Are you looking for the best things to do with your kids in Exeter? Exeter entices thousands of visitors each year, passing through on their way to the coast, or staying for a weekend of soaking up the centuries-old history and cosmopolitan culture.
The city’s most famous landmarks are its renowned University, established in 1855. And let’s not forget its amazing Gothic cathedral, which boasts the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world. Exeter is obviously known as the capital of the West Country.
Perfectly positioned for families to explore the Devonshire Coast and Dartmoor National Park. For instance, the River Exe provides plenty of opportunity for watersports.
There are also miles of idyllic rural countryside to discover around the city. Therefore the perfect place for an active family break.
So let’s not wait any longer and find out our selection of the best things to do with kids in Exeter:
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1. Royal Albert Memorial Museum
At first, a treasure trove of culture, housing diverse collections of artefacts in zoology, anthropology, fine art, archaeology, and geology. The displays reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections. Exotic animals, birds and insects delight children and the World Cultures galleries display stunning items from all over the world.
Secondly, there are also an excellent range of children’s activities and workshops on, such as Step Inside Your Brain, Make a Mosaic and The Chocolicious Origins of Chocolate.
Address: Queen St, Exeter EX4 3RX
Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays and bank holidays).
2. Powderham Castle
Home of the Earl and Countess of Devon, this 600 year old manor house is just a few miles from Exeter city centre, but feels a world away. There’s also an ancient deer park beside the Exe estuary, a farm shop, café and a beautiful orangery restaurant.
Entrance to the Castle is by guided tour only. So be prepared to choose from The State Room Tour or the Upstairs/Downstairs Tour, each offering a distinct perspective on life inside the ancient walls.
The castle sets the scene for numerous events throughout the year, such as food and music festivals, and garden parties. A great activity among our best things to do with kids in Exeter.
Address: Church Rd, Exeter EX6 8JQ
Opening Hours: Open Sunday to Friday from March to November. 10am – 5pm for the grounds, 11am – 4:00 pm for the castle.
3. Bear Feet
When a rainy day strikes, sometimes there is no better way to tire out the kids than a soft play centre. Exeter’s Bear Feet is the best in town because it offers all things springy and bouncy for toddlers and upwards.
As your kids enjoy the slides, ball volcanoes and climbing frames, parents can sit back and relax with refreshments from the café.
Address: 1 Ashton Rd, Exeter EX2 8LN
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm Monday to Saturday. 10 am -4pm Sundays
4. Exeter Underground Passages
Enjoy a guided tour around Exeter’s 14th century underground passages, originally built to bring a steady supply of fresh drinking water into the city. Suitable for ages 5+, they will love the feeling of secrecy and exploration from seeing this hidden part of the city.
Your visit includes a 10 minute film presentation, a 25 minute tour underground and an opportunity to explore the exhibition. Finally, you will find plenty of interactive displays and artefacts from archaeological digs.
N.B. During school holidays, advance booking is essential.
Address: 2 Paris St, Exeter EX1 1GA
Opening Hours: Opening times vary, check the website for more info.
5. Exeter Cathedral
An icon of the city, you simply cannot leave Exeter without paying a visit to this amazing building, dating back 900 years. Kids will love the Big LEGO Build, a project working towards building a 300,000 piece model of the Cathedral from LEGO bricks.
In addition, visitors can add to the model themselves, by donating money (£1 per LEGO brick) towards the upkeep of the Cathedral’s restoration.
Address: 1 The Cloisters, Exeter EX1 1HS
Opening Hours: Open for sightseeing 9am – 5pm. Check the website for details of upcoming events
Need more things to do in Exeter with the kids? Read on…
6. Haldon Forest Park
Just 15 minutes drive away from Exeter, Haldon Forest Park offers 3,500 acres of woodland. With 4 walking trails, 5 cycling routes, segways, zip lining and treetop walkways at Go Ape. Also a picnic area is available and a cafe. This is the perfect spot for an active family, whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush and adventure, or a tranquil afternoon reconnecting with nature.
Opening Hours: Open daily 8:30am – dusk
7. The Donkey Sanctuary
Enjoy a wholesome family day out at this popular tourist attraction in Sidmouth, less than 30 minutes from Exeter. Firstly, there are scenic nature trails home to hundreds of friendly donkeys. Secondly, a farm-themed Play Area and a maze. In addition, and indoor attractions including an Exhibition Barn which details all of the wonderful conservation work.
Address: Slade House Farm, Sidmouth EX10 0NU
Opening Hours: 9am – 4 pm / 5pm (winter / summer)
8. Bear Trail
This award winning assault course is the perfect day out for the family, from ages 2 upwards. Work together as a team to complete 28 obstacles, and be prepared to get muddy in the process. All abilities are welcome. There are lots of easier obstacles which you can help little ones with, and trained professionals on hand too. Refuel afterwards at the Bear Cave Café, which serves delicious stonebaked pizza, paninis , homemade cakes and coffee.
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm, 7 days a week during school holidays. 10am – 5pm weekends only, during term time.
9. Crealy Great Adventure Park
Pay a visit to the biggest theme park in Devon and discover over 60 rides and attractions, live entertainment and a zoo! Highlights include the Maximus Rollercoaster, Junior Driving School, Dino Dig and Meerkat Manor.
There are holiday homes, luxury glamping cabins and camping areas available too.
Opening Hours: Opening times vary, check the website for more info.
10. Saddles and Paddles
Saddles & Paddles offers a fun day out. Hire a bike to ride from the city to the seaside. If you’re into watersports, hire a canoe, kayak or even a stand-up paddle. In others words, this is a wonderful way to explore the city from a different perspective. Get some exercise and fresh air at the same time, working up an appetite for a Devon Cream Tea!
Opening Hours: Opening daily 9am – 5pm
That’s a wrap for our favourite things to do with kids in Exeter. In conclusion, visiting Exeter with children is a synonym of a great Family City Break. It might not be the most popular big city break in England but we assure you that it is totally worth the visit. And you couple this destination with maybe a more countryside holiday place in Devon.
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