Family-friendly attractions in Devon: 11 you should take the kids to

Crealy Adventure Park (c) William Wan, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Crealy Adventure Park (c) William Wan, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Every year local families vote for their favourite Devon family-friendly attraction as part of the Primary Times Reader Star Awards - here are 11 places they have chosen as some of their favourites

Over the last couple of months, the highest recorded number of Primary Times readers voted for their favourite family friendly places and people in the area, in a specially designed online survey. The awards are distinctive in nature, due to their authenticity. They are chosen, organically, by the readers of Primary Times, namely local families with primary school aged children.

Local families were informed of the questionnaire in Primary Times, a family friendly magazine that is delivered to primary schools across Devon. With a distribution of 59,000 copies the magazine reaches over 300 primary schools in the county. Parents of children aged 4 to 11 across Devon cast their nominations in an online survey on the Primary Times website.

The questions in the survey were constructed deliberately in such a way to entice an honest and authentic insight into what the readers like most. The bona fide answers, are of particular interest to many local businesses who regard the awards with great value and importance, as the families who complete the survey are existing customers or potential customers.

Overall Family Attraction award

Winner: Crealy Adventure Park and Resort

Crealy continues to reign supreme in this category, partly due to its ability to innovate and introduce new rides and events, appealing to the needs of the discerning visitor. This year’s newest additions have included a Junior Driving School, musical tribute acts, a High Dive Show, further facilities to its Crealy Meadows resort and various enthralling shows. Crealy was also won the Outdoor Play Centre award and was runner-up in the Indoor Play Centre category – not bad going!

Runner up: The Bear Trail, Westcott

Described as a ‘muddy adventure trail for all the family’, this outdoor park is filled with a variety of obstacles that are both challenging and entertaining. All within a day you’ll scale Bear Mountain, crawl through The Tunnels and dare a swing on the Swamp Rope.

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Family Friendly Place to Eat

Winner: The Kind Grind, Torquay

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This eco-friendly coffee shop only opened in Autumn 2017 so it has done incredibly well to already win recognition from those in the know. All of their takeaway packaging is either biodegradable or recyclable, they have fostered relationships with local charities and their well-equipped play area is ideal for little ones. Serving a variety of coffee, hot drinks, paninis and cakes in an interior using repurposed materials, it really is a place that cares for the future.

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Runner up: The Pizza Café, Newton Abbot

Don’t be fooled by the name, this independent eatery does way more than just pizza: wraps, paninis, tex mex and salads are all on the menu and are prepared with the freshest of local ingredients. Since 1987 it has been one of Newton Abbot’s go to cafes for a friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a coffee or a sit down meal.

Indoor Play / Activity Centre

Winner: Planet Play, Crediton

Aimed towards families with children aged between 0 and 9, this soft play centre is focused on delivering fun for all children, excellence in every department, creating a community spirit and having the highest safety standards. With those values in mind, you know you can relax and enjoy a coffee and cake in their café while the kids create their own adventure within the soft play area.

Runner-up: Crealy Adventure Park and Resort

Outdoor Play / Activity Centre

Winner: Crealy Adventure Park and Resort

Runner-up: The Bear Trail

Museum or Historical Attraction

Winner: Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

The museum’s tagline is ‘home to a million thoughts’, a perfect way to sum up how the museum will spark you and your children’s interest in subjects you may have previously been entirely unaware of. With a perfect balance between in-depth exhibitions and fun, interactive events for the kids, there will never be a shortage of activities to challenge the mind.

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Runner-up: Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life

Understandably we love anything that celebrates the history and heritage of our wonderful county and there’s nowhere better to do just that than this outstanding collection of items that make up life in Mid Devon. A lively events programme supports their permanent exhibitions including the ‘Tivvy Bumper’ steam engine, farm wagons and various displays showing you Devon industries and life from the past.

Party Venue or Entertainer

Winner: The Bear Trail

Runner-up: Planet Play, Crediton

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Sports Venue or Provider

Winner: Clip n’ Climb, Exeter

Making indoor climbing more accessible than ever before, Clip n’ Climb have an automatic belay system meaning anyone can scale their colourful walls without assistance. With 26 challenges to complete, you’ll certainly be feeling the need to return time and again to truly conquer everything the place has to throw at you.

Runner-up: LED Leisure Centres

Managing several leisure centres and parks throughout East Devon, this charitable trust are helping children and adults alike easily access an active lifestyle. Their centres, including sites in Exmouth, Honiton and Ottery St Mary to name just a few, provide high-quality exercise classes for all ages, swimming pools, seasonal parks, tennis courts, par three golf courses and even bowls facilities.

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Theatre or Arts Centre

Winner: Northcott Theatre, Exeter

After opening in 1967, this theatre has developed a reputation for offering an enormous range of theatrical performances, talks and workshops for people of all ages and experience. Whether you’re in to comedy, dance, opera or even pantomime, there is inevitably going to be an event to pique your interest. To see what’s coming up in the near future, keep an eye on their website’s family tab.

Runner-up: Princess Theatre, Torquay

Over the years some of the country’s biggest stars have appeared at this theatre based on Torquay’s seafront: Tommy Cooper and Morecambe & Wise topped the bill on their 1961 opening night while The Beatles played there in 1963. As well as providing huge shows, they work closely with local amateur dramatics societies and nearby dance schools to provide local people with the opportunity to get involved with performing arts at South Devon’s largest theatre.


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