Goodness me! Half of 2022 has flown by and the school holidays are now just a whisker away. With more and more Brits choosing to remain on these shores for their family breaks, I reckon that a few of you might be heading down this way. But Devon can be an expensive place to visit if accommodation costs and entrance fees come into the equation. So, with pennies being tighter than ever this year I thought I’d share some local knowledge, Here are ideas of ten free days out in South Devon.
- Decoy Park: A great recreational area in Newton Abbot that is a former clay quarry. It has an extensive play areas with those free squirty water features for teenies. It also has woodland walks, football pitches, BMX tracks and a fitness trail of its own. There’s enough to do here to make it a day long destination with a picnic when the sun shines.
- Bovey Tracey: There’s a number of free things to do in this lovely town on Dartmoor’s edge that promotes itself as ‘The Gateway to the Moor’. The House of Marbles with its amazing marble runs, glass blowing works and a good outdoor play area is a must but you probably couldn’t stretch a visit to a full day. So how about a picnic in Parke, a free National Trust site as well? There are walking, orienteering and cycling trails here too. A visit to MAKE Southwest, the wonderful crafts centre is also worthwhile. The exhibitions often have activities for adults and children. And for those who want to splash out a bit of cash there’s the town pool. This is run by a charity on a non-profit making basis.
- Crabbing in Brixham: Yours to be had for the price of a packet of bacon, bucket and crab net. You and your kids can be occupied for hours. Just be certain to follow the crabbing code.
- Exeter: Take you pick from Redcoast Tours, an extensive network of cycle paths, the marvellous Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the Sculpture Walk at the university.
- Buckfast Abbey combined with a stroll up the hill to the spooky burnt out Holy Trinity Church. If you run around the grave of evil old Richard Cabell twelve times the devil might bite your toes. My son never chanced it. He always stopped at eleven!
- Collecting fossils on the Jurassic coast between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, an activity reminiscent of childhood holidays in the area What could make a kid happier than playing with a hammer and chisel?
- The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth An attraction that is reliant on donations rather than entrance fees.
- Haldon Forest: Loads of lovely trails for walking, cycling and discovery.
- Cockington Court, Torquay: Fabulous gardens with lots of maker’s studios to explore. In summer the site is home to a sculpture trail.
- Dartmoor just has to get a look in too! Don’t just sit in the car park near Haytor. Pop into the visitor’s centre for lots of ideas about things to do Try letterboxing or geocaching, scrambling over rocks or investigating some of the extensive archaelogical and old industrial sites.
So, there you have it. A list of quality activities aside from days at the beach that might leave plenty of pennies over for locally made ice cream!