Coming to Devon for February half term? Want to find something that everyone can enjoy and learn something new about the county at the same time? Check out these heritage attractions – many of them are even running additional activities to coincide with half term, giving you even more entertainment!

Of course, one place to start with heritage attractions is the National Trust and there are a host of properties and countryside areas to explore across Devon. Members get free entry, making it a good day out if you want to cut down your budget. One option near Exeter is Killerton, a Georgian house surrounded by around 6,400 acres of grounds. The house includes the largest fashion collection in the National Trust’s possession and there is even an extinct volcano on-site to discover! During February, they are holding a flower trail, where you can find the spring flowers as they start to appear, as well as an additional fashion exhibit, which will be running until November.

Another National Trust property that is worth a visit is Greenway House, the former holiday home of crime writer, Agatha Christie. As Agatha Christie has such strong ties to the county (she was born in Torquay and took inspiration from the town and the surrounding South Devon area for her books), this is always a nice one to visit if you want to find out more about her life and what the English Riviera was like when she lived there. Aside from the house, which remains largely untouched, there are also lovely gardens, woodlands and interesting outbuildings to find during your visit. Just remember, parking is limited at Greenway and needs to be booked in advance, so if you’re planning to visit by car, give them a call before you travel. Otherwise, you can have your own adventure by taking the ferry, walking, cycling or getting the train.

Speaking of Agatha Christie, another place you can find out more about her and the history of the region is Torre Abbey. Torre Abbey  is Torbay’s most historic building and is set within 18 acres. Inside there are more than 600 incredible works of art, a host of seasonal exhibits and plenty of family friendly activities and trails. You can also find a secret walled garden which features a selection of poisonous plants – a speciality of Christie’s.  Want to explore some older history? While you’re in Torquay, you can easily step further back in time at Kents Cavern. Part of the UNESCO Global Geopark in the region, Kents Cavern is one of the most exciting Stone Age caves in Europe and is open daily for visitors. During the school holidays, there are fun, family activities and seasonal things to do, including a cave cinema – who doesn’t want to experience the best films underground.

torre abbey

Image: Torre Abbey

One of the most famous heritage attractions is Exeter Cathedral. Dating back over a thousand years, it remains one of Europe’s most significant cathedrals. Outside, the green is a great place for relaxing and people watching after a busy day exploring the city and inside, you can find a range of family activities. You can even pick up city tours outside the cathedral – if you fancy a trip under the city or learning something extra.

Not far from Exeter is Powderham Castle, which remains the family home of the Courteney family – the family of the Earl of Devon. Powderham Castle is a great day out for the whole family, with exhibits, activities and more to keep you entertained. There’s so much there, that they even offer you a free returns ticket!

powderham castle

Image: Powderham Castle

Why not do something a little different with some of Devon’s more unique heritage attractions? Dingles Fairground Museum is one such unique attraction. Here you can find 45,000 square feet of fairground heritage complete with rides, arcades and more! Or why not take a horse drawn barge trip along the Tiverton Canal? Horse drawn barge trips operate from Easter to October but for visitors coming earlier, you can still explore the beautiful canal walks and visit the various attractions that can be found along the way. Another option would be a trip on a steam train at South Devon Railway. With picturesque views and special trips planned throughout the year, this is a great way to experience steam trains and enjoy the wider area.

Alternatively, visit the UK’s oldest woollen mill which continues to produce to this day. Largely untouched since the industrial revolution, Coldharbour Mill allows you to discover just how clothes were made back in the day by seeing the traditional looms and machinery. The factory site even features in the Doomsday Book – so there is lots of history to uncover here.

And that’s not all – as one of the oldest counties in the country (some of the earliest signs of human life have been found here) there is plenty of heritage to uncover, you can find more places to visit here.