Haldon Forest Park/ Highway Rat Activity Trail
If you go down to the woods today you’re sure to have an adventure, as well as a few surprises along the way! With 3,500 acres of woodland to discover, Haldon Forest Park is home to tonnes of outdoor fun.
As you delve deep into the woods you may come across a familiar face on the Highway Rat Activity Trail which is the latest Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to be brought to life. We haven’t actually tried this one yet as it is new for this year, but we can’t wait to give it a go. We loved the Gruffalo Spotters Trail, which was on last year. The trail is aimed at younger children, and it is about 1.5 miles in length.
During the summer months enjoy the Butterfly Trail then as winter closes in, get cosy with campfires and the shadow puppet theatre.
To find more information visit: Haldon Forest Park/ Highway Rat Activity Trail
*Although the Highway Rat Activity Trail can be enjoyed for free there is an optional activity pack ( containing an activity leaflet plus an extra activity sheet, a Highway Rat mask, stickers of the Highway Rat characters, a pencil and a crayon) which can be purchased for £3.00. They also charge the following parking fees Peak (Weekends/School Hols/Bank Hols) All Day £7, 4 hrs £5, 2 hrs £4. Off-Peak (Mon-Fri Term Time) All Day £5, 4 hrs £4, 2 hrs £3.*
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery – RAMM (Exeter)
The RAMM displays showcase the world-class collections and collectors and is one of our favourite haunts. It’s a great place to let little ones let off some steam after a shopping trip or before a drive home and if your feeling peckish there’s a great little place across the road (Brodys) offering a great value, good quality, all day, all you can eat breakfast.
The museum tells the story of Exeter and Devon from the prehistoric to the present and the story of global exploration and collecting in the 18th and 19th centuries.
My little one particularly likes the interactive games in the insect and bird sections of the museum, the dressing up section in the Roman section where you can try on some helmets and get a couple of good selfies, the African section where you can play a giant xylophone, children’s the play area and of course the stuffed animals.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00am to 5:00pm and closed Mondays and bank holidays.
To find out more please visit: Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery – RAMM (Exeter)
Every winter (usually November to January the Eden Project offer a series of free entry weekends for members of various organisations and community groups, and their families, within Devon and Cornwall.
To find out more visit: Eden Project
Out and About Toddler Group
Out and About Toddler Group is an exciting new monthly group hosted by Infusion, a youth, children and families project of the West Devon Methodist Circuit, which has been running since October 2017. Each session is themes and is held in a different location which keeps it exciting for the little ones.
So far they have had Pumpkin Heroes in Winkleigh and Halwill, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt in Okehampton, Christingle in Hatherleigh and Guess How Much I love you at Cookworthy Forest. In March they have Tiddler at Bow Garden Centre and in May they have Sensory Play at Rosemoor Gardens.
Drinks and cakes are usually provided free of charge (the cakes are usually baked by Bridget who is an excellent baker)!
To find more information visit: Out and About Toddler Group
During the warm summer months Meeth Quarry is one of our favourite places to visit for a dog walk, bike ride or picnic. In August and September it is particularly good for blackberry picking – so if visiting during this time don’t forget to take a container or two!
The disused quarry has two huge lakes, bike trails and easy access paths for you and your little ones to explore. If you want to make it even more fun you could print off some free Wildlife Spotting Sheet to see what you can spot!
As well as being free to visit, the parking is free too – bonus!
To find out more information visit: Meeth Quarry
Roadford Lake is situated in the stunning surroundings of the Wolf Valley, with a range of natural habitats on its shores from Culm Grasslands, woodlands, old pastures and orchards. Dormice and bat boxes, bird hides and buzzards help to make this an environment which is humming with wildlife.
The flora and fauna is in abundance and there is a network of footpaths and cycle trails that access different areas of the lake, including the Nature Reserve at the far end. This area is very peaceful and the bird hide is perfectly situated for bird lovers to sit and watch the many species of birds.
*If you park in the main carpark you will have to pay for parking. If you use one of the other entrances, you can park for free.*
To find out more information visit: Roadford Lake
A few times a year the National Trust offer free admission at a number of National Trust properties.
To find out more visit: National Trust
Heritage Open Days
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. Every year for four days in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.
Heritage Open Days 2018 will be 6-9 & 13-16 September
To find out more visit: Heritage Open Days
Devon Wildlife Trust
The Devon Wildlife was established over fifty years ago by a small group of volunteers. It is the only charity that exists to protect all wildlife in Devon and to safeguard Devon’s unique natural environment.
The Devon Wildlife Trust run heaps of free events across Devon including Rockpool Safari’s, Milling Demonstrations, Guided Walks, Bike Rides, Dippy Dino Day, Gardening and Beachcombing.
To find out what’s on visit: Devon Wildlife Trust
Geocaching is a digital treasure hunt. Hunting for hidden ‘caches’ using a smart phone for navigation is becoming increasingly popular, and is a great way to get children out on a walk. It’s also surprisingly easy to get started; read our guide to geocaching in Devon.
To find out more visit: Geocaching
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE. She dedicated her life to champion donkeys, and it is through her devotion that the Sanctuary grew to be the international charity it is today.
Dr Svendsen passed away in 2011 but her memory lives on in our work, as does her eternal motto that, in everything they do, donkeys will always come first, second and third.
During the last 45 years, The Sanctuary have made a profound difference to the lives of donkeys and people all over the world. They also care for the largest collective group of mules (a donkey-horse hybrid) in England.
They are open 365 days a year from 9am until dusk. Admission and parking are free!
To find out more visit: Donkey Sanctuary
St Thomas Splash Pad
Open May – September, the St Thomas Splash Pad has water fountains, tipping buckets and cannons on a brightly coloured surface. There is also a large children’s playground, public toilets and parkland nearby.
The playground is suitable for toddlers and under 12s and has a range of equipment including springers, swings, multiplay unit and a stand on seesaw.
To find out more visit: St Thomas Splash Pad
Braunton and District Museum
Braunton and District Museum is housed in the Bakehouse Centre which was specially converted from a former bakehouse and two cottages.
The collections at the Museum reflects the early beginnings of Braunton with particular reference to the Braunton Great Field, one of only two remaining working examples of Saxon strip farming in England.
Maritime heritage also features heavily with scale models of Braunton vessels on show.
To find out more visit: Braunton and District Museum
Mortehoe Museum is located in a Grade II listed barn at the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Heritage Coast and within the Mortehoe Conservation Area is definitely worth a visit.
A veritable treasure chest of historical memorabilia, the gallery offers a historical cameo of life in this coastal setting and a presentation of maritime history. You will find information on local shipwrecks, an introduction to the flora and fauna of North Devon, and the birth and development of tourism, farming and country skills.
An added attraction are the tractor and trailer rides that run on bank holidays and in the summer holidays. The rides leave from outside the Museum on Tuesdays (to Bull Point) and Wednesdays (to Morte Point).
On the ground floor of the Museum there is a small shop selling books, maps and post cards of the area as well as local crafts and artwork.
To find out more visit: Mortehoe Museum
*There is a small charge for the Tractor and Trailer Rides which are as follows: Adults £4.00, Children £2.00. no charge for children under 4. *
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon has collections and displays that cover the natural and human history of North Devon. Highlights include the Tarka Gallery, the Story of North Devon and the Regimental Collection of the Royal Devon Yeomanry.
The museum includes a Gift Shop, Tearoom, Tourist Information and Visitor Reception and with a programme of temporary exhibitions and events, it offers something for everyone.
To find out more visit: The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery has permanent galleries with extensive collections in fine art, decorative art, human history (including archaeology and world cultures) and natural history. Print off a family gallery trail from the website to help you explore.
There are also hundreds of events and activities throughout the year for adults, young people and families. Plus a cafe and gift shop might tempt you to stay a while longer as well.
To find out more please visit: Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Exeter Sculpture Walk
Exeter Sculpture Walk can be found Streatham Campus at the University of Exeter, commonly considered the most beautiful campus in England. The campus is built around a country estate, and is also a registered Botanical Garden. There are 36 sculptures to discover, some indoors, and some in the open.
The full walk will take about 2 hours, or if you prefer a shorter walk, a wander around the outdoor sculptures alone will take around an hour. The sculptures on display make up a great and varied collection, by distinguished artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Geoffrey Clark, Peter Randall Page, Paul Mount, together with other emerging artists. A feast for the eyes, with plenty of different materials and colours used in interesting ways to enjoy.
A brilliant opportunity to appreciate and explore art, in a stunning setting, full of exotic trees and shrubs, with lovely views across the city to the sea at Exmouth. A wonderful walk whatever the season, in a setting that includes gardens, parkland, woodland and lakes, so you can really make a day of it and even bring a picnic.
For more information please visit: Exeter Sculpture Walk
Brixham Heritage Museum
Brixham Heritage Museum offers a fascinating way to discover the complete history of the small fishing town of Brixham, with a number of interesting displays and exhibits. It is family friendly, with themed costumes for all ages, plus quizzes and competitions, activity areas for reading and drawing, and activity bags for younger kids to ensure that everyone makes the most of their visit, whatever their age.
There is plenty to see, from the Bone Caverns detailing Brixham’s beginnings, to an original 1902 police cell, a maritime room to a reconstruction of a fisherman’s cottage. See a Victorian house and nursery, artefacts from both world wars, plus recent archaeological finds from Berry Head. There is a great toy display that was originally set up for the museum’s 50th anniversary, but was kept due to public interest, plus a Lifeboat and Coastguard Station display with models and photographs.
An excellent introduction to the area, with much more on display than you would expect, as it is deceptively small from the outside. The museum was also the winner of the 2013 Telegraph Family Friendly Museum Award.
To find more information please visit: Brixham Heritage Museum
The Fairlynch Museum is an early 19th century house built by a local shipowner and is probably the only thatched museum in the UK. He added the turret to watch for his ships coming in.
The garden was lovingly restored to feature plants contemporary with the building. The extensive costume collection dates from the early 18th century. The lace collection features Honiton lace as well as other English and continental styles.
The social history (local history) section has many useful resources including microfiche records of Parish registers. The archaeological collection features prehistoric finds from the local area. The geological collection includes a display of radioactive nodules.
To find out more please visit: Fairlynch Museum
I am sure that there are many more fun and free activities that I haven’t given a try. If you have I would love to hear your suggestions.