Family Days Out
For rainy days we recommend The Playhut in Ilfracombe for children up to 10 years old and parents who value a decent coffee!
Right next door and owned by the same family is Tunnels Beaches, offering hand-carved tunnels leading to unique sheltered beaches and a tidal Victorian bathing pool.
Ilfracombe harbour (rather than the high street) is also worth a visit. It has some delightful shops, cafés and art galleries, not to mention Damien Hurst’s statue of Verity. The old lighthouse is also worth the climb up the little hill.
From Ilfracombe harbour you could take a fishing trip or go on a Sea Safari. You may be able to spot a seal or even a dolphin or porpoise, if you're lucky.
The Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is a good day out at Combe Martin, or a little further on to Exmoor Zoo. The family who own Exmoor Zoo have had their story made into a Hollywood movie - We Bought a Zoo - you may have seen it?!
The Milky Way Adventure Park is also great for young kids, our kids especially enjoy the adventure play area with its roller coaster! On a similar theme there is The BIG Sheep Amusement Park and Farm, which offers all sorts from goat races (welcome to Devon!) to indoor play areas and laser quest.
Or you could Paint-a-Pot in Braunton or at Gold Coast Holiday Village, which is a great activity for all the family. At Gold Coast (only 5 mins away) they also have a sports complex with an outdoor high ropes course, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, surf simulator and lots more.
There is an abundance of lovely National Trust places to visit from Arlington Court country house and gardens to spectacular walks around National Trust coastland at Baggy Point, Hunter's Inn and Mortehoe (you can catch a brilliant tractor ride seal spotting there too). Take a look at the National Trust website for details. As with many National Trust properties, Arlington has lots to do for children with trails, a woodland play area, craft activities in the holidays ....the list goes on.
For the art lovers amongst you Broomhill Sculpture Gardens is wonderfully inspirational. We love wondering around the gardens as a family and then going for lunch in their ‘slow food’ restaurant afterwards.
If Gardens are your passion there is also RHS Rosemoor just a 30-40 minute drive away. Rosemoor often has great family activities going on during the school holidays. Not far from there is Dartington Crystal visitor centre where you can go and see their beautiful collections being made.
Exmoor is not far away (around 40 minutes) and a wonderful way to explore it in style is a 4 x 4 discovery trip with Experience Exmoor. You may catch sight of a red deer or just enjoy taking in the beautiful surroundings. There are lots of wonderful places to visit on Exmoor. These are some of our favourites: Tarr Steps, Valley of the Rocks, Heddon’s Mouth and picturesque historical villages such as Dulverton, Dunster (with its castle and Watermill) Lynton and Lynmouth.
A fantastic way to explore whilst learning lots about the local history are the Devon Treasure Trails. You buy a treasure pack, which gets you to explore an area by finding clues along the way to solve a mystery. Then when you get home you put your results onto their website to enter into their prize draw. There are car, cycling and walking trails to choose from. Recently we did the Murder mystery trail along the Tarka trail in Braunton on bikes. We had lots of fun and discovered things we never knew were there! We sell a selection of the treasure packs in our little shop (of basic essentials) at Pickwell Manor.
We have an array of leaflets at Pickwell Manor with ideas for more local activities and a book with recommendations from other guests.