Thinking of spending half term in North Devon? You’ll be spoiled for choice for things to see and do during the break! To help you plan your days, here are some of the region’s best loved attractions and activities.
A trip to North Devon and Exmoor means you are right in the heart of the adventure coast. With the UK’s only surf reserve along the length of the coast and the Exmoor National Park with its range of activities, you can truly have an adventure this summer. There are companies all over the coast offering equipment hire and tuition so no matter whether you are a pro or a novice, you can get out on the waves.
If you want to have a go at some water sports without heading out into the ocean first, book a session with the North Devon Wake Park. Based near Bideford, the wake park is just 10 minutes from the coast and is situated against a stunning lake where you can get involved, no matter what your ability level. The aquapark is based on the lake and there are loads of activities to choose from, including wakeboarding, paddleboarding, swimming and more. What’s more, their activity packages mean you can try your hand at a wide variety of adventures.
For those of you intrigued by a package of outdoor activities, take a look at what is on offer at Skern Lodge. Located in Appledore, with the tidal waters of the estuary and 22 acres of grounds full of fun, there is something for everyone here, especially during the school holidays. There are a range of Active Family Breaks on offer which include food and accommodation too, making this a great option for the family who want a real adventure this May Half Term.
Image: Skern Lodge
Alternatively, take a look at Keypitts Offroad Adventures. Based in Ilfracombe, this centre is a hub of activity, with quad biking, landrover experiences and battlezone archery sessions – of course it is all safe and there are instructors on hand, but it is a great way to battle out that sibling rivalry!
If you’re the kind of family that wants to get the heart pumping but prefer your adventures to be a little drier, why not spend some time at a theme park this half term? In North Devon, there is the Milky Way Adventure Park where there are a huge array of rides for all ages. This year, you can take part in the Ninja Stars games arena which is designed with families in mind or take on some of the rollercoasters. Whatever your age, you’ll find something to suit you here, the littler ones will love playing in the Little Stars play centre and taking part in the additional activities, while the older ones can spend time on the rides. Families will also love the Big Sheep which is home to Devon’s largest rollercoaster, as well as 11 hilarious daily shoes and a host of other fun and activities. Being based on a farm makes this a theme park with a difference, not only do you have rides and activities, but you can also get up close and personal with a host of adorable farm animals and even watch the world-famous Sheep Race.
Image: Exmoor Zoo
Perhaps you like the sound of making some new friends with the resident animals this half term. If so, make sure to add Exmoor Zoo to your list. With interactive and encounter sessions running all day, there are loads of opportunities to get involved with the animals at the zoo, including their friendly wallabies and alpacas. The region is also home to the Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park where you can meet both living and extinct animals. Nearby for those of you with an interest in marine life is Ilfracombe Aquarium, which is home to over 75 species of marine life and plenty of opportunities to learn more about our oceans and those that live there.
While North Devon is a haven for the thrill seekers, it is also a place to get away from it all, so if you want to chill out this half term, we’ve got you covered too. There is the RHS Garden Rosemoor, which covers 65 acres and is a peaceful place to spend a few hours, plus during the school holidays there are a host of activities and workshops to keep the kids entertained. Similarly, Hartland Abbey and Gardens is another place full of tranquillity, offering you the chance to re-energise and relax. The house is fascinating and the beautiful walks and parkland are popular with families, you might even recognise parts of it from your favourite TV shows and films. The Abbey is located within the Hartland Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places in the region and a must visit for everyone, particularly if you love history and untouched places.
Speaking of history, if you want the kids to keep learning while you’re away, why not book a trip on the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway? Retaining much of the charm of the traditional Victorian cliff railways of yesteryear, the Cliff Railway at Lynton and Lynmouth features a Grade II listed building perched high on the cliff top with spectacular views and is the UK’s only fully water powered railway. Built in the 1880s, this is a great historical attraction that is sure to delight and impress – ideal for introducing the kids to Victorian engineering!
image: Affinity Devon
While we might primarily think of North Devon as the surfing capital it is also a great place to do a spot of shopping. Affinity Devon is a unique shopping village with over 30 stores offering up half price off the usual price of all your favourite brands. With eateries dotted between the shops, this is a great place to spend the day, especially if you want to indulge in some retail therapy. You could even combine a bit of history with some shopping by visiting one of the region’s pannier markets. In Bideford, the Pannier Market is now one of the South West’s best Arts and Crafts hubs with local makers and creators operating from their workshops in the original Market units. Very little has changed over the 140 years of the market's life and you can find a regular selection of stalls every week. While in Barnstaple, the market has been running for over 150 years and features markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays with additional Sunday markets to mark special occasions. These historical markets are a great way to find out more about the tradition of West Country markets and to find some unique gifts to return home with!
Still need inspiration for half term in North Devon? Find more things to do here.