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Things to do in Devon in October 2023

Things to do in Devon in October 2023

Brrr! There’s no mistaking that autumn chill. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to snuggle up in front of the telly box in your favourite slippers. There’s still plenty of exploring to be done! If you are wondering what to do with the kids now the days have turned cooler, here’s my guide to the best things to do in Devon in October 2023.

In this post you’ll discover what events are on this month as well as where to find pumpkin patches and some of the less spooky half term happenings.

If you’re after the frightful stuff I have a guide to that too. Read on!

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Get a while to stay? Check out my full guide to family holidays in Devon.

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What’s on in Devon in October

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

Here’s a round up of the family-friendly events happening Devon this October:

Toy Story at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 30 September to 1 October2023

As part of its Disney 100 ‘Celebrating Timeless Memories’ limited screening programme Exeter Phoenix is giving families the opportunity to watch Toy Story on the big screen.

More Disney classics are showing throughout October.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

England’s Seafood Festival in the English Riviera – every day until 15 October 2023

Frazer Pugh, director of The Handpicked Scallop Company, Josh Perkes, co-owner of Brixham Seafish, Simon Hulstone, chef-proprietor of the Michelin-starred Elephant Restaurant
Photo credit: Guy Harrop

A two-week celebration of Devon’s world-renowned seafood is returning to the towns of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay.

Throughout the celebration the English Riviera towns all showcase some of the best seafood in the world, right where it’s landed. Highlights include everything from fine dining to street food and seafood celebration suppers to guest chef events.

Find the full programme on the English Riviera website.

Free storytelling at The Box in Plymouth – every Friday until 27 October 2023

Join the team at The Box in Plymouth for an under fives storytelling session under the Navy figureheads every Friday morning.

While you’re there why not explore the rest of The Box. Mildred the Mammoth is always a hit with little ones.

Storytelling sessions take place at 10.30am and last half an hour.

Find out more about what’s on at The Box.

Autumnfest at Arlington Court – every day in October

Arlington Court National Trust property. The historic house is seen though the greenery of the garden

Take part in fun family activities at this National Trust property near Barnstaple every day during October.

There will be crafting in the activity room and walled kitchen garden where you can make a nature crown, a green man mask, a nature disc or a veg person. 

Activities are included in the admission price which is free for National Trust members.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Halloween trail at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth – 1 October to 2 November 2023

Children look for clues around a hay bale with a donkey cut out. They are all wearing halloween fancy dress
Picture credit: Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

This October join in the spooktacular Haunted Hay Bales Halloween Hunt at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary. 

It’s a great excuse for the family to get out and about in the autumnal air and explore the sanctuary, as well as combining some exercise and brainpower. Trail sheets cost £5 each and include a prize on completion.

The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth is open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Entry to the sanctuary is free, as is parking, and dogs on leads are welcome.

For more information, please visit the Donkey Sanctuary website.

Hennock Barn Dance near Bovey Tracey – 7 October 2023

Families dancing in a barn

Beechleigh Farm near Bovey Tracey is hosting a family-friendly barn dance with a caller is its barn. There will be dancing, games, a bar and barbecue.

Under 11s go free. Buy tickets in advance.

Find out more and buy tickets from Hennock Community Primary School.

Autumn tree ID at Wembury Woods near Plymouth – 7 October 2023 

Join National Trust ranger Jess for a walk around Wembury Woods to discover the best ways to ID trees in the autumn.

Jess will also share how the National Trust ranger team manage the woodlands around Wembury.  

Places are free but must be booked.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Powderham Food Festival near Exeter – 7 to 8 October 2023

Powderham Food Festival chefs

Set in the grounds of Powderham Castle this award-winning food festival is offering free entry this year.

Visit to experience delicacies from some of the region’s best food and drink producers as well as demonstrations, fun children’s activities and foodie competitions. 

Tickets are limited and must be pre-booked. Donations for the upkeep of Powderham Castle are welcome on the day. Parking costs £8 per car.

Find the full event programme and buy tickets on the Powderham Food Festival website.

Festival of Flavours at RHS Rosemoor – 7 to 8 October 2023

Tuck into street food from around the world, pick up ideas from cookery demos, expert talks and garden tours, and shop for treats in the food and craft market.

Get in the festival mood with live music and campfire cooking. Normal entry prices apply.

Find out more on the RHS Rosemoor website.

Apple Weekend at Buckland Abbey – 7 to 8 October 2023

Visit this National Trust property on the edge of Dartmoor for a thoroughly autumnal day out.

Help harvest apples, and try juice and cider made with them.

Find out more about what’s on at Buckland Abbey.

The Princess and the Frog at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 7 to 8 October 2023

As part of its Disney 100 ‘Celebrating Timeless Memories’ limited screening programme Exeter Phoenix is giving families the opportunity to watch The Princess and the Frog on the big screen.

More Disney classics are showing throughout October.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Autumn adventures at Coleton Fishacre near Kingswear – 7 to 29 October 2023 

Children lay out autumn leaves in a pattern on the grass
Picture credit: National Trust

Discover autumnal displays in the house and garden at Coleton Fishacre near Brixham.

Take part in the Wild Colour trail, exploring how different plants have been used to make dyes.

During the half-term weeks, there will also activities on Wild Wednesdays, where families can try their hand at natural art or be active with nets, ropes and risky play.   

Wild Wednesday activities are included in the admission price, which is free for National Trust members.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Autumn wonders trail  at Greenway near Brixham – 7 to 28 October 2023

Picture credit: National Trust Chris Lacey

Embrace the autumn season and explore the garden at Greenway with its Autumn Wonders trail.

Discover how the natural world changes from animals getting ready for hibernation to the different colours in the garden.  

Entry is free for National Trust members. The standard admission charge applies to non-members. Everyone must book parking in advance.

For more information and to book parking see the National Trust website.

Scarecrow Trail at Arlington Court in North Devon – 7 to 30 October 2023

Follow a trail of scarecrows around the grounds and garden of Arlington Court this October.

Each scarecrows has been made by local schools. How many will you find?

Find out more about what’s on at Arlington Court this October.

Splash Test Dummies at Barnfield Theatre in Exeter – 11 to 12 October 2023

The Splash Test Dummies are off on an exciting adventure of oceanic proportions!

With a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, dazzling acrobatics, dexterous juggling and side-splitting slapstick comedy, the Dummies are ready to roll out their beach towels and spring into an exciting hour of circus-filled hilarity for the whole family.

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

Story Time for the ‘Mini Zoo Crew’ at Paignton Zoo – 12 October 2023

Paignton Zoo has teamed up with Libraries Unlimited to offer young visitors fun story sessions, songs and activities based on animals and conservation.

These activities will take place in the Sunbird Room at the end of the restaurant from 10.30am to 11.30am and are aimed at pre-school children aged two and a half to four years.

Pre-booking is not required. Normal zoo admission prices apply.

Find out more on the Paignton Zoo website.

Pipsqueak – the adventures of a magical dragon at Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Devonport – 12 to 14 October 2023

Scene from the Pipsqueak theatre show
Picture credit: Stiltskin Theatre Company

Join the Stiltskin Theatre company for an enchanting tale of one boy and his dragon as they attempt to grow a prize-winning pumpkin.

This family show is perfect for children aged 18-months to eight years old and runs for 80 minutes.

Find out more and book tickets on the Soapbox Children’s Theatre website.

Frozen at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 14 to 15 October2023

As part of its Disney 100 ‘Celebrating Timeless Memories’ limited screening programme Exeter Phoenix is giving families the opportunity to watch Frozen on the big screen.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Cockington Apple Day – 15 October 2023

Farmer's hands holding freshly harvested apples.

Take part in a range of activities from creative crafts to apple themed challenges and games.

There will also be children’s entertainers and cooking demonstrations. Entry is free.

Find out more about Apple Day at Cockington Village in Torbay.

October half term in Devon

Check out my full guide to October half term and Halloween fun for spooky happenings at attractions around the county.

But that’s not all.

Here’s some of the other family-friendly, less frightful things to do in Devon this October half term:

Dartmouth Food Festival – 20 to 22 October, 2023

This delicious free event in Devon is packed with food and drink to suit all taste buds. Dartmouth Food Festival comes with three days packed with cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, talks with food writers, and cookery workshops for adults and children.

A whole day of the festival is dedicated to children, with events and activities to get kids excited about cooking. Don’t miss the free story telling sessions with tales of funny food and even ginger bread man making.

Dartmouth harbour and town, South Devon. Some activities must be booked and paid for in advance. Take a look at the Food Festival website for more information.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Unlock the Mystery exhibition at Torquay Museum – 21 October 2023 to 24 February 2024

This British Museum touring exhibition comes to Torquay in time for the beginning of October half term and is a must for any fans of ancient Egypt.

Discover how hieroglyphs were decoded. Objects on display include an extract from the Book of the Dead, belonging to the priestess Nestanebetisheru, and a large limestone lintel revealing the name of Pharoah Ramses III. 

This family-friendly exhibition includes plenty of interactive elements.

Find out more on the Torquay Museum website.

Harvest Weekend at Buckland Abbey, 21 to 22 October 2023

Apples on grass
Picture credit: National Trust Images, Mel Peters

Visit Buckland Abbey National Trust near Plymouth to see its harvest displays of produce grown at the abbey and learn its history as a working estate.

There will also be seasonal Tudor Cooking, pumpkin spotting in the Abbey and a food bank collection. The Buckland Cafe will also be selling seasonal treats made with produce grown by the Buckland garden team. 

Find out more about visiting Buckland Abbey.

Myths and Magic trail at Saltram National Trust near Plymouth – 21 October to 5 November 2023

Saltram House in Plymouth
Saltram House

Dress in your spookiest outfit and follow this seasonal trail to discover the folklore tales and magical properties of trees at Saltram.

Collect a wand from the wand shop at the Welcome Centre (or bring your own) and cast some spells around the garden at each of the trail points. There’s also pesky pumpkins hiding in the gardens. Will you spot them all this year? 

Admission is free for National Trust members.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Clovelly Apple Day – 22 October, 2023

This traditional autumn event adds apple themed events to the usual activities on offer at this beautiful fishing village. Children can see apples being pressed to make fresh juice, try bobbing for apples and take part in arts and crafts.

There’s a competition for the best carved, sculpted or decorated apples. Later in the day there’s a harvest hunt and a special tour with a spooky theme.

Clovelly Village, Nr Bideford, North Devon. Normal admission prices apply. Find out more on the Clovelly website.

Seed gathering at Wembury Woods near Plymouth – 23 October 2023

Child's hands cupped, holding lots of shine conkers
Picture credit: National Trust, Rob Coleman

Join the National Trust ranger team to gather seeds from Wembury Woods which will help towards their aim of planting 92,000 trees over three years to create the Wembury Community Woodland.

You will be looking for conkers, acorns, beech nuts and sweet chestnuts. These will then be sorted, stored and sewn ready to be planted once they have grown into small saplings.  

Places are free but must be booked in advance.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

King Arthur at Exeter Northcott Theatre – 23 to 28 October 2023

King Arthur promotional poster

The Kings of Comedy, Le Navet Bete, return to the Exeter with a brand-new comedy for the ages.

This hilarious retelling of the Arthurian legends, suitable for the whole family, will have audiences crying with laughter and become part of the legend themselves!

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

Drawing workshop at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 24 and 25 October 2023

Take part in family-friendly still life and life drawing workshops at Exeter Phoenix this weekend.

Choose between sketching a skeleton or drawing your friend or family member’s face.

Find out more and book a space on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Lorna Doone Valley family fun day – 25 October 2023

View along Lorna Doone Valley with stream in foreground
Photo credit: National Trust, Sarah Hailstone

The National Trust is hosting a fun-filled family autumn activity day at Lorna Doone Valley on Wednesday 25 October.

The day is free to attend and will feature a wide range of nature and craft activities from wood whittling and pyrography to river dipping with the National Trust rangers.

Find out more about what’s on at Lorna Doone Valley.

Forest school crafts at Wembury Woods near Plymouth – 25 October 2023 

 Join National Trust rangers Jess and Izzy at Wembury Woods for a nature crafting afternoon.

Places are free but must be booked in advance.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Meet Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking at Barnfield Theatre in Exeter – 26 October 2023

This playful and quirky solo storytelling performance, with audience participation, introduces children to Astrid Lindgren’s much-loved Pippi Longstocking, ‘the strongest girl in the world’.

Find out why the self-sufficient, quick-witted, and generous Pippi has inspired fans the world over, including Lauren Child, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, and Cerys Matthews, to name just a few!

The performance is followed by an optional Pippi-inspired craft activity (15 minutes).

Find out more and book tickets on the Exeter Northcott Theatre website.

Sculpt a selfie at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 26 October 2023

Learn the basics of sculpting in clay and create a clay model of your own face in this fun workshop.

Find out more and book a place on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Steve Backshall’s Ocean talk at Exeter Northcott Theatre – 29 October 2023

Steve Backshall – Ocean promotional poster

Steve Backshall’s Ocean is a love letter to the most exciting environment on our planet – and a great way to learn more about what we need to do to save our seas.

Stunts, experiments, props, cutting edge science and big screen footage from his two decades in TV, will all help Steve to bring the icons of the Big Blue to life.

From great whites to great whales, seals to sardine shoals, orcas to the oddities of the deep; this is a fantastic opportunity for fans of all ages to dive deep into the wonderful world beneath the waves. A must-see for all the family!

Find out more and get tickets on the Exeter Northcott website.

Know of an event I can add to my monthly guides? Submit a listing!

Halloween in Devon

Two Kind Halloween Pumpkins in the park at night

Of course, October half term in Devon often coincides with Halloween. Halloween is one of my kids’ favourite times of year, along with Easter and Christmas – they have inherited their mum’s sweet tooth!

Here’s my guide to what’s on in Devon this Halloween including spooky days out.

Where to pick pumpkins in Devon

Girl pleased to be picking pumpkins in Devon

Last year this was one of our autumn highlights.

The kids dressed up in their Halloween finery and we headed to our local pumpkin patch where there was an astonishing collection of gourds in all shapes, sizes and colours – perfect for decorating our doorstep.

Check out my post about where to pick pumpkins in Devon to find out the latest open days.

Which Devon attractions are open in October?

Black rhino in zoo enclosure

Opening times for Devon attractions tend to vary in the off season but you can still find some that will welcome you all week through! Devon zoos and steam railways are my top suggestions.

Most attractions will also reopen for the October school holidays.

Check out my guide to things to do in Devon in Autumn to see a list of Devon attractions that are open daily and those that are open on the weekends only.

More things to do in October

If you’re looking for more ideas for things to do in October then here’s some ideas for entertaining the kids:

What’s your favourite things to do in Devon in October? Do you know of an activity or event not on this list? Drop me a line or comment below.

Get a while to stay? Check out my full guide to family holidays in Devon.

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