We recently tried out 7 toddler trips in South Devon. It’s a little bit far for a weekend trip from London with a toddler, but just about achievable. East Devon is definitely more accessible!
7 Toddler Trips in South Devon
Living Coasts in Torquay
Living Coasts provides a different experience to an aquarium, as it combines aquatic animals with other creatures found at the coast. There are frequent sessions throughout the day where different animals are fed. These are accompanied by keeper talks giving information about the various species. Daisy loved that there were lots of viewing windows at toddler height. She particularly like the tank of fish and rays.
It is not a wholly wet weather activity as several of the exhibits such as seals, penguins and otters are outside. However, most of the above land animal enclosures also have underwater viewing tunnels. (Although note these may not always be in use – on our visit the windows for the seal area had not been cleaned so as not to disturb the mother and baby). There is also plenty to do inside for the under 5s, including a sandpit, soft play area and drawing area. We only spent a couple of hours here, but could have taken longer. Particularly if we had visited the cafe. On the negative side, parking in Torquay appears to be terrible. It took us ages to find somewhere even though the weather was pretty bad.
Kents Cavern, near Torquay
Kents Cavern is the oldest Stone Age dwelling in the UK. Some of the tools excavated from the caves are around half a million years old. Outside, there is a woodland trail giving you information on what life was like during the Stone Age. There are also activities for little ones, such as excavating for hidden treasures and making your own cave art.
Dartmouth is a pretty little town with lots of options of things to do. A short crossing on the car ferries across the River Dart is the only way to get from one side of the town to the other. From here you get great views of the pastel coloured houses stretching up the hillsides. It is also the starting point of the Dartmouth Steam Railway. This runs for seven miles along the South Devon coast and into the Dart Valley. The same company also offers river cruises on a paddle steamer and open top bus rides in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You could also visit the 600 year old Dartmouth Castle. Built in 1388, the castle was in use right up to World War II so has a long history to discover.
Woodlands Family Theme Park, near Dartmouth
Woodlands is an all weather adventure park near Dartmouth. There is a dedicated toddler zone, with a ball pool, swing, slide and paddling pool. Little ones will also enjoy the little farm and zoo area.
Pennywell Farm, near Totnes
Pennywell Farm has lots to do for toddlers. And the under 3s are free! There are lots of farm animals to meet, the donkeys are still one of Daisy’s favourites and there are some cute miniature pigs. There are lots of activities every day, check the board on arrival for times. Toddlers are welcome on the Rainbow Railway and tractor rides. There are also mini tractors to ride and of course a soft play barn.
A day trip to the beach
There are a wide variety of beaches, from the 3-mile expanse of pebbles at Slapton Sands (yes, rather mis-named!) to little coves such as Maidencombe Beach. This means there is something for everyone. Whether your tastes extend to the tourist hot spots such as Torquay or whether you are looking for something quieter. Try them all and decide which is your favourite.
The village of Torcross has an interesting history. We spent a morning learning about the tragic Exercise Tiger military exercise in 1944. A Sherman tank has been recovered from the sea where it sank during this action. It now as a memorial to those who were lost. We also had a pleasant stroll along the coast which is largely unspoilt and undeveloped. Slapton Ley nature reserve makes for a pretty backdrop and walks. It is the largest area of freshwater in the South West, so has a large variety of plants and wildlife.
Where to stay
We stayed at a fantastic little campsite, Sea View Campsite. It is very basic, just a couple of fields, but what we like in a campsite – great views, uncrowded, cheap, but with the facilities you need (toilets, showers, washing up area, small shop for essentials). There were also chickens and ducks to entertain Daisy. Our only small gripe was the 20p charge for the shower – not so much the charge, but that we didn’t know about it until we had trekked all the way across the field to the showers. With no money.