With miles and miles of coastal walks, the open countryside of Dartmoor and Exmoor, cycle trails and countless places to explore, there’s a lot going on in Devon that makes it well worth visiting. If you’re coming to the county on holiday or just need some fresh ideas for days out with the kids that they won’t moan about, there’s plenty of fantastic family attractions to keep them entertained too.
Whether you want to get up close to some cute animals, feel thrills on rides or experience something else entirely, you’ll find an attraction to suit every member of the family in Devon. For those days out when you need something to do to keep the kids happy, here are ten of the best family attractions in Devon!
Woodlands Leisure Park, near Totnes
Devon’s largest theme park has a bit of everything for all age groups; a fantastic indoor play area that’s one of the largest around, exciting water rides, a zoo farm with an eclectic mix of animals like mischievous meerkats, a falconry centre and themed zones that each provide their own sense of fun, you’ll find there really is something for everyone here.
The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
While you might picture Devon as nothing but rolling countryside and crystal-clear waters on sandy beaches, its two cities of Plymouth and Exeter have plenty to keep families entertained. The best attraction in Plymouth is the National Marine Aquarium, which is home to the deepest tank in the UK, filled with several species of sharks. The daily shows are a crowd-pleaser, while the whole experience is a great educational one.
Crealy Theme Park and Resort, Clyst St Mary
If you want a thrill ride or two, Crealy is undoubtedly one of the best days out with your children, as it’s bound to keep the kids busy with more than 60 rides! The Maximus Rollercoaster is a highlight, taking those brave enough to climb aboard on a train ride through the Roman history of Exeter. The park also has accommodation if you’re looking for somewhere to stay with your family.
The Milky Way, Clovelly
If you’re staying on Devon’s north coast while on holiday, The Milky Way is well placed and an attraction that’s truly “out of this world!” If you decide to climb aboard the Cosmic Typhoon rollercoaster, you’ll even get views of the coast to the north, Exmoor to the east and Dartmoor to the south! As well as its coasters, slides and dodgems, the outdoor play options are great here too. Mini-golf, a maze and more!
The Big Sheep, Abbotsham
Another great attraction in the north of the county is The Big Sheep, an unusual offering of a theme park with sheep racing! The Rampage Rollercoaster is the highest and fastest in Devon, at 400m long and 13 m high, with its high speed twists and turns. The site is still a working farm, so animals are at the heart of everything the owners do, so you can get up close to pigs, sheep, goats and even llamas!
The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
Donkeys are such endearing animals, aren’t they? Well at The Donkey Sanctuary, you can meet and stroke hundreds of donkeys at this charming attraction close to the south coast. Donkey themed activities take place in an arts and craft barn, while the maze and outdoor play area for younger children means there’s plenty of space for your kids to run around. It’s even free to visit — though the sanctuary does rely on donations to stay open.
River Dart Country Park, Ashburton
This country park has an emphasis on the outdoors and excitement, all set in an idyllic location on Dartmoor. There are adventure playgrounds, assault courses and a boating lake. Climb up in the high wire course, get out on the water kayaking or zorbing, or enjoy play areas and a low rope course for young children. The park has great camping facilities, so you could make it your base for a Devon holiday knowing you’ll always have something to tire the kids out on your doorstep!
Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh
If your family loves animals, you won’t find anywhere more hands on than Pennywell Farm, with activities every hour like bottle feeding lambs and milking goats that allow you to get close to the animals at the farm. Play areas, tractor rides and a train for small children add to the fun and in school holidays, the farm lays on extra entertainment and even more to do.
South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh to Totnes
Have you got train-mad kids? Not far from Pennywell Farm is the South Devon Railway, the longest established steam railway in the region. This seven mile stretch of the old GWR line runs through a valley between Buckfastleigh and Totnes, alongside some beautiful sections of the River Dart. You can even find time to visit either the Otter and Butterfly Sanctuary at Buckfastleigh or the Totnes Rare Breeds Farm!
Paignton Zoo, Paignton
This fantastic zoo is one of the best in the country, with an astonishing array of animals. You’ll see all the usual suspects, like lions, tigers, gorillas and rhinos, but be prepared for some surprises on the way round. One particularly cute critter you’ll find at the zoo is the coati, a small lemur-like creature with a long ringed tail.
Have you got your own suggestions? Leave us a comment below!