One of our nearest historic sites is Hembury Fort. A great place for dogs and children alike to run free, the historic hill fort in Devon is a scheduled monument with a well-defined circuit of defences around it. The site has evidence of settlements dating back to the Neolithic period and was used as an Iron Age Fort and a base for the Roman Army in the 1st Century AD. It’s fantastic for exploring and there’s a wonderful view from the top, not to mention plenty of space for a picnic. There’s no entry charge; just park in the car park and cross over the road to access the footpath.
Coldharbour Mill in Uffculme is a 200 year old spinning mill still producing knitting yard. By touring the mill and museum you can get a real insight into Victorian life in a factory during the industrial revolution. Their next Steam Up day is August 26th, when they’ll be running tours, steam demonstrations, children’s activities, have a go weaving and spinning sessions and Victorian dressing up. Entry fees apply.
The city of Exeter is full of history; from the Roman wall to the impressive Gothic Cathedral, but the Underground Passages offer a very different view of the city. These medieval passages were designed to bring clean drinking water from natural springs outside the city walls. Over 5s only. View their leaflet. While you’re in Exeter, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum is an excellent and free facility for families. With plenty of historic displays detailing everything from the city’s Roman heritage to wartime Exeter, they also have loads of activities for kids throughout the year.
Another exciting below-ground adventure is on offer at Beer Quarry Caves. Near the beautiful Jurassic coast, tour the vast underground caverns created by the quarrying of Beer Stone. This huge man-made complex provided stone to many of the Westcountry’s most magnificent buildings and the tour gives you a flavour of life as a quarryman.
National Trust members are spoilt for choice in Devon, but our two nearest historic houses, Killerton and Knightshayes both have regular children’s activities. Killerton is an 18th Century family home with a fashion collection, but the rolling landscape of the grounds themselves is just stunning. From Forest Fun to a showing of ‘Gangsta Granny’ in the garden theatre, there’s plenty to see and do. Knightshayes is running an Amazing Mazes quest, inspired by the quirky architecture of the Gothic-inspired house.
No matter which of these historic attractions you choose, you can be sure you’re making memories the family can treasure for a lifetime.