We’re quite lucky in the South West that we have a lot of places at our disposable to take the family. Although it gets a bit tricky having a 3 year old and a 15 year old, and now with the pup thrown into the mix don’t make for an easy family day out.
We didn’t take the teen with us this time as he had other plans but off we trudged with Isabelle and the dog in our boots and armed with coats, umbrellas and treats for the dog.
When we got there, we had a little surprise as the Discovery Trail (the easiest at 1.5 miles) had been set up as a Gruffalo hunt with clues and things to do along the way. This was the easiest of trails so perfect for Isabelle and a nice walk for us.
There were loads of families there and lots of people whizzing up and down on bikes for the different tracks (none of which I would try).
There were ample places to stop if you were to take a picnic and pleasingly we didn’t encounter any rubbish, apart from one poo bag (why do people go to the effort of bagging it up only to leave it there!).
It was dog heaven for Charlie who saw lots of other dogs along the way including a huge group of Shar pei dogs (belonging to several owners ? dog group).
We saw the Gruffalo’s den and met Mouse, Snake, Fox, Owl and sat on a singing seat. We also played on some giant wooden xylophones and hid from Daddy and Charlie in a maze.
And did we find the Gruffalo?
Yup and he wasn’t scary at all.
We ended the day with a gorgeous ice cream and a bowl of water and treats for Charlie, then home for a roast dinner.
Think we’ll go for one of the harder routes next time.
Whether you take the kids Trick or Treating, organising your own events or have booked into an organised event there’s loads of Halloween Activities in the South West to take part in.
We went Trick or Treating for the first time last year. It’s not something that I would usually do but we were invited along with one of our neighbours and Isabelle had a lovely time. We stayed close to home and only went to houses with a pumpkin outside which seems to be an unwritten rule.
There’s loads of stuff on offer when West Town Farm opens it’s gates to the public. Poco Drom will be performing, Tractor Trailer rides, Pumpkin Carving, Fireside Story Telling, Apple Pressing, Feeding the Animals, Straw Bale den and much more. They also have a BBQ on the go where you can buy some scrummy food (vegetarian options as well). Child £3 Adult £4 Family £12 Under 3’s FREE!
Halloween Fun Run – Cowick Barton Playing Fields, Exeter.
Thursday 26th October. The Toddler run starts at 5pm and the under 16’s at 6pm.
Dress up in your scariest halloween outfit and head to Cowick Barton for a spooky fun-run. With storytelling, BBQ food, hot and cold drinks, and two Family Fun Runs. All monies raised go to Age UK Exeter.
The fun-packed evening will include art activities as well as food and music and coordinates with the gallery’s exhibition Frances Hatch : Red Earth Under My Nails. Families are invited to make their own spooky animation. Kids can also get up close to lizards, snakes and spiders! Add to your Halloween outfit with some scary face painting and glitter tattoos. Delicious local food will be on offer including wood-fired pizzas and Caribbean food, hot chocolate for little trick-or-treaters and there will be music to dance to and a bar. This event is FREE entry and crafts but there is food and drink available to buy.
Halloween Fright Night – Shaldon Zoo, Shaldon.
Friday 27th October 2017.
Get dressed up in your best Halloween Costume and head to Shaldon Zoo to meet the nocturnal animals and feed them some goulish treats. There will be spooky stories and a weird woodland walk. Woooooooo………
Halloween Party – The Twisted Oak, Ide.
Saturday 28th October 2017. Starts at 4pm.
A fun family Halloween Party where everybody can dress up and have a boogie. There will be a prize for the best costume and if you take your carved pumpkin along you can enter it into the Pumpkin Competition. Food and drink available.
There are loads of great things happening at Crealy for Halloween. Meet Scooby Doo (24th – 28th Oct) who will appear throughout the day, take a look around The Creaky Hotel (over 8’s), head into the Wilderness to find the Treehouse Trolls, meet creepy crawlies at Patch’s Bug Show, try your luck at the Trick or Treat Station – will you get a treat or be tricked? Carve your own pumpkin (all kids get a FREE pumpkin) and watch the Jolly-Ween Singing Pumpkin Show. To top it all off there will be firework displays on 28th and 29th October. Usual ticket prices apply.
Halloween Horrors – Paignton Zoo, Paignton.
21st October – 31st October 2017.
Take part in the Trick or Treat trail for a prize at the end. You can hop aboard the Ghost Train and take part of in the Crocodile Swamp Discovery, Bug Talks with bug eating challenges and a Maned Wolf talk. You can also take part in making your own slime. Normal ticket prices apply + £1.50 for the Trick or Treat map.
Killerton is a great place to take the kids. Follow the Pumpkin Trail whilst discovering all the great things at Killerton. Swish through the leaves, explore the bear house, walk through the woodlands and take a tour around the house. Don’t forget to finish off with a nice slice of cake! Normal admission prices apply.
There are various things happening at A La Ronde including the Fang-tastic Family Trail (21st – 29th Oct 10.30 – 4pm) as well as a House Trail where you can spot spooky creatures and on 24th October there lots of family Halloween activities for all the family to take part in. Normal admission applies + £2 for some activities.
Head to Bicton for Halloween crafts and visit the Witches Grotto. On the 26th October there will be a Halloween Train Ride (Over 2’s Only) for a spooky train ride in the dark which will finish off with hot chocolate and spooky muffins.
As well as all the usual things to do there will be loads of fun activities including pumpkin carving, the Hallowe’en treasure trail, spooky arts & crafts. Don’t miss the Family Halloween Show in the Barnyard Theatre on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th October featuring Angus and the witch.
Enter into a world of spookiness in the Old Riding School, where children can enjoy face painting and glitter tattoos, pumpkins crafts and ghostly games. Meet the weird and wonderful characters at the potion making shows at 12pm and 2pm. Collect your ticket on arrival, £3 per child to take part. Open from 11am to 4pm, whatever the weather. Hot drinks and snacks available. This has been marked for 4 – 11 year olds but suitable for all. There is also a child friendly ghost tour where you may see some creepy crawlies along the way. There are also some after dark activities for the adults.
Why not visit the scariest house in Devon and dare to knock at the door for your TRICK or TREAT? Meet the ‘Vampfylde’ family if they dare to join us and then enjoy some ‘ghoulish food’ in the cafe. There are areas for ALL ages including small children. There is a caution of strobe lighting for this event.
This half term discover the Halloween Horrors that have invaded Torquay’s Dinosaur World. Save the dinosaurs from the wicked witch and the ghastly ghosts and ghouls, and take the Halloween Horrors Hunt to win a Dinosaur Expert Certificate and a FREE 160-million-year-old fossil. From 3.30pm everyday visit the ‘Lights Out Torch Tour’ to explore the exhibition in the dark, listen to a scary ghost story, and meet Terry the baby T Rex.
Halloween Tram of Terror – Seaton Tramway, Seaton.
23rd – 29th October 2017.
Travel on the “Tram of Terror” with our gruesome tram drivers to Colyton Station where there will be spooky entertainment. Fancy dress is optional. Take part in spooky entertainment and activities and Halloween games at Colyton Station. Revolting refreshments are also available. Ticket prices Adult £14.95, Child £12.95 and Under 3’s FREE.
There’s 15 great things for you to do with your little ones.
If you live in the South West and find any other great nuggets, do let me know in the comments.
Not sure what to get up to this weekend then head to the River Cottage Summer Festival. Running from Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th August 2017. There are loads of things for both kids and adults to take part in all set beautiful surroundings. Day tickets and weekend tickets
What’s more under 16’s get in FREE when accompanied by an adult.
What is there to do?
There is a wide range of activities to get stuck into including:
Performances by Swamp Circus and Rainbow Gecko Giant Bubbles
Play Art Junk Modelling for the artistic amongst you
A foraging tour with John Wright
The Hands-On mud kitchen – Awesome!
Play in the sandpit
felting and flower workshops
Marine Monster Making
Take some time out to appreciate the stunning countryside with a guided geology walk with local butterfly experts, and take part in star gazing after sunset.
Masterclasses are also available in sushi making, cooking over a wood fire and for the little ones there are pizza making and ice cream sundae making.
Of course lots of food will be available street food style from local artisan producers. Experience the Farmhouse Feast with a two-course sit down meal served in the iconic Farmhouse for just £20 with a fantastic menu using fresh, seasonal and local produce from the farm, garden and local suppliers.
There will also be a selection of bars located across the Festival serving a variety of sumptuous drinks from Chase Vodka cocktails and English sparkling wine from neighboring Castlewood Vineyard to locally sourced beers, ciders, wines and seasonal cocktails.
A team of chefs and experts will be on hand to share their culinary tips throughout the two-day weekend on the Garden Stage hosted by Steven Lamb. On the Saturday, visitors can enjoy a mix of chefs, speakers and activists including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, forager John Wright, Bake-Off star Chetna Makan and herbalist Katie from Pukka Teas. On the Sunday, award-winning blogger Ed Smith will take to the stage alongside Satish Kumar, Michelin-starred Adam Byatt and Hugh.
Festival goers can enjoy music throughout the weekend with a variety of brilliant musicians on the line-up. There is live music from midday until 10pm on both days, with entertainment for the whole family. On the Saturday, Sound of the Sirens will headline alongside The Jack Daniels Band, Them Voices Poor, Sadie Horler, Hungry Bentley, Nicky Swann and DJ Diggz. On the Sunday, visitors can enjoy music from The Travelling Band, Mr Tea and the Minions, Melissa Bel, Mark McCabe, Tori Reed and the Troubadours and DJ Diggz.
How much does it cost?
There are various ticket prices available which you can look at the options on the River Cottage website.
How to get there?
Have a great weekend!
Living in the South West or visiting for the holidays then have a look at our oodles of suggestions for #southwestdaysout – Whether you’re looking for local attractions or fabulous beaches and walks.
I think our favourite National Trust property by far is Killerton House. The grounds are beautiful and you can either take a short walk or a long walk dependent on your stamina or if you have little legs with you.
What is there to do?
The house and grounds are family-friendly with baby changing and feeding facilities. You can take pushchairs into the house, but some of the off-path walks may be a bit tricky.
There is a children’s play area and several interesting things around the grounds to climb on. Don’t forget to check out the Bear House.
It’s a great place to take a picnic but you can of course opt to go to one of their two cafes for refreshments.
You can also take dogs on leads (not in the house).
Take a walk around the house and discover the history and take part in the Builder Mouse Trail which area dotted throughout the building and see what jobs they’re doing.
Try it Tuesdays – Take the kids along and let them take part in a new sport.
1st August – Laser clay shooting and rugby skills.
8th August – Frisbee golf and archery.
15th August – American football and archery.
19th August – Frisbee golf and American football.
22nd August – Tennis and cricket.
Wicked Wednesdays – Themed activities for the kids to take part in. Here are the ones upcoming:
2nd August – We’re going on a Bear Hunt 2 pm – 4 pm.
9th August – Pirates 2pm – 4pm.
16th August – Knights, Dragons, and Damsels 2 pm – 4 pm.
They also have a Secret Supper Club which we haven’t experienced ourselves, but it sounds like a really nice thing to do.
10.00am – 5.00pm Every day.
How much does it cost?
What did we think?
We love Killerton. Thankfully Isabelle likes to walk as long as there are interesting things to look at and do along the way. Killerton has everything you need for the perfect family day out so a big thumbs up from us.
Don’t forget to leave us a comment if you’ve been to Killerton – and if you’re looking for inspiration this school holidays then don’t forget to have a look at our #SchoolHols2017 page where we have lots of days out in the South West listed.
Yey we’ve ticked another one off the Family Bucket List as we visited The Orange Elephant today.
The kids have both been before but with grandparents so this was a first for both Chris and I and it definitely won’t be the last.
It wasn’t a long journey for us and excitement got the better of Isabelle as the signposts signalled our closeness.
Pulling in there was plenty of parking which is always a bonus.
The view of the entrance and the Meadow was lovely, and then the smell of the pig, cow and sheep pooh took over confirming that we were indeed on a working farm.
What is there to do?
Isabelle wasn’t interested in having a look around at all. All she was interested in finding was the ice cream selection, all the while wondering what toppings and sauces they had!
She wasn’t disappointed.
There were loads to choose from including Lemon Pavlova, Muddy Green Wellies (you’ll have to visit to find out what that one is) and Mango just to name a few. There was a choice of cones, toppings, sauces, and an impressive selection of ice cream sundaes.
With all the amazing flavours and the time she took to choose, she chose a plain cone with vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce and marshmallows.
Admission to The Orange Elephant are extremely reasonable and we decided to get a season pass for £12.00 which admits five people (adults or children). The season ends at the end of September, but I’ve got a feeling that we will be making use of the pass.
After paying we were given our orange stickers and our maze map and off we went to find the Summer Meadow.
We encountered sheep, pigs, chickens, and cows. The sheep weren’t really bothered with us, but the pigs were quite nosy and we got a great snout picture. A calf came to greet us and the chickens were very friendly.
If you look in the chicken pen, you can see that these are special chickens that lay green eggs!!
We went around the Maize Maze with Isabelle’s excellent map reading skills and then headed for a play in the park.
There were plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to sit for a picnic.
There were plenty of swings and slides to go on, and an assault course which Isabelle really loves to do.
When she’d finished playing we headed back to the cafe as us parents hadn’t had a chance to taste the ice cream!
The Ice Cream
We chose the (Award-Winning) Lemon Pavlova and the Chocolate Brownie Sundaes which we shared and little cheeky minx managed to wangle another ice cream.
I didn’t take a picture but I loved the signs on the toilet doors – Heifers (ladies) and Bulls (Gents).
After finishing our sundaes (very filling indeed) we had another go in the park to round the trip off.
But not before asking about the possibility of having Isabelle’s birthday party there.
What we thought
So in summary The Orange Elephant is definitely worth a visit. It gets both adult and kid thumbs up, and I would recommend a season pass as it’s somewhere that you can nip to if you have a spare couple of hours to let the kids let off some steam and finish it off with a cheeky ice-cream.
Have you found the Bear Trail yet? Do you like the outdoors? Do your kids like mud? Do the kids need to burn off some school holiday energy?
If it’s a YES to all of the above then you need to add The Bear Trail to your list of School Holiday activities.
Things to do!
Get the Kids Muddy!
Get the Adults Muddy!
There are loads of climbing apparatus, stepping stones, wobbly bridges, rope bridges, hay bales, tyres to squeeze through, a mountain to climb, and more……
Wear your oldest clothes and trainers and go and have some fun!
Either take a picnic or choose from their menu of panini’s, stonebaked pizzas or selection of cakes and drinks.
There is no age range, the idea being that if you feel able to take part then do it.
There is a smaller area for the littles to play but if they are feeling adventurous they can also take part in all of the equipment.
Once the kids have had enough (you can spend as long as you like) there are shower and changing facilities on-site to get you to a respectable cleanliness before heading off home.
How Much Does it Cost?
Under 1 metre £4.50
Over 1 metre £7.50
It’s advisable to pre-book your tickets during the school holidays to guarantee entry.
10.00am – 5.00pm Every day.
We loved it! Daddy and Isabelle (6) were straight in whilst I needed a bit of coaxing, but once I got stuck in we were all loving it and got thoroughly muddy. We went on everything and there were no tears just tired happy mud smeared faces by the end of the day! The pizzas are awesome too!
It’s come around again! May Half Term is almost upon us and again it’s up to us Mum’s and Dad’s to make sure our little lovelies have an action packed week whether it’s out and about or at home. Here are 15 May Half Term Events in Devon that will hopefully keep everybody happy.
The weather is slightly odd at the moment, with one day blue skies and sunny and the next day (or even afternoon) it’s pouring down with rain so we’ve found some indoor and outdoor suggestions.
1. Animal Encounters with Chris Johnson – Prickly Ball Farm – Monday 29th May 11am – 1pm
Pop down and meet some creepy crawlies with talks and show and tell. As well as this, take the time to visit the rest of the animals for a child friendly farm experience.
There’s loads of stuff to do at the Summer Fair. We went last year and had a great day. There are stalls, old fashioned carnival games, welly throwing competitions, food stalls and music. As well as this you can go around and meet lots of lovely donkeys. We took a picnic and the weather was lovely so we sat on the grass.
4. Tozers Charity Family Fun Day – Saturday 3rd June 10am – 3pm
There will be bouncy inflatables, fire engine, police car, food and drinks van. Get your face painted or a glitter tattoo. Buy from the many stalls selling sweets, arts and crafts and enjoy the various entertainers. Exeter City Football Club and Active Devon will be there with a 15ft inflatable target shoot and table tennis!! Guest appearance from Disney princesses, Spiderman and Minions and an opportunity to have your photo taken with your favourite character.
Get outside for some Muddy fun on the Bear Trail. There are a variety of obstacles to climb, zip wires, tunnels, swinging ropes, tyres and much more. See how much fun we had at The Bear Trail last weekend.
This is a drop-in event so no booking required. Pick up a RAMM Discover Arts Award log booklet in the courtyard and follow Alfie the Sparrow around the museum at your own pace to complete arty activities and challenges in the galleries. I highly recommend the cakes in the cafe for afterwards!
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? We love a day at the zoo. A baby giraffe calf has recently been born which would be a lovely site to see as well. They also do a combo ticket (Zooper Ticket) with Living Coasts which will save you some money for two fab days out.
Trago has loads to offer including animal petting, rides, food stalls, a boating lake, Go Karts and lots of outdoor play equipment. They also offer an unlimited ride ticket which is £4.99 for adults and £3.99 for children under 8 making this an affordable day out.
27th – 28th May There will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills, workshops and shows including Spangles and the Clown.
To begin the long awaited school holidays there will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills workshops and shows on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May with Alison Lewis and Spangles and the Clown. On Wednesday 31st children dressed as their favourite Superhero will get in FREE. Take part in bottle feeding, ferret racing, goat milking and pond dipping.
It’s Easter Holiday time and definitely time to get out and about with the kids. The weather should be a lot better, although Saturday was definitely a cinema day with torrential rain. Here are 11 Easter Activities in the South West that I’ve found.
We have a half work, half time off Easter Holiday’s this year but here are some great ideas to get out and about with the kids in the South West.
As well as all the usual fun stuff to do at the pony centre including pony rides, indoor and outdoor play they are holding an Easter Egg Hunt with a fancy dress theme and entertainment from Dan the Hat and Jack’s Zoo.
There’s loads of stuff going on at the World of Country Life including Easter themed arts and crafts, meet the Easter Bunny, Ferret racing, an Easter Egg Hunt and The Chicken Run (which is a surprise event).
Join in the Giant Easter Egg Hunt, Egg Rolling, Egg Tossing and guess the weight of the Easter Egg as well as meeting and feeding the animals. If you go on Good Friday before 11am you may be lucky enough to get a free hot cross bun with your cuppa.
It feels like we’ve only just got back into the swing of things following Christmas, and yet another school holiday is just around the corner.
I’m really hoping that the weather is on our side as we have a couple of outside trips to go on. Worse case scenario we go armed with wellies, raincoats and umbrella’s. Sometimes you’ve just got to go for it.
Here are some of the things that have made our ears prick up:
This is a great place to take the kids. All week they have animal talks including Otters and Red Squirrels.
What’s on this week? Creepy Crawly Welly Walks, pond dipping and making animal dens as well as all the usual outdoor fun.
Children £8.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
What’s not to love about Crealy. There’s loads of stuff to do for all ages outside if the weather is nice, and if not you can hunch up with all the other mums and dads in the indoor play area and let the kids let off some steam. Meet the animals including Goats, Ponies, Monkeys and Meerkats. During half-term they’re running competitions for a chance to Win prizes totalling £5000 over the week. You can also camp, glamp or stay in a lodge in Crealy Meadows.
Children £6.95 (Under 92cm FREE)
Named as one of the ‘Top Ten Family Day’s Out in Devon’. This is a lovely place to take the kids where you can meet the donkey’s and stay for a grooming session along with talks about the work that they do (which is amazing). They have a maze and an outdoor play area, and I hear that the food is absolutely delicious.
They are offering a Dip and Dine offer with swimming, sauna and steam (adults only) and food in Amelia’s where they serve a selection of hot and cold food. We’ve done this before where we’ve had a swim and then a cooked breakfast which was lovely.
To launch the season’s opening, if you visit during 11th – 19th February you will be given a return ticket to visit as many times as you like during half-term. Take the little ones along for animal feeding, egg collecting, pond dipping, ferret racing and miniature pig racing. If you visit on 11th or 17th February Poco Drom will be playing which is always a treat.
A brand new adventure trail for kids and adults alike. The trail is for all ages and has a range of bridges, zip wires, stepping stones and ropes. If you’re kids like mud (who doesn’t) then this is great fun. Booking is advised.
Over 1 Metre £6.50
Under 1 Metre £3.50
There are loads of workshops during half-term week including animation workshops, Family Collage making and a Chinese Trail. Most of these are drop-in sessions but pop over the to website to check to avoid disappointment.
I’ve been meaning to take Isabelle here for a while now. Not only do they have lots of hedgehogs that have been rescued, but they have other animals such as goats, pigs and ponies. Get involved with feeding and petting the animals. This February entry is only £5.00 (including half-term).
Children £5.00 (Under 3’s FREE)
During February Half Term they are having a Beside the Seaside theme including a Shipwrek Train, a Beachside Scene, Puppet Shoes, Mac the Penguin, daily Animal talks and more.
Children £9.15 (Under 3’s FREE)
Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo! As well as all the Fab animals, this February Half Term celebrates the launch of Cold-blooded Creatures 2017. There will be special talks, trails, Cuba the Croc mascot appearances and more!
Children £11.55 (Under 3’s FREE)
There are also lots of FREE things to do in the South West such as taking advantage of the many beaches. We love going to beach outside of summer time to find unusual things in the rock pools, and collect shells and pebbles . Put your wellies on, grab a bucket and a net and off you go.