13 things to do in Devon this winter
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Paignton Zoo in Paignton, South Devon
- Dartmoor Zoo in Sparkwell, South Devon
- Exmoor Zoo in Barnstaple, North Devon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can also find pottery paining at:
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.
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:
- The Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter
- Clip N’ Climb Exeter
- Clip N’ Climb Plymouth
- Dart Rock Climbing Centre, Buckfastleigh
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:
- iBounce Newton Abbot and Exeter
- Super Tramp in Plymouth
- The Barn Indoor Climbing Wall in Tavistock
- Wall in the Hall in Tiverton
- Air Extreme in Barnstaple
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:
- Drakes Den in Plymouth
- Bear Feet in Exeter and Newton Abbot
- Funderzone in Barnstaple
- Let’s Go Barnstaple
- Monsters Mansion in Tiverton
- Jump in Plymouth
- Wait 2 Play in Crediton
- Sam’s Funhouse in Exmouth
- Planet Play in Crediton
- Plymouth Soft Play Cafe
- Play Cafe in Paignton
- Wizz Kids in Brixham
- Tumbling Teds Play House in Newton Abbot
- Bear Feet Play Centre in Newton Abbot
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:
- Finlake Falls in Newton Abbot
- Flamingo Pool in Axminster
- Admiral Swimming Centre in Brixham
- Torbay Leisure Centre in Paignton
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.
Would you like more Devon goodies delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Devon with Kids newsletter.
If you are planning things to do in Devon this winter then why not save this post on Pinterest.