Devon is blessed with miles of beautiful coastline to explore, but what are the essential things to do with the kids? In this guide, I will reveal the best family friendly activities you can plan to do during your holiday in Devon.
Are you looking to spend a Family Day Out in Devon? This destination certainly offers endless opportunities for families who love the outdoors. From trekking the Tamar Trail to sailing in Salcombe, you will be spoiled with such a variety of activities. Watersports are a particular highlight here, so don’t forget to pack your wetsuits!
Luckily, there are plenty of family-friendly activities for a wet day, from prehistoric caves to the UK’s largest aquarium. Devon attracts thousands of families each year to its miles of beautiful coastline, rolling hills and wild National Parks. Check out at the end of the article a map of all the kids activities you could do in Devon during your holiday.
Here are some facts about the region of Devon in England:
- Devon has become one of the most popular staycation destinations in England, especially in the past few years with the pandemic. The region is located on the South West part of England and has boundaries with Cornwall on the West and Somerset plus Dorset on the East.
- The county is famously home to the English Riviera with popular seaside cities like Torquay or Paignton where you can find lots beautiful beaches nearby such as Babbacombe.
- The main large cities in Devon are Plymouth and Exeter where you can stop by for a day or two before continuing your journey exploring the region. Plymouth is a famous ferry port city where you can depart and head to France in Roscoff or Santander or Bilbao in Spain.
So are you ready to discover our favourite things to do in Devon with kids? Let’s go!
1. National Marine Aquarium
Firstly, the UK’s largest aquarium has over 4,000 animals for kids to marvel at. Even parents will be impressed at the sheer size of The Eddystone Reef tank – the UK’s largest single-tank viewing panel. The Atlantic Ocean tank, home to large nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks and lemon sharks, is also the deepest in the UK.
Secondly, the National Marine Aquarium is a conservation charity with a mission of ‘connecting us with our Oceans’. So by visiting you are helping to protect the marine environment.
There are plenty of family friendly activities happening every day to entertain all ages, including shark feeds, toddler activity sessions, behind the scenes tours and even scuba dive trials around the aquarium.
Address: Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth PL4 0LF
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm
2. Wildwood Escot
If you are looking for outdoor activities for kids in Devon, visiting Wildwood Escot in Ottery St Mary is a great choice. The kids will love seeing the amazing animals that call Wildwood Escot home, such as wolves, wildcats, and lynx. As well as fascinating wildlife, Wildwood also has an outdoor adventure play area with Tree-Top-Drop-Slide and a 40-metre zip line for those that feel brave enough. No trip to Wildwood Escot is complete without visiting the authentic Saxon Village as part of your perfect family day out in Devon. Also, have you seen this gigantic maze?
Address: Ottery Saint Mary EX11 1LU
Opening Hours: everyday from 10am until 4pm (last admission is 3pm). Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
3. South Devon Railway
Soak up the sights and sounds of a historic steam train as you travel on the South Devon railway – a seven mile stretch of railway running along the River Dart valley. One of the West Country’s most loved tourist attractions, train passengers can admire the beautiful scenery between the towns of Buckfastleigh and Totnes. Family friendly events run throughout the year including Days out with Thomas and Santa-by-Steam.
Passengers can buy a multi-ticket which gives them a return train ride plus entry to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and Dartmoor Otters & Buckfast Butterflies.
4. Seaton Tramway
A day out at the Seaton Tramway is a perfect kid friendly thing to do in Devon. Kids will love the novelty of riding the tramway as it embarks on a scenic three-mile route from Seaton, passing through the village of Colford to Colyton.
Address: Tramway, Harbour Rd, Seaton EX12 2WD
Opening Hours: check the calendar
5. Greenway House
The holiday home of Torquay born author Agatha Christie, this National Trust house is bursting with interesting memorabilia. Christie’s husband was indeed a keen collector, so there’s a great number of artefacts, as well as numerous manuscripts of Christie’s popular books. They were both very keen gardeners too, building up a collection of rare shrubs and flowers in the beautiful grounds, which overlook the River Dart.
Family visitors can choose between the archaeology trail, perfect for older kids, and the animal themed trail which is great for little ones. They can also tick off from the list “50 things to do before you’re 11¾. “
BabyBreaks Tip: The Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt is running every day during the Easter Holidays.
Opening Hours: Open daily March – October , 10:30 am – 5pm. Open weekends only 11am – 4pm from November – Feb
6. The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary is a favourite family attraction in Devon, located in Sidmouth. If you are a family of animal lovers, you will love seeing the adorable donkeys and the fantastic work The Donkey Sanctuary does to protect them. Entry to The Donkey Sanctuary is free, and there is a play area, maze, gift shop, and restaurant.
Address: Slade House Farm, Sidmouth EX10 0NU
Opening Hours: everyday from 9am until 4.30pm (last entry in the car park is 4pm) Closed on Christmas Day
7. Kent’s Cavern Prehistoric Caves
One of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe, this UNESCO Global Geopark takes visitors back to a time when humans lived in caves. You’ll be surrounded by 400 million years of history as your guide walks you through the caves. You will see also inscriptions, examples of the earliest tools ever found in Britain, and the bones and teeth of Ice Age animals.
There are also lots of activities during the school holidays such as the current Dinosaur Quest. So make sure you tick this one off the list of things to do with your kids in Devon.
Address: 91 Ilsham Rd, Torquay TQ1 2JF
Opening Hours: Open Daily From 9am. Cave tours from 10:30 – 4pm
Pecorama is a must-visit family attraction in East Devon and the home of the award-winning Beer Heights Light Railway. Families can enjoy rides on the fleet of miniature steam engines while marvelling at the beautiful coastal views. Kids can let off some steam of their own in the outdoor adventure playground.
Address: Underleys, Beer, Seaton EX12 3NA
Opening Hours: currently CLOSED. Re-open on 5th April 2022 until 29th October 2022
9. Golden Hind Museum Ship
This full sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration has become a family favourite feature of pretty Brixham harbour. Step aboard and find out what life was like on Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship. See where the crew and prisoners slept below decks, marvel at the huge cannons, and learn all about the treasures discovered and pirates encountered on the ship’s voyage.
Kids can walk the plank, have a go at rope tying and rope hauling as well as getting their hands on the full size ship’s wheel!
Address: The Quay, Brixham TQ5 8AW
Opening Hours: Open daily from spring to autumn. Opening times vary, check the website for more details.
10. World of Country Life
The World of Country Life has been a popular kid-friendly place to visit in Devon for over 40 years. Visitors can enjoy a range of country attractions during their visit, such as the Museum of Farming, animal paddocks and vintage vehicles, plus lots more. There are also indoor and outdoor play areas for the kids.
Opening Hours: currently CLOSED but re-open on 11th March 2022
Need more ideas for things to do in Devon with your kids?
11. River Dart Country Park
Explore a fun, active family day out within 90 acres of parkland at this campsite and leisure park on edge of Dartmoor. The award-winning River Dart Country Park boasts numerous adventure playgrounds for all ages and loads of activities. Including a high ropes course and kayaking. There’s lots of activities which can be done as a family, so parents needn’t be sidelined, you can get stuck in too! Meanwhile you may simply wish to enjoy the green surroundings and take a leisurely stroll and picnic.
Opening Hours: The park attractions are open all year round, excluding 18th Dec – 3rd Jan. For Camping & Caravanning the park is open from 1st April – 29th Sept 2019.
12. Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary
Situated just outside Dartmoor National Park this butterfly farm and otter sanctuary is a really popular attraction for families. Admire beautiful, colourful butterflies in an enclosed rainforest atmosphere and learn all about their lifecycle, before getting up close to three species of otter who love to play and show off. Knowledgeable animal keepers are on hand to explain all about the animals and their specially designed habitats. Finally, you will be guaranteed a great Family Day Out in beautiful Devon.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 5pm
13. Stuart Line Cruises
If you are searching for a family activity that is a little different, a boat trip is a great way to get a different view of Devon. Stuart Line Cruises have offered boat trips off the Devon coast for over 50 years. You and your family can enjoy a boat trip around Exeter, Exmouth, Sidmouth, and Torquay, which is the perfect way to see the Devon wildlife and beautiful Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
Address: Marina, Pier Head, Exmouth EX8 1FE
14. Pennywell Farm
An organic farm with views over Dartmoor National Park, Pennywell is certainly a fantastic family day out. Offering free rides, friendly animals indoor and outdoor play areas, plus hands on activities throughout the day. Kids will love watching the pig racing, feeding calves from a bottle and handling baby rabbits. Refuel with lunch at the café, it has a lovely outdoor seating area for those sunny days. Pennywell is really a great activity among things to do in Devon with your kids.
Address: Lower Dean, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0LT
Opening Hours: Open daily from Feb to October, 10am to 5pm
15. Crealy Theme Park & Resort
The Crealy Theme Park & Resort is an excellent day out for families in Devon and is located in Exeter. There is something for everyone at this family attraction in Devon. Here you will find over 60 attractions to enjoy, including plenty of outdoor rides for thrillseekers. Crealy has huge indoor and outdoor play areas and is home to over 200 zoo and farmyard animals.
16. Walk the South West Coast Path
Covering four counties (Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset) and 630 miles, The South West Coast Path is the longest National Trail in the UK. Consequently, walkers from all over the world come here to admire the superb scenery, wildlife and geology along the way. Whether you fancy an afternoon stroll or a challenging hike, there’s a walk that will be suited to your family’s abilities and needs. If you’re travelling with a pram, check out the website below which lists easy access walks – a selection of routes free of stiles and steps along firm and level paths.
The beautiful village of Clovelly is a unique place to visit with your family. This fascinating village is a visitor attraction that has so much to offer. During your trip to Clovelly, you can learn more about the village in the two museums, visit the gardens, take part in arts and crafts workshops, browse shops and galleries, and see the famous Clovelly donkeys. Don’t miss visiting Clovelly Quay and the Lifeboat Station during your trip.
18. Day at the Beach
Devon’s beaches are arguably the county’s main attraction, and the reason why so many families choose to holiday here each year. The coastline is dramatically varied so you’ll find everything from craggy coves to wide sandy bays here.
Some of our favourites beaches include:
Saunton Sands -a large idyllic stretch of soft sand, popular with surfers (beginner and intermediate). Dogs are allowed on the beach all year.
Blackpool Sands – a beautiful and much photographed beach, this sheltered bay of shingle has calm waters and an award winning café.
Woolacombe – a spectacular 3 miles of sand, this is regularly ranked as one of Britain’s best beaches. The perfect place for watersports, Woolacombe has its own surf school, and sports centre offering kayaking and kitesurfing. There are also numerous walking trails to explore nearby.
19. The Milky Way Adventure Park
The Milky Way Adventure Park is packed with family attractions to enjoy and is located in North Devon. This top-rated family day out in Devon is home to a vast range of rides with options for both little ones and older thrillseekers. If you are feeling active, your family can have a go at the Ninja Stars Tag Active game. The Milky Way Adventure Park also has indoor and outdoor play areas, mini golf and hosts incredible Birds of Prey shows.
Here are 5 more things to do in Devon with your kids…
20. The BIG Sheep
The Big Sheep Farm & Theme Park in Bideford offers a fun-packed family day out in North Devon. Families can enjoy a host of rides, indoor and outdoor play areas, and see the cute animals. Visitors to The Big Sheep can take a ride on North Devon’s biggest rollercoaster, which is an incredible 400 metres long and 13 metres high with plenty of exhilarating twists and turns.
21. Killerton Woods
Killerton is a National Trust property located in Exeter and is the perfect destination for a family day out in the countryside. Families can enjoy the beautiful scenery and plenty of fresh air when they visit the Killerton Estate. Killerton is the ideal place to explore with children and has plenty of space for them to burn off some energy as it spans 2,600 hectares. Killerton is home to an 18th-century house, formal gardens, farmland, and woodlands. Kids will love visiting Killerton’s Iron Age fort and extinct volcano!
Address: Broadclyst, Exeter EX5 3LE
22. Quince Honey Farm
Quince Honey Farm is an exciting day out for every member of the family. This fascinating farm offers a unique visitor experience and is the perfect opportunity to learn more about honey bees. This working honey farm offers honey factory tours, a honey bee exhibition, nature trails, outdoor and indoor play areas, and nectar gardens to explore during your visit. Don’t miss visiting the Nectary Restaurant for tasty treats during your trip.
Address: Aller Cross, South Molton EX36 3RD
23. Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park
The Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park offers an exciting day out in Devon for families. Kids that love dinosaurs and animals will be in their element at this family attraction. Take a wander around the Dinosaur Domain & Valley to see which prehistoric creatures you can discover and take a ride on the Dinosaur Express Train. You will see a host of animals during your visit ranging from sea lions to alpacas and lions to lemurs. A lovely activity among our favourite things to do in Devon with kids.
Address: Combe Martin, Ilfracombe EX34 0NG
24. Exmoor Zoo
Exmoor Zoo is another kid-friendly attraction in Devon and home to many beautiful animals. The zoo has the UK’s only pair of black leopards, which are a vulnerable species. These black leopards distinctly resemble The Exmoor Beast, with many rumoured sightings taking place over the years in the Exmoor area. As well as black leopards, you will find many other incredible animals at Exmoor Zoo, from armadillos to yellow-headed poison frogs.
25. Babbacombe Model Village
Surely on your holiday in Devon, you will pass by Torquay, the famous seaside town known for its seafood restaurants. So why not visiting Babbacombe Model Village after lunch and explore four acres of gardens with different miniature scenes. Your children will discover over 400 models of houses and can trace back hundreds of years of English history. Don’t forget to book a fun session at the newly opened Crazy golf too!
26. Royal Albert Memorial Museum
With over 1 million objects and artefacts, Royal Albert Memorial Museum is must see attraction in the town of Exeter, the capital city of Devon. Not only your family will learn about Devon history from prehistoric years until today but also world culture and more. We doubt you will see everything in one visit. The museum is free for everyone but donations are always welcome!
27. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
Probably one of the most fun and exciting zoo in the South West of England, Paignton Zoo is a fun place to visit with the family all year round. The park is set over 80 acres of animal grounds where your children will meet over 2,000 animals such as meerkats, gorillas, reptiles and even asiatic lions. Kids will enjoy different playgrounds outside with even a soft play area in the middle of the zoo. A great day out in Devon for the families for sure.
Address: Totnes Rd, Paignton TQ4 7EU
28. Underground Passages
Please note that this attraction is currently closed until further notice
Here is another unique attraction to visit in Exeter, the famous Underground Passages is perfect for little explorers who would like to understand how we get clean drink water. The guided tour of underground passages last about 30min with a 10min film presentation.
Address: 2 Paris St, Exeter EX1 1GA
29. Watermouth Family Theme Park & Castle
Located in the North side of Devon in Ilfracombe, Watermouth Castle is such a favourite family friendly activity to do in Devon. The theme park is divided in 5 sections: Adventure Land, Merry Go Land, Castles Treasures, Gnome Land and Dungeons Labyrinths. There are plenty of activities to enjoy suitable for young children, teenagers and adults too! Also, bring some 2p and 10p coins to use old arcade machines that older generations used to enjoy.
Address: A399, Ilfracombe EX34 9SL
30 Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor is a picturesque and wild national park located in the middle of Devon with fantastic landscapes throughout. The name of the place comes from the River Dart, which is sourced there and goes toward Dartmouth.
Dartmoor National Park makes a great day out in Devon with the kids especially if you like hiking. Some of highest points are above 600m such Yes Tor or High Willhays.
You might see the local Dartmoor ponies that are part of the moorlands scenery. In fact the logo of Dartmoor National Park has a pony in it.
Finally, you might be familiar with the Letterboxing activity that is taking place on Dartmoor. This local phenomenon was initiated in the late 19th century by James Perrott, who left a glass jar outside so visitors can leave a card to be discovered later by others.
31. Exmoor National Park
Exmoor is another beautiful moorland situated in the North of Devon with the Bristol Channel coastline. The place if full of coastal paths and walks with easy navigation thanks to the signs posts available inside the park.
Expect to see beautiful landscapes with rocks, river valleys and wildlife. Some the trails might be a bit challenging for young children. So make sure to plan in advance your day out and take easy walks in the beginning. Maybe plan to stop by villages for a snack or lunch break.
In the summer, you will certainly spot lots of animals such as red deers or Exmoor ponies wandering around in the wild.
Exmoor National Park is one of the most underrated magical places in Southwest England with definitely less crowds than most of the Cornish coast.
32. Torquay’s Dinosaur World
If you happen to visit Torquay on your holiday in Devon with children, make sure to spend some time at Torquay’s Dinosaur World. This attraction is located by the Marina and dedicated to the extinct animals that are so fascinating in the eyes of young kids.
The venue offers two sets of quizzes to your children so they can explore the area and learn the world of dinosaurs during the visit. There are also plenty of opportunities to take the best shots of your kids alongside triceratops or T rex replica.
Last but not least, there is a great shop where your children can take home some nice souvenirs like a dinosaur fossil digging kit.
Address: 3 Victoria Parade, Torquay TQ1 2BB
Another museum not to miss in Torquay is Bygones. Located not too far from the Babbacombe Model Village, this attraction is an indoor walkthrough museum where you and your kids will learn about Devon’s 100 years history full of memorabilia and objects.
You will feel like living in the Victorian era by visiting 15 small shops with street sellers dressed up for the occasion plus 8 period rooms. One of the highlights of the museum is the 27-ton steam engine and the 28-foot model railway that has been totally refurbished in 2021.
34. Powderham Castle
Just south of Exeter you can find the Powderham Castle that is worth to visit with the kids. This castle laid its foundations in the 14th century and got different alterations in the following centuries. It belongs to the Courtenay Family, Earls of Devon.
There are different guides tours of the castle such as the State Room Tour and the Upstairs Tour where you will explore the private home of the Courtenay family with lots of stories and historical facts.
Gardens around the castle are great to explore with your children. You can’t miss the secret garden with a play area and a pets corner. You can also find a massive fort called The Courtenay Fort where your kids under 12 can play endlessly with their peers. Expect to find a suspended bridge, slides and climbing walls and so much more.
Address: Powderham Estate, Exeter EX6 8JQ
35. Woodlands Family Theme Park
Located not too far from Dartmouth, Woodlands Family Theme Park is the biggest theme park in Devon that makes a perfect attraction for the family.
The attraction park has lots of activities indoor and outdoor no matter if the day is sunny or not in Devon. Your children will certainly have a blast at the park trying to take as many rides as possible.
You can easily spend the day at the park with a lunch break within the premises. The venue offers different catering options such as Ray’s Diner, Chicken and Pizza Parlour and 2 cafés.
36. Dartmouth Castle
The Dartmouth Castle is among the most preserved and beautiful fortresses in England. Originally, this building was built in the 12th century to protect Dartmouth population from the French navy invaders.
Today, the castle is part of the English Heritage and can be visited all year round during weekends in the winter and everyday from April until end of October.
Apart from the famous guns and cannons, your family will enjoy exploring the passageways and different corners of the historical place.
Finally, the view you get from the castle is very unique so hopefully the sky will be clear on your chosen day of visit. You can head to Dartmouth by boat right next to the castle too.
Address: Castle Rd, Dartmouth TQ6 0JN
37. Splashdown Waterpark
Believe it or not, Devon also has its own outdoor water park and it is called Splashdown. Settled on the English Riviera bay in , this attraction is very popular in hot sunny days where children can enjoy multiple rides, waterslides within proximity of Goodrington beach.
For little swimmers, the venue offers a small pool for children under 7. Beware that other activities might not be suitable for young children though.
Check the website for 2023 opening dates.
38. Pirates Bay Adventure Golf
Need a fun place to entertain the kids for 1 hour? Head to Paignton and challenge yourself with a round of mini golf. This pirate’s theme mini golf has 18 holes and is very well maintained according to recent visitors reviews.
Pirates Bay is open every day of the week from 930am until 10pm and you can simply come along and pay & play the course. Prices are very reasonable with adults paying £6.50 and children £5 or £2.50 for kids under 5.
Address: Esplanade Rd, Paignton TQ4 6EB
39. Decoy Country Park
Located in the New Abbot area, Decoy Country Park is a great lovely park to wander around on a sunny day in Devon with the kids. You will spot different animals such as swans and ducks. Your children will enjoy a great playground with zipline that has been recently renovated.
Decoy Country Park is a great scenic place to enjoy long walks with your children and dogs. Paid parking spaces are available nearby. You can even plan an picnic at the park with benches and tables available to you on a first come first served basis.
Also, kids will have lots of fun at the splash zone especially if you visit Devon on a hot sunny day.
Address: Decoy Rd, Newton Abbot TQ12 1EB
Map of Things To Do in Devon with Kids in 2023
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Thanks for reading this non exhaustive article. I hope you have found enough materials to select the things you will do in Devon with your kids. Devon is such a rich region of England and can be quite busy for Easter and Summer holidays. So maybe try to go off peak like half term October or half term February (I can’t promise you will swim in the sea though!).
If you are still preparing your trip to Devon and not sure where to stay 🏠 with the family, have a look at our suggested list of kids friendly hotels and homes in Devon.
We wish you a fantastic time in Devon and don’t hesitate to send us an email or a direct message on Instagram or Facebook if you think there are more family friendly activities worth trying in Devon.
Happy Kids Friendly Holiday! 💫
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