Although we can all keep our fingers and toes crossed for plenty of sunshine or at best a dry day… we all know that at some point in our British summer, we’ll have to face the rain. So, if you’ve booked a staycation holiday in Devon and you’re on the hunt for things to do, you’d be right to plan some activities for a wet day, after all, you can never be too prepared! The good news is that after speaking to our community and visiting some spots ourselves, we’ve gathered our top ten things to do in Devon on a rainy day!
Castle Drogo, Exeter
Castle Drogo is situated high above the Teign Gorge. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for self-made millionaire Julius Drewe. It looks ancient, but this remarkable building was only constructed 100 years ago, the last castle ever built in England! As a National Trust site, visit with friends and family, spend the day strolling around the stunning castle, and pop your umbrella open for a walk around the gardens that are buzzing with flowers and colour throughout the seasons.
With an on-site restaurant, shop, information centre and the stunning Teign Valley just around the corner, there’s plenty to keep you busy at Castle Drogo. Adults pay £8.00 for entry, whilst children pay £4.00, or opt for a family ticket for £20.000.
The National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
Based in the Ocean City of Plymouth, The National Marine Aquarium is an Ocean Conservation Charity dedicated to connecting people with our seas. Their fun & engaging Ocean experts run the largest Aquarium in the UK and can’t wait to help you have a great experience. Your Aquarium visit will take you around the world’s Ocean, so get ready to connect with the deep blue from Plymouth. Explore the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef and everywhere in between! Their exhibits feature stunning underwater habitats and the animals that live there.
The House of Marbles, Bovey Tracey
The House of Marbles is a splendid place to visit in Bovey Tracey, just off the A38 on the outskirts of Dartmoor. With no charge for admission and free parking, hours can be spent watching the many fantastical marble runs in action. Seek out new and exciting treats in the gift, game and homeware shop. It is a unique site with plenty for all ages and the whole family to see.
Explore the museums, learn about the history of pottery and view the bottle kilns that are still standing today. Be amused by the spiffing games of old, ponder the many generations who’ve played with the antique marbles on display and catch a glimpse of the history of glass before watching it being crafted in the onsite working glassworks. Stay for a bite to eat in the licensed Old Pottery Restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch with choices from the Chef’s specials board, or afternoon tea!
Exeter Cathedral, Exeter
Step inside Exeter Cathedral and discover one thousand years of wonder. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of one of Europe’s most magnificent cathedrals and find endless opportunities to explore its amazing architecture, clandestine corners and hidden histories. Choose one of their entertaining guided tours, wander peacefully at your own pace, or join one of the family-friendly activities.
You’ll find a vibrant calendar of world-class events, performances, exhibitions and inclusive services to suit all tastes. If you need to relax and recharge, the team at Exeter Cathedral serve artisan refreshments too. But, for a truly unique experience, why not make a special appointment to see some of the rare and ancient treasures held in their Library & Archive?
Kents Cavern, Torquay
Kents Cavern is Britain’s Oldest known prehistoric home. You are led by a guide through a labyrinth of underground natural passages used by Neanderthals and the very first Britons who occupied the caves. Here, Victorian explorers combined geological time and fossil remains to reveal the antiquity of humanity. Open daily for guided tours. See natural caverns, amazing formations, remains of mammoth, woolly rhino, sabre-toothed cats.
There’s an Ice Age woodland trail quest, shop and restaurant with views over the Ilsham Valley. Based in Torquay, the caves are part of the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, 1.5kms from Torquay Harbour, close to the South West Coast Path. The caves inspired writers like Agatha Christie, Beatrix Potter and more recently folk-horror writer Adam Nevill.
The Underground Passages, Exeter
Dating from 14th century, these medieval passages under Exeter High Street are a unique ancient monument: no similar system of passages can be explored by the public elsewhere in Britain. The Passages have long exercised a fascination over local people, with stories of wars and sieges, plague and pestilence! Their purpose was simple: to bring clean drinking water from natural springs in fields lying outside the walled city, through lead pipes into the heart of the city.
The pipes sometimes sprang leaks and repairs to buried pipes could only be carried out by digging them up as we do today. To avoid this disruption the passages were vaulted and it is down some of these vaulted passageways that visitors are guided. The Passages are dark and narrow with a fascinating history. Visitors can experience interactive and educational exhibits in the Underground Passages Heritage Centre and watch a short video presentation before their guided tour.
The Milky Way Adventure Park, Bideford
With acres of indoor fun and acres of outdoor activities, The Milky Way Adventure Park is a fantastic all-weather family experience! The park has a fantastic NEW 2020 addition – the Ninja Stars games arena with Tag Active scoring, designed to be fun for the whole family. Save Planet Earth on Ziggy’s Blast Quest, an interactive ride that’s a huge hit with all ages. Ride the Cosmic Typhoon roller coaster, whizz down the Gravity Rider donut slide, have a bumping good time on the Droid Destroyer dodgems, negotiate the maze and go wild in the Time Warp, North Devon’s biggest indoor adventure play area.
Watch top live shows featuring Merlin from Britain’s Got Talent, as well as fantastic displays from the North Devon Bird of Prey Centre. Little ones will love the Little Stars play centre, huge bouncing pillows, Cosmic Caterpillar ride, pottery painting and the mini-train.
Tavistock Pannier Market, Tavistock
Situated at the very heart of the historic town of Tavistock is the ancient Pannier Market. A range of quality stalls and services are available all year round at this fantastic tourist attraction. Tavistock Pannier Market is a wonderful historic market with over 900 years of history. It’s an indoor market which is heated on cold days, open five days of the week for permanent traders who are situated around the market, whilst the centre traders change throughout the week.
Bygones is three floors of pure nostalgia for al ages! Whether it be History, Railwayana or Militaria, you will reminisce! Wander back in time, visit their authentic life-size Victorian Street, see the Blacksmith hard at work, smell the treats of the Sweetshop, listen to the hustle and bustle of Victorian life. Imagine yourself in the nursery, kitchen, parlour or even the dentist…
As you meander up to the top floor, hop on the 27-ton steam engine en-route, arrive in the 20th Century, take a break in their Station Café for a range of cakes and refreshments. Marvel at the completely refurbished model railway themed around English villages in WWI and WWII. Consider your ancestors in a WWI trench or taking cover in a WWII Anderson Shelter.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
Exeter’s world-class museum has stunning displays and galleries, fabulous exhibitions and modern amenities. The displays reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections. Exotic animals, birds and insects delight children, whilst the world cultures galleries display stunning items from all over the world.
The shop offers hand-picked gifts, unique craft items, books and affordable souvenirs for children. The cafe serves delicious homemade food. Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Closed Mondays and bank holidays. Free Admission. From time to time galleries may be closed for special events; so please check before travelling!