If you or your children are fascinated by history, particularly dinosaurs, then a trip to Devon is a must. Not only is Devon full of historic attractions and relevance, but East Devon is where you can find the Jurassic Coast which is full of fossils allowing you to create your own version of Jurassic Park.
From Sidmouth to Seaton to Budleigh Salterton to Tiverton, East Devon is full of wonderous places to visit full of heritage attractions and of course, all the dinosaurs you could wish for. There is so much to see and do, this is by all means not an exhaustive list, but a few suggestions to help with planning your trip.
Image by Jurassic Glamping
The adventures don’t even have to stop when you check into your accommodation, especially not if you’re staying at Jurassic Glamping. This small-scale luxury campsite in Axeminster is only ten minutes from the Jurassic Coastline and the Safari Tents come complete with a fossil hunting kit, as well as all the mod cons such as comfy beds with Egyptian cotton bedding and internal bathrooms, which even have flushing toilets and hot showers. The site is also less than five miles from the Lyme Regis Museum and Fossil Walk, which is a favourite among dinosaur fans and fossil hunters. The museum is built on the former home of Mary Anning, the region’s most well-known fossil hunter and offers some spectacular views of the coastline.
Image by Lyme Regis Museum & Fossil Walks
If you are looking for something a little more relaxing and parent friendly after a day spent searching for proof of dinosaurs, take a look at the Hawkchurch Resort and Spa, also based in Axminster. This five star resort has everything you could want from a relaxing holiday with all the pampering included. Treatments range from hydrotherapy, saunas and more and the accommodation is top of the range with their own private hot tubs and views of the Axe Valley.
It isn’t just dinosaurs and fossil hunting that lures people to the East of Devon, it is also the scenery. Pretty much the entire region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so visiting at any time of year guarantees you spectacular sights.
Image by Tiverton Canal Co
While the link to dinosaurs and the Jurassic era is a big draw for visitors, that isn’t the only heritage that East Devon has to offer.
Water lovers are going to love visiting the town of Tiverton. The Tiverton Canal Company is home to one of the last horse drawn barges in Great Britain and is now run as a Canal Living Heritage attraction. Visitors will be able to meet the horses close up and there is the opportunity to see the only aqueduct along the Grand Western Canal that is built by the team of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Nearby is also the Ducks Ditty Bar, Devon’s only canal barge café and home to one of the greatest beer gardens in the county. A great retreat for the parents who might be slightly bored of fossil hunting! Try out sailing for themselves at the Devon Canoe and Rowing Boat Hire, giving you chance to explore the town from the canal. For those of you looking for somewhere to stay in Tiverton, you have plenty of options, for anyone wanting a home from home, Broad Close Farm Holiday Apartments are a good choice. These self-catering apartments are available for short breaks and are set in a smallholding with farm animals, so visiting in the spring will give you chance to see some of the new lambs, chicks and piglets. The apartments are close to the Exmoor National Park and is just a short walk from an inn that is rumoured to be the oldest in Devon. The Loft Apartment at the Old Kennels is another option for you and is centrally located, perfectly placing you for the market towns of Taunton, Honiton, Axeminster and Tiverton as well as Exeter and nearby beaches. The Old Kennels are also worth a visit especially if you are interested in heritage arts and traditional crafts. The offered courses are a great way to get your teeth into the history of the region’s art. In Honiton is Deer Park Country House, offering a romantic and luxurious place to stay as well as being a wonderful wedding and conference venue. If you are looking for somewhere to host your wedding in the East of Devon, don’t miss out on one of their guided tours.
Train lovers will want to visit the Devon Railway Centre, based in Tiverton. Spend a day here for a whole host of railway themed fun for the whole family. It is a really interactive experience and is perfect for young and old alike. If you fancy journeying around a little to take in the whole area, make sure you head to Ottery St Mary, one of Devon’s more traditional towns. If you visit in November, you’ll be able to catch their legendary Tar Barrell Rolling, which is always a sight to behold! Families will love Wildwood Escot, an amazing place full of animals, mazes, adventure play areas, soft play, theme park rides and more. Whatever your age, there will be something here for you!
Image by Crealy Theme Park & Resort
Visitors will also want to head to popular attractions such as Crealy, where not only is there a theme park, but also accommodation. The park often has additional events and activities during school holidays, giving you plenty of choice during half term.