What’s to do in Devon? LOTS! Whether you’re looking for activities for the winter, spring, summer or autumn, sunny days or wet days, you’d be hard pressed to be bored here. This is our big list of things to do in Devon with kids and I can guarantee it doesn’t cover everything.
If you know of something unmissable to do in Devon that should be added to this page then get in touch! I’ll be adding places to visit, family activities and events as we find them.
Likewise, if you find and try something on this page that you love then do let me know.
Everything you need for enjoying Devon days out
If you are planning a Devon getaway take a look at my guide to family holidays in Devon, which includes places to stay and eat as well as things to do.
Looking for things to do in a specific part of Devon or in a particular season? Then also look at these guides:
- Things to do in South Devon
- Places to visit in East Devon
- Things to do in North Devon
- Things to do in Dartmoor with kids
- Family-friendly festivals in Devon
- What’s on in February half term in Devon
- Things to do in Devon this Easter
- Things to do in Devon in Spring
- What to do in Devon this Autumn
- What’s on in Devon at Halloween
- Things to do in Devon this Winter
- What’s on in Devon this Christmas
- Twixmas in Devon
Also take a look at my round up of what’s happening in Devon this weekend.
Please check each attraction’s website for up-to-date visitor information and admission prices.
Without further ado, let’s explore Devon’s best days out for families:
Free things to do in Devon
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great time here. Check out my blog post dedicated to the dozens of brilliant free things to do in Devon.
Accessible places to visit in Devon
If you are looking for wheelchair friendly walks or accessible family attractions then I have just the guide for you. Members of the Devon with Kids Facebook group have recommended these accessible places to visit in Devon.
Things to do in Devon with toddlers
Make life easier and take your tiny tot for a day out you know is toddler-proof. Here’s some of my recommended things to do in Devon with toddlers.
Things to do in Devon with teenagers
Whether your teen is into action-packed days on the water, high ropes, trampolining or something a bit quieter like pottery painting and trips to the cinema, I have plenty of inspiration for things to do in Devon with teens.
Dog-friendly Devon attractions
If, like us, you have a four-legged friend skip to my round-up of family and dog-friendly attractions in Devon.
National Trust places in Devon
Killerton National Trust
If your family enjoys countryside walks, den-building and gardens packed full of hidden gems then Killerton is an ideal place to visit in East Devon. You might even spy Dolbury the dragon who is said to guard a trove of treasure hidden in Killerton’s grounds.
If your kids haven’t yet begun the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4′ then this is a great place to start.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed in estate but not formal gardens | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Killerton National Trust
Saltram is a great National Trust property on the edge of Plymouth with a beautiful house to explore, a den building area, woodland walks, a pump track and children’s trails.
If you and your family enjoy looking around historic places Saltram is one of Britain’s best preserved Georgian houses. Before the current stately home was built there stood a Tudor Manor on the site.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed in estate but not formal gardens or house | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Saltram
This is one of our favourite Devon days out. Buckland Abbey was home to the navy hero Sir Francis Drake is a beautiful National Trust property where children can roam the orchard, dash around the lawn and dress up in Tudor style in the attic exhibition.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year | Dogs allowed in estate but not formal gardens | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Buckland Abbey
You can go on a tour of parts of the castle and there’s plenty to do in the grounds.
Visit the replica Bunty play house, grab a spotter trail sheet or go geocaching for hidden treasures in the Teign Gorge below the castle.
Visitor snapshot: Grounds and visitor centre are open all year round, Castle closed from November to March | Dogs allowed in estate but not formal gardens | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Castle Drogo
This delightful North Devon National Trust property is home to the National Carriage Museum including horse drawn vehicles of all shapes, sizes and purposes.
In the house you can see collections of pewter plates and trophies, period costumes and step down into the cellars. The grounds are perfect for wildlife spotting, den building and adventure play.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed in grounds and carriage museum | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Arlington Court
This fascinating house full of curious collectibles was once the holiday home of crime writer Agatha Christie. You can explore rooms where she would regale her family with plot ideas, wander through the scenic riverside gardens and hit about some balls in the tennis court.
Fun ways to reach Greenway include catching a boat from Dartmouth or the steam train from Paignton.
Visitor snapshot: open on selected dates February to December, check website | Dogs on leads | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Greenway
Compton Castle is one of those places where you wished the walls could talk. It’s been home to a family of famous explorers, was fortified against French raids in the 15th Century, and has been restored from a ruin. What a tale these bricks and mortar could tell!
Play Tudor games in the grounds, dress up as princes and princesses and find the family crest in the restored castle rooms.
Visitor snapshot: Open on selected dates, check website | Dogs allowed in orchard | Free parking | Compton Castle
Visit Overbecks and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to a tropical paradise. Devon’s unique microclimate has allowed plants from all around the world to flourish here, making it an exciting place to explore with children.
The current house at Overbecks was built in 1913 and is now home to a collection of curiosities belonging to one of its former owners, Otto Overbeck. He was an eccentric inventor and collector.
You can also find out about the house’s roles as a convalescent home to courageous men and women that fought to keep spirits high during World War One.
Visitor snapshot: Open on selected dates February to October | Dogs not allowed | Parking charges apply for non-National Trust members | Overbecks
The small village of Branscombe, just a couple of miles from Seaton, is one of Devon’s hidden gems. You get to it down some narrow and winding lanes from the A3052 – keep going, it’s worth it.
At the village’s heart there are three National Trust owned buildings: the old bakery, forge and mill. The forge is the county’s oldest thatched forge still worked by a blacksmith.
It doesn’t take long to look around the village so indulge yourself with a walk through the scenic valley to the beach too.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Branscombe Village
Historic sites and Castles in Devon
Smeatons Tower sits on top of Plymouth Hoe overlooking the Sound. But it hasn’t always stood here. When it was built in 1759 it was 14 miles away on Eddystone Rocks. It was the third of four lighthouses to guard the rocks since 1698 and it’s curved tree trunk-like design was ground-breaking.
When it was replaced in 1882 the iconic tower was relocated brick by brick to The Hoe. Today you can climb the tower and great excellent views of the seafront.
Visitor snapshot: check website for opening | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Smeatons Tower
The Castle dates back to the 11th Century and was originally built following the invasion of William the Conquerer. It started off as a timber construction but this was replaced with stone at about the turn of the 14th Century.
It’s now one of the best preserved Norman motte and bailey castles in England. Visiting this English Heritage site doesn’t take long but is a great additional to wandering around quirky Totnes. You can climb the motte, admire the views down the River Dart and picnic in the castle walls.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed on lead | Local parking charges apply | Totnes Castle
This 600-year-old family home of the Earls of Devon commands stunning views of the Exe Estuary and has a rich history stretching back to the 1300s. Today you can tour the castle with is still lived in by the young Earl and his family.
There’s also a small animal farm, a play fort, a deer safari and plenty of seasonal entertainment. Visit during the school holidays for interactive shows and themed events.
Visitor snapshot: Open late March to late October | Dogs allowed | Free parking | Powderham Castle, Kenton.
Berry Pomeroy Castle
This 16th Century ruin is said to be one of Devon’s most haunted places. There’s an audio tour that tells you all the ghostly tales – one for the teens in your family! You can also walk the woodlands and have a Devon cream tea in the cafe.
Visitor snapshot: check website for opening dates | Dogs welcome | Free parking | Berry Pomeroy
This naturally formed cave dating back 2.5 million years is an ideal place to visit on a wet day, or a really hot one come to think of it. It is Britain’s oldest ancient monument and evidence has been found that it was once home to Neanderthals, Homo Sapiens and pre-historic beasts.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Kents Cavern website.
Exeter’s Underground Passages
These Medieval passengers under Exeter give insight into the city’s past. Wander through some of the vaulted pathways that carried water from springs into the heart of the city. There’s plenty of tales of plague, war and pestilence to add to this atmospheric experience.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round (check website for tour times) | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Exeter’s Underground Passages
Hartland Abbey dates back to 1157 when it was founded by Augustinian monks. It became a family home after the abbey was dissolved in 1539 and is now open to visitors from Sunday to Thursday.
The house is a treasure trove of art by the likes of Gainsborough, Hudson and Kneller. There’s quizzes and nature trails for children, woodlands gardens and themed open days throughout the year.
Visitor snapshot: Open March to September | Dogs are welcome on a lead in the Abbey grounds | Free parking | Hartland Abbey
More of a fort than somewhere you’d expect to find knights and princesses, Dartmouth Castle was built in the 14th Century to defend what was then a very significant port.
Today you can visit the ammunition stores, find out about the lifestyle of the small group of soldiers stationed here and climb up to the roof for fabulous views of the river, town and English Channel.
If you’re feeling peckish the tiny cafe does awesome milkshakes and cream teas. You can walk to Dartmouth Castle from the town or catch a ferry from the quayside.
Places to visit
Dartington Hall Estate
This community hub has more than one thousand years of history. It was once a private home but by the 1900s the Hall had fallen into ruin. In 1925 it was bought by the Elmhirst family who restored it as place of creativity, learning and social enterprise.
It now hosts a programme of events, festivals and courses as well as welcoming visitors to its hotel, cinema, restaurant and gardens.
The estate is great for scenic walks and it’s always worth checking Dartington Hall’s website to see if they have any events on.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed on leads in parts | Local parking charges apply | Dartington Hall, Dartington.
Britannia Royal Naval College
Dartmouth is home to the Royal Navy’s officer training college, BRNC. It is steeped in history that you can discover by booking a guided tour with The Britannia Association.
The College was originally located on HMS Hinderstan and HMS Britannia both moored on the River Dart but moved into a purpose built college on the hill above when recruits started to become ill in the cramped quarters on the ships. If your kids are at all interested in a military career then this is an inspiring and impressive place to visit.
Visitor snapshot: tours bookable throughout the year | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Britannia Association
Step back in time at this 14th fishing village where cars are banned from the narrow cobbled streets.
Don’t forget your sensible shoes for the walk up and down the steep hill which leads to a picturesque harbour and pebbled beach. Otherwise be prepared for a bit of a queue for the Land Rover ride.
There’s donkey rides for children in the main summer season and craft workshops where you can find hand-made pottery and gifts. This is one of our favourite North Devon days out – it’s very rare we don’t visit when we are in the area.
Read about our visit to Clovelly Village.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year | Dogs welcome on leads | Free parking | Clovelly Village
Cockington Village is a hidden gem of the English Riviera in South Devon. Entering the village is like stepping through the Wardrobe in one of CS Lewis’ stories.
A short drive from urban Torquay you find thatched roof cottages, a forge and windmill surrounded by a extensive country park. There’s also craft studios, a tea room and gardens at Cockington Court, the old manor house.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | Cockington Country Park
The House of Marbles
This free, small attraction is home to some fascinating marble runs that will keep kids entertained while you can browse the Devon gifts, crafts and boutique clothing.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | Free parking | House of Marbles.
Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre
The national park visitor centre in Princetown used to be a hotel and is where Arthur Conan Doyle stayed when he wrote some of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Today the centre tells the story of Dartmoor’s natural history with interactive exhibits that children can touch and explore.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | Visit Dartmoor
This working Benedictine Monastery is a wonderfully peaceful place for a walk with children. They’ll enjoy toddling around the lawns and meandering paths of the formal gardens.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year | No dogs | Free parking| Buckfast Abbey
Royal William Yard
This former Naval victualling yard in Plymouth is now a fantastic place to eat, see art, shop and play. Events are also held here throughout the year.
We love the Illuminate festival of light in the winter months.
Visitor snapshot: open all year round | Dogs allowed on leads | Local parking charges apply | Royal William Yard
Adventure playgrounds in Devon
My kids love an adventure playground and they are great places to visit to run off energy. Just remember your flask of tea and a spare pair of trousers for those inevitable wet slide moments!
Here’s some of the best adventure playgrounds in Devon as suggested by members of the Devon with Kids Facebook group:
Read more about each of these free Devon adventure playgrounds.
Foodie days out
Visit a farm shop in Devon
Where better to get a taste of Devon that at one of its many farm shops. I’ve got a round up of dozens that welcome families with excellent cafes, play areas, farm animals and pick your own.
Read my guide to farm shops in Devon.
Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour
The deliciousness of locally produced Devon ice cream meets fun, fun fun at the Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour. Not only do the Taverners farm herd produce dozens of different flavours of cool dessert (with a bit of flavouring help from the Taverners family), your kinds can also run off the sugar in there play meadow. In July there’s also a Maize Maze.
Visitor snapshot: Open Easter until Autumn – check the website | No dogs allowed | Free Parking | Orange Elephant Ice Cream Parlour
This fabulous vineyard which clings to the side of the Dart Valley in South Devon often holds family-friendly open days. Look out for Apple Day in the autumn.
Visitor snapshot: open all year, check website | No dogs | Free parking | Sharpham Estate
South Devon Chill Farm
This lounge tingling business grows and makes chill products in the heart of the South Hams. Sample fresh chillis, plus sauces, chocolate and preserves made onsite using dozens of varieties of fiery peppers.
Visitor snapshot: the farm shop and cafe are open to visitors all year | Visit the South Devon Chilli Farm
This farm and shop in Topsham is more than somewhere to pick up locally grown produce. It’s a day out in itself.
Darts Farm’s Food Hall is brimming with local goodies. There’s more than 50 different types of fruit and vegetables, as well as a butchers, deli, local drinks and gifts. You can sample some of its produce in the restaurant, at its two takeaway places and at its gelateria.
On the farm estate you can meet its hens all year round. In the summer, say hello to cattle, sheep and pigs. You can also walk the nature trail and visit the wetland nature reserve where there’s a bird hide all year round.
In the summer head to Darts Farm to pick your own sunflowers and in October you’ll find a pumpkin patch.
Visitor snapshot: Topsham | open all year round (check what’s available via the website) | free parking | Darts Farm
Theme parks in Devon
Devon has seven large theme parks to choose from:
- World of Country Life
- Woodlands Family Theme Park
- Crealy Adventure Park and Resort
- The Milky Way
- The Big Sheep
- Watermouth Castle
Find out more about each of these family attractions in my post about theme parks in Devon.
Swimming pools and water parks in Devon
Here’s a list of where to find outdoor swimming pools as well as splash pads and water parks in Devon.
Museums and family attractions
The Box Plymouth
Opened in 2020, The Box is an interactive arts and heritage museum in the heart of Plymouth.
It tells the story of the city’s natural history, culture and maritime heritage through a series of exhibitions including a life-sized recreation of a woolly mammoth, the UK’s largest media archive and exhibits that challenge the romantic legends behind some of the country’s most historic voyages.
Find out more about the best bits at The Box for kids.
Visitor snapshot: Open all your round Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays | Free entry | Local parking charges apply | The Box
Babbacombe Model Village
For more than half century Babbacombe Model Village has been wowing visitors with its scaled down scenes of English life and culture. As well as its miniature world, Babacombe Model Village has award-wining gardens to wander and a 4D Cinema. Buy you entry ticket and return for free within seven days, even at night to see the village illuminated.
Visitor sanpshot: Open all year round on selected dates | Dogs allowed on leads | Local parking charges apply | Babbacombe Model Village
This stunning Victorian building is packed full of natural history, artefacts from cultures around the world, Devon history and art. There are plenty of hands-on activities for children, plus a packed calendar of family events.
You could easily spend half a day looking around and still return each week to see more. Best of all entry is free.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | RAMM
There are just a few small rooms in this museum but they are lined with local curiosities and history. The Tudor merchants house that holds Dartmouth Museum was used as a refuge by King Charles II when his fleet came into Dartmouth during a storm.
Visitor snapshot: open all year | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Dartmouth Museum
Discover the history of Devon and some of its most famous characters in exhibitions at Torquay Museum. There’s a reconstruction of a 1860s Devon farm house and you can step inside the study of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot.
Add to that stories and treasures brought back to Torquay by its famous explorers and the Museum is the idea place to feed young minds for a few hours on a wet day.
Read our guide to visiting Torquay Museum.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Torquay Museum website.
Immerse yourself in the sights and smells of Victorian life at Bygones where you’ll find a Post Office, iron mongers, apothecary and sweet shop among 15 shops that have been recreated on a period street.
For families there’s a quiz, dressing up and toys for the kids to handle. If you’r looking for things to do in Torquay with dogs your four-legged friends are welcome at Bygones too.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Bygones website.
Torre Abbey Museum
This 12th Century Abbey turned family home has hosted the likes of Nelson and holds 600 works of art dating from the 18th Century. The museum telling the story of the abbey, its characters and the area is fascinating for children and adults with interactive displays, videos and talking portraits.
There’s also an extensive garden which is fabulous to walk around in all seasons. The Abbey hosts many family events over the year.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs | Local parking charges apply | Torre Abbey Museum website.
Torquay Dinosaur World
Do you have a dino fan in your house? Dinosaur World is small indoor attraction is bursting sign facts, models and interactive displays. It’s also a top destination for an hour or so of wet day fun.
Highlights for us are sitting on loads of the models, playing on the touch screen games and the 30 question (yep, 30!!) quiz. It was quite challenging and I wasn’t the only parent scouring displays. But the kids were pleased with their Dinosaur Expert Certificates at the end.
Find out more about our visit to Torquay Dinosaur World.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round (check the website) | Local parking charges apply / Torquay’s Dinosaur World
North Devon Martime Museum
This small North Devon attraction tells the story of the area’s maritime community from its fearless smugglers and fearsome pirates to its ship building heritage. The North Devon Maritime Museum has interactive displays and quiz sheets for kids.
Visitor snapshot: Open from April (check website) | Local parking charges apply | North Devon Maritime Museum
Brixham Heritage Museum
Brixham Heritage Museum is a free museum that tells the story of all the key moments in the town’s past, from the sailing of the Mayflower to the Americas to the impact of the Second World War and the lives of important personalities from Brixham’s maritime history.
The museum is also a family heritage research centre – could you have links to Brixham? Find out here!
Visitor snapshot: check website for opening times | local parking charges apply | Brixham Heritage Museum
The Golden Hind
The Golden Hind is a life-size replica of the ship that the famous Devonian Sir Frances Drake used to sail around the globe in 1577. The voyage on this 80ft vessel took him and his crew of 70 three years to complete.
This tribute to an extraordinary ship is now in the hands of a team of modern day pirates who will tell you about what life was like onboard. Below decks you can see the captain’s cabin, the crew’s sleeping quarters, and some of the weapons and tools they would have used during their voyage.
In 2021 there’s a new audio tour. Bring your own smartphone and earphones.
Visitor snapshot: check website for opening times / local parking charges apply \ The Golden Hind.
The Gnome Reserve
This small visitor attraction is packed full of magic for young children. Don a gnome hat and go on a hunt for these colourful little people dotted along the woodland garden paths.
There’s more than 1,000 to spot across four acres.
Visitor snapshot: Open March to October | The Gnome Reserve
War Horse Valley Country Farm Park
Immerse yourself in the farm that inspired the book, film and play, War Horse.
Parsonage Farm has been farmed by the same family for nearly 100 years. It was also once home to Revd John ‘Jack’ Russell, first breeder of the terriers to which he gives his name.
Meet the farm animals, learn about the farm’s role in the First World War, go on a tractor ride and indulge in a cream tea at the farm house cafe. Dogs are welcome to visit on a lead.
Visitor snapshot: Open daily from 2pm to 6pm, April to September | War Horse Valley
Trains and trams
This vintage tramway has been transporting tourists through some of Devon’s finest countryside since the 1970s.
During the three mile trip you can hop off at Colyford to have a snack at the pub next to the line. Or we can recommend continuing to Seaton for lunch and an ice cream on the seafront.
Visitor snapshot: Open February to October and some other selected dates | Dogs allowed | Free parking at Colyton and pay and display in Seaton | Seaton Tramway
Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss a look around Pecorama – the home of the Beer Heights Light Railway and the makers of PECO railway kit.
As well as the railway and model exhibition there’s play areas, gardens overlooking the Beer coastline with secret nooks and a shell-lined grotto, and a soft play area with zones to kids aged one to 12-years-old. If you’re visiting during the summer, complete your day with a proper Devon cream tea in the restored Orion Pullman Carriage.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round (check website) | No dogs | Free parking | Pecorama
South Devon Railway
What kid doesn’t love a train ride. This one through seven miles of the Dart Valley is brilliant fun and can be combined with the Buckfast Butterflies and Dartmoor Otters Sanctuary.
Visitor snapshot: Open from March to October with selected open days over the winter season | Dogs allowed | Parking charges apply | South Devon Railway
Dartmouth Steam Railway Round Robin
Take a tour of South Devon on Dartmouth Steam Railway’s special Round Robin trip or travel the line between Paignton and Dartmouth. The Round Robin gives you a ticket to travel a circular route by river boat, steam train and bus. You can start your trip in Dartmouth, Totnes or Paignton.
Visit in the winter and you can ride the Train of Lights. Booking in advance is essential.
Visitor snapshot: Round Robin end March to October, stream train end March to October plus selected dates | Local parking charges apply | Dogs allowed | Dartmouth Steam Railway
Babbacome Cliff Railway
Ride this scenic cliff railway from Babbacombe down 300ft to the sheltered cove and clear waters, of Oddicombe beach north of Torquay. Connected to Oddicombe by a wooden walkway is Babbicombe Beach, another stony beach with perfect waters for swimming.
Visitor snapshot: check the website for opening times | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Babbacombe Cliff Railway
Torquay Land Train
Board the land train for a tour of Torquay lasting 45 minutes. If you see somewhere you fancy getting off you can do some exploring and then catch a later train with a return ticket.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Torquay Land Train
Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
For wonderful views of the North Devon coast a ride on the funicular at Lynton and Lymouth is a must. It’s the highest and the steepest totally water powered railway in the world.
No visit would be complete without a Devon Cream Tea 500ft up at the top of the railway.
Find out more about visiting Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway.
Visitor snapshot: Open February to November, check website | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway
Lynton and Barnstaple Railway
This picturesque North Devon narrow gauge railway is being restored by a team of volunteers. One mile of the 1/50 gradient route between Woody Bay and Killington Lane Halt is open.
You can use your ticket to travel along the route as many times as you’d like in a day.
Visitor snapshot: Open from March, check website | Lynton and Branstaple Railway
Find more things to do near Barnstaple in North Devon.
Farms, zoos and animal parks
There are lots of Devon zoos and animal-themed days out to choose from:
- Wildwood Escot
- The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth
- Paignton Zoo
- Dartmoor Miniature Pony Centre
- Dartmoor Otters and Butterflies Sanctuary
- Pennywell Farm
- Quince Honey Farm
- National Marine Aquarium
- Totnes Rare Breeds Farm
- Exmoor Zoo
- Dartmoor Zoo
- Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
- Shaldon Zoo
Find out more about Devon zoos and animal attractions.
Parks, gardens and countryside
This Dartmoor day out steals you away to a magical place of fairies and woodland people that also includes a walk up to England’s highest manmade waterfall.
Read about our visit to Canonteign Falls.
Visitor snapshot: Open Spring to Autumn (check website) | Dogs allowed | Free parking | Canonteign Falls
Dart Valley Trail
For a walk to challenge the whole family why not follow the Dart Valley Trail along the River Dart and spot wildlife along the way. It’s common to see grey seals, spoonbills, kingfishers and even, escaped mandarine ducks along the river banks.
There are many hills to climb but you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with spectacular views of the valley and river on the nine mile circular route.
Visitor snapshot: open all year round | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Dart Valley Trail
This the South West’s deepest gorge and boasts a 30m waterfall and impressive natural whirlpool called the Devil’s Cauldron.
You can explore the gorge all day or take an hour long walk up and down the to the Whitelady Waterfall.
Read more about visiting Lydford Gorge with kids.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed on leads | National Trust | Lydford Gorge
RHS Garden Rosemoor
Rosemoor is a wonderful place to go and appreciate captivating horticulture in the heart of the Torridge Valley. There are exotic blooms, prune-perfect hedgrows and ornamental gardens to explore.
For kids there are two play areas and plenty of interesting features hidden around the gardens. Don’t miss the Hobbit Hole or Mr McGregor’s Shed.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs allowed | Free parking | RHS Rosemoor
Decoy Country Park near Newton Abbot is a free Devon day out with plenty to keep kids, adults and your four-legged friend happy too. There’s sports fields, a lakeside walk, a great adventure playground and splash park.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round (check website for splash park opening | Dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | Decoy Country Park
This relatively new nature reserve is teeming with wildlife. Go pond dipping, met the Dormice in the Discovery Hut and spot Swallows, Herons and Moorhens from the hides.
Entry to the Wetlands is free and you can hire pond dipping equipment or take part in organised mini-beast adventures for just a few pounds.
Here’s more things to do in Seaton.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | No dogs allowed | Free parking | Seaton Wetlands
This challenging woodland and waterfall walk on Dartmoor also has furry, scaly and creepy crawly animal encounters.
Kids can clamber over boulders and spot wildlife in the ancient woodlands surrounding this privately owned valley.
As well as the waterfall walk – which you can take a few route around depending on how difficult you want it to be – there’s an animal discovery centre and petting zoo.
This walk is not suitable for pushchairs. Wear sensible shoes!
Read about our visit to Becky Falls in Devon.
Visitor snapshot: Open February to November | Dogs welcome | Free parking | Becky Falls
Valley of Rocks
Devon isn’t short of dramatic landscapes and towering rock formations, but The Valley of Rocks in Exmoor National Park is something special.
The Valley runs parallel to the sea and is topped by rocks that look like they’ve been dropped there by giants.
The geology is quite amazing and the views speak for themselves.
Find out more in my post about walking the Valley of Rocks to Lynton.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs welcome | Paid parking | Valley of Rocks
Active days out
The Bear Trail
Fancy yourself as the next Bear Grylls? If the answer is yes then The Bear Trail will see if you are up to the challenge. Tackle this military inspired assault course complete with mud pits, scrabble nets and rope swings for a fun-packed day out.
The Trail is best suited to energetic kids and teens, but there is a play area for little ones and plenty of picnic space from where parents can watch the action if they don’t fancy participating.
Visitor snapshot: Open some weekends and school holidays | Dogs allowed | Free parking | The Bear Trail
River Dart Country Park
This woodland park has plenty to do for kids of all ages, from adventure playgrounds, to a manmade beach, canoeing and tree top adventures.
Young children will like the play areas with toddler climbing frames, swings and mini zip line.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year | Entry is free between October and March but parking charges apply, entry charges apply at all other times | Dogs allowed on leads | River Dart Country Park
If you’re the type of family that enjoys breaking a sweat then you’re set for a great workout at the Tamar Trails. Take your pick from walking, cycling or swinging your way around the trails.
Read our guide to cycling the Tamar Trails.
Visitor snapshot: Open from dusk to dawn all year round but check the website for activity times | Dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | Tamar Trails
Take the 1.5 mile Discovery Trail at Haldon Forest Park to meet characters from the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books. In 2022, the Superworm Trail is at Haldon Forest.
The trail is flat and sprinkled with activity stations, huge musical instruments and play equipment. Older kids might want to hop on their bikes, try Segways or monkey around at Go Ape. There’s a kids and adult course.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | Local parking charges apply | Haldon Forest
H2Outdoor high ropes
If you’re looking for high energy activities in North Devon challenge your family to a day of high ropes fun at H2Outdoor just outside Bideford.
If you’re feeling really adventurous H2Outdoor can also take you kayaking and coasteering on the Atlantic Coast.
Visitor snapshot: Book in advance | H2Outdoor
Cycle or walk the Tarka Trail – a figure of eight route covering 180 miles with plenty of starting points from Lynton on the coast to Okehampton on the edge of Dartmoor.
Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs welcome | Local parking charges apply | Tarka Trail
Waterfalls in Devon
There’s something magical about waterfalls. As a family, we find dangling the carrot of finding one of these beautiful water features (and ice cream) adds enthusiasm to outdoor adventures.
But they’re not always easy to find. Take a look at my guide to where to find some of the best waterfalls around Devon to seek out with kids.
Events in Devon
Christmas in Devon
Ho ho how about some festive fun in the South West. Here’s my guide to what’s on in December and the best things to do during Christmas in Devon.
Soft play in Devon
Here’s 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
Indoor pools in Devon
One of our favourite days out in Devon in when the weather is not playing ball is swimming indoors. Here’s a few of the options:
- Waves Pool at the Riviera Centre in Torquay
- Finlake Falls in Newton Abbot
- Flamingo Pool in Axminster
- Admiral Swimming Centre in Brixham
- Torbay Leisure Centre in Paignton
- Aztec Pool in Torquay
Outdoor pools and water parks in Devon
Here’s a list of where to find outdoor swimming pools as well as splash pads and water parks in Devon.
Go indoor climbing
A great activity for teens in Devon 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
Trampoline centres 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
- Adrenalin in Plymouth
- The Barn Indoor Climbing Wall in Tavistock
- Wall in the Hall in Tiverton
- Air Extreme in Barnstaple
Have a beach day
Devon has two coastlines so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to beach days.
Take your pick from Sidmouth and Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast, to the red sands of Oddicombe and Goodrington on the English Riviera and the golden beaches of Woolacombe and Hele Bay in North Devon. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg!
Walk the South West Coast Path
There’s 90 miles of coast path in North Devon with sections suitable for the whole family.
Family-friendly Dartmoor walks
Dartmoor National Park is a walker’s paradise. There are hundreds of miles rugged trails to explore in the moors and woodland. And there are lots of great hikes for families too.
Here are some of our tried and tested Dartmoor walks with kids.
Take a boat trip
Whether you choose to take a boat trip from East, North or South Devon you won’t be disappointed by the scenery or opportunities to see wildlife.
Good places to look for boat trips include Sidmouth, Exmouth, Dawlish, Torquay, Brixham, Dartmouth, Plymouth and Illfracombe.
Pottery painting in Devon
Pottery painting is a great wet day activity in Devon. You’ll find pottery painting at:
- China Blue in Totnes, South Devon
- Poppins Pottery in Torquay, South Devon
- Honiton Pottery in Honiton, East Devon
- Tarka Pottery at Little Torrington, North Devon
- Something Lovely Pottery Painting in Sidmouth, East Devon
- Paint Pots of Devon in Crediton, North Devon
Whether you are based on the South or North Devon coastline there’s plenty of crabs to be caught in the tidal rivers and harbours around Devon. Here’s my guide to the best spots to go crabbing in Devon.
Climb a Tor
There are hundreds of tors (a pile of rocks on a hill) on Dartmoor – some more accessible than others.
We’ve found there’s plenty close to moorland car parks so they’re not too difficult to reach even with little legs. They are a great place for mini ramblers to explore, play hide and seek, and appreciate the views.
Visit Dartmoor can suggest plenty of easy, circular walks to try out with kids.
Explore a National Park
Devon has two National Parks: Exmoor National Park and Dartmoor National Park. Both offer walks, cycling routes and outdoor attractions spread over incredible landscapes.
Download a geo-caching app and away you go. You’ll find caches all over Devon, particularly in the National Parks.
Letter Boxing on Dartmoor
Why not have a go at Letter Boxing – an early forerunner to geo-caching with boxes to be found across the moors. When you find one of these unusually placed letter boxes you can record your find with a stamp that you’ll find inside. Bring a picnic and make a day of it.
Phew! If you don’t live here you’ll wish you did with this huge bucket list of things to do with kids in Devon.
Spotted something we’ve missed? Let us know!
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