ll also find screen art and festivals as well as club and special interest movie groups. There is something for the whole family here, even reasonably priced popcorn!

Kino Merlin You’re not exactly spoilt for choice for cinemas in Torquay, but that’s no bother as the grand Merlin Cinema in the town centre provides all that you need. With a range of the latest films and even 3D, this will really be a crowd pleaser on one of those (unfortunately probable) rainy days. What’s more is that the fair ticket pricing means that you won’t break the bank as is standard at British cinemas nowadays.

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