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Cofton Holidays in Dawlish: the day visitor experience

Cofton Holidays in Dawlish: the day visitor experience

Did you know that the Cofton Holidays 5-Star holiday park in Dawlish, South Devon, is open to day visitors? That’s right! You don’t need to book a stay to enjoy all the facilities that the park has to offer, adding this to Devon’s long list of fun-filled days out. 

Devon with Kids contributor Stacey Shepherd was invited to spend a day at Cofton Holidays and experience all that the site has to offer for families looking for something fun to do in the Dawlish area whatever the weather.

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About Cofton Holiday Park

Cofton is an multi-award-winning holiday park in Devon offering a range of accommodation from self-catering cottages and luxury lodges to static caravans and grass camping pitches.

The family-run holiday park has been established for nearly 50 years serving holidaymakers and local visitors alike.

Nestled in a secluded valley in Starcross near Dawlish Warren, Cofton holiday park is set within 80 acres of stunning South Devon countryside. It is situated just 30 minutes off the M5 Motorway, and 12 minutes from the city of Exeter, so it is easy to reach by car or by train. 

If you are visiting as a day visitor the park is also easily accessible by bike of on foot as The Exe Estuary Cycle Trail and South West Coastal Path both pass within a mile of the park.

What facilities are available to day visitors at Cofton Holidays?

Day guests can use the majority of the on-site facilities.

Simply select the individual paid activities you want to do and add on free activates to make a full day out.

The full list of activities include:

  • a heated indoor pool with a splash pad area and hydrotherapy loungers (paid acticity/book in advance)
  • heated outdoor pool and splash pad (subject to availability)
  • exercise classes (paid activity/book in advance)
  • steam room (included with pool booking)
  • sauna (included with pool booking)
  • restaurant (booking advisable in busy periods)
  • The Beauty Room (paid activity/book in advance)
  • treetop high ropes course (paid activity/book in advance)
  • meet the resident animals
  • the pub
  • soft play areas
  • playgrounds
  • arcades
  • pump track
  • and outdoor pools.

Day visitors can also hire e-bikes so they can make the most of the miles of cycle paths and nature trails that take visitors through woodland to the golden sands of Dawlish Warren beach and nature reserve.

How to book as a day visitor to Cofton

You can book all activities and reserve a table in the restaurant on the holiday park’s website.

Our day out at Cofton Holidays in Dawlish

Here’s what Stacey and her family got up to as day visitors at this Devon holiday park.

Amelia’s Restaurant

Tables at Amelia's Restaurant at Cofton Holidays in Dawlish, Devon

We started our day at Cofton with coffee and cake in Amelia’s Restaurant before we went swimming (more on that shortly).

This is Cofton’s award-winning restaurant and they have recently appointed a new executive chef who has launched a brand-new menu. The menu includes a range of meal options including hearty breakfasts, light lunches, coffee and cakes and a full a la carte menu. 

We could see the selection of food was great and the service was speedy. 

Lunch at Cofton

After swimming we returned to Amelia’s to sample the lunch menu.

Lunch is served from 12pm to 5pm. We were happy with the selection on offer which included light bites and lunch such as soup, wraps, ploughmans, nachos, jacket potatoes and a buddha bowl.

You can also choose from a small selection of burgers, and a variety of other main meals including pork belly, chickpea and lentil dahl, beef rogan josh and fish and chips amongst other options. 

The quality of the food was impressive considering how affordable the meals were. However the drinks were a little on the pricey side at £3.95 for a 330ml soft drink like Sprite, Fanta and Coke. 

We must mention the waiter Cole, who was very friendly, attentive and extremely helpful. His customer service was commendable and nothing was too much trouble. 

There is a lovely sunny terrace outside the restaurant with little seating pods and other covered and uncovered seating options. We stopped here for drinks at the end of the day before we headed to the arcades. 

Amelia’s Restaurant is open daily from 9am to 10pm and serves food until 8pm. There is no need to book to eat in Amelia’s although if you don’t book there may be waiting times at busier periods. 

If you’re visiting after school there’s a mid-week deal where you can get an adult’s meal, kid’s meal and a bottomless tea or filter coffee for just £12.95. This is valid from Monday to Thursday. There’s also a dip and dine offer outside of school holidays.

Soft play at Cofton Holidays

Soft play area next to Amelia's Restaurant at Cofton Holiday Park
Soft play for children aged three and under

There is a small soft play and sensory area inside Amelia’s for the use of smaller children aged up to three years. Directly next to this there is also free soft play area for bigger kids up to eight-years-old.

The soft play area is at the back of the restaurant and is surrounded by seating so parents can enjoy a sit-down and relax with a hot drink and snack while the kids let loose and burn up some energy.

If you’re eating in Amelia’s Restaurant this is free to use.

The indoor heated pool

Stacey's husband and children in the indoor pool at Stacey's children on the outdoor playground at Cofton Holiday Park in South Devon

The indoor pool at Cofton Holidays is open every day from 8am until 8pm and is open to day visitors all year round.

It is reasonably small with good visibility which makes it perfect for families and keeping an eye on small children. It is 1.2m deep throughout so smaller swimmers can safely navigate the pool and touch the floor. 

There are water jets and hydrotherapy loungers in the pool along with bubbling bench seating which are all switched on sporadically prompting kids and adults to make a dash to enjoy the water features. 

Our girls, aged eight and 10, really enjoyed the indoor pool. They spent an hour chasing one another round the submerged bench seating, diving underwater, relaxing on the hydrotherapy loungers and playing in the water jets.

They felt extremely confident in the pool due to its shallow depth and didn’t want to leave when our hour was up. 

Handy info about using the pool

In order to ensure you can use the pool when you visit for the day, do make sure you book before you arrive. Bookings open 28 days in advance, and spots fill up fast so don’t leave it to the last minute. 

Swimming slots last for an hour and cost £7.00 for an adult, £4.50 for a child (age three and over) and there is no charge for infants under three years.

All children must be accompanied in the water by an adult and do check the required swim ratios before you go. 

The changing rooms are a reasonable size and there are some larger cubicles for changing that can accommodate whole families. There are hairdryers in the changing rooms that can be used free of charge and there are swimsuit spinner driers so you can dry your swimwear as much as possible before you leave.

You will need a £1 coin for the secure lockers.  

Outdoor heated pool & forest splash pad

The outdoor pool and splash pad at Cofton Holidays in Dawlish, Devon

Cofton also has an outdoor heated pool and splash pad which would be great fun in the warmer months. Day guests can use these if they are not already fully booked by park guests. Call the park before your visit to avoid disappointment.

Something to be aware of is that there are no changing facilities at the outdoor pool.

E-bikes at Cofton

A white and black e-bike at Cofton Holidays

When visiting Cofton, either as a holiday guest or a day visitor, you can hire eco-friendly adult e-bikes on site to enable you to explore the holiday park and the surrounding areas.

During our day visit to Cofton we didn’t have time to head out of the park on our e-bikes as we already had so many fun-filled activities to pack into our day. We did however, hire a couple of e-bikes to explore the holiday park. 

We brought the girls’ bikes with us and after a full debrief from the kind staff who hire out the bikes, we all headed off up towards the pump track. 

I had never ridden an e-bike before and it did take a little getting used to but I was happy to have the electric boost as we cycled up the hills around the park. 

From Cofton you can pick up the Exe Cycle Trail. This is comprised of over 22 miles of traffic free, mostly level trail that takes you right around the Exe Estuary. 

Hiring e-bikes costs £20 for half a day or £35 for a full day. The battery life will allow you to travel between 30 and 45 miles on a full charge at the highest speed setting and dramatically further on the lowest eco-settings. 

Pump track 

There is a small pump track in the Barnfield area of the holiday park next to the multi-use games area.

The pump track is a figure-of-eight tarmac track consisting of a continuous loop of banked turns, rollers and jumps designed for scooters, BMX bikes and skateboards. 

Our girls are reasonably new to cycling and had never been on a pump track before. However, they took to it really well and enjoyed pushing their limits as they cycled up and over the banks and learned to push their own boundaries. 

This was without doubt their favourite part of the day and we could have easily spent hours here flying over the jumps and bumps. Even my husband enjoyed trying the pump track before he took off on his hired e-bike to further explore the surrounding areas. 

He came across some nice, secluded areas on his travels which would be a great location for a quiet picnic. 


Stacey's children playing on arcade games at Cofton Holidays in Devon

Located next to the entrance foyer of the main complex you will find arcades to keep the kids entertained. There is a selection of modern video games, fruit machines, 10 pin bowling, American pool, prize games, and rides.

This was the first time we had been inside a cashless arcade. Instead of bringing heaps of cash with you, you simply need to grab a game card from the kiosk and top it with your chosen amount and then tap the card on the card reader attached to each game to play.

This is a great way to set the kids’ expectations so they know how much money they have to spend and can choose their games accordingly. 

Some games allow you to win tickets which get added your game card. You can then check your ticket balance and see if you have won enough tickets to exchange for a small prize. 

The arcade wasn’t busy when we visited so there were no waiting times or queues to use the games and the kids understood the credit and ticket system quickly. 

Play parks at Cofton Holidays

Stacey's children on the outdoor playground at Cofton Dawlish in South Devon

There are a three outdoor play parks dotted around the holiday park. There are two traditional parks and the woodland adventure play area.

We didn’t make it to the woodland adventure area but our girls were more than happy playing in one of the two traditional parks. 

Animals at Cofton

The horse's paddock at Cofton Holidays in Dawlish

Just up past the outdoor pool you will find a small paddock where you can see donkeys, small horses and a couple of sheep. We were lucky enough to hear the donkey laugh, which the kids loved. 

High ropes at Cofton

Another activity available to day guests is the treetop high ropes course. The course is designed for children aged eight and above.

Sessions last between 45 minutes and an hour.

Is Cofton Holidays near the beach?

The holiday park is a 10-minute drive from Dawlish Warren’s Blue Flag beach. The beach can also be reached on foot by taking a 30-minute walk through private woodland.

Is Cofton open all year?

Yes. Cofton Holiday Park is open all year round for those wanting a holiday in the beautiful Devon countryside and for those simply wanting to visit as day visitors to take advantage of the excellent facilities.  

This makes it a great option for locals and visitors looking for things to do in Devon when it rains and in the winter months.

Where is Cofton Holidays?

If using Google Maps to find the holiday park, a search for ‘Cofton Holidays’ will take you straight there.

If you have the What 3 Words app on your phone their reference is: ///shuts.amends.auctioned

Final thoughts

Our day at Cofton Holidays was jammed packed with activities.

The site is really compact so it’s super easy to move from one activity to the next as it is all situated within a very short distance. This is also helpful if the weather is bad as it means you won’t get soaked trapsing around the park.

The pump track was the girls’ absolute favourite activity, and they would have stayed there much
longer had we had the time.

For me personally, the pool was my highlight and I particularly loved that the shallow depth meant I
could relax a little more knowing that the girls could stand up wherever they were.

My husband enjoyed the food at Amelia’s and thought it was great value for money and he also
enjoyed his little solo trip off on the e-bike to explore the surrounding woodland.

All-in-all, Cofton is a great day out for families and there really is something for everyone, no matter
what time of year.

Disclosure: Stacey and her family were invited to vist Cofton Holidays as day visitors in exchange for a review on Devon with Kids. All opinions are her own. All images were taken by Stacey and her husband.

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