Weekend family fun: 10 things to do in Devon with Kids
We visit Devon frequently -- not only is it beautiful but there are so many great things to do with kids of all ages. Here are some of my favourites:
I was shocked by how big this zoo actually is. Paignton Zoo purportedly has more animals than any other zoo else in the South West and you get the opportunity to get close to over 2,000 creatures including giraffes, lions, gorillas, an elephant, cheetahs, crocodiles, meerkats, colourful snakes, monkeys and more! It is a full day out in itself and if the kids get fed up looking at animals there is a fabulous soft play area inside too.
For those interested in a bit of history, The Golden Hind at Brixham is a fascinating day out. It’s a full-sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration and is set up as a museum, giving an insight into what life must have been like aboard Sir Francis Drake’s Tudor Galleon. Brixham itself is a beautiful harbour town with stunning views over Torbay and a large working harbour. It’s the perfect venue to sit and enjoy some fish and chips. There is also a Smugglers and Pirates attraction, and if you love your “arrgh ye maties” moments, don't miss the annual Brixham Pirate Festival with swashbuckling fun and action for all the family. The Quay, Brixham TQ5 8AW
Climb aboard and operate a real digger at this attraction with an array of activities for children and adults who are looking for something fun and highly unique. Ever tried playing hook a duck with a digger? You can do just that, as well as take control of backhoes and scoop out muddy holes, drive dumper trucks and even ride on a spinning digger! Even reluctant construction workers (like me) have a fabulous time here.
Crealy is a no-frills, affordable local theme park ideal for younger children. It has more than 60 rides and attractions set in over 100 acres of Devon countryside, including Animal Land which houses around 100 animals such as meerkats, alpacas, ponies and sheep. The park is mainly aimed at young children although it does have a couple of bigger rides for older guests including Twister, Tidal Wave and Vortex. My top tip is to explore the back of the park where there are a series of fun but challenging bridges to cross that my kids adored tackling!
Based right next to Goodrington Beach in Paignton, Devon, this water park has something for big kids to little ones – with some of the UK’s most exciting flume rides, 8 water slides, small splash pools for youngsters and a swimming pool. An added bonus: some of the English Riviera’s most spectacular views.
This cavern is one of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe and one of Britain's best show caves (did you know that that is a thing?)! On your visit you'll go back to a time when the cave was home to ancient humans, a place where they sheltered from extreme weather, made fires, shaped tools and hunted Ice Age animals. As you walk through the extensive labyrinth of caverns, you'll be surrounded by 400-million-year-old rocks and spectacular stalagmites and stalactites. They have lots to keep the kids entertained too with a prehistoric wall to draw on, activity trails and face painting.
Discover an amazing underwater world, starting with the largest native exhibition in the UK. As you dive deeper into the Aquarium, the Eddystone Reef tank will take your breath away with the UK’s largest single-tank viewing panel.
The Blue Flag beauty of Bigbury on Sea is a fantastic draw for families. The beach has gently shelving sands, shallow bathing and rock pools for rounding up marine critters. Take the walk across to Burgh Island at low tide, but for kids it's the high-tide ride across, aboard the 1930s sea tractor that makes the destination
The longest established steam railway in the south west is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best-loved tourist attractions. Ride the South Devon Railway and, while you are with them, you can visit the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies.
With 90 acres of parkland to explore, River Dart is the perfect place to challenge any adventurous teenager. Get them climbing the Pamper Pole, where they’ll scramble to the top and jump off while tethered via a rope (whee!), navigate the High Beams telegraph poles way up in the trees, or the High Ropes course. Zoom down a zipwire and try your hand at kayaking and bouldering – definitely not for the faint-hearted…or those with acrophobia.