About the Area

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Allhallows Lace

Allhallows Lace

Honiton’s always been famous for its lacemaking (so much so that Prince George’s christening gown was even made from it) and Allhallows Museum has one of the world’s finest collections of Honiton lace. The displays cover two galleries and include samples spanning hundreds of years from the 16th century. If you visit during the summer you’ll be able to see the effort and skill that goes into making lace as live demonstrations take place on weekdays, and there are even lacemaking classes for children under 18.

Allhallows Museum is also home to displays of Honiton pottery, a fully furnished doll’s house from the Victorian period and exhibitions depicting the effect of war on Honiton. There’s nothing better for parents than a museum that keeps the children engaged throughout, and thanks to a selection of free quiz sheets for younger visitors a visit is just as much fun for the kids as the mums and dads. Every child receives a prize when they complete the quiz and it also includes puzzles and games to ring the artefacts to life.

Allhallows Museum opens between the end of March and the end of October every year and entry is free of charge.

Bicton Gardens

Bicton Gardens

There was a time when an imposing Devon building was nothing without a garden designed to take your breath away, and Bicton Park had it all. This East Devon attraction is set in the stunning Otter Valley, and its landscaped park has all the pomp and grandeur of the 18th century. We’re talking scenic glasshouses, the Bicton Woodland Railway, a nature trail, maze, mini golf and a countryside museum – so prepare to spend the day and leave full of ideas to spruce up your own garden when you get home...

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens include plants from all over the world, and they span 300 years. The park is home to the Italian Garden, the American and Stream Gardens, the Mediterranean and Rose Gardens, the Fernery and Shell House, the Hermitage Garden and the Pinetum and the Arboretum. Bicton Park is well known for its rare and many trees (there are over 1000), and many of the 300 species are endangered in the wild. Look out for the 25 champion trees, which include the tallest and largest of their kind to be found in the British Isles.

The Italian Garden was said to have been designed by the Versailles landscaper Andre Le Notre, and its flowerbeds and traditional walled borders date back to the Victorian era. The rose gardens are always delight visitors, and they date back to the 19 century. Dogs are welcome at Bicton Park for an entry fee of £1, and unusually, visitors are welcome to walk on all grassy areas throughout the attraction.

Crealy Adventure Park

Crealy Adventure Park

Crealy Great Adventure Park is an all-weather family day out, and it just so happens to be Devon’s official Visitor Attraction of the Year. The attraction is crammed with rides, animals and characters to make for a whole day of family fun, and there are seasonal events to look out for too. Crealy Great Adventure Park has theme park rides, indoor play areas and farm animals for children of all ages, so no matter how old your brood are they’ll discover Devon’s fun side.

There’s always something to watch at the Crealy Show Dome, and the resident animals that live in the Animal Barn love to be visited and held by friendly children. Will you come across newly hatched little chicks, hilarious chipmunks or fluffy rabbits? Out in the paddocks children can even ride the ponies, come face to face with the deer and feed the goats – so it’s easy to see why Crealy is a firm favourite with families year after year.

Theme parks can be tricky when you’ve got toddlers who are a long way away from meeting the height requirements, and Buddy Bear’s Kingdom is especially designed for the little ones. You may even see Buddy Bear himself roaming around the park.

Crealy Great Adventure Park is an all-weather family day out, and it just so happens to be Devon’s official Visitor Attraction of the Year. The attraction is crammed with rides, animals and characters to make for a whole day of family fun, and there are seasonal events to look out for too. Crealy Great Adventure Park has theme park rides, indoor play areas and farm animals for children of all ages, so no matter how old your brood are they’ll discover Devon’s fun side.

There’s always something to watch at the Crealy Show Dome, and the resident animals that live in the Animal Barn love to be visited and held by friendly children. Will you come across newly hatched little chicks, hilarious chipmunks or fluffy rabbits? Out in the paddocks children can even ride the ponies, come face to face with the deer and feed the goats – so it’s easy to see why Crealy is a firm favourite with families year after year.

Theme parks can be tricky when you’ve got toddlers who are a long way away from meeting the height requirements, and Buddy Bear’s Kingdom is especially designed for the little ones. You may even see Buddy Bear himself roaming around the park.

Cycling in Haldon Forest

Cycling in Haldon Forest

Haldon Forest Park is a truly breathtaking location, ideally located just 15 minutes outside of Exeter. With 3,500 acres of stunning scenery, this is a perfect location to take in the wonderful countryside that Devon has to offer. Haldon Forest Park offers a range of activities and attractions, but is a place not to missed for cyclists whatever your age and ability.

The bike trails are surrounded by trees and wildlife and are sure to give riders a wonderfully invigorating experience. With courses ranging from easy to extreme, you can build up your confidence and skills without pushing yourself further than you are comfortable with. The trails have ideally positioned resting points with views over Exeter and Dartmoor, and if you aren’t quite ready to try one of the cycling trails straight away, you can even get some practice on the purpose built skills area and pump loop, popular with beginners and advance riders.

If you haven’t brought your own bikes and equipment with you, it’s not to worry as the on-site cycle hire centre has it all. With a range of adult and child mountain bikes, tricycles, disability bikes and child seats and tag-alongs, you’ll definitely be able to get everything you need at Forest Cycle Hire. They even offer guided bike rides and for the more adventurous, night rides throughout winter.

Devon County Show

Devon County Show

The Devon County Show is all about wearing wellies with pride, performing diggers and parading cattle, and it’s one of the most important events in the South West’s agricultural calendar. Held annually at Exeter’s Westpoint Arena, the show is an open air celebration of rural Devon and it’s a real family event.

Wander thousands of stalls laden with homemade foods, local produce and arts and crafts, and gather for displays and spectacles including live music, animal displays and demonstrations. The Devon County Show is held for three days each May and it’s a unique day out that’s got something for all ages. The showground is huge (you’ll never see everything in one day) so comfortable footwear is a must, and dogs are more than welcome to come along too.

Every year’s show is different than the one before, so no matter how often you go you’ll see new performances – and the looks on the children’s faces show that you don’t need to be an expert to have great fun watching the cattle! Dogs are always more than welcome at the show, so take him along and let him enjoy all the sounds and smells of the country. The showground opens at 8am.

Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey Sanctuary

Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary is a real favourite with the TripAdvisor masses, and it’s the largest sanctuary of its kind. One of the most popular attractions in Devon, the sanctuary is also one of the most natural. Wide open fields lead to far-reaching views, and visitors can meet and greet the donkeys in their own time and get to know more about the work of the dedicated volunteers.

The donkeys love nothing more than to be made a fuss of by visitors, and one of the nicest things about visiting is that children and adults can enjoy a cuddle with some of the rescued residents. The sanctuary is open every day of the year and dogs are more than welcome to visit too. If you sponsor one of the donkeys you’ll be able to find your own one and ask the volunteers all about how it’s getting on, and daily talks at 11.30am and 3pm mean all visitors can learn about the donkeys and their pasts.

It’s the public who support the Donkey Sanctuary, and its volunteers believe that they should be able to spend as much time as they want to enjoying the company of the rescue donkeys, so this is an unrushed and relaxing day out for the whole family. Some of the donkeys you’ll meet have worked hard as beach donkeys and in derbies throughout their lives and are now enjoying their retirement in Devon, and some of them have sadder stories, so please donate generously.

Escot Park

Escot Park

We know that many of you visit Devon to make the most of the wide open spaces, the sound of nothing but birds tweeting, and well, somewhere that’s unspoilt. At Escot Park you’ll find all of those things and more, as the owners of the park are careful to add, change and develop as little as possible.

This east Devon estate dates all the way back to Normal times, and it’s belonged to the Kennaway family for more than two centuries. Today, Escot is as beautiful as it’s been for hundreds of years, and it’s the perfect family day out. Lose yourselves in the Beech Hedge maze, wander sun dappled woodlands and watch the little ones enjoy the secret playgrounds dotted throughout the park.

There’s an indoor play barn aimed at small children, and the Coach House Restaurant provides fantastic food for the whole family. Picnics are welcome throughout the grounds if you’d rather fill a hamper with your favourites and take your time eating in one of the many picnic areas.

We promised all things natural at Escot, so it’s only right that you encounter some wildlife during your visit. Look out for the resident otters, wild boar and red squirrels. You’ll also come across the odd peacock and guinea fowl that are free to roam the grounds, so expect surprises during your visit. Escot is close to Ottery St Mary on the outskirts of Exeter.

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral sits right at the heart of Exeter city centre and it’s not only one of the country’s finest places of worship but it’s also a fantastic example of Gothic architecture. Visitors to the city have been welcomed to the cathedral since medieval times and even today, it remains one of Devon’s most popular attractions. The cathedral plays host to uplifting choirs and rousing orchestras all year round, and it’s not uncommon to hear the sounds of younger singers raising their voices in song while you explore what started life as a Norman cathedral.

The original building was around two thirds the size of the one you see today, and if you look up once inside you’ll see the two foreboding towers that are all that remains from the Norman building. While your eyes are skyward have a look at the uninterrupted vaulted ceiling as it’s the longest of its kind in the world. There are regular tours of the roofspace to enable visitors to experience the architecture more closely, and if you join one on a clear day the views you'll experience will be unforgettable.

Summer’s days sees the cathedral green bustle with activity and the grass makes a welcoming spot to sit down and enjoy a picnic while you admire the medieval buildings that huddle around the cathedral. The cathedral usually opens every day, although visiting times can be changed occasionally to allow for services and events.

Exeter Christmas Market

Exeter Christmas Market

Exeter decks the green with boughs of holly every year as it hosts one of the region’s best-loved seasonal events. Exeter’s Cathedral Green comes over all festive from November to December every year when the Christmas Market springs up. Traditional wooden huts line the green in the heart of the city centre and the market combines the very best produce from the South West with treats from the continent.

There’s always plenty of opportunity to snack on something hot and sip on a mulled wine while you browse the stalls, and if you like to do your Christmas shopping from independent retailers then you’ll find handcrafted gifts, decorations and foods to help you create the perfect Christmas.

The market usually starts from the last week in November and ends the week before the big day. The Cathedral looms high above the green, and the historic buildings that huddle around it make a Christmassy backdrop to this festive market every year. You might even see Santa wandering the stalls greeting the shoppers…

Exeter Underground Passages

Exeter Underground Passages

Next time you’re wandering the historic streets of Exeter think about this – you’re probably walking above a network of underground passages that were once crucial to the city’s residents. The underground passages may not sound like your usual family attraction but they’re great fun and you’ll learn even more about Exeter’s history that a day above ground – and you get to wear a hard hat.

The medieval network of passages flummoxed Exeter’s residents for centuries as they came up with all kinds of theories about why they were built, but in the end the answer was a simple one – they supplied water to the city. Lead pipes were placed in the tunnels and used to pump spring water from the area’s fields into the walled city. Just like today, when the pipes occasionally leaked they had to be dug up to be repaired, so eventually a series of vaults were created to enable workers to walk along beside them.

Visitors to this unique attraction are shown a short film explaining the history of the passages, before being handed hard hats and guided through the tunnels beneath the city. You’ll be underground for around 25 minutes and children are welcome, but we wouldn’t recommend this tour for anyone who gets claustrophobic due to the narrow tunnels.

Go Ape

Go Ape

Devon could have been made for adventurers, and GoApe, just 15 minutes from Exeter makes it easy for all ages to make like monkeys and get high up into the forest. Skim high above the treetops and admire views over Dartmoor in style as you ride the breathtaking zip wires, and that’s after you test your determination as you climb, clamber and cling your way up and down towering trees.

The highlights of GoApe are its two 235m zip wires, as how often do you get to glide above the world? There are different courses for different levels and ages, and if you don’t want to tackle a particular section you can always skip it and move on to the next one. That said, once you get started there’ll be no stopping you from launching yourself from Tarzan swings and tackling crossings to make it to the next stage.

GoApe is located in Haldon Forest Park, and it’s a popular place for a bike ride or a walk after you’ve finished monkeying around. Each session at GoApe takes around 3 hours, and you’ll be fully briefed before you start to make sure you’re safe at all times. The highest point of the course is 14m(trust us, it feels a lot higher when you’re getting ready to leap) and there are an impressive 39 crossings, so prepare to rediscover muscles you’d forgotten existed.

Landrover Experience

Landrover Experience

Located just 5 miles from Lakeview Manor, Land Rover Experience offers the opportunity to drive one of our brand new Land Rover or Range Rovers over our challenging off road course. You will tackle steep hills, muddy tracks and water. We offer 1hr tasters, half day and full day adventures. For groups we offer tailor made team building activities.

The Land Rover Experience West Country centre  was the first Regional Experience to be officially opened in the UK.  The centre is surrounded by 135 acres of private access ground including its 35 acre off road course.

Mansell Raceway

Mansell Raceway

Mansell Raceway is so close to Honiton that you’ll be able to hear the engines revving even before the track comes into view, and it’s owned by Nigel Mansell’s racing driver sons Leo and Greg. The attraction is the most popular outdoor karting circuit in the county and completes a stay in the area for lovers of racing year after year.

At 750m long, the circuit brings drivers as close as they can get to experiencing what it’s really like to be a professional racing driver, and the opportunity to race against the elements makes it an unforgettable track. The circuit’s services can be customised to suit groups and families, so just call in advance and explain what you’re after to enjoy a great time tailored to your party.

Choose between the Arrive and Drive option (where you simply turn up and then enjoy the thrill of driving the circuit) or arrange a race as a group. The races can be arranged for up to 8 drivers at any one time but don’t worry if you have more than 8 people in your group, the staff will work around you. Racers must be 14 or over.

Powederham Castle

Powederham Castle

Perched on the Exe Estuary just outside the city of of Exeter, Powderham Castle is an historic family home with 600 years of history to its name. Powderham manages to combine a fascinating and informative day out with lots of fun, so it’s a lovely family attraction.

Visitors can learn the history of the castle with a guided tour, picnic in the huge grounds, enjoy the sprawling gardens and play areas and visit the authentic Victorian kitchen – all in one day! Powderham also hosts many events and activities throughout the year, such as a Bird of Prey attraction, concerts and themed days.

Work on the castle started in 1391, and it still belongs to the ancestors of its founder Sir Richard Courtenay today. It's now the home of the East and Countess of Devon and it's packed with stories from over the centuries. The guides know the castle inside and out, and they'll tailor each tour to suit the age groups of the party. The castle's architecture is one of its most striking features, and outside there's a deer park which is home to 600 fallow deer.

If you've got small children make sure you walk them over to the Walled Garden and Play Area and Pets Corner, the friendly pets are always happy to greet friendly visitors. The adventure play castle - Courtenay Fort- provides entertainment while the grown ups sit and rest, and there are nature trails throughout the grounds.

Seaton Tramway

Seaton Tramway

How’s this for a day out with a difference... ride the Jurassic Coast of East Devon aboard a historic tram. Seaton Tramway takes more than 100,000 visitors per year between the fascinating resorts of Seaton, Colyford and Colyton and through some of Devon’s most scenic landscape.

The tramway travels next to the River Axe estuary through two nature reserves and gives a close up view of the wading bird life, so if you want to sit back and see Devon from a completely different angle then hop aboard. Seaton is one of the Jurassic Coast gateway towns, so why not spend some time there taking in the geology that dates back millions of years before venturing further afield?

There are 14 trams in the fleet and they are regularly dressed up for special events - dinosaur and pirate trains for the children, a Halloween special, guided bird watching and even Abba and Wurzels tribute nights.

Tar Barrels

Tar Barrels

Now this Devon tradition may seem quite strange, but bear with us. Each bonfire night sees thousands gather in the small town of Ottery St Mary to watch locals run through the streets carrying flaming barrels of tar on their backs. Still feeling bemused? We don’t blame you a bit. This spectacle has snowballed in the last few years after making headlines around the world, and now the crowds are bigger than ever.

The tradition of burning barrels in Devon goes back hundreds of years, although nobody knows quite when it started. What we do know is, the thrills of this event have made it world-famous, and it gets bigger every year.

If you fancy braving the tar barrel ritual we strongly advise you to arrive early to ensure a parking space in one of the two main car parks. It’s £10 per car in both of them, and there is strictly no parking on any of the town’s roads as they’ll be closed for the event. This is because the narrow streets throughout the town must be kept open for emergency services.

It may sound scary, but you don’t have to get to the front of the crowd or close to the barrels if you don’t want to, just make sure you can see. Delays getting in and out of the town aside, tar barrels is a truly Devon tradition and the kind of event you’re unlikely to see anywhere else, so it makes an unforgettable way to mark bonfire night.