Travelling with the whole family can spark feelings of joy and dread simultaneously. On the one hand, a chance for the family to be together and make memories is about as wonderful as it gets. However, the planning and logistics of these types of holidays can be stressful. 

How to fit in all the attractions?  Will everyone get along? These worries can sometimes deter busy parents from taking holidays, especially if they think it might be too far to travel. However, with some planning and relaxed thinking, going away with the family can be fun.

Planning a trip to Devon is a nice option for your family holiday. There is no shortage of things to do; from the region’s unique nature to historic towns full of old world charm and of course, two exciting cities. As city trips usually seem to be the most complicated for families, a good start could be Devon’s capital, Exeter. 

Exeter is just the right sized city to try out a holiday with the children, there are plenty of things to do and culture to experience, without losing its West Country charm. Here are a few suggestions of great family friendly things to do around Exeter.

The Quayside

In warmer weather, Exeter’s Quayside is a fantastic place for water sports for the whole family. There are many child-friendly companies in the area that will accommodate your children, and who can recommend the perfect spots and loan the right equipment for a fun day out on the water. You can also visit places like Topsham Pool if your children are a bit older and more experienced swimmers. You just need to make sure you have the right safety gear, plus Topsham Pool is a great place for the parents to sit and catch your breath. 

If the weather is not right for water play, then there are still other areas to let your children have fun. There are a few indoor climbing centres that will provide your kids with a few hours of fun. Don’t let the word climb stop you from bringing the younger children. There are plenty of activities from around ages 4 and up, but still enough challenging activities for the older ones.

Make sure to round off a full day of activities with a delicious meal, something else that the Quayside has in abundance. If you’re planning on a waterside meal afterwards, make sure not to leave it too late. Sometimes, with smaller children, having a bigger lunch might be a better option. Simply stop for a quick drink and a bite at dusk so tired young ones won’t get too fussy waiting for different courses. 

Gandy Street

Shopping with the whole family can be a nightmarish task, but not by visiting somewhere like Gandy Street. It is no secret that there have been connections made between this beautiful winding street and the famous Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter series. There is no harm in enchanting the young ones with stories of magical shops on this charming road. The whimsical shops and eateries along the way will no doubt help add a feeling of magic to the experience. 

While it may not buy you an entire day’s worth of entertainment, it will likely result in a few nice hours popping in and out of quaint boutiques and enjoying a charming lunch in a cosy café.

As a parent, having a different perspective about your holiday goals can help you feel satisfied. Perhaps you didn’t get to spend the whole day shopping like you once did, but a day out with the kids can still be enjoyable, just a different experience. As a treat for everyone, stop off for some ice cream during your visit to celebrate an afternoon well spent. 

Royal Albert Memorial Museum

This museum has an array of rotating exhibits and there is always something to entertain, whatever your age group. Parents will be able to enjoy some culture and the kids will love the interactive activities. A visit to a museum like this one is particularly special because the entire family can engage together in a way that everyone will enjoy. The museum is also free, which makes this a great outing for those with a big family or anyone holidaying on a budget.

As with everything on this list, a full day at the museum may be too much to ask for the younger ones. If you are travelling with younger children, and you have 5 activities on your must-see list, don’t be too disappointed if you only get around to one or two of them. As the Royal Albert Memorial Museum is free, you can always come back the next day and see anything you may have missed, if you have the time.

Crealy Theme Park

Theme parks are always a go to when it comes to family and with good reason, this park in particular provides something for the entire family. Crealy Theme Park offers activities for all ages and with indoor and outdoor activities, it is a great all weather attraction too. There are plenty of fun, more intense rollercoasters for the adults and the teenagers like the Maximus, but there are still plenty of toddlers and young child-friendly attractions like the Neptune's Sea Cups, to make sure no one feels left out. There is even a zoo at the park, so everyone can spot their favourite animals!

Crealy Theme Park is open for most of the year, so the fun can be enjoyed year-round. If it’s a bit chilly, or if it is raining, there are tons of indoor play areas and rides that you can take advantage of, so bad weather does not have to stop you from having a good time. There are plenty of soft play areas for the younger ones too.

With theme parks, there is always the risk that someone will get scared on one of the rides or start to feel a bit sick, this doesn’t need to stop the fun though – take a break on one of the park’s picnic benches or in one of the eateries and have a drink to calm the tummy. Stopping for a treat to reward brave behaviour is always a good way of helping them fight their fears too!

Now you can go anywhere!

Once you have conquered a city break in a smaller city like Exeter, you can apply the same ideas to any destination.

If the trip to Crealy Theme Park was the highlight of your trip, you can find similar parks all over the world, or if you enjoyed the Quayside, then perhaps a trip to another city on the water will suit you. For those of you who want to go further afield, applying the same rules, and properly preparing, means that travelling overseas with the family doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. To travel to the USA, you need an ESTA. One of the benefits of applying for the ESTA online, is that you can apply for the whole family at the same time. When you use the ESTA online application form, you only have to fill in a large bit of the information once, instead of for each individual ESTA. This makes applying for everyone much faster. Most UK citizens meet the requirements of a USA ESTA, which is much faster and easier to obtain than a regular visa. Plus, with an ESTA there is no need to go to the embassy with the entire family.