Family Friendly Staycation in Devon

South Devon has been our favourite destination for a family staycation for many years. In this blog post I’ve shared lots of ideas for days out come rain or shine to help you plan the perfect staycation.

Family Attractions & Experiences

Woodlands Family Theme Park

This is one of our favourite days out in Devon! It great for all ages with loads of great rides including 3 amazing water coasters, a hillside toboggan run, several brilliant playgrounds, farm animals and a tractor ride, a paddling pool and the biggest indoor play area in the UK. It’s one of the first days out we’ve had where me and my husband genuinely enjoyed the rides as much as Ashley (our 3 year old). There’s loads more than this too, check out the website to see everything.

Location: Totnes, TQ9 7DQ

For more information and to book tickets click here

River Dart Country Park

The park has several brilliant playground areas with large slides, zip lines, obstacle courses and climbing areas and a large fort which is like a maze inside. There’s a separate playground for toddlers too, including a favourite of mine – a toddler seat zip line. There are loads of water play areas in the river with tarzan rope swings into the water and a huge pirate ship in the middle of a lake.

In addition to all of the above there are also ‘dare devil’ activities like high ropes, caving and kayaking which come at an extra cost and are only available on peak days (weekends and school holidays).

Location: Ashburton, TQ13 7NP

For more information and to book tickets click here

The Miniature Pony Centre

Home to loads of Miniature Shetlands as well as Miniature Pigs, Miniature Donkeys and many other animals, this is one of the cutest days out you’ll ever go on! The whole day is packed with animal interactions like feeding the Miniature Pigs and stroking the Unicorn. Your little ones will absolutely love it! They normally do pony rides to but when we visited they weren’t running due to Covid.

Location: Newton Abbot, TQ13 8RG

For more information and to book tickets click here

Pennywell Farm

Pennywell Farm is the biggest activity farm in the South West. With a different hands on activity, show or display every half hour there is plenty to keep all ages occupied all day. Home to the world famous Pennywell miniature pigs, piggy cuddles guaranteed and there is pig racing every day!

Location: Buckfastleigh TQ11 0LT

For more information and to book tickets click here

Paignton Zoo

Paignton Zoo has over 2,500 animals across 80 acres. Plus it has a fantastic outdoor play area, nature trails, indoor soft play and a giant wobbly bridge!

Location: Paignton TQ4 7EU

For more information and to book tickets click here

Pony Riding at Wembury Bay Riding School

This was definitely one of Ashley’s highlights of the trip! They run pony rides for children aged 3+ at Wembury Bay Riding School. They last 15 minutes (which was perfect) and take you for a walk along the coastal path with incredible views! It’s a bargain activity as well at just £10.

Location:  Pump Hill, Wembury PL9 0DZ

For more information and how to book click here.

Plymbridge Woods Family Cycle Trail

Hire a bike or take your own and cycle along the route of an old Great Western Railway track. The route takes you from the edge of Plymouth through woodland and across breathtaking viaducts. It’s a steady climb up to Clearbrook so we definitely earned our lunch and were grateful for it then being downhill the whole way back.

There’s a pub in Clearbrook at the half way point called the Skylark Inn which is pretty average.You can either grab some food or a drink there or there’s a nice green to sit and have a picnic.

You can hire bikes from Plymouth Bike Hire and they offer adult and child bikes, as well as child seats or trailers. They also do electric bikes. The trail goes on much further than Clearbrook so if you wanted to go further an eletric bike might be a better option.

The route is about 12 miles in total. Here’s details of the route (we didn’t do this whole route as we stopped at Clearbrook and cycled back).

To book your cycle hire click here.

The Best Family Beaches

Bigbury on Sea

This sandy beach has everything you need for a great day out. There’s a brilliant café, a watersports centre renting out boards and kayaks, as well as offering lessons, toilets, a pub, a TRACTOR, need I go on?! Across the other side of the beach is Burgh Island, which during high tide can only be reached by the tractor taking guests across. On Burgh Island you’ll find a luxury art deco hotel and a pub. In our pre-kid days we used to go walking around the island too.

When the tide is high the water is very shallow for a long way making it perfect for little ones to paddle and splash about. There’s also plenty of rock pools to explore too!

Top tip for visiting is to either make sure you have plenty of change for the car park or pay via RingGo before you lose signal as there’s next to no signal on any network at the beach. The RingGo location code is 3476.

Location: Bigbury on Sea, TQ7 4AZ

Bantham

Across the other side of the estuary from Bigbury is Bantham, another beautiful sandy beach with shallow waters. At low tide, you’ll find loads of rock pools that are perfect for crabbing. It’s also one of the best surfing beaches in South Devon. There’s a pub nearby, The Sloop Inn, which does great food.

Location: Bantham, TQ7 3AN

Blackpool Sands

The same brilliant cafe that’s at Bigbury is also at Blackpool Sands with a great outdoor seating area overlooking the beach. The stony beach is very clean and well looked after and therefore very popular with families. The water here is unusually clear and there are also sand pits for children to play in.

You can hire paddle boards and kayaks and there’s a beach shop for all your beach essentials.

Location: Blackpool Sands,TQ6 0RG

Salcombe South Sands

This is a beautiful sandy beach in the mouth of the estuary. There’s a small car park next to the beach as well as a National Trust car park to the south of the beach which is about a 5 minute walk.  There’s also a regular ferry running between the beach and Whitestrand Quay in Salcombe. When we’ve visited we’ve walked there from Salcombe and got the ferry back (this was pre-kids though, we have a lot more to carry for a beach trip these days!).

The beach is in a cove so it’s sheltered from the wind if you want to just lie back and relax (again pre-kids lol!). If you’re feeling more energetic you can hire canoes, sailing boats, wind surfing or even go scuba diving.

Location: Salcombe, TQ8 8LL

Wembury

This is a lovely beach near Plymouth and is a mix of pebbles and sand. It’s well known for it’s rock pools and the marine centre at the beach often runs guided rock pool tours. There’s a takeaway café which does a great cream tea, as well as a separate ice cream shop serving seriously good ice creams!

There can be a bit of a seaweed issue at the beach, but there are areas to avoid the worst of it. There’s a National Trust car park here, so if you’re a member it’s free to park.

 

Rainy Day Activities

Clip n Climb Plymouth

This place is amazing for kids of all ages and for little ones they have a couple of special sessions just for them – Mini Mountaineers and Climb ‘n Rhyme. We took Ashley (3) to Mini Mountaineers which is a session for toddlers to enjoy with their family and aimed at children aged 2-12.

Location: 17 Brest Rd, Plymouth PL6 5AA

For more information and to book tickets click here.

Adrenaline

Adrenalin runs sessions for under 5’s every week day where little ones can come and bounce, play and explore. During each session all of the trampoline park will be available, as well as the inflatables, giant air bag and balance beams over the foam pit, where little ones are free to roam without the fear of bigger children or adults getting in their way.

There’s also a soft play area which you can book separately.

Location: 17 Brest Rd, Plymouth PL6 5XN

For more information and to book tickets click here.

Super Tramp Plymouth

This giant trampoline park has sessions just for little ones. They can either do the Tots Club which is for walking to 4 years or Family Bounce which is for 3 to 12 year olds. These sessions run every day.

Location: 3 Breakwater Rd, Plymouth PL9 7HJ

For more information and to book tickets click here.

Woodlands Theme Park

I’ve already mentioned Woodlands Theme Park above, but it’s also amazing to visit on a rainy day. It has the largest indoor play area in the UK with huge soft play areas for all ages as well as indoor rides. If the weather’s looking like it could either way one day then Woodlands is a safe bet for indoor or outdoor fun.

Location: Totnes, TQ9 7DQ

For more information and to book tickets click here

National Marine Aquarium

This is the UK’s largest aquarium with loads of different zones taking you everywhere from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s worth knowing as well that you’re ticket permits you entry for a whole year, so if you get multiple rainy days you can keep going back lol!

Location: Rope Walk, Coxside, Plymouth PL4 0LF

For more information and to book tickets click here.

 

Where to Eat

The Guard Room, Plymouth

This place does the most amazing breakfast, the waffles are a must have! It’s located within the Turnhapel Marine Business Park and has fantastic views out over the wharf. Ashley loves it as there are often tractors around and boats being lifted in and out of the water. Last year we even watched them launching a brand new unmanned submarine into the water.

They don’t take bookings here, it’s walk ins only. We’ve never had an issue getting a table.

Location: 20 Barton Rd, Turnchapel, Plymouth PL9 9RH

Rockfish, Plymouth

No trip to the coast is complete without fish and chips and Rockfish is one of our favourites. The restaurant is next door to the National Marine Aquarium and has fantastic views out over the harbour. They also have a new outdoor deck so it’s the perfect place to enjoy your fish and chips on a sunny day. They also have a separate kids menu which also comes with a cute activity bag with colouring, stickers and an activity book.

For more information and to book click here.

Location: Sutton Harbour, 3 Rope Walk, Plymouth, PL4 0LB

Gara Rock, Salcombe

The restaurant in this luxury Salcombe hotel not only serves incredible food but has stunning views out over the coast. We dined here for lunch and then walked down the coastal path to the sheltered beach by the hotel and spent the rest of the day here. Highly recommend this for a full day out and a real treat!

It gets booked up so make sure you plan this one well in advance.

For more information and to book click here.

Location: East Portlemouth, Salcombe TQ8 8FA

Crabshell Inn, Kingsbridge

The Crabshell Inn is a waterside restaurant and with its south westerly aspect basks in the sun all day. It has a long menu of local seafood and global favourites.

The outside tables are for walk ins only, but you can book the tables inside. If the weather’s nice you’d 100% want to be outside here though!

For more information and to book click here.

Location: The Quay, Embankment Rd, Kingsbridge TQ7 1JZ

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