Get the kids’ lungs full of fresh country air down at Woodlands Leisure Park, Devon’s largest family theme park complete with indoor and outdoor attractions, farm and falconry displays. Stay outdoors for Ponywell Farm, to pet rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, chicks and ducklings, and see alpacas, reindeer, cows, ducks and lambs.
There’s plenty to see at Paignton Zoo, including lions, tigers, giraffes, gorillas, crocs and snakes. Watch the feeding shows and ride the mini train. Go back to the 15th century at Dartmouth Castle, with its huge gun tower and labyrinthine passages. Take the ferry from the town quay.
Or maybe you’d prefer some old-fashioned bucket-and-spade action. South Devon has some of the UK’s best beaches, including white-sand Blackpool Sands. Refuel at the Venus Beach Café on burgers, cakes and cocoa. Or find idyllic bays such as Torre Abbey Sands or the red-clay Babbacombe Beach.
Explore the sheltered bays and coves of the south coast with Sea Kayak Devon. Head to the UK’s biggest waterpark, Splashdown Quaywest, to ride the near-vertical Devil’s Drop, the Wild Kamikaze or the Raging Rapids. Or calm things down with a river-boat trip on the Dart Explorer.
Potter the lovely shops of Totnes and spend the ‘Totnes Pound’ on antiques, books, bespoke furniture, fine art, handmade shoes and market goods. Or head to the English Riviera at Torquay, a paradise place of palm trees and plentiful beaches. Walk with an ice cream up the magnificent Royal Terrace Gardens.
Kayak, sail, surf or canyon your way around the South Devon coastline, exploring the inlets, lagoons and intricate creeks of the River Dart. Call Canoe Adventures and set sail from the Maltsters Arms, then refresh and refuel there before heading home. Or call Devon Sailing for yachting and powerboating lessons in Dartmouth harbour.
If sea legs aren’t your thing, two wheels might do the trick. Devon’s 150 miles of cycle routes crisscross the county, beginning at the Dart Valley Cycleway and taking in the historic town of Totnes, thick woods and a cider-press centre. Hot Pursuit Cycles has good-quality bikes and a raft of information about local trails.
Ride horses from Dittiscombe Equestrian Centre. Have a crack at archery, zipline, rock-climbing, abseiling or raft building at the Adventure Centre. Take on the 7200-yard Dartmouth Golf and Country Club course, or just get pampered in the comfort of Barcroft Retreat with Glo Pamper’s massages, pedicures and manicures.