We love holidays that give us the perfect balance of energy burning experiences in a scenic location where we can also relax and reconnect with nature. If this sounds like your kind of getaway let me introduce you to Roadford Lake. It’s a top destination for family activity holidays in Devon where there’s also plenty of opportunity to chill.
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About Roadford Lake
Roadford Lake is the largest body of inland water in Devon making it a magnet for lovers of water sports and fishing. But there’s plenty here for landlubbers too.
There’s a thrill seeker’s bucket list of activities available to do at the lake as well as slower ways to immerse yourselves in the landscape.
The Cornish border is also just down the road, giving you easy access to even more South West gems.
It’s the perfect place for outdoor loving families to book a break.
Need some more convincing? Read on!
Things to do at Roadford Lake
Hold on to your hats because there’s a dizzying number of options to turn your holiday at Roadford Lake into a jam-packed experience.
Here’s a taster of the family-friendly activities and things to do:
Try a water sport
Take to the water for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and sailing. As well as being able to book these experiences with the team of instructors at Roadford Lake Activity Centre you can also pay to launch your own craft.
Last time we visited we brought along our paddle boards.
Brown trout is the catch of the day at Roadford where you can buy a day permit and hire a boat for a fishing trip.
Book an activity
Back on land there’s lots of activities available to get your blood pumping. Have a go at archery, the high ropes course and raft building as part of an activity day.
Or, if you just fancy a taster, you can book sessions separately.
Find out about activities at the lake.
Take a hike or bike
Pull on your hiking boots or cycle helmet and explore one of the trails around the lake. They range from short and accessible jaunts to three mile loops that take you through grasslands and woodland with plenty of lake views.
Here’s where to find the routes and a map.
While you are exploring the lake by foot or cycle, look out for some of the wildlife that makes Roadford its home. The rare hazel dormouse is flourishing in the lake’s woodlands, while buzzards, house martins and bats love to soar over the water and dam.
You can find bird hides around the lake.
Become a water saving hero
Step inside the Roadford Lake Visitor Centre to learn about sustainability and how you can help save water.
South West Lakes, who manage the reservoir and its surrounding countryside, have plenty of fun facts and interactive displays for young environmentalists, including the chance to pledge how you are going to do your bit to conserve H2O.
Visit the adventure playground
In 2022, a brand new playground opened next to the Visitor Centre, complete with a timber tower, rope bridge and slides. There’s also a den building area for young visitors to test their survival skills.
Places to visit near Roadford Lake
As you can see, Roadford is one of those places where you could easily fill your holiday with things to do in the immediate area. But if you do fancy exploring further, you don’t need to venture too far to find plenty of brilliant things to do.
Here’s some of our top recommendations for things to do near Roadford Lake:
Not to be missed is Dingles Fairground living museum, which is the closest family attraction to Roadford and a top place to visit on a rainy day.
Ride and experience vintage fairground attractions in this 25,000 sq ft museum in Lifton. There’s rides for young and old with more attractions coming in 2023 as Dingles undergoes a major makeover.
Booking is essential in 2022.
Find out more about visiting Dingles Fairground.
The Hidden Valley Puzzle Park
For a day of trails, puzzles and magical experiences for the whole family we can recommend a visit to the Hidden Valley Puzzle Park in Launceston. It’s less than 20 minutes from Roadford.
This is a family-run attraction that’s big on challenges, from adventure trails where you solve riddles and pick up clues, to a maze and mansion full of curious rooms and electronic mission boards.
There’s also gardens, a miniature railway, model railway and a village of hobbit houses where you can hear the residents chattering inside. Dogs are welcome too.
Take a look at our full review of The Hidden Valley.
Strawberry Fields at Lifton
Head to Strawberry Fields at Lifton Farm Shop to pick your own soft fruits, wildflowers and sunflowers in the summer. You’ll also find a maize maze and a pumpkin festival in the autumn.
The cafe is well known for its menu of hearty breakfasts, Sunday roasts and homemade pies as well as cakes, cream teas and picnics to takeaway.
Find out more about what’s on by visiting the Lifton Farm Shop website.
Follow the rambling River Lyd as it courses through the steep cliffs and lycern covered woodland of the South West’s deepest gorge at Lydford.
This National Trust site has several walking trails along the 1.5 mile gorge which includes a 30m waterfall and a naturally formed whirlpool called the Devil’s Cauldron. It’s a dramatic and challenging walk, so come prepared with hiking shoes and child carriers for little ones.
Find out more about visiting Lydford Gorge.
If you want to continue your outdoor adventures in a different location then Tamar Trails near Tavistock is a half hour drive away.
There are 25km of walking and cycling trails around the beautiful and rugged Tamar Valley which was shaped by the global copper mining industry.
As well as exploring on foot or bike you can swing your way around the trails on the Tree Surfers high ropes course. There’s routes designed for adventurers aged four and up.
For more information take a look at our guide to cycling the Tamar Trails.
Beaches close to Roadford Lake
Devon and Cornwall are famed for their beaches, so while staying at Roadford Lake you may get a hankering for the feel of sand between your toes.
More things to do in Devon
For more ideas for things to do in the surrounding area check out the Devon with Kids guide to West Devon.
Where to stay – Roadford Lake Lodges
After exploring the lake and everything there is to do in the surrounding area you’re going to want somewhere relaxing to wind down. This is where Roadford Lake Lodges step in to complete your family holiday.
These luxury lodges sit within a private lakeside forest that’s a haven for wildlife.
Pick from two to four bedroom family catered lodges that have been beautifully designed with spacious interiors and everything you need for a truly special stay including ensuite bathrooms, your own patio with hook and cook BBQ and hot tub. There’s even a fully equipped onsite gym.
Roadford Lake Lodges is a dog friendly destination with onsite dog wash facility. Pets are welcome inside the lodges so your four-legged family member can join in the fun too.
Find out more and book your holiday at Roadford Lake Lodges.
Disclosure: this is an advertorial feature written with Roadford Lake Lodges.