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Things to do in Devon in September 2023

Things to do in Devon in September 2023

With schools due back from early September this is a great time to visit Devon while the sun (hopefully) still shines and the main tourism season is winding down. But what’s on in Devon as the autumn kicks off? Here’s our guide to the top things to do in Devon in September 2023.

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Events in Devon this September

Here’s what’s on in Devon for families this September.

Also take a look at my round up of what’s happening in Devon this weekend.

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

Summer rockpool rambles at Combesgate Beach near Woolacombe – selected dates from 1 to 17 September 2023

The rockpools of Combesgate are teeming with life – fish, crabs, sea snails, star fish and anemones. Can you tell your seahares from your starfish?

Join the National Trust’s Beach Rangers to seek them out and learn about their lives. 

Places cost £3 and must be booked in advance.

Find out more on the National Trust website.

Heddon Valley Butterfly Trail near Parracombe – every day until 15 September 2023

Dark Green Fritillary butterflies on ferns
Picture credit: National Trust Images, Matthew Oates

Check in at the Heddon Valley National Trust visitor hub and follow the woodland trail to find all the butterflies.

The trail winds through woodland as it makes its way through beautiful Heddon Valley. 

For more information check the National Trust website.

Wild North Devon exhibition at Barnstaple Museum – ever day until 30 September 2023

Explore a family-friendly exhibition for North Devon’s wildlife to find out how animals adapt, live and thrive in local habitats. On display will be some of North Devon’s most elusive animals including the red fox, red squirrel, barn owl and gannet up close.

Admission to the museum is free.

Find out more about what’s on at the Museum of Barnstaple.

Free storytelling at The Box in Plymouth – every Friday

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. The last session of the autumn is on 27 October.

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

Kingsbridge Agricultural Show, Kingsbridge – 2 September 2023

Each year the Kingsbridge show offers a great family day out with livestock and countryside competitions, donkey rides, vintage vehicles and live music. There’s also a packed programme of arena entertainment.

See all the show details, ticket prices and what’s on by visiting the website.

Circus Berlin, Plymouth 6 to 23 September 2023

See high energy, awe-inspiring circus acts and musical numbers when Circus Berlin visits Central Park this September.

Find out more and get tickets from the Circus Berlin website.

Heritage Open Days in Devon – 8 to 17 September 2023

Buckland Abbey National Trust place in West Devon
Buckland Abbey

This annual opportunity to explore some of the nation’s most extraordinary and often hidden places of history and culture for FREE is happening again in 2023.

From 8 to 17 September you can take special tours of heritage places in Devon like the secret spaces of Exeter Cathedral, the Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre, and Plymouth’s cemeteries. 

Family favourites like Killerton, Saltram and Arlington Court also have free open days.

Here’s the full list of places to visit during Heritage Open Days in Devon.

East Devon Food Festival – 9 to 24 September 2023

Chefs and businesses supporting the Taste East Devon festival

This 16 day celebration sees award-winning venues, producers, chefs and restaurants across East Devon join forces to celebrate the incredible food and drink on offer across the region.

Founder members include River Cottage, THE PIG-at Combe, Darts Farm, Mazzard Farm, Otter Brewery, Deer Park Country House, East Devon AONB, Donkey Sanctuary, Jack in the Green and Lympstone Manor.

The festival starts with the iconic Ottery St Mary Food and Families Festival with a whole host of tasting experiences, set menus and events. 

Find out more about what’s on where on the Taste East Devon website.

Hydro open day at Drogo Castle near Drewsteignton – 10 September 2023

Learn about how hydro power has been used at Castle Drogo since 1929 to the present day.

Between 11am and 3pm guides will be opening the Hydro mechanism for visitors to come and look inside.

Get to the Hydro from the Castle Drogo car park by following the Hunters path down to the Iron Bridge, cross over onto the Foresters track and follow the path towards Fingle Bridge. Alternatively you can access the Hydro from Fingle Bridge by following the Foresters track for around 40 minutes. 

Normal admission prices and parking charges at the castle apply. National Trust members can visit for free.

Find out more by visiting the National Trust website.

Tin Man at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 11 September 2023

Tin Man cast

This visually stunning dance production for families and children aged seven and up explores a re-imagined story of this much-loved character’s encounters with the Witch in the deep dark wood, and the new friendships the Tin Man forms with a Scarecrow and a Lion along the way.

There is a free pre-show colouring activity in foyer 30 mins before performance begins.

Booster seats and audio description are also available. Please check with the Box Office for details.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

El Galeón visiting the Barbican, Plymouth – 13 to 17 September 2023

A full size replica of a 17th century Spanish galleon is visiting Plymouth and will be open to visitors.

El Galeón will be moored at Barbican Landing Stage with visitors being able to explore this ‘living museum’ during her stay.

Find out more on the Visit Plymouth website.

Story Time for the ‘Mini Zoo Crew’ at Paignton Zoo – 14 September 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.

Abbfest, Newton Abbot – 15 to 17 September 2023

The best of Newton Abbot’s food, drink and craft traders will showcase their wares alongside a weekend of music and cookery demonstrations.

Families will get the most out of the Saturday when there is a day of children’s activities.

For the full festival line-up and ticket information visit the Abbfest website.

History Hunters Family Fun Day on Dartmoor – 16 September 2023

Join the Dartmoor National Park team at the Postbridge Visitor Centre for a free family fun day travelling through time to uncover the secrets of Dartmoor.

There will crafts, storytelling, activities and things to make and take home bringing to life the Brilliant Bronze Age, the Magnificent Middleages and much more.

Have a go at being an archaeologist uncovering treasures in our sand trays,  make a hunters spear  or spin some wool.

Find out more on the Dartmoor National Park website.

Wild Tribe Science & Art Festival in Devonport – 16 September 2023

Join the Soapbox Children’s Theatre for a day of imagination and adventure at the Wild Tribe Children’s Festival.

This fun-packed day combines art, science, and the environment through entertainment, workshops, and activities.

The event is recommended for children aged four to 10, accompanied by their big people, and takes place in Devonport Park.

Find out more on the Theatre’s website.

Ashburton Food Festival – 16 to 17 September 2023

Come and meet the people behind local produce at this foodie festival in Ashburton. As well as lots of delicious stalls there’s going to be a stage with live music and talks about food, menus for kids and food from abroad.

There are kid-focussed workshops on the Sunday.

The festival takes place across North Street and Saint Lawrence Lane.

Find out more about the Food Festival.

Plymouth Seafest – 16 to 17 September 2023

Love seafood? Head to The Barbican and Sutton Harbour this weekend to sample some of the South West’s best alongside some nautical entertainment.

Seafest is free to attend and celebrates the incredible sustainably caught fresh fish and seafood on offer in Britain’s Ocean City.

Find out more about what’s on at this year’s festival.

The Jungle Book at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 16 to 17 September 2023

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

More Disney classics are showing throughout September and October.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Castle Hill Fun Day and Charity Dog Show – 17 September 2023 – CANCELLED

This event is being rescheduled.

Visit Castle Hill near Barnstaple for a fun day raising money for

There will be children’s entertainment, inflatables, food, music and artisan shopping with local sellers.

Flotsam the Fool’s Circus will also be providing a free circus workshop for children.

Find out more and boom tickets on the Castle Hill website.

Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival – 20 to 24 September 2023

Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival is returning this September with a full, live programme of events including huge names in both fiction and non-fiction, and a wide and varied range of events and topics for all ages.

The programme is also packed with activities for kids with family events happening between 21 and 24 September. Axel Scheffler, Madeleine Finlay and Martin Brown of Horrible Histories are among the children’s authors attending.

Find out more about what’s on and buy tickets for Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival.

Family fun days at South Devon Railway – 23 to 24 September 2023

Little boy sat with his dad in train carriage
Photo credit: South Devon Railway

Book a ticket for a ride on South Devon Railway between Buckfastleigh and Totnes and get inclusive entry to Dartmoor Otters and Butterflies and Totnes Rare Breeds Farm.

Not only that there will be a children’s entertainer, face painting and miniature railway rides at Buckfastleigh.

Find out more about the September family fun day.

There’s free drop in arts and crafts happening at the gallery as part of Organic September. The activities complement the environmental themes of Thelma Hulbert’s exhibition programme.

Create Pajaki flower garlands, a biodegradable seed pot of vegetable or plants seeds to take home and your own bug using natural materials.

You’ll also find stalls from local ethical food producers In My Back Yard.

Find out more on the Thelma Hulbert Gallery website.

Beauty and the Beast at Exeter Phoenix Theatre – 23 to 24 September 2023

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

More Disney classics are showing throughout September and October.

Find out more on the Exeter Phoenix website.

Pipsqueak – the adventures of a magical dragon at Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Devonport – selected dates from 29 September 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.

The Comedy of Errors in Yelverton – 26 September 2023

Two sets of shipwrecked twins – who lost their doubles years ago – unknowingly end up in the same place at the same time. Chaos ensues!

The Pantaloons theatre company perform this Shakespeare classic at Clearbook Village Hall.

Find out more and book tickets on the Clearbrook Village Hall website.

England’s Seafood Festival in the English Riviera – 29 September to 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.

A special day for families in being held on 30 September when Seafest is coming to Goodrington. This one-day celebration of the sea and the remarkable coastline will include theatre performances, live music, family beach activities, art workshops, mermaids, treasure hunts and a Parade of the Sea that everyone can join in.

Find the full programme on the English Riviera website.

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.

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

What about next month? Here’s my guide to things to do in Devon in October.

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Devon days out

With the main summer holidays finishing this month, some Devon attractions are only open mid-week.

However, you can still find some that are open during the week in September:

You can also check my FREE guide to Devon days out for ideas:

101 days out in Devon with Kids cover and pages

Download the 101 Days out in Devon with kids ebook

It’s FREE!

Grab your copy of this guide to family-friendly things to do across the county, from coast to coast, in the cities, on the moors and whatever the weather.

What to do when it rains in Devon this September

Sadly it’s not always sunny in Devon. I have a big list of ideas for things to do in Devon on wet days this September.

Make the most of the last few beach days

View of rock pools Wembury Beach in the South Hams
Wembury Beach

I don’t know about you, but I always hold out a hope for some warmth in late summer, especially as I know we’ll find it much easier to get parking on the coast.

Here are some of the best beaches to visit on the South coast and in North Devon.

If you’re not a fan of sand and salty water, then why not check out some of the splash parks and outdoor swimming pools around the county.

Would you like more Devon goodies delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Devon with Kids newsletter.

Are you planning your days out in Devon this month? Why not use Pinterest to save this post about what’s on and things to do in Devon in September. If you’ve spotted I’ve missed something let me know! Comment below or email me.

101 days out in Devon with Kids cover and pages

Download the 101 Days out in Devon with kids ebook

It’s FREE!

Grab your copy of this guide to family-friendly things to do across the county, from coast to coast, in the cities, on the moors and whatever the weather.

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