Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone but Devon isn’t just a summer destination. In fact there’s plenty to do outside of the main holiday season – take it from a local! But let’s keep this our secret – the wide, open beaches are bliss! If you’re wondering what to do in the South West between Autumn and Spring then here’s our top things to do in Devon this winter.

Please be aware that the activities, events and attractions available in 2020 are subject to change. Check before you travel to avoid disappointment.

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Looking for things to do in Devon this winter? Here's our go to list of activities to do with kids including days out, soft play, pottery, events & swimming #Winter #England #devon #thingstodo #travel #family #kids #daysout #events #UK #Devonwithkids #holidays

1. Enjoy Christmas in Devon

If you are looking for festive things to do in Devon this winter then take a look at my Christmas in Devon post for all the best festive days out this year.

Ice skaters dancing with presents at Crealy Christmas Spectacular

2. Go to a winter event in Devon

There are lots of events that happen outside off the main holiday season, especially towards the end of the year.

Take a look at what’s on in Devon this winter.

3. Visit a Devon theme park

All of Devon’s theme parks have large indoor play areas and attractions that are open in the winter months. Most are open on the weekends in the run up to New Year and close in January. When they reopen some have great winter ticket deals.

Check what indoor attractions are open before you travel. Advance booking may be essential.

Devon’s theme parks are also where you’ll also find some of the best Christmas days out in Devon including Santa’s grotto, shows and other festive activities.

Family meeting Santa in grotto at Woodlands Family Theme Park in Devon
Santa’s Grotto at Woodlands

4. Ride a train

Devon has several steam railways which chuff along former branch lines. Many run services at the weekends in the run up to Christmas.

One to look out for is the Train of Lights run by Dartmouth Steam Railway between Paignton and Kingswear.

We went on the Santa Express, complete with panto-style entertainment, a few years ago (NB this event is sadly not running in 2020):

5. Visit a Zoo

Devon’s zoos are open all year round and are a top option if you are looking for somewhere to visit in Devon on a week day. Here’s where to find zoos open throughout the winter months:

Also check out opening times are other Devon zoos and wildlife days out.

6. Embrace the season and head outdoors

It’s rare to find snow on the coast, but with the highest peak of Dartmoor measuring 621m this is where you are most likely to find the white stuff.

Please gauge the situation wisely and stay safe. If you don’t have 4×4, don’t attempt to go deep into the National Park as it is very easy to get stuck in drifts, causing problems for yourself and others.

Snowy road on Dartmoor in Devon
Dartmoor in January 2019

Haldon Forest is an easier part place to access and has paths and cycle routes overlooking Dartmoor and Exeter.

You’ll also find the latest Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler trail here which is an easy and fun activity with kids whatever the weather.

Father and daughter doing the Zoo Trail at Haldon Forest Park in Devon

Another fun place to grab some fresh air in the winter is River Dart Country Park. There’s plenty of adventure playgrounds and a bike pump track open all year round.

Find more adventure playgrounds in Devon.

And who could forget Devon’s beaches. These are just as amazing in the winter as in the summer.

In the off season you’ll find many deserted. You’re also more likely to find free parking and that dogs are allowed to scamper on the sand.

Red sand of beach in Paignton, Devon in winter

You’ll find some lovely beaches in South Devon, as well as North Devon. There are also plenty of hidden gems along the north and south coasts.

7. Go under the sea

The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is ideal for wet days in the winter. The whole attraction is undercover and is home to the country’s largest tank.

The Great Barrier Reef tank at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Devon
The Great Barrier Reef tank

8. Paint some pottery 

My kids have really got into crafts in the past year and love painting pottery. Our closest pottery painting workshop in Devon is China Blue in Totnes.

Child painting pottery at China Blue in Totnes

You can also find pottery paining at:

Poppins Pottery in Torquay

Honiton Pottery in Honiton

Tarka Pottery at Little Torrington

9. Go underground

Kent’s Cavern is at a constant temperature of 14°C all year round making it an ideal Devon attraction for winter and wet days.

People silhouetted against the Rocky Chamber in Kents Cavern
Kents Cavern

10. Go indoor climbing

A great thing to do in Devon with teens is climbing. Here’s where you’ll find climbing walls in Devon:

11. Visit a Trampoline Centre in Devon

In indoor activity bound to tire the kids out is bouncing. Here’s where you’ll find trampoline centres in Devon:

12. Brace yourselves and head to soft play 

When all else fails young kids, and some big kids, love soft play. And as you’re in Devon it’s very likely you’ll find a decent coffee and slab of cake on offer too!

Our favourite ones are at the Woodlands and Crealy theme parks as we can include them as part of a bigger day out.

However, if you just need a quick fix, here’s some other places where you’ll find soft play in Devon:

13. Go Swimming

A note about swimming in 2020: please check what’s open before you travel.

One of our favourite days out in Devon in the winter is swimming at the Waves Pool at the Riviera Centre in Torquay. There’s a wave pool, flume and water feature for kids. 

Here’s where else you’ll find indoor swimming pools in Devon:

What about things to do in Devon at other times of year?

Here are some more handy posts on things to do in Devon with kids:

You’ll also find plenty of Devon inspiration in my big Devon family days out guide.

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