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Devon Staycation: The ultimate guide to a family staycation in Devon

By Eloise Nelson
Posted 18 May 2021
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Looking to get some sun, sea and sand? While we can’t promise you the sun will come out, we can promise you that a family trip to Devon will definitely give you sea, sand, and loads of fantastic memories. From epic thrills at great theme parks to glorious sandy beaches, and some of the beaches in Devon even won our Gold Award on our Best Seaside Town awards, so you know you’ll have a great time!

If you’re looking for something specific, here’s our handy guide to what we’ll cover in this Devon staycation guide: 

How to get to Devon  | Where to Stay | Days Out in Devon | Top Tips

A sandy beach and colourful beach huts on a beach in Devon

How to get to Devon 

Devon is the second-most Southern part of the UK, second only to Cornwall, so it can be a bit of a journey depending on where you’re starting from, and where in Devon you’re heading to.
If you’re looking to drive, there’s never been a better excuse to pack the car up and head off on an epic road trip, but there are also some big train stations you can arrive into, plus you might be able to spot the sea from the train!
Some of the big train stations in Devon include Exeter, Plymouth, Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton, and Newton Abbot, so there’s plenty of options for you to pick from.

Where to stay 

Some Dartmoor ponies in Devon

Looking for the best places to stay in Devon for families? Devon has plenty of great areas you can stay, and we’ve listed just a few places to get you started. 

  1. Exeter
    Exeter is one of two historic cities, so if you’re looking for a combination of a mini city break within close reach to the sea, you’re in luck. With great transport links and a big train station too, it’s great if you’re looking to travel by train.

  2. Torquay
    If you’re looking for a quintessentially British seaside town, you can’t go wrong with Torquay! Not only has it got a lovely harbour and beach, but it’s in a great spot and there’s plenty of days out within reach.

  3. Paignton
    Close to Torquay, it’s a great spot for a family day out and it’s within easy reach of plenty of great days out! It's a popular tourist spot, and after one visit, you’ll definitely be able to see why. 

  4. Dartmouth 
    Dartmouth is well known for its lovely moors, so it’s the perfect spot to head to for any active families looking to explore the natural world, remember to keep your eyes open for any Dartmouth ponies too! 

  5. Ilfracombe 
    Ilfracombe is a great place to head to for your staycation, and you’ll find a lovely little harbour town, plus there’s all sorts of great activities to do in and around the area, making it the perfect place to set up camp. 

Days Out 

From glorious beaches to epic thrills at theme parks, there’s plenty of things to do in Devon! We’ve rounded up 15 of our favourite things to do in Devon and places to visit.

A kid at Go Ape in Devon

  1. Go Ape Haldon, Exeter
    Fancy an epic day out in the trees? Go Ape Haldon is a must if you’re looking for something for the whole family! From daring Tarzan swings to zooming through the trees on an incredible zip wire, it’s perfect for monkeys of all ages. While you’re there, don’t forget to explore Haldon Forest Park too! 

  2. Crealy Theme Park and Resort, Exeter
    Looking for some epic thrills? Head to Crealy Theme Park and Resort, where you’ll find over 60 awesome rides and attractions! From visiting Meerkat Manor to going for a splash on the awesome water ride, Tidal Wave, there’s plenty of fun to be had. 

    Looking for somewhere to stay in Devon? Check out some of our Short Breaks stays, where you can even stay at Crealy Theme Park and Resort itself! 

  3. The Bear Trail, Cullompton
    Ready to get muddy? Discover The Bear Trail, an incredible family assault course packed full of 30 great obstacles. Clamber over the Rickety Bridge, zoom across on the zip wire and put your skills to the test Mud Pit Swing. Think you can take it on?

  4. Diggerland Devon, Cullompton
    With 18 different rides, Diggerland Devon is a must for any digger enthusiasts. Jump into the seat of real life diggers and dumpers, and you can even play a fun game of bowling with a special twist, pst, it includes a wrecking ball! 

  5. Clovelly Village, Bideford
    If you’re looking for a picturesque day out, look no further than Clovelly Village. Stroll down the cobbled street towards Clovelly Quay, or take a trip to the Court Gardens, and you can even explore the Fisherman’s Cottage Museum too!

    A fishermans boat in Clovelly Village in Devon

  6. Paignton Zoo, Paignton
    If you’ve got animal lovers, then a trip to the zoo should definitely be on your list. At Paignton Zoo, you’ll get to meet all your favourites, including roarsome lions to stripey cheetahs, plus everything from Komodo Dragons to colourful Toco Toucan Birds!

  7. House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey
    Looking for a museum with a twist? Head over to the House of Marbles, where you’ll get to see glass being made, discover a collection of old fashioned board games going back to the 1600’s, and of course, marbles! Head to the Games Gardens too where you’ll get to play plenty of fun games too.

  8. Quince Honey Farm, South Molton
    Discover a whole world of honey and bees at Quince Honey Farm, where you can even try out being a mini bee-keeper for the day! From candle rolling to meeting little critters, there’s plenty for the whole family, and the best part is you can even do some honey tasting, yum! 

  9. Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford
    Take a trip into outer space at Milky Way Adventure Park, an epic theme parked packed full of fun. From saving the Earth on Ziggy’s Black Quest to reaching for the stars on the jumping pillows, you’re sure to have an out-of -this-word day out!

  10. Babbacombe Model Village, Torquay
    Feel like a giant as you discover Babbacombe Model Village. This sweet mini world will truly capture your imagination, and with over 420 tiny buildings to explore spread out across 4 acres, it’s definitely a must do on your trip to Devon.

  11. Woolacombe Sands Beach, Woolacombe
    Of course, we couldn’t do a round-up of some of the top days out in Devon without including one of the glorious beaches! Woolacombe Sands is a lovely sandy beach (so make sure you’ve got your bucket and spade!), and it;s the perfect spot to go for a little paddle in the sea.

  12. The Big Sheep, Bideford
    Herd your flock towards The Big Sheep, an all-weather family attraction packed full of rides, animals, and entertainment. Once you’ve had your share of thrills on the roller coaster rides, see all your favourite farmyard animals, from pigs, goats, ducks, and of course, sheep!

  13. Devon Railway Centre, Buckfastleigh
    If you’ve got little train lovers, a trip to the Devon Railway Centre is a must. Take a ride on the Miniature Railway and then explore the great indoor and outdoor play areas, plus hop aboard the Narrow Gauge Railway for a delightful ride.

  14. Ilfracombe Sea Safari, Exeter
    If you’re looking for a watery adventure, look no further than the Ilfracombe Sea Safari! Head off on an epic adventure on one of the boat trips and see the coast, plus you may even get to see seals, porpoise and dolphins!

  15. Treasure Trails
     Looking for a unique way to explore? Try out a Treasure Trails, where you’ll get to discover a new town and have fun while doing so! The Exeter Mystery Treasure Trail, Dawlish Spy Mission Treasure Trail and the Teignmouth Treasure Hunt Trail are just a few to get you started!

Some kids doing a Treasure Trails in Devon

We know we said we’d give you 15 great days out, but we couldn’t do a round up of the best days out without mentioning The Gnome Reserve...

  1. The Gnome Reserve, Bradworth 
    Yep, you heard us right! The Gnome Reserve is in The Guinness World Records Book for being home to the largest collection of gnomes, and you can see why! Home to over 2000 gnomes, their new home at Merry Harriers Garden Centre is due to open in June 2021, so keep an eye out if you’re planning a summer trip to Devon!

Top Tips

There’s loads of wonderful walks and beautiful scenery to take in in Devon, from an afternoon at a beach to going on a scenic stroll, so don’t forget to bring a raincoat! 
If you are planning a trip to the beach, don’t forget to always check the tide times so you don’t get caught out.
Most importantly, remember that when in Devon, the cream goes first before the jam when having a tasty cream tea! 

The cobbled street at Clovelly Village in Devon

 Don’t forget, our members save on everything from campsites and caravans, to cottages and hotels too so be sure to check out the latest deals.

Looking for more staycation ideas? Check out some of our other blogs and keep an eye out for more staycations series! 

Cornwall Staycation Guide |  Best beaches | UK’s Best Seaside Towns and Resorts | Short Family Breaks