Welcome to the mostly westerly end of Jurassic Coast, where the River Exe meets the sea and you can saunter along Devon’s longest promenade. A trip to the beach is one of the most obvious things to do in Exmouth, but what else is there for families?

This is my guide to family-friendly days out, attractions and places to visit around this port town in East Devon. I’ve even included some suggestions for what to do on rainy days in Exmouth.

You might find this guide particularly useful if you are looking for things to do near Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, which is in Exmouth.

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In 2021, please check what’s open and whether booking is necessary before you travel.

Exmouth is a top beach destination in Devon, but there's more to it than that. Here's all the brilliant things to do in Exmouth with kids #Devon #daysout #thingstodo #England #staycation #UK #holiday #family #kids #places #daysoutwithkids #visit

So, here we go with my top recommendations for families hanging out in this part of Devon:

1. Ocean Exmouth for fun on a rainy day

Ocean Exmouth on the seafront at Exmouth

Of course, the Ocean Exmouth complex isn’t just for wet days, but it is a top option if the weather does fail you.

There’s soft play, bowling alley, two places to eat and catch up with friends, and a beach bar. The Engine Room bar is dog-friendly.

Find out more about fun and what’s on at Ocean Exmouth.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed in some areas | local parking charges apply

2. Visit The World of Country Life

Feeding a deer at World of Country Life
Deer Safari

For an all-weather day out with young children we can recommend The World of Country Life in Exmouth. It’s right next door to Devon Cliffs Holiday Park.

The name suggests an attraction packed with rural fun. And it certainly has that, with animal feeding, small pet handling and a country town experience.

The tractor ride into the attraction’s deer park also makes it possible for small children to get close to and feed deer. The falconry display, walking kid goats and life-size pirate ship are also highlights.

We also love the vintage cars, and numerous indoor and outdoor play areas.

Find out more about our visit to the World of Country Life.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs not allowed | free parking

3. Play at Queens Drive Space

Child jumping off slide at Queens Drive Space adventure playground in Exmouth
Queens Drive Space

Queens Drive Space in Exmouth is one of the top, free adventure playgrounds in Devon.

It has Jurassic-themed play equipment, including climbing frames, slides and a sand pit. Expect dinosaurs too!

There’s toilets, car parks and places to grab a snack close by.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | local parking charges apply

4. Ride the Exmouth Express

Find the newly refurbished Exmouth Express miniature railway at Queen’s Drive Space on Exmouth seafront each weekend until the end of September.

This 10 1/4 gauge diesel train is also portable, so you may spot it travelling to events and shows across the South West of England.

Visitor snapshot: weekends between May and September | local parking charges apply

5. Take a boat trip with Stuart Line Cruises

Picture of Ladram Bay from a Stuart Line Cruise boat trip
View of Ladram Bay from a Stuart Line Cruise

Stuart Line Cruises boat trips from Exmouth and Sidmouth tour along the red cliffs and beaches of the East and South Devon coast.

There is commentary throughout each trip. And the crew came around taking orders for the bar, so there is no need to miss a moment of the scenery. 

Cruises run seasonally and there are Christmas events throughout December. Dogs are allowed to join you onboard.

Read my about our last cruise with Stuart Line along the Jurassic Coast.

Visitor snapshot: Cruises run seasonally | Dogs allowed | local parking charges apply

6. Learn about local history at Exmouth Museum

Exmouth Museum is the place to go if you want to share the town’s history with your children.

Exhibits include a 1940s sitting room, a Victorian kitchen, children’s toys and World War II in Exmouth. There’s quiz sheets for children and a ‘find the cat’ trail.

Visitor snapshot: Closed Fridays and Sundays | Dogs not allowed | local parking charges apply

7. Relax at Phear Park

If you’re looking for somewhere to let the kids let off steam or enjoy a family picnic then head to Phear Park

It’s a green oasis in the heart of the town and is one of the free places to visit in Exmouth all year round.

Bring a picnic blanket, play golf or tennis, and enjoy a snack from the cafe.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | local parking charges apply

8. Take a tour on Exmouth Land Train

Let the Exmouth Land Train take you on a tour of the town and seafront. It’s a hop on and hop off service, and runs daily during the summer season with commentary from the team onboard.

Pick it up at the long stay Estuary Car Park on The Royal Avenue or the Maer Road Car Park, which is also long stay. Download the Parkmobile App for contactless, online payment for parking.

Visitor snapshot: Open summer season | Dogs allowed on leads | local parking charges apply

9. Puzzle your way out of the Excape escape rooms

Whether you have a family of super sleuths or are novices when it comes to cracking codes, you’ll find a hour of fun at Exmouth’s escape rooms.

Excape on Rolle Street has escape rooms themed around a Sherlock Holmes investigation and a mad scientist’s experiment. This is an activity recommended for children aged eight and over.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | local parking charges apply

10. Catch a crab

Boats in the harbour at Exmouth Marina

Exmouth Harbour is the town’s top spot to drop a crabbing line.

Here’s some more places to go crabbing in Devon.

11. Try a water sport

Hire water sports equipment or book a family kayaking, windsurfing or mega SUP session with one of these companies in Exmouth:

12. Enjoy Exmouth Beach

Exmouth’s sandy beach stretches for two miles and comes complete with the longest seafront promenade in Devon. This is backed by plenty of places to find something to eat and all important beach supplies like buckets and spades.

On the front you’ll find fairground rides and adventure golf. If you are into water sports you can book sessions and hire equipment here too.

There are all year round dog-friendly areas at either end of the beach. The middle section has a dog ban from the beginning of May to the end of September.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed October to April, restrictions apply in summer months | local parking charges apply

13. See the may sides of A la Ronde

A la Ronde National Trust 16-sided house

This 18th-century, 16-sided house pays tribute to the travels of a pair of spinster sisters, Jane and Mary Parminter.

They built this fantastical building to house the many objects and mementoes they bought back from a grand tour of Europe.

A la Ronde has beautiful views of the Exe Estuary as well as an orchard, hay meadow and gardens to explore. 

The lawn outside this National Trust house is a lovely place for a picnic on a sunny day.

Visitor snapshot: Open Wednesday to Sunday all year round | Dogs allowed on leads in grounds | Free parking

14. Walk or cycle the Exe Estuary

Birds on the Exe Estuary
Exe Estuary

There’s 22.5 miles of excellent bike and walking trails linking Exmouth and the East Devon coastline with Dawlish in the south.

Spot birds and other wildlife as the route takes you through Lympstone, Topsham and Exton. If you manage the full trail you can catch the Starcross Ferry back to Exmouth.

Find out more about the Exe Estuary trail.

15. Explore Bicton Park Gardens

There’s more than 64 acres to explore at Bicton Park Gardens which showcase 300 years of gardening history as well as offering adventure play, soft play, crazy golf and a miniature railway for families.

The park is home to many rare and beautiful species collected from around the world. The palm house rivals the one at Kew Gardens with more than 18,000 panes of glass.

Bicton Woodland railway is suitable for wheelchairs and takes you on a tour of the park. And there’s plenty to learn about the history of rural life in the countryside museum.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed on leads | Free parking

16. Exe Voyages

Take and exhilarating RIB ride in Lyme Bay from Exmouth with Exe Voyages. There are trips available to spot wildlife, wonderful coastal landmarks and ships anchored offshore.

Voyages depart from Exmouth Marina or Exmouth Seafront.

Visitor snapshot: Check website for voyage times | local parking charges apply

17. Exmouth’s indoor pool

If you fancy a dip on a dull or rainy day, there are family swim sessions at Exmouth Leisure Centre.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | local parking charges apply

18. Exmouth Dinosaur Trail

Dinosaur at Queens Drive Space playground
Dinosaur at Queens Drive Space playground

If you have a dino fan in your family take them on a walk around Exmouth to spot dinosaur sculptures. You can pick up a trail sheet from the Tourist Information Centre on The Strand.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Free | local parking charges apply

19. Crealy Adventure Park

Father and child in Driving School car at Crealy
Driving School at Crealy

Twenty minutes drive from Exmouth is Crealy Adventure Park – a theme park boasting the most rides in Devon.

It’s ideal for families with children of all ages with rollercoasters, log flumes and go-karts for older kids, and toddler-friendly safari rides, driving experiences and carousels. 

As well as 60 rides, there is a farm, adventure play grounds, a splash park and indoor play. It’s also one of our recommended accessible Devon attractions.

Read our full guide to visiting Crealy Adventure Park.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round on selected dates | Dogs not allowed | Free parking

20. Visit Powderham Castle

Powderham Castle gardens near Exeter
Powderham Castle gardens

Take a trip around the top of the Exe Estuary and you’ll find Powderham Castle on the other side.

This 600-year-old family home of the Earls of Devon commands stunning views across to Exmouth and has a rich history stretching back to the 1300s. Today you can tour the castle with is still lived in by the 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.

Powderham Castle is about 35 minutes from Exmouth.

Visitor snapshot: Opening times vary throughout the season | Dogs allowed on lead in grounds | Free parking

21. Meet rare animals at Wildwood Escot

Peacock sitting on a fence at Wildwood Escot in East Devon

If you’d like a rare glimpse of some of Britain’s native animals in their natural habitats then head to Wildwood Escot at Ottery St Mary in East Devon. It’s about 30 minutes drive from Exmouth.

Watch red squirrels forage for nuts, play in the recreated Saxon village, see otter feeding time and spot the park’s pack of grey wolves roaming the forest.

You’ll also find playgrounds, a trampoline, a beech maze and a soft play barn for younger kids.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs not allowed | Free parking

22. Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys in grassy field at The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth Devon
The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth

A visit to the Donkey Sanctuary is a wonderful way to get acquainted with these beautiful creatures. You’ll also be supporting a brilliant charity.

Entry to the Sanctuary at Sidmouth is free but there are plenty of ways to donate during your visit. Give generously to the collection boxes or take a trip to the lovely restaurant.

Children will love wandering between the fields to say hello to donkeys and mules, exploring the maze and finding out about the residents’ important role working with youngsters with additional needs.

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is about 35 minutes from Exmouth.

Visitor snapshot: Open all year round | Dogs allowed | Free parking (donation welcomed)

23. Go fossil hunting

Exmouth sits at the western end of The Jurassic Coast, which rolls all the way east to Studland in Dorset. This 95 mile stretch is rich in a huge variety of fossils, including ammonites and brachiopods.

Use Exmouth as your base for exploring the best fossil hunting locations further east. These include Hooken Beach – Devon’s top fossil finding spot, between Branscombe and Beer. More places to try are Culverhole Point near Seaton and Littlecombe Shoot at Branscombe.

When searching for fossils, always remember that you can’t dig out of the cliffs or permanent bedrock and must take only small, loose fossils.

Find out more about fossil hunting in Devon.

Got a while to stay? Here’s our BIG guide to family holidays in Devon.

More things to do around Exmouth

If you are looking for things to do further afield, check out these Devon destination guides:

Where to stay in Exmouth

Somewhere that gets a lot of good reviews from families is the Haven Devon Cliffs holiday park in Exmouth. A bit further afield you’ll find Crealy Meadows, which is a campsite and holiday park that is part of the Crealy Meadows Adventure Park Resort.

Planning day out or holiday in Exmouth? Why no use Pinterest to save this guide to things to do in Exmouth for later.

Exmouth is a top beach destination in Devon, but there's more to it than that. Here's all the brilliant things to do in Exmouth with kids #Devon #daysout #thingstodo #England #staycation #UK #holiday #family #kids #places #daysoutwithkids #visit