Things to Do
A great day out for all the family with a wide range of events and activities appealing to every one from 3 to 73. The farm park features rides, animals for petting (be an animal keeper for a day) and live shows. Located just a few minutes from Junction 30 off the M5 south of Exeter.
A five-minute drive will bring you to the heart of Honiton, a historic market town offering all main facilities from banks and super markets to small local shops. Lunch at the pub where William of Orange signed the treaty that made him King of England, while exploring the wonderful range of antique shops in the town. The main street is very wide, which it needs to be, as twice a week it is lined with local market stalls selling everything from pot plants to paperweights. As well as the place to stock up on supplies, the town contains a wide choice of cafes, tearooms and restaurants to keep hunger pangs at bay as you explore the many independent shops in the town. Our favourite is the Honiton dairy, a traditional dairy which still produces its own clotted cream and ice cream. Break healthy eating habits here with a big cornet of dairy ice cream topped off with a ‘girt dollop’ of clotted cream, the town also offers a leisure centre and indoor pool that welcomes visitors.
BBC Country File lovers should head for Escott Park. Peacocks and guinea fowl roam free in this 220 parkland estate which lies a few miles to the west of Honiton and is a great place to spend a day. Here you will meet birds of prey, red squirrels and other wild life. Family members of all ages will love the big beech-hedge maze and the fantasy woodland. The more active can take on the ‘forest-drop slide’ or spend an hour in the big play-barn. Everyone can enjoy unravelling the clues when following the letterbox trail. Wander along woodland paths and bring a picnic to enjoy in one of many tranquil picnic spots within the park.
This fine National Trust estate, once the home of one of the largest landowning families in Devon, offers some fine, but appropriately genteel walks through its 6,400 acres of park and woodland. Visit in spring to see the rhododendrons and bluebells in full bloom. Tour the house itself where there is usually an interesting historical exhibition, or enjoy one of the many events that take place throughout the year from farmers’ markets to classic car days
Whether seeking a traditional bucket and spade beach day out or something a little more active, stay with us at Stonehayes and discover a different beach for every day of the week. Perfect for families or friends.
Sitting at the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, this beautiful seaside town is perhaps best known for its fossils and The Cobb, a massive harbour wall that protects a mass of pleasure and fishing boats, as well as creating a safe sandy beach for sunbathing and paddling. While on the Cobb visit the Marine Aquarium and get face-to-face with just about everything that lives beneath the waves along this part of the coast, from mullet to giant crabs and lobsters. If you want to get out to sea, mackerel fishing trips can be booked from the harbour from May to October. Lyme is also well known for the fascinating fossils that can be found along the beach below the undercliff. They’ve become so much a part of Lyme’s appeal that an annual Fossil Festival now takes place in May featuring talks, walks, live events and even a Fossil Fair. Visitors will find a popular programme of entertainment at the Marine Theatre which overlooks one corner of the harbour. Other notable events worth visiting include the Lyme Regis Carnival and Regatta, the Lifeboat Week and the Christmas Tree Festival. The town itself bustles with some superb cafes, galleries and craft shops displaying work by local artists and crafts workers.
Located a few miles to the west of Lyme Regis Seaton is another small seaside town on Devon’s Jurassic Coast in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. No visit to Seaton is complete without taking a sedate ride on the Seaton Tramway. Traditional trams follow the old railway line inland to the quaint village of Colyton. Stop here for a cream tea (another must!). The marshes at one end of the town, where the River Axe meets the sea, are a haven of resident and migratory birdlife throughout the year, especially in the winter months.
While away an hour or so in the Jubilee Gardens, taking in the putting course. Locally available sporting activities include horse riding, sailing, fishing and cycling.
It’s hard not to leave Beer without feeling that it has entered your list of favourite seaside resorts. Not for nothing is it regularly referred to as ‘The quintessential English seaside village’. This charming resort at the heart of Lyme Bay has a wide main street down which a culverted stream still thunders, dividing road from pavement. Lined by delicatessens, tearooms, restaurants, antiques and craft shops the street descends to a pebbled beach in a cove sheltered by cliffs. Here you can hire motorboats equipped with mackerel lines. Enjoy an hour or two out in the bay catching mackerel for your evening BBQ. For families, a visit to Pecorama with its miniature railways and play parks is highly rcommended. For families, young and old will enjoy a day out at Pecorama with its miniature (ride on) steam trains and play parks.
For such a tiny seaside village, Branscombe has much to offer the visitor. Branscombe is strung out along a steep-sided, wooded valley ending in a large shingle beach (although winter storms will occasionally leave exposed areas of sandy beach from time to time). In summer it’s a colourful mass of flowers, and is a regular Britain in Bloom winner. Stop off at the Donkey Sanctuary, an amazing home for retired donkeys, or, further down the hill, visit the Old Bakery, now a wonderful National Trust managed tearoom. The village also offers two great pubs, The Mason’s Arms for gastronomes, and The Fountainhead, which will appeal to real ale lovers and serves up excellent no-nonsense pub food. There’s also a café and beach shop overlooking the beach in a lovely thatched building. During the summer, local fishing boats ply the beach offering 60-minute mackerel fishing trips.
Tranquil Budleigh is another jewel on the Jurassic Coast. It’s an altogether unspoilt, gentle and friendly seaside resort, perhaps best reflected that it’s a great place to discover the joys of playing croquet as the local club welcomes visitors. Relax on the beach; take a walk along the promenade dipping into local antique, craft and art shops. Bird lovers will enjoy a stroll along the Otter Estuary to Otterton where the traditional working mill still makes its own flour – but is also an appealing tearoom. Back in Budleigh there is an entertainingly named choice of cafes and tearooms to try out, such as ‘Tea and Tittle Tattle’ or ‘A Slice of Lyme.’
Exmouth is a bustling little resort at the mouth of the Exe estuary, popular with families. It’s within an easy drive of Stonehayes Farm, but you can also reach it be by train from Honiton, changing at Exeter Central (very handy for Exeter City Centre), and then following the line down the east side of the river. Then cross by ferry to Starcross on the far shore and catch the train back to Exeter for a circular trip. Exmouth has a great beach – with all the raw materials necessary to design and build sandcastles followed by a spot of rock pooling. It’s popular with wind and kite surfers and members of the yachting community, as well as being good for some old-fashioned paddling and bathing. Cyclists can enjoy the cycle path along the Exe estuary. The estuary is also popular with bird watchers and is featured on the BBC’s Autumn Watch programme.
Queen Victoria slept here as a baby. John Betjeman adored it. There’s no denying the fact that Sidmouth is indeed an adorable regency seaside resort. Flanked by a lovely promenade lined with deckchairs, its seafront offers a choice of clean pebble and sandy beaches. Jacobs Ladder Beach is very popular with families. When the tide is out there’s a chance to build sandcastles and go rock pooling. To the east and west of Sidmouth are towering Devonian red sandstone cliffs. There are superb views of the town from these for those ready to venture up to their tops along the South West Coastal Footpath. Otherwise, stroll round this lovely town and relax in its beautifully kept gardens. The Connaught Gardens at the west end of the promenade were a gift to the town from the Duke of Connaught, a son of Queen Victoria’s. In summer the floral touch extends into the town itself which has been winning Britain in Bloom Awards for many years. The town offers a bustling mix of stylish independent shops, from delicatessens to designer clothing. Check out the theatre programme at The Manor Pavilion in case anything catches your fancy or just enjoy dinner in one of the town’s many restaurants as the sun sets over the ocean.