Family fun on Dartmoor during the School Holidays
Dartmoor is a great place to visit, full of natural beauty, wildlife and pretty towns and villages… but what is there to entertain the younger members of the family? Don’t worry there’s plenty to see and do! Here’s just a small selection of what’s on offer…
Miniature Pony Centre
Just outside the town of Moretonhampstead is the Miniature Pony Centre where you have the chance to get up close and friendly with the animals. There’s something for the whole family with lots of free daily activities and you can meet the wonderful miniature ponies and their farmyard friends and enjoy a pony ride. There are pretty garden and parkland walks, a gift shop and, if it’s wet, there’s an indoor play area too.
Otters & Butterflies!
If you enjoy wildlife, or if you want to introduce youngsters to some new and exciting sights, this visitor attraction is a must. Located just outside Buckfastleigh and conveniently close to the A38, the Dartmoor Otters & Buckfastleigh Butterflies centre is full or fascinating animals and insects. As much of it is undercover, it’s a good venue should it happen to be wet.
A family owned attraction, Totnes Rare Breeds aims to preserve endangered species of farm animals and the diversity of British wildlife. Tucked away behind Totnes in the rolling Devon countryside, once you find the Rare Breeds Farm you won’t want to leave.
South Devon Steam Railway
If you are off to see the Otters and Butterflies or the Rare Breeds, why not add on a magical steam train ride too? All three attractions are close to each other and, if you plan and book ahead, you can buy a special discounted ticket for all three! The steam train ride is wonderful and runs alongside the beautiful River Dart, and sure to enchant the whole family, young or old.
Another extremely popular tourist attraction in the Buckfastleigh area is Pennywell Farm. It’s an animal lovers dream and there are lots of different animals and loads of activities happening every day.
Moretonhampstead Motor Museum
Don’t think ‘Oh no, boring cars!’ – this delightful little museum is a terrific nostalgia trip for the senior members of the party, but also fascinating for youngsters who will find it hard to believe that cars almost 100 years old ever managed to drive anywhere, let alone win rallies! It’s only been open a couple of seasons and has already proved hugely popular, do try and visit and, again, it’s another good choice for a wet day.
No visit to Dartmoor would be complete without a visit to the famous Becky Falls, a visitor attraction since 1903! The falls are an iconic Dartmoor landmark, and a day out here can be as gentle or as adventurous as you wish. There’s a choice of stunning woodland and waterfall walks, graded according to ability; Children's letterboxing (find the stamps) trail with free prize for every child; Awesome hands-on animal encounter shows at weekends and school holidays and more – all included in the entrance fee.
Copyright for image: Lutyenstrustexhibitions.org.uk
Visit the last castle to be built in England! Completed in the 1930s, Castle Drogo is a National Trust property, currently undergoing major repairs and renovations, but still open and offering lots of events for children and guided tours for everyone. As well as the beautiful Lutyen’s designed castle, there are magical river-side walks, a circular croquet lawn, gardens and much more…
Getting on your bike is a great way to see the countryside, but it can be quite a lot of hard work! If you want the peace and quiet, but without the effort… why no try a ride up on the moor on an electric bike? You can book a half-day or full-day e-bike tour along quiet lanes and through some of Dartmoor’s loveliest scenery, with time to stop and explore away from the road.
If you're looking for adventure activities you can Go Ape at Haldon Forest and whizz along two 235m zip wires with views over Dartmoor National Park. As well as the zip wires you can leap off Tarzan swings and tackle a high ropes course in one of Britain's most beautiful forests. Enough to tire any kid out!
This is just the tip of the iceberg - so never fear there is plenty on Dartmoor to keep the kids occupied this summer holiday.