The BIG Guide to Family Holidays in Devon 2021
Welcome to a little slice of heaven – the place we are lucky to call home and where thousands of people venture each year for family-friendly holidays. In 2021, staycations are likely to be even more popular than ever. So this guide to family holidays in Devon brings together everything you need to know about visiting one of the UK’s top holiday destinations.
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Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday in the UK, activity holidays, family hotels, self-catering cottages or glamping, there’s a Devon vacation suited to you. There’s even a generous selection of holidays in Devon with dogs, so you can bring the whole family. Hurrah!
If you’d like to know something not mentioned in this post then leave me a comment and I’ll share what I know.
Where to stay in Devon
Devon boasts many excellent places for a family holiday: from the quintessential seaside resorts of Torquay, Paignton, Dawlish, Exmouth and Woolacombe to the pretty harbour towns of Brixham, Salcombe, Clovelly and Dartmouth.
Then there’s the Jurassic Coast destinations of Beer, Seaton and Sidmouth.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Devon with accommodation ranging from campsites to family hotels:
Family-friendly holiday parks and campsites in Devon
Devon has hundreds of holiday parks and caravan & camping sites to choose from with all levels of facilities.
If you’re looking for a Devon camping site with a theme park close by then we can recommend Crealy Meadows near Exeter. It has camping pitches as well as lodges and glamping accommodation. There’s also a club house, entertainment and an activity programme during the school holidays.
Ross Park Caravan Park near Newton Abbot is a great dog-friendly caravan site in Devon. While Andrewshayes Holiday Park is a dog-friendly campsite with swimming pool and clubhouse – perfect for family holidays.
If you prefer something a little more low key then you can try eco camping at Wilton Farm campsite near Kingsbridge in South Devon. There are three large fields for pitching your tent or parking your camper van and compost loos.
If you want to explore Dartmoor then we can recommend Woodovis Park campsite near Tavistock for great facilities and a swimming pool with hot tub.
Also inland is Roadford Lake Campsite which is part of a South West Lakes activity centre where you can hire water sports equipment and try high ropes. It’s also an excellent sport for walking a cycling.
If North Devon is your destination then Welcombe X is easily accessible for caravans, right by the Atlantic Highway. What it lacks in peacefulness is made up for with its location near Hartland, which has plenty of merits as a North Devon holiday spot.
If you’re looking for more holiday park options then there’s Butlins in Minehead across the border in Somerset.
Read my full guide to camping and holiday parks in Devon.
Glamping in Devon
If you enjoy camping and caravan holidays then you might also be interested in glamping. There’s no shortage of glamping holidays in Devon where you can enjoy the great outdoors in camping accommodation more luxurious than a standard tent.
Here are some locations to for a glamping family holiday in Devon:
- Pod glamping at Andrewshayes Holiday Park near Axminster
- Safari tent camping at Crealy Meadows in Exeter
- Glamping pods at Oakdown Holiday Park near Sidmouth
- Glamping at Woodovis Park on Dartmoor
- Shepherd huts at Strawfields near Ilfracombe
- Shepherds hut at Welcombe X near Hartland
- Ensuite glamping pod at Larkworthy Farm – a working farm near Holsworthy
- Mongolian yurts at Blackdown Yurts near Cullompton
Read about all our recommended places for glamping in Devon.
Family holidays in Devon near the beach
If you are looking for Devon holiday destinations that will put you near the beach then take a look at accommodation in Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton, Teignmouth, Ilfracombe, and Woolacombe. This is where you’ll find sandy beaches perfect for a traditional seaside holiday.
Ladram Bay Holiday Park in East Devon even has its own private beach.
Family-friendly hotels in Devon
We’re a family of four with a dog and have stayed at dozens of hotels with our kids in the past seven years. We know that some ‘family-friendly hotels’ are definitely better than others.
Here’s my round up of the hotels in Devon that know what makes a great family holiday.
Check availability and prices of Devon hotels and on Booking.com*.
Dog-friendly hotels in Devon
Take a look at more family-friendly hotels in Devon.
Holiday accommodation in Devon
If you want a self-catering holiday in Devon but don’t fancy a campsite, there are thousands of cottages, lodges and apartments to choose from.
If you fancy staying in a cottage on a working farm then take a look at this review of North Bradbury Farm near Umberleigh in North Devon. There’s farm activities for kids to get involved in, like collecting eggs and feeding animals, as well as lots of things to do in North Devon close by.
Also in North Devon are holiday cottages at Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park. They offer a touch of luxury alongside all the family-friendly facilities and entertainment available at this John Fowler holiday park.
Find a holiday cottage or apartment in Devon on Booking.com*.
Activity holidays in Devon for families
You’ll find plenty of opportunities for cycling in the Tamar Valley and walking on Dartmoor during a holiday in Devon. Walk 300 miles along the South West Coast Path both in South Devon and North Devon.
We can also recommend adding a visit to Haldon Forest Park to your holiday. Here you can tackle the mountain bike trails, swing through the trees on the Go Ape and Go Ape Junior courses and have a go on segways.
If you’d like plenty of activities at the place you are staying then take a look at River Dart Country Park near Ashburton. Here you’ll find canoeing, high ropes, zorbing and adventure play grounds. The country park has a campsite where you can pitch your own tent or bring a caravan or motorhome.
Facilities include a toilet block, shop and restaurant/bar, plus unlimited access to the free activities in the country park. Activities involving climbing or hiring equipment have an additional cost. There’s also a B&B in the manor house during school holidays.
Things to do in Devon with kids
Since moving to Devon in 2015 we have notched up dozens of days out on the coast, at Devon theme parks and attractions, at historic houses and in the countryside.
For the full picture read my big guide to things to do in Devon with kids.
Devon attractions and days out
Find Devon attractions and family activities near where you are staying in this list:
- Things to do in East Devon
- Things to do in North Devon
- Things to do in South Devon
- Things to do on Dartmoor
I also have guides to things to do in Devon towns:
- Must-do activities in Seaton
- Things to do in Torquay
- What to do in Paignton
- Places to visit in Brixham
- What to do in Exmouth
- Things to do in Dartmouth
- Things to do in Salcombe
- A family guide to things to do in Plymouth
- Things to do in Hartland
- Family-friendly things to do near Barnstaple
What’s on during the school holidays in Devon
And if you’re visiting when the kids are off take a look at these school holiday guides:
- February half term in Devon
- Things to do in Devon in the Easter holidays
- What’s on in Devon over May half term
- What’s on in Devon in June
- Things to do in Devon in July
- What’s on in Devon in August
- Halloween in Devon
- Christmas in Devon
When is the best time to visit Devon?
The best time to visit Devon will very much depend on the kind of experience you’d like and your availability. If you have school-aged kids then you are obviously going to be restricted to the school holidays.
Devon is a very popular summer holiday destination with its peak time for visitors in July and August as this is when the weather is at its best.
However, don’t discount the Easter, May and October holidays as the weather is still mild enough for lovely walks on the beach and in the countryside. You’ll also find Devon attractions open throughout the week in school holidays.
If you can venture to Devon outside of the main holiday periods, then June and September are good times to enjoy warm weather with fewer crowds. Many Devon attractions are also open throughout the week in these ‘shoulder months’ around the summer season.
Here’s more information about things to do in Devon in the different seasons:
Things to do in Devon in Spring
Spring comes early to the South West of England so expect bright days with plenty of wildlife coming out of winter hibernation. However, there’s still the chance for snow on Dartmoor.
Our favourite things to do in Devon in Spring are to visit National Trust gardens like Coleton Fishacre as they start to come into bloom, walk the South West Coast Path and visit some of Devon’s farms where you can meet new arrivals.
Read my full guide to things to do in Devon in Spring.
Things to do in Devon in Autumn
Grab your woolies, wellies and rain coats because there’s still plenty to do in Devon each autumn.
Many Devon attractions remain open during the week and at the weekends until the end of October. Of course there’s always lots of Halloween fun going on too.
Some of our favourite things to do in Devon in the Autumn are going for walks on Dartmoor, enjoying a dip in the sea while it still holds some of its summer heat and visiting Devon theme parks while they are quieter.
Read my full guide to things to do in Devon in the Autumn.
Things to do in Devon in winter
When we first moved to Devon I found the winter really tough. Devon is mainly a summer holiday destination and a lot of the obvious things to do don’t seem to be available between autumn and spring.
But after five years, we’ve pinned down how to have fun in Devon in the chillier months. Some of our favourite things to do are enjoying the many Christmas events in Devon that usually kick off in November, visiting Devon beaches for a crisp walk and enjoying some of the county’s indoor attractions like The Box in Plymouth.
Here’s some more ideas for things to do in Devon in winter, including events, indoor fun and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors too.
Events in Devon
The best Devon beaches
Devon is blessed with countless characterful beaches.
Beaches in North Devon
The north coastline faces the Atlantic and has a combination of rocky shores that are great for exploring and long sandy stretches with rollers that make for a surfing paradise.
Read more about the best beaches in North Devon.
Beaches in South Devon
On Devon’s south coast there are plenty of small coves sporting red and golden sand, shingle, and traditional seafront towns.
Find out more beaches in South Devon.
If you’re looking for some hidden gems then here are some of the lesser known Devon beaches.
Where to eat in Devon
We are big fans of seafront cafes and restaurants in Devon, visiting them during our many dog walks.
Family-friendly cafes in Devon
Here are some of our favourite Devon cafes:
- The Guardhouse Cafe at Berry Head, Brixham – perfect for breakfast, lunch and amazing cake | dog-friendly
- Cantina at Youngs Park, Goodrington – great for brunch, lunch and brilliant cakes | dog-friendly
- Venus Cafe at Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth, and other locations – fab brunches, lunches and cakes | dogs allowed in attached doggy cafe
- The Gastro Bus, at Bantham Beach, Bigbury – great for hot snacks and drinks | dog-friendly, plus dogs allowed on part of beach all year.
Family-friendly restaurants in Devon
If you are looking for places to dine while exploring Devon’s pretty towns, here are a few we rate highly:
- Cafe Alfresco in Dartmouth – great for brunch | dogs allowed in courtyard
- The Royal Seven Stars in Totnes – perfect for a special lunch or dinner | dogs allowed in bar area
- Pie Street in Totnes – delicious home cooked pies with chunky chips and seasonal veg | dog-friendly
- Harbour House Cafe in Kingsbridge – freshly prepared Vegetarian cuisine | dog-friendly
- ODE&Co in Shaldon – freshly prepared pizzas on sour dough bases.
Have you spent family holidays in Devon? Do you have any recommendations for me or anything else I can write about on the blog? Leave me a comment or get in touch.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links marked with *. If you click on one of these and make a purchase I may earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay. We were invited to stay at or review some of the places listed in this guide for my other blog Tin Box Traveller. I’ve included them alongside experiences we have paid for ourselves because we genuinely rate them.
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