Fun places to visit in East Devon with kids
Whether you’re up for a bracing walk along the Jurassic Coast, want to hand-feed deer or see historic landmarks there’s plenty of great places to visit in East Devon between Axminster and Exeter.
We’ve had short holidays in East Devon a couple of times in recent years and have really enjoyed spending time here on the border with Dorset, rarely being stuck for things to do. Below are some of our favourites days out we can personally recommend if you’re looking for East Devon attractions.
UK lockdown: Please follow the latest Government guidance on travel and respect the communities you visit. Book days out and attractions in advance. Be aware some may not yet be open.
Top places to visit in East Devon
Go native at Wildwood Escot
If you’d like a rare glimpse of some of Britain’s native animals in their natural habitats then head to Wildwood Escot at Ottery St Mary. We visited on a cool Spring day and found plenty to do. From watching red squirrels forage for nuts to exploring the woodland walks and playing Saxons in the recreated village, it was a full day.
New to the park soon after our visit was a park of grey wolves who can now be seen roaming the forest. You’ll also find playgrounds, a trampoline, a beech maze and a soft play barn for younger kids.
Read our full review of Wildwood Escot for more reasons to visit this East Devon attraction.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Free parking
Take a ride back in time on Seaton Tramway
This vintage tramway has been transporting tourists through some of Devon’s finest countryside since the 1970s.
We chose the perfect day to appreciate the scenery from the top deck. During the three mile trip you can hop off at Colyford to have a snack at the pub next to the line. Or we can recommend continuing to Seaton for lunch and an ice cream on the seafront. This really is one of our top things to do in Easter Devon.
Here’s our full review of Seaton Tramway.
Visitor snapshot: Open February to October. Check the timetable for other dates | Dogs allowed | Free parking at Colyton and pay and display in Seaton
Here’s more great things to do in Seaton with kids.
Go wild at The Bear Trail
Fancy yourself as the next Bear Grylls? If the answer is yes then The Bear Trail will see if you are up to the challenge. Tackle this military inspired assault course complete with mud pits, scrabble nets and rope swings for a fun-packed day out.
The Trail is best suited to energetic kids and teens. But there is also a play area for little ones and plenty of picnic space from where parents can watch the action if they don’t fancy participating.
If you or your kids get caked then there’s also showers where you can wash up before heading home exhausted. Why not check out our full review.
Visitor snapshot: Open school holidays, check the website for other dates | Dogs allowed | Free parking
Wander with dinosaurs along the Jurassic coastline
East Devon’s Jurassic Coastline is a feast for your eyes. But not only is it scenic; buried in its coves and cliffs are 185 million years of history. The Jurassic landscape stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset.
Along this coast you can find some characterful seaside towns and beaches. We’ve enjoyed wanders along Seaton and Sidmouth seafronts. They are great places to appreciate Devon’s seaside vibes, grab an ice-cream and hunt for fossils along the red cliffs.
Seaton harbour is also a great spot to go crabbing in Devon.
If you’re looking for somewhere to refuel in Sidmouth we can recommend The Clocktower. This is at the top of a cliff just outside Sidmouth. You’ll not be disappointed by the cakes!
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed in designated zones on beaches | Pay and display parking
Meet the characters at the Donkey Sanctuary
If you are looking for free things to do in East Devon then here’s one of the best. A visit to the Donkey Sanctuary is a wonderful way to get acquainted with these beautiful creatures and support a brilliant charity. Entry to the Sanctuary at Sidmouth is free. But there are plenty of ways to donate during your visit, from collection boxes to a trip to the lovely new restaurant.
Children will love wandering between the fields to say hello to donkeys and mules, exploring the maze and finding out about the residents’ important role working with youngsters with additional needs.
Read about our visit to Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Check the website | Dogs allowed | Free parking (donation welcomed)
Take a boat trip with Stuart Line Cruises
Stuart Line Cruises offer cruises all along the red cliff and sandy East and South Devon coast from Sidmouth to Brixham.
We climbed onboard the Pride of Exmouth on Sidmouth beach for a 50 minute tour of the bay. This is an extraordinary part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There was commentary throughout the trip. And the crew came around taking orders for the bar so there was no need to miss a moment of the scenery.
A highlight of the trip for me was when we turned around at Ladram Bay. This is where there is a series of sea stacks that have been created by erosion. They are eye-wateringly beautiful.
Read my full review of our Jurassic Coast cruise.
Visitor snapshot: cruises run seasonally | Check the website | Dogs allowed
Search for the dragon at Killerton National Trust
If your family enjoys countryside walks, den-building and gardens packed full of hidden gems then Killerton is an ideal place to visit in East Devon. You might even spy Dolbury the dragon who is said to guard a trove of treasure hidden in Killerton’s grounds.
If your kids haven’t yet begun the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4′, then this is a great place to start.
Read more about our visit to Killerton National Trust.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Check the website | Dogs allowed in estate but not formal gardens | Free parking
Visit Seaton Jurassic
Please note that Seaton Jurassic is looking for a new operator. Check its website for more information about its future.
Seaton Jurassic is a thoroughly interactive journey back in time to discover the origins of life and the Jurassic Coastline. It opened in 2016 and is pitched perfectly for families with lots of facts to find, fishy costumes to try on and games to play.
The girls were particular fans of the time-ship. This transported them back 250 million years (with a little help from mummy and daddy rowing the oars!).
Find out more about Seaton Jurassic.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Paid car parks close by
All aboard at Pecorama
If you are a train enthusiast then one of the very best things to do in East Devon is a visit to Pecorama. It’s the home of the Beer Heights Light Railway and the makers of PECO railway kit.
As well as the railway and model exhibition there’s play areas, gardens overlooking the Beer coastline with secret nooks and a shell-lined grotto. Plus a soft play area with zones to kids aged one to 12-years-old. If you’re visiting during the summer, complete your day with a proper Devon cream tea in the restored Orion Pullman Carriage.
We visited when Tot was less than a year old. I don’t have a specific post about it but you can find out more on the attraction website.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round – check website for train running times | No dogs | Free parking
Fill a day at World of Country Life
For an all-weather, full family day out we can recommend The World of Country Life at Exmouth. The name suggests an attraction packed with rural fun. And it certainly has that with animal feeding, small pet handling and a country town experience.
But we also found vintage cars, numerous indoor and outdoor play areas. Plus a tractor ride into a deer park where you can hand feed the animals. The falconry display, walking kid goats and life-size pirate ship were also highlights for us.
Find out more about our visit.
Visitor snapshot: Open February to October. Check the website for the dates | No dogs | Free parking
Visit Seaton Wetlands
This relatively new nature reserve is teeming with wildlife. Go pond dipping in the Wildlife Garden, met the Dormice in the Discovery Hut and spot Swallows, Herons and Moorhens from the hides.
Find out more about Seaton Wetlands.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Free parking
Don’t miss out on more things to do in Seaton, Devon.
What about other Devon attractions?
If you’re looking for Devon attractions to visit in other parts of the county then check out these family days out in Devon.
If you’re holidaying in North Devon take a look at these great Devon attractions around Bideford, Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. If you want to explore Dartmoor then here’s some great places to visit with kids. And if the South is where you are hanging out then we have lots morre great ideas. Here’s our tops things to do in South Devon too.
Out and about in Devon with teens? Here’s our recommended things to do in Devon with teenagers.
Where to stay in East Devon?
We have stayed at a few different East Devon campsites that we can recommend as bases for exploring the area. Here’s our East Devon campsite reviews:
- Caravanning at Andrewshayes Holiday Park near Seaton
- Glamping at Oakdown Holiday Park near Sidmouth
- Glamping and touring caravans at Crealy Meadows new Exeter
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If you’re looking for more inspiration for things to do in East Devon then check out my friend Clare’s blog, Flipflops or Wellies. She’s based in East Devon. So is the authority on events, school holiday activities and what to do on wet or dry weekends.
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