There is so much to see and do in Devon (and Cornwall) that it seems hard to know where to start. We’ve added our list of favourites below but you could also check out Claire’s blog too.
A family holiday, days out and travel tips blog written by Devon mum of two Claire. Tin Box Traveller has been established for more than four years and is one of the UK’s top family travel blogs. https://tinboxtraveller.co.uk
The University – much of the campus is open to the public and is beautiful at any time of the year. There are lovely walks, a sculpture trail, duck ponds and plenty of space to roam. I’ve always been welcomed with the children in the cafes too. Read our review of our Autumn Walk.
The Quay is one of our favourite family days out in Exeter. We either cycle or walk down, watch the water sports, eat ice creams, play on the cannons, spot the birds and visit some of the local independent businesses.
There are lots of family friendly places to eat on the Quay – including the Prospect Inn, Puerto Lounge and Lutzy’s Coffee Shop.
If you want to make a big day of it, you can hire bikes or canoes from Saddles and Paddles or try out climbing at Clip n Climb.
The National Trust
We are very lucky that there are lots of beautiful National Trust properties near Exeter.
A few of our favourites include:
Knightshayes – read our day out review
A la Ronde – lovely walks, quirky 16 sided house and the beautiful shell gallery
Killerton – we love going for walks there and they have a range of family inclusive events including the ever popular apple festival
They all have cafes, baby change facilities, children’s play areas and lots of space to run as well as the more formal gardens and houses to visit if your children are in the mood. Check the National Trust site for individual opening hours.
A short drive from Exeter
Wildwood at Escot
Sadly dogs are now banned from the estate but it is still a lovely place to go with woodland walks, maze, Saxon village, otters, red squirrels, wolves and lots of other animals, a drop slide, play barn and huge outdoor play area. The views are beautiful and there are lots of corners to explore and find for yourself.
It costs around £30 for a family of 4 to visit and you can easily spend the whole day there.
Wildwood Escot, Escot Park, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1LU
Tel: 01404 822188
Day trip to Shaldon
We make a long day trip, getting the train to Teignmouth, then the black and white ferry over the river. The journey is half the fun – beautiful views and the thrill of being so close to the water. You could always drive if you prefer – there are several car parks and the is also a bus direct from Exeter bus station.
Shaldon itself is a pretty seaside town with lots of cafes and shops and of course the beaches.
One of the big draws for us though is Shaldon Wildlife Trust.
Only an acre is size, this zoo looks after, and helps preserve, some of the rarest and most endangered animals in the world. The animals are mostly primates, smaller mammals such as meerkats and birds with a small collection or reptiles.
Our favourite are the black-tailed marmoset, golden-headed lion tamarin and the margay, if we are lucky enough to spot it.
As it’s on a steep hill, it’s not buggy friendly but it is the perfect size for toddlers. There are outdoor seating areas, loos and a small shop but be aware this is very much an outdoor zoo with inside space very limited.
Don’t let that put you off visiting though – we love it every time we go.
We generally eat lunch at cafe-ODE which has a great ethic of sourcing local produce. Their garden is pretty, with fantastic views out over the sea and they have a number of indoor tables too. They are always welcoming of the children and last time we went, they had a small box of toys too.
We’ll then walk through the smuggler’s tunnel, inventing stories as we go, to the quieter beach on the other side of the headland. It’s lovely and sandy, with a few rock pools and uninterrupted views. There are steps down though, so do be aware if you are bringing a buggy
Shaldon Wildlife Trust – Shaldon Wildlife Trust, Ness Drive, Shaldon, Near Teignmouth, Devon, TQ14 OHP
Cafe-ODE – Ness Cove, Ness Dr, Shaldon TQ14 0HP
Shaldon Ferry – Greg Allen on 07896 711822
Train times – The Riviera Line