Holiday in Devon with Pre-school Children

Fun with the under-5s

This article was written on 2 December 2020
and is a 6 minute read

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In this month’s blog, we discover why Forest Glade is the perfect place for little explorers and we’re on the hunt for the best local attractions for the under-5s.

For a wide-eyed and inquisitive small child, a forest offers a unique chance for them to explore all their senses: the smell of the wood, pine needles and spring flowers; the sight of birds, squirrels, mushrooms and invertebrates; the feeling of bark to the touch and leaves crunching under foot; and even the (closely-supervised) taste of blackberries and sweet chestnuts. All this and more can be found at Forest Glade, where we’re surrounded by beautiful woodland, easily accessed from the park.

After a busy morning exploring, little ones can burn off any excess energy in our indoor soft play area. They can also splash about in the paddling pool or swim with their grown-ups in our indoor swimming pool.

Attractions for Pre-Schoolers and Toddlers in Devon

If you choose to venture off the park, Devon is chock-full of exciting things for under-5s.

Haldon Forest Park is a 3,500 acres woodland near Exeter. They have dozens of trails and activities on offer, but for small children, we recommend a gentle stroll on the Discovery Trail (an easy 2.5km). This is a great all-ability trail for walkers and beginner cyclists. It’s also suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters so a winner for all the family. There are fun features along the way for children, as well as regular resting points. At the time of writing, they’re advertising Gruffalo orienteering.

Into the Woods at Haldon

“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared” Michael Rosen.

The Bear Trail, just the other side of Cullompton, is an award-winning muddy family adventure course. Our experience is that kids absolutely love the freedom of charging around the obstacles, getting well and truly covered in mud. Just remember to take a spare set of clothes and a towel. Even in dry weather, they top up the muddiness! Just be aware some of the obstacles are only suitable for older children. Washing facilities are available, so once you tackled the assault course, you can relax with a wood-fired pizza in the Bear Cave cafe, or bring along your own picnic and watch other people getting as muddy as you!

Muddy Fun at the Bear Trail

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens near Budleigh Salterton is open all year round. Known for its 64 acres of beautiful gardens, and famous glass Palm House (pre-dating Kew Gardens), children also love Bicton for its indoor play barn and outdoor play areas, crazy golf, pedal tractors and train.

Axe Valley Wildlife Park is real gem, this small and friendly zoo near Axminster is an excellent day out for young families. They are exceedingly child friendly and encourage an interest in and respect for the animals they care for at the park. You can even get involved in hands-on sessions with a giant millipede or perhaps a snake! There’s an outdoor play area and a cafe too.

Meerkat at Axe Valley Wildlife Park

Trampoline parks have really increased in popularity in recent years. They’re an amazing way for children to safely let off steam. iBounce in Exeter gives kids the chance to – literally – bounce off the walls! Every morning, they hold bookable sessions exclusively for parents and toddlers.

Crealy is consistently voted as Devon’s best day out. The theme park near Exeter boasts a wide selection of outdoor rides and attractions, huge indoor soft and adventure play areas, live shows and 200 animals.

Wildwood Escot have worked wonders on their countryside estate to give youngsters the chance to get closer to nature. They’ll safely encounter real wolves, wild boar, wildcats and red squirrels. There’s an indoor play barn and outdoor play areas. Feeding time for the otters is always hugely entertaining. The Saxon Village, which comes alive on special occasions with medieval craft demonstrations certainly feels like an authentic slice of ancient Britain.

The Picture House in Exeter runs special Toddler Time film showings, exclusively for pre-school children and their parents or carers. Of course, we always hope you’ll enjoy wall to wall sunshine on your holiday with us and the cinema will be the last thing on your mind, but at just £3 for children and free for adults, it’s a relaxing way to spend a rainy morning.

If you’re looking for soft play, then Ocean in Exmouth is home to giant play frames full of chutes, slides and ladders. They’ve recently opened an area dedicated to under 5s. Ocean is right on the seafront and also offers bowling and two restaurants.

Soft play is great, active fun for younger children

For a lovely local place to eat, try The Bakehouse in Cullompton, a very friendly, family-run cafe, with a children’s menu and books and toys for them to play with. Fordmore Farm Cafe on the road into Cullompton has a farm shop and farm animals on site, including miniature pigs, chickens, goats, cows, sheep and ducks. Their breakfasts come highly recommended and they also sell the particularly delicious Granny Gothard’s ice cream. Visit Fordmore Farm on Instagram. For an evening meal, book your table at Roberto’s, a popular Italian restaurant serving authentic pizza, pasta and calzone in enormous portions! They also have a kids’ menu.

Book a Devon Holiday with your Pre-schooler

Go to our bookings site now to book your family into one of our holiday caravans. We have three-bedroom accommodation, where you can invite the grandparents along, as well as a special discount if you stay with us during term time.

Opening times and availability of attractions will be subject to Covid restrictions at the time of your visit. Information is accurate to the best of our knowledge, but attractions do change. Please always check with the venue before making a trip to avoid disappointment.