When it comes to holidays in the UK that have a little bit of something for everyone no matter their age, Devon is the perfect choice. There’s some great towns and cities like Plymouth and Torquay to explore, a huge range of beaches for a trip to the seaside and loads of parks, activity centres and attractions that make the perfect day out. If you’re thinking of renting out one of our luxury holiday homes and cottages in Devon, we’ve got the perfect read for you – below you’ll find our list of the best kids activities in Devon for you and the whole clan to enjoy!
1. Explore the region with Unique Devon Tours
Why go: Before booking a day with Unique Devon Tours, you have the challenge of deciding what to see and do. Perhaps your children are budding palaeontologists who want to hunt for fossils on the beaches; maybe they are die-hard Sherlock Holmes fans who want to retrace the Hound of the Baskervilles; or perhaps they’re wannabe seafarers who will want to see all the naval sights of the coast. The good news is that whatever you want to see and do, the team at Unique Devon Tours will be happy to accommodate you. The private, curated trips are led by Alex, a Devonshire man ready and raring to share his local knowledge. Groups of more than six people need to book in advance, but the affable host is happy to take large families round all of Devon’s best sights.
Location: 3 Moorland Avenue Denbury, Newton Abbot tq12 6eu, England
Book: Call 01803 812556
2. Soar above the landscapes with Aerosaurus Balloons
Why go: Children who dream of flying will be in transports of joy as they rise into the skies above Devon. Aerosaurus Balloons run flights at sunrise and sunset from the South Hams, an area of natural beauty that juts out into the sea. Gaze down on the colourful land below and see what the children can spot from the basket, whether it’s castles and stone circles or vast stretches of uninterrupted Dartmoor wilderness. Flights also leave from Tiverton, a fantastic launching point for seeing the beauty of Exmoor and the river valleys that course through the centre of the county.
Location: Flight Meeting locations, Tesco Superstore, Lee Mill, South Devon, pl21 9pe and The Westward Inn, Lee Mill, near Ivybridge, South Devon, pl21 9ee
Book: Online Aerosaurus
3. Hop from train to boat with Darmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company
Why go: Spend an afternoon touring the sights of south Devon by river and by rail. The Railway and River Boat Company takes you through the hills and fields around Galmpton, Greenway and Paignton on that most beloved of engines, the vintage steam train. When you reach the River Dart, you get the ferry to Dartmouth before cruising up the estuary on a river boat. The final stretch of the journey takes place on an old fashioned bus, often with an open top. The rides take you around some of Devon’s most attractive scenery, and the constantly changing mode of transport will help stop the kids from slipping into boredom.
Location: Queens Park Station Torbay Road Paignton tq4 6af
Book: Call 01803 555872
4. Experience the thrills of the Ultimate Adventure Centre
Why go: Children like choice, so give them the option of choosing which kind of excitement they want for their day out at the Ultimate Adventure Centre. The centre offers several different ways to get the adrenaline pumping. There’s an assault course comprising water pools and giant inflatables like you’d find on a game show and a high ropes courses for energetic thrills without the falls. For kids who don’t mind getting wet, there’s kayaking and coasteering (a unique activity that involves plunging into the waves and traversing the rock faces of the coast). Teens might enjoy the mud-flecked thrills of mountain boarding and biking or the sheer comedy of water-zorbing, where you float in giant hamster balls on a shallow pond.
Location: Abbotsham Rd, Bideford, Devon ex39 5ap, United Kingdom
Book: Online Ultimate Adventure Centre
5. Become a zookeeper at Axe Valley Wildlife Park
Why go: Most children will be chuffed with any kind of animal-related activity. Axe Valley Wildlife Park is the home of lemurs, zebras, flamingos and wallabies, among many others – making it an essential destination for holidaying families. If you really want to send your little ones into raptures, sign them up to become a Junior Keeper for the day. This unique experience lets children follow the staff of the zoo for a day and join in with their daily tasks, including feeding the animals and cleaning out their enclosures. The knowledgeable staff will also field questions from your inquisitive little keepers in the making.
Location: Summerleaze Farm, Kilmington, Axminster, Devon ex13 7ra
Book: Call 01297 34472 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Catch the waves with North Devon Surf School
Why go: There are few sports that are as simply cool as surfing. Granted, it might not look that way when you first give it a go. Don the wetsuits and grab a board – all provided by the North Devon Surf School – and head out into the seas of the north Devon coast, a place many name among the best surfing destinations beaches in the UK. Lessons are available for every level of confidence and the emphasis is placed firmly on having fun; so even if they don’t quite conquer the art of wave riding, they’ll still have a great time trying. For a slightly slower-paced option, try paddleboarding, a new craze that’s a little like kayaking while standing up.
Location: North Devon Surf School, Pebbleridge Road, Westward Ho, North Devon ex39 1hn
Book: Call 0123747466
7. Meet marine mammals at the Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium
Why go: Living Coasts is a destination that clearly cares for the animals that live in and around the sea; by the end of the trip, you and your family will too. At this seafront zoo, you can watch otters gambolling in the water, penguins waddling along a beach and seals catching some sun. Best of all, kids can observe and even get involved in the feeding times throughout the day. The adjoining aquarium is no less impressive, where you can meet the curious and strangely beautiful octopus or look out for speckled rays swimming in the mangroves. Finally, stop by the aviary, which houses a huge colony of coastal birds including puffins, tern and auks, which like to paddle in the water.
Location: Living Coasts. Torquay Harbourside, Beacon Quay, Torquay, Devon tq1 2bg
Book: Online at Living Coasts Zoo and Aquarium
By now you’ve probably got a bit of an idea of the fun you and the family can have in Devon – all you need now is somewhere to stay! Talk to our concierge team, who can help you find and book the perfect villa no matter what type of holiday you’re after. Still looking for a little more inspiration? Our blog can help you out there, with loads of stuff to check out including more family activities, some brilliant ideas for grown ups, and even how our photographer Leti got on with some team travels to the South of England.