By Briony S. of “Any Way to Stay at Home” (a mum’s blog)
22 September 2015
You’re on holiday in Devon, it is August and it is horrible, with gale force winds, flooding and the general kind of miserable weather synonymous with British holidays, whether you’re in a caravan, hotel or cottage, you still need then answer to one question. How do you keep your toddler happy? Well here’s my family’s list of tried and tested toddler friendly activities, whatever the weather;
World of Country Life - with loads of indoors activities including soft play, animal barns, museums, an entire Victorian style street and places to eat you'll be able to keep snug and dry with ease. If you do get a break from the rain then there are some great outdoor activities, with even more play areas, picnic areas, more cute animals and crazy golf to name a few. There is also a deer safari which you can do rain or shine as the carriages have roofs, it does get a tad breezy out there so wrap up warm. Daddy's highlight was the motorbike collection, Mummy's highlight was feeding a deer and the toddler’s highlight was all the tractors and the soft play.
Pennywell Farm - slightly more outdoorsy but still with plenty of inside attractions Pennywell Farm was a massive hit, there are animals to cuddle, feedings, a bouncy castle and soft play all indoors. Outdoors there are more animals, tractor rides, a maze, pony rides, the rainbow train and even more things to play on. If you do go on a wet day like we did, the best thing to do is just embrace it, get a bit damp and a bit muddy, the kids will love it so just join in with them, as a plus it's Pennywell's policy to give you a free return ticket if it rains when you're there so you can go back within 7 days and really make the most of it. Daddy's highlight was the views from the tower, Mummy's highlight was cuddling a miniature pig and the toddler’s highlight was the Rainbow Railway as he was allowed two rides due to it being quiet!
Exmoor Zoo - this one is fine for a damp day, but I wouldn't do it on a really rainy day as it's predominately outdoors, it was a bit drizzly, grey and very wet under foot when we arrived but the sun did make an appearance later on. This zoo is superb, I'm a fan of a good zoo, I have a season ticket to our local one and visit as many as I can, so I was both surprised and shocked to have seen two animals I'd never seen before within five minutes of entering the zoo. The zoo is hilly and has some amazing views, the paths at points are quite steep but we managed just fine with the pushchair everywhere apart from the nature walk, so the boys did that without me and I had 10 minutes to myself! Daddy's highlight was seeing the Beast of Exmoor, Mummy's highlight was getting 10 minutes to herself, ha ha, but seriously my highlight was the Singing Dogs, the toddler’s highlight was watching the Sand Cat.
The BIG Sheep – this is a real must do attraction, it is the perfect place to go on a rainy day with loads to do inside as well as plenty to do in the fresh air. I'll be honest the sun shone for us on the day we visited and it was glorious, but inside there is a very large animal barn with cute puppies, adorable lambs and kids (of the goat variety) and when we visited there was a Dartmoor Pony foal!!! The train is well covered and the tractor ride has a roof on it as well, there are also shows in the indoor arena and undercover seating for the duck trials arena, not to mention a brewery, shop, indoor play and restaurants. Outdoors you have more shows and rides and there'll even be a rollercoaster opening soon, as well as pedalos, archery, trampolines and more. Daddy's highlight was the swan pedalos, Mummy's highlight was the Collie Puppies (Daddy very unreasonably would not let me buy one to take home) closely followed by the sheep show and the toddler’s highlight was the Tractor Safari.
Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway - this may not be something you'd normally think of for wet weather entertainment but hear me out, both Lynton and Lynmouth have an excellent selection of boutique shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs that you can pop in and out of and enjoy at your leisure. At the top of the Cliff Railway, in Lynton, the Railway Cafe has an excellent cream tea and maybe even better views. The railway itself is totally fascinating and whilst the ride only lasts a few minutes each way it enthralled and delighted the toddler, there was hardly any queue at the top which was ideal but returning we had to wait around 15 minutes, normally a nightmare with a toddler but as he got to watch the carriages go up and down whilst we were waiting he was perfectly content, never have we managed to wait with a happier toddler, we also got to spend a few moments enjoying the beach and had a very scrummy ice cream. Daddy's, Mummy's and the toddler's highlight was enjoying the fabulous train ride.
There are so many things to do in Devon and App for Devon can help guide you through your entire holiday but if you just want some ideas of how to occupy your toddler during a wet Devon Holiday you won't go far wrong with these!
I'm Briony, a parenting and lifestyle blogger at anywaytostayathome.com. I write about days out with my little boy, crafting, spa days, holidays and more. My blog follows my journey to becoming a Stay at Home Mum, the reasons behind it and all the joys of trying to get work done with a toddler.
If we aren’t at the zoo or doing something outdoorsy, you’ll find me at home crafting, covered in paint and glitter, at my laptop trying to get some work done or in the kitchen. If I’m really lucky it’ll be a combination of all three!