See and Do Category: Family fun

Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat

Based on the glorious South Devon coastline in South West England, enjoy your days out in Devon on our steam trains, boat trips and paddle steamer - the only attraction in Devon that lets you enjoy the delights of Torquay, Paignton, Brixham, Dartmouth and the River Dart, Kingswear and Totnes on your day out!

South Devon Railway

The South Devon Railway is one of Devon’s and the West Country’s best loved tourist attractions and is the longest established steam railway in the south west. There’s plenty of space to enjoy our large 12-acre grounds in the sunshine, a large free car park, plus drinks, snacks and ice creams are on sale in a nearby kiosk. It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours on a nice day whilst avoiding the traffic jams and crowds at the beach and the Moors!

The South Devon Railway, or SDR, is a seven mile former Great Western Railway branch line, built in 1872, which runs along the stunning valley of the River Dart between Buckfastleigh and Totnes. We run steam trains with heritage rolling stock and offer a wonderful all day, all weather attraction for families and people of all ages.

Totnes (Riverside) station is c. 500 yards from the main line station. Footpaths link the station with the town. Or there is plenty of free car parking at Buckfastleigh station - TQ11 0DZ.

Look out for special events happening throughout the year or make your dream come true when you book a drive-a-train experience.

Totnes Castle

Hidden away in Totnes town, visit this classic Norman motte and bailey castle, managed by English Heritage.

Climb to the top of the keep to enjoy stunning views over the town of Totnes and across to the River Dart. Or enjoy a picnic in the peaceful grounds under the shelter of age old trees – there is plenty of space for families to relax on a summers day. Within easy walking distance of the town, the castle is an ideal addition to any day out in South Devon and you can combine the visit with one to nearby Dartmouth and Berry Pomeroy Castles which are just a short drive away.

For full opening times and prices, search ‘Totnes Castle’ or follow the website link above.

Totnes Elizabethan House Museum

Totnes Museum is set in a beautifully restored Elizabethan merchant's house built in the 16th century. The Grade I listed Elizabethan building has many stories to tell.  The museum houses a wide range of treasures and includes a room a room dedicated to Charles Babbage 'father of the computer' who was a resident of Totnes. Hidden away behind the Museum is a lovely garden. Reminiscent for herb gardens of the Elizabethan period, this is a wonderful space to take a step away from the bustle of the busy town and smell the roses. Opening Hours:    Monday thru Saturday 10:00am to 4:00pm (last entry at 3:30pm) Free entry (Suggested donation £2 per person) Our Archives are continuing to answer local and family history enquiries in addition to offering family history research for £7.50 an hour. If you have any enquiries for them please contact [email protected] or via the website.          

Sea Kayak Devon

Guided trips...  Skills courses... Kayak expeditions! Individuals, groups and families are all welcome and no experience is required. There is no better way to explore Devon's stunning coastline than by kayak! Based in Dartmouth, let Sea Kayak Devon’s highly qualified guides take you on an unforgettable journey: •    Explore spectacular rocky islands and secret coves •    Get up close to amazing wildlife •    Discover incredible sea caves from your kayak! •    Relax on a secluded sandy beach and roast marshmallows on a driftwood fire Sea Kayak Devon use the very latest equipment to ensure that you are comfortable and their kayaks are stable and glide easily through the water. Big double kayaks are available so that parents with children as young as 5 can join in the fun! Try a half day trip or a full day adventure and picnic in a beautiful spot away from the crowds. Sea Kayak Devon also offer fully catered overnight trips where you can relax by a campfire and learn bush craft skills from your guide. For those looking to take their kayaking to the next level Sea Kayak Devon has several of the UK’s most experienced coaches, who offer a large selection of skills courses. Check the website for more details. A sea kayak is the ultimate way to explore the unique environment where the sea meets the cliffs and rocks of Devon’s coast. You will be amazed by what you discover!

Dynamic Adventures CIC

Choose from a range of activities from 1-hour mini adventures to a weekend packed with activities. Dynamic Adventures CIC is a not-for-profit company based in Totnes, the heart of Devon, providing access to adventure for all. We do all we can to encourage a sense of adventure in all our work, making it safe, fun and inspiring.

Sandridge Barton Wines

Sandridge Barton is the new home of Sharpham Wine and sits in a south-facing bowl on the edge of the River Dart, the perfect terroir for growing grapes and producing renowned English wines. They offer a range of experiences including guided and self-guided wine tours and tastings, and you can dine in their restaurant Circa or enjoy more casual bar snacks in the tasting barn, walk the woodland trail to visit their new vineyard or simply pop into the cellar door shop to purchase your favourite wines and other local produce. Their self-guided tastings are perfect for those wanting to select their own wines and taste casually with friends, with the help of the accompanying tasting notes leaflet, and you can even pair with some specially-selected bar snacks from Circa. The guided tastings offer more insight into the winemaking processes, where a guide will explain the techniques used from start to finish and take you on a tour around the winemaking facilities. There’s even an interactive nature trail through woodland to the new vineyard, which is a perfect activity for kids.

Vineyard Nature Trail at Sandridge Barton

Some of the greatest childhood memories are made when exploring outside, which is why Sandridge Barton’s free Vineyard Nature Trail looks sure to be top of parents’ bucket lists.

The trail starts from Sandridge Barton’s Visitor Centre at Lower Well Farm and is great fun for kids, and informative for adults too. It's set in the countryside on the edge of the River Dart close to Stoke Gabriel in south Devon where an idyllic landscape of wildlife, trees, hedgerows, and woodland is also home to 32 acres of vineyards which produce grapes for Sandridge Barton Wines and the well-known Sharpham Wine.

As children scurry about searching for wildlife, parents can learn why this rolling countryside is perfect for growing grapes. Fascinating interpretation boards offer insightful information on grapevines, while children are encouraged to see if they can spot any creepy crawlies and to try the half dozen brass rubbings, including grapes, fossils and cows, which are set in the vineyard.

Stonyfield is a unique site as it boasts South Devon’s only raised limestone bed, a key feature in some of the world’s best wine regions such as Burgundy, St-Émilion and parts of the Southern Rhone. It was planted in May 2021 and the first harvest of grapes is expected to take place in 2024.

The trail is 1.3  miles long and takes about 40 minutes to complete, and after there are refreshments to be enjoyed at Sandridge Barton, where a gorgeous outdoor area has plenty of space to sit and soak up this beautiful place.

Created with funding from South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the  trail starts at Sandridge Barton (Lower Well Farm, Waddeton Road, Stoke Gabriel, Devon, TQ9 6RL) where parking is free. Well-behaved dogs are welcomed.

If you’d like to try the brass rubbings, head to the visitor centre before starting your walk to collect paper and crayons.

The Gardens at Dartington Trust

Experience a sense of tranquillity at our impressive Grade II* listed gardens, which have been shaped and inspired by the remarkable custodians of this special place for over 1,000 years. On your visit to the 26 acres of tended grounds, you’ll find a range of stunning features with beautiful vistas and creative sculptures, including ancient trees and impressive plant species. Our gardens team have been working hard to bring some of the hidden secrets of the gardens to life. On arrival, you’ll pick up a beautifully design gardens guide (included in the ticket price), and there’s also an activity trail for children to engage in with hidden paths to explore. Stay awhile and enjoy delicious food from The White Hart Restaurant or The Green Table café. Great for kids; Families can enjoy our all-new children’s nature trail within the gardens, with inspired nature activities including bug hotels, den building and more. Our gorgeous new trail map included in your ticket price – make sure you pick one upon arrival!  Open Year round 9am - 5pm. GARDEN TOURS Join one of our highly popular, volunteer-led Garden Tours (duration: 90 minutes) to learn more about the heritage, beauty and historical features of the Gardens. See our dedicated garden web page here We are hugely grateful to our wonderful volunteers for offering these tours.  (free for Dartington Members).    

Paignton Zoo

VISIT THE ZOO FOR SOME OUTDOOR FAMILY FUN In 2023 Paignton Zoo will be celebrating its 100th year since opening its gates to visitors. It’s a momentous year and we have lots planned to mark the occasion including special events and trails. With dozens of different animals across 80 acres of beautiful, spacious grounds – you are in for a really wild time at Paignton Zoo! Located in South Devon, Paignton Zoo is one of theSouth West’s most exciting visitor attractions and one of Britain’s top zoos. Come rain or shine, the zoo is a fun-filled day out for the whole family. Discover all your favourite species, big and small, including gorillas, orang-utans, giraffes, lions, tigers, cheetahs, flamingos, red pandas and rhinos, and be ready for a few surprises along the way too... For the latest updates from Paignton Zoo, please take a look at their website PLEASE NOTE: Booking online is advised to secure best price and preferred date of visit To refuel during the day, there are various food outlets around the zoo to grab a takeaway drink or snack, including the Island Restaurant in the heart of the zoo. Situated in the main entrance, the Living World gift shop is stocked full of unique gifts, cuddly toys and branded souvenirs. Paignton Zoo is a registered charity, so not only do you get a good day out, you know your money is going to a good cause, supporting education, scientific research and practical conservation around the world. Paignton Zoo supports a number of projects in the UK and overseas that aim to conserve wildlife in the wild, as well as playing a key role in breeding programmes for rare and endangered species. You can also help by purchasing a membership, for entry all year round to Paignton Zoo. Paignton Zoo is open from 10am every day (except Christmas Day). Closing times and last entry varies throughout the year so please see the website or call Paignton Zoo on 01803 697500 to find out more.
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