While Devon is full of theme parks and family friendly attractions, these aren’t for everyone and with the cost of living rising, you might be on the hunt for ways to make your trips to Devon as cost effective as possible. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite budget friendly things to do with the kids, so wherever you are in Devon, you can still have fun without having to crack out the credit card.
Rockpooling is a great family activity and doesn’t cost anything, all you really need is a keen eye. If you have a bucket or a little net to hand, you can use these too, but you don’t even really need to catch anything.
There are loads of sites throughout Devon that are perfect for rockpooling, if you’re in South Devon, check out Wembury Beach which is not only a fun place to go rockpooling but is also a haven for marine life – it isn’t uncommon to see lobsters and seals, especially on warmer days. The beach falls within a Marine Conservation Area, so if you do head out to explore, make sure to return any creatures where you find them. Seaton Hole Beach on the western side of Seaton is one of the most popular spots for rockpooling, everything from fossils to star fish have been found here.
Alternatively, in North Devon, Combe Martin and Lee Bay are great for rock pooling as they have some really deep pools that appear at certain times of day.
Crabbing is a wonderfully fun activity that won’t cost the earth. You can easily and cheaply pick up crab lines, if you don’t already have your own, and a bucket. On a warm and sunny day, you can spend hours finding different crabs – just remember to return everything you catch!
Devon has a host of great crabbing spots. In North Devon, Appledore is particularly famous for the quality of the crabs that can be caught in the harbour. Otherwise, set yourself up on Ilfracombe Pier or the harbour wall.
If you’re in South Devon, Teignmouth’s back beach near the river is a good spot, or the quayside in Kingsbridge. Exmouth Dock, Brixham Harbour and the embankment in Dartmouth also offer good spots for crabbing.
Explore the South West Coast Path
We all like a trip to the beach, but if your kids need something extra to keep them entertained for a long period of time, why not go on a little adventure using the South West Coast Path? There are loads of routes all over Devon, so you can pick one that best suits your family and with everything from former smuggler’s caves and guard houses to spot on the route, there is something new to discover each time.
Go fossil hunting
If you’re in East Devon, head down to the beach and you’ll find yourself on the Jurassic Coast, one of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The cliffs and rocks in this part of Devon date back millions of years and cover three different eras. In fact, you can determine the age of the rocks depending on their colour – in Sidmouth, the rocks are red which means they are from the Triassic period, so depending where you are in East Devon depends on what sort of fossils you will find.
Budleigh Salterton, Beer and Sidmouth are all good spots for finding fossils, just make sure to put everything back where you find it, it’s illegal to remove fossils from the Jurassic Coast. There are a couple of places in North Devon, like Lee Bay and Valley of Rocks where you can find fossils too.
Visit a museum
If there’s a spot of bad weather and you need to find something indoors to do for a few hours, head to one of the many museums in the region, several of them offer free entry – perfect for a fun day out. Devon has museums all over the county with fun, interactive displays and something for the whole family, so make sure to check out our things to do section to plan your days.
Try your hand at surfing
Did you know the North Devon coast is the UK’s only Surf Reserve? Well, it is and if that wasn’t enough, it also provides the perfect conditions for a host of different watersports, so whether you have your own surf or paddle boards or not, you can head out onto the waves and while away the hours perfecting your skills. If you don’t have your own boards, you can hire these for a small fee from organisations all over the coast and if you’re in south Devon, you don’t have to miss out, there are plenty of opportunities for watersports there too, particularly in the English Riviera.
Go pony spotting
If you don’t fancy getting wet or you want some time away from the beach, head inland and see how many ponies you can find. There are herds of wild ponies on both Dartmoor and Exmoor that you can seek out. The national parks are also home to highland cows, rare sheep and feral goats which you can find – just make sure not to approach them, they are wild animals after all.
Looking for more inspiration for free activities or budget friendly things to do in Devon? Click here to find more.