Crabbing: take a bucket, line and some bacon and either go to the embankment at Dartmouth (husband sits with pint sorting out snagged lines while I dash to the shops without them noticing!) or the inner harbour wall near the Crab shack in Teignmouth. We have always got a satisfying haul and apart from the bacon and ice creams it is free!
Paignton Zoo (3.6 miles): Only 10 minutes away and it has an award winning focus on conservation. If you want giraffes, lions, gorillas, meerkats then allow a good 4 hours…get there early in peak season to avoid the queues.
Living Coast (Torquay, 5.7 miles): If you have a spare couple of hours, this is perfect to explore (also good if it’s raining). Penguins, seals an otters and right next to Torquay marina. Rockfish and Pizza Express are a close walk away for lunch.
Pennywell Farm (12.4 miles): A trip to Devon always involved going here until my children were 11 – you can bottle feed lambs, cuddle a miniature pig, and ride a pony. Allow at least three hours as you won’t get them out of there easily!
Dartmoor Zoo (25.6 miles): We watched “We bought a zoo” (Matt Damon / Scarlett Johansson) and went to visit the next day. Borrow our copy and do the same! If you want to spoil yourself, go to the Treby Arms afterwards in Sparkwell village. They have just won a Michelin star but it still feels more pub-like than fine dining – the food is fantastic!
Aquarium in Plymouth (29.9 miles): My children think it is better than the London Aquarium and you can combine a trip with other things to do in Plymouth.
My children wouldn’t think this list was complete without adding Crealy, Exeter, which has over 60 rides and attractions, and Woodlands Leisure Park, Dartmouth which has indoor play centres, outdoor adventures, Zoo-Farm, and Falconry Centre.
They also love Becky Falls. There are three trails to follow and the waterfall is spectacular, with the added attraction of birds of prey and various reptiles (you can hold an enormous boa constrictor snake!).