Things to do in North Devon with kids

There is a plethora of activities and things to do in North Devon with kids (or without!) and especially near Westward Ho! where we stayed for our holiday. Here I’ve listed some of them!

Related post: Holiday to Westward Ho! with kids

Beach hopping

Might seem obvious, but every beach is different and the idea of beach hopping is one that you can’t do if you live around London without driving miles and miles. Sunsets in Devon are everything so if you’re not doing a beach day, go down before sunset and absorb the views.

Boy running on beach


Westward Ho!

This beach is my first recommendation because we stayed here and loved it. You can read more about Westward Ho! beach here.

Saunton Sands

For a less volatile beach Saunton Sands is on a three mile stretch and is ideal for younger children. It doesn’t have that seaside feel or as many shops like Westward Ho! but the beach is really nice and a lot safer as the tide doesn’t come in that far. There are sand dunes too and a beautiful looking hotel on the hill, Saunton Sands Hotel. I wouldn’t mind staying there one day as it looks gorgeous! It’s a favourite for kite surfers too. As it’s super windy here it’s ideal for kite-flying, but just wear lots of layers and hire a wind breaker for £2!

Colourful beach huts
Beach Huts

Tunnel Beaches

Popular as a wedding venue, the general public can visit this beach even though it’s privately owned. There is a £2.50 pp charge, less for children and that’s to pay for maintenance.

Visit Lundy Island

Lundy Island is a small habited island which you access by getting a ferry from Barnstaple. It’s great to see wildlife and a good day trip if you have time and the weather is behaving itself. The water is really choppy so don’t do it if you get sea sick!

A cliff and sea © Lewis Clarke


Take a coastal walk

My absolute favourite thing to do is walk along a coastal path and is a great thing to do with children as it gets them active. The paths are always different and the views are terrific! This you can do in cold weather too, just wear layers as you can get warm after vigorous walking! Some paths are challenging due to inclines but perfectly fine for my youngest child as the short one we did was fantastic. It was called Abbotsham Cliffs which is a National Trust site. I especially liked it as you need to walk through a few fields to get there which adds to the adventure. 

The views are gorgeous here and you can access the water here too, although the coastline is covered with massive rocks and pebbles. The South West coastal path is over one hundred miles long so there’s no shortages of walks. (Avoid if you have to use a pushchair as they just don’t work well across coastal walkways, hills, fields etc. Wait until your child is about four. I know it sucks, but I’ve been there done that and it’s painful.)

National Trust post

Sea and pebbles with people
Beach access Abbotsham Cliffs walk


Visit a castle

There are so many castles in the West Country and a lot of them are in South Devon and Cornwall so in some cases an hour or more drive. The nearest to us was Watermouth Castle but we really wanted to visit Tintagel, in North Cornwall but decided not to as it was a bit far. If you have lots of time then it’s definitely worth squeezing it into your visit on a sunny day, as the children might actually learn something!

An aerial view of Bovey Castle and grounds, a large manor house built in the Elizabeth style, now a hotel and wedding venue. Set in Dartmoor National Park. Moorland and woodland surroundings. Bovey Castle ©VisitBritain/ Jason Hawkes


Go to a Tea Room

For me no holiday is complete without going to a lovely cafe, and in Devon of course a visit to a tea room for some scones and clotted cream is a must.

Tea on the Green

For something family run and a bit quirky try Tea on the Green in Westward Ho!. Freshly ground coffee and lots of varieties of tea can be had here.

Purity Petal Cafe

For something a bit more modern I’d recommend the fully vegetarian (so therefore halal) the Purity Petal Cafe in Barnstaple. They also have lots of vegan and gluten-free options too. This is an ideal thing to do on a rainy day in North Devon!

Wild Thyme Cafe

Cakes or scones filled with strawberry jam for a traditional English tea
©VisitBritain/ David Clapp

For coffee lovers, Wild Thyme cafe in Braunton hand roasts its coffee in small batches! They also specialise in fresh smoothies and juices as well as offering a full veggie and vegan breakfast. Wonderful!

Visit a theme park

The theme parks in North Devon are nothing like the massive ones in Surrey (Thorpe Park/Chessington). They’re smaller and cheaper to start with and have more of a variety of things rather than just rides — and there’s hardly any queues! And the best thing is there are many indoor activities at these theme parks so it accommodates all weather conditions.

The Milky Way Adventure Park — Bideford

The Milky Way has been named the best attraction in North Devon. With interactive rides as well as the usual ones, it’s got many activities to keep the kids busy!

The Big Sheep — Bideford

Also in Bideford, The Big Sheep is a theme park that caters for all ages with its rides, playgrounds, battlefield, high ropes and animal/sheep related shows. Sounds weird but it’s really fun!

Watermouth Family Theme Tark & Castle — Illfracombe

Watermouth theme park is not the most exciting theme park you’ll visit but tie it in with the castle visit and it makes a great day out. For younger kids who may not be excited by the castle you can bribe them promise them a visit to the theme park afterwards. There is also a really nice cafe to get your caffeine fix and snacks for kids.

As you can see there are loads of things to do with kids in North Devon, but I’d love to know if you’ve been to North Devon? What things did you love doing?


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