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Top 10 Family Things to Do in Devon

Family things to do in Devon

From rip-roaring rollercoaster rides to serene beach days to tree surfing and more, there are lots of brilliant family-friendly activities in Devon. With something for all the family, the county’s beaches, moors, countryside and towns offer a wealth of activities and attractions for every generation. 

For some unmissable inspiration during your sea-view retreat, take a look through our list of the 10 best family activities in Devon and get ready to make memories to cherish forever.

1. Castle Hop

A brilliant multi-generational activity, castle-hopping is one of the best ways to learn all about Devon’s fascinating history and entertain kids of all ages. With 22 castles and ancient sites across the county, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to visit during your seaside holiday in Devon. That said, Castle Drogo in Drewsteignton is particularly popular for its geo-caching, while Compton Castle in Compton invites nippers to play Tudor games in its grounds and dress up as princes and princesses.

2. Forest Adventures

Treesurfers family activity in Devon
Photo courtesy of Treesurfers

Ancient woodlands have always played a really important role in Devon’s landscapes. In fact, once upon a time, most of the county was covered with primeval forests. These days, you can still explore ancient areas of woodland with your family and enjoy unparalleled adventures in Devon. Head to Becky Falls Ancient Woodland Park in Dartmoor for ethereal beauty; Haldon Forest Park near Exeter for tranquil strolls or thrilling bike rides; or the wooded Tamar Valley for a day with Tree Surfers.

3. Boat Trips

Treat yourself and your family to an unforgettable boat ride during a sea-view holiday in Devon. Along both the north and south coasts of the county, numerous operators, like Devon Sea Safari and Dartmouth River Boat, organise trips and tours out to sea, through estuaries and along river creeks – giving you the chance to see whole new sides of the county. As well as stunning birdlife, you may even be able to see native marine mammals on sea excursions too, including seals and dolphins. 

4. Theme Park Thrills 

Milky Way family theme park
Photo courtesy of Milky Way Adventure Park

If you are looking for family days out that will cater for both tots and teens, then Devon’s array of theme parks may capture your attention. Places like the Crealy Theme Park near Exeter, Woodlands Family Theme Park in Totnes, the Milky Way Adventure Park in Bideford, and the Big Sheep in Bideford each tailor to all ages with an array of rides for all the family – from teacups to adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters. 

5. Bucket n’ Spade Beaches

Should you be visiting in summer or winter, Devon’s beaches are always a wonderful proposition. Whether you can’t wait to spread eagle on a towel under a beaming sun, play games along the shore or simply dig into a picnic and watch the world go by, this kind of timeless fun appeals to everyone. Some beaches even offer extra activities like surf lessons or SUP hire, so you can cater to everyone’s energy levels. Take a look at our 20 favourite beaches for inspiration.

6. Cycle Activities 

Cycling on the Tarka Trail in Devon
Photo courtesy of Tarka Trail

A really fun thing to do in Devon for families is wheeling along one of the many dedicated cycle trails. With a range of amazing cycle trails across the county, suitable for all ages, abilities and interests, you’ll easily be able to find the right one for you and explore areas otherwise hard to reach. Just some of the great multipurpose trails include the 32-mile Tarka Trail, 11-mile Granite Way, 11-mile Grand Western Canal and 15-mile Tamar Trails.

7. Make Animal Friends

Take your children to some of the county’s favourite animal sanctuaries and zoos to meet adorable furry and feathered residents. Home to over 2,500 animals across 80 acres, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park seeks to share with visitors the beauty of our natural world whilst raising awareness about conservation and sustainability. The dog-friendly Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth is also a must-visit, which looks after countless rescue donkeys and other animals. 

8. Time Travel at Clovelly Village

Picturesque village of Clovelly in Devon

To really get your little one’s imagination firing and enjoy beautiful sights, wend your way over to Clovelly Village. Set back in the nook of steep, greenery-clad cliffs that careen down towards the sea, this ancient fishing village positively exudes charm and intrigue. With cobbled streets and traditional, white-washed fishermen’s cottages, it’s not hard to find yourself travelling back in time as you admire the views and share stories about the smugglers who used to frequent this picturesque cove at Clovelly

9. Fossil Hunt 

One of the top family activities in Devon is fossil hunting. The gateway to the Jurassic Coast, parts of South Devon’s coastline provide some of the best opportunities for this timeless activity. The picturesque seaside village of Charmouth, in particular, is one of the best places to go, with its big shingle beach peppered with fossil finds. Seaton is also great, with the Chalk and Upper Greensand at Seaton regularly revealing ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods and bivalve. There’s also Seaton Jurassic Experience, which invites you to share the wonder of life here 200 million years ago.

10. Water Sports 

Splashdown family water park in Devon
Photo courtesy of Splashdown

Some of the best family-friendly attractions in Devon encourage you to enjoy a slightly more immersive experience. Burning energy, learning new skills and creating memories to last a lifetime, watersports are brilliant activities that all the family can take part in. Choose from a wealth of things to do, from canoeing in the Tamar Valley to wakeboarding at Bideford’s North Devon Wake Park, and from surfing with Surf South West in Croyde to catapulting down slides at Paignton’s Splashdown Quaywest.

Family Accommodation in Devon

Devon is a wonderful holiday destination with plenty to do for all the family. Take your pick of the wonderful sea view and coastal holiday homes in Devon for your next family adventure.

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