Gah! You’ve come to North Devon for its wonderful landscape and coastline…then the grey stuff appears. Wet days suck. But all is not lost! If you’re looking for ways to entertain the kids when the forecast is grim you need this list of family-friendly things to do in North Devon in the rain!
I’ve even included places you can go with dogs when its wet. There’s a quick reference guide for families with four-legged friends towards the bottom of this post.
And, if you find yourselves in North Devon in a heatwave, the suggestions below will also help you stay out of the sun.
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Things to do near Bideford in the rain
Dodge the showers at these family attractions in and around Bideford, Westward Ho! and Great Torrington:
1. The Big Sheep
This North Devon attraction is a good shout on a wet day as it boasts Devon’s largest indoor play area. There’s also an indoor show arena, pets corner and a brewery – hick!
If there’s a break in the rain you can enjoy outdoor adventure play, a rollercoaster, electric quad bikes, pony rides and swan rides to name just a few attractions here.
Find out more about visiting The Big Sheep.
2. North Devon Maritime Museum – dogs welcome
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.
Visit between April and October. Dogs are welcome.
Find out more about visiting North Devon Maritime Museum.
3. The Milky Way
This North Devon theme park is a great day out when it’s raining. There are literally shed loads of activities to do indoors from bumper cars and drop slides to archery and live shows by illusionist Merlin as seen on Britain’s Got Talent.
When the weather improves there’s huge bouncy cushions, one of the UK’s best bird displays, rollercoasters, a model railway and more.
It’s also one of North Devon’s accessible places to visit.
Find out more about visiting The Milky Way Adventure Park.
4. Dartington Crystal Visitor Centre – dog-friendly areas
See glassblowers and engravers craft pieces for one of Britain’s best known glassware companies and have a go at making your own.
Alongside factory tours (Monday to Friday only), during which you can see crafters using white hot molten lead crystal, there’s a chance for children to get hands on decorating their own glass.
Children under 16 can visit for free with a paying adult.
Dogs are welcome in the visitor centre and shop only.
Find out more about visiting Dartington Crystal in Great Torrington.
5. Tarka Pottery
Pop in for pottery painting or book a pottery making workshop for a crafty way to escape the rain.
Find out about pottery experiences at Tarka Pottery in Great Torrington.
6. Westward Ho! arcades
Take your pick from the arcades in Westward Ho! for some old fashioned seaside entertainment.
Find out more about arcades in Westward Ho!
Things to do near Barnstaple in the rain
These attractions near Barnstaple are good choices for wet days:
7. Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
This family-friendly museum in the heart of Barnstaple tells the story of the area with collections of local geology and minerals, local industry and the regimental collection of the Royal Devon Yeomanry.
It also hosts interactive exhibitions for children with games and activities to bring stories to life.
Find out more about what’s on at the Museum of Barnstaple.
8. National Trust carriage collection at Arlington Court – dog-friendly areas
This delightful North Devon property on the edge of Exmoor is home to the National Trust’s Carriage Museum including horse drawn vehicles of all shapes, sizes and purposes. It is fascinating for equine and vehicle enthusiasts of all ages.
Don’t miss the gleaming 17th Century Speaker’s State Coach which is tucked away in its own stable to protect it from daylight.
In the house you can see collections of pewter plates, silver spoons and trophies, as well as period costumes.
If the clouds clear, the walled gardens, lawns and pond are a delight to wander around, and perfect for wildlife spotting, den building and adventure play.
If you’re visiting with a dog they are welcome in the grounds, gardens and carriage museum. They cannot go inside the house.
Find out more about visiting Arlington Court.
9. Axe throwing with Norse Hawk
For something a little out of the ordinary to do on a wet day in North Devon, have a go at axe throwing!
Norse Hawk is North Devon’s first axe throwing activity centre with indoor and outdoor axe throwing, family throwing games and a Viking Garden.
Axe throwing is suitable for families with kids aged 11 and up.
Find out more about Norse Hawk.
10. Lynton and Barnstaple Railway – dog-friendly
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.
It takes 25 minutes to chuff along this route. Your ticket is valid all day and you can ride as many times as you’d like.
Dogs can travel with you for free. Juts keep them off the vintage seats!
Find out more about Lynton & Barnstaple Railway.
11. Quince Honey Farm – dog-friendly areas
Avoid the rain and find out all about the fascinating life of bees at Quince Honey Farm.
Explore more than 8,000 years of bee keeping in the museum, hit the soft play and meet some creepy crawlies in the critter cabin.
There’s also a shop and cafe. Dogs are welcome everywhere except for the soft play.
Find out more about Quince Honey Farm in South Molton.
12. Indoor climbing at Rock & Rapid
Set your kids the challenge of scaling the largest climbing wall in North Devon at Rock & Rapid.
This is one of many activities available at this South Molton-based adventure centre which welcomes families as well as bigger groups.
Activities tend to be suitable for children over eight-years-old and teens.
Find out more about things to do at Rock & Rapid.
Find more things to do near Barnstaple in North Devon.
Things to do in Ilfracombe in the rain
Have a great family day out whatever the weather by visiting one of these attractions in and around Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Lynton:
13. Go under the sea at Ilfracombe Aquarium
Inside Ilfracombe’s Old Lifeboat House you’ll find Ilfracombe Aquarium. This small attraction is great for wet days in North Devon.
Step inside and you’ll find exhibits telling the story of North Devon’s marine life from river to coast.
Find out more about visiting Ilfracombe Aquarium.
14. Go wild at Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
This North Devon wildlife park is a good one for dull days with the option to dive inside the gigantic soft play area if the heavens open.
Combe Martin combines every kid’s favourite things: animals and dinosaurs. Visit to see lions, wolves, sea lions, primates, meerkats and penguins.
Plus there’s life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, botanical gardens and a miniature railway.
Find out more about visiting Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park.
15. Explore local history at Ilfracombe Museum
This small museum has more than 28,000 items that will fascinate young visitors, from prickled bats to Victorian garb and war time photographs.
Under 16s visit for free making this one of the cheap things to do in North Devon.
Find out more about visiting Ilfracombe Museum.
16. Catch a show Landmark Theatre
The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe is the place to catch a family-friendly live performance.
Find out what’s on at the Landmark Theatre.
Take a look at the complete Devon with Kids guide about all the things to do in Ilfracombe.
17. Soft Play in North Devon
Here’s where to find coffee, cake and loads of indoor fun for little ones:
- Let’s Go Barnstaple
- JunglaRoo Barnstaple
- World of Wonder, Affinity Devon, Bideford
- Little Stars, Bideford
- Play Hive, South Molton
Find more information about these places in my guide to soft play in Devon.
18. Cinemas in North Devon
Fancy catching the latest flicks while the rain does its thing? Here’s where to find a cinema:
- Neo Cinema Woolacombe (part of Woolacombe Bay Hotel)
- Scott Cinemas Barnstaple
- Bideford Cinema
- Lynton Cinema
- Embassy Cinema Ilfracombe
19. Bowling in North Devon
Feeling competitive? Challenge your family to an afternoon of bowling here:
20. Trampoline Centres in North Devon
Burn off oodles of energy at this trampoline centre:
Quick reference guide: things to do in North Devon in the rain with dogs
Just to recap, here’s the list of indoor places that welcome dogs on wet days:
- Arlington Court Carriage Museum and grounds, near Barnstaple – excluding Arlington House
- Quince Honey Farm, South Molton – expect the soft play area
- Dartington Crystal Visitor Centre and Shop, Great Torrington – not including factory tours or cafe
- Lynton and Barnstaple Railway, Woody Bay – excluding 1st Class
More things to do in Devon when it rains
If you want to venture a bit further afield check out my round up of all the indoor activities across Devon.
And here’s some more reading about fun things to do in Devon when the sun returns:
- Things to do in Mid Devon
- Places to visit in West Devon
- Things to do in South Devon
- Places to visit in East Devon
- Explore things to do in Dartmoor with kids
- Free things to do in Devon
- Visit South Devon beaches
- Visit North Devon beaches
Download the 101 Days out in Devon with kids ebook
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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