Well, here we are folks, nearly October – OCTOBER?? How did that happen?? Well yes, time seems to whizz by these days and here we are, well into autumn now so with the first school break just around the corner now’s the time to grab a half term holiday in Devon. At Stonehayes Farm we have gorgeous country cottages sleeping 4-14, all nice and cosy for your half term family break.
We like to think of half term as a time to head off somewhere very special where you can forget all about the humdrum of work and school and the grocery shopping, the washing, the housework, etc; it’s a chance to get away and totally relax with your family, doing things you all enjoy, making happy memories – and don’t forget, here at Stonehayes Farm all our Devon holiday cottages are dog friendly so your pet pooch gets to come too.
It’s fair to say that the English weather is never entirely reliable but with a bit of planning and forethought you can have a great holiday at Stonehayes Farm come rain or shine. October is usually still mild and in recent years we’ve seen some beautiful autumn sunshine - T-shirt weather really, so don’t put your summer clothes away just yet. Of course if the weather’s good you can get out and explore this beautiful part of Devon to your hearts’ content, and you don’t have to go far to do so. In fact you don’t even need to get the car out because we’ve got 15 acres of land here, lush green fields that roll gently down to the River Luv in the Otter Valley, all yours to discover. If it’s warm enough you can all pitch in to make a picnic to eat down by the riverside, have a paddle, take nets and see what you can find in the water. Set a family scavenger hunt where you all have a list of things to find, pick up autumn leaves and take them back to your holiday cottage to identify, or gather tiny twigs, nutshells and dried flowers and make pictures with them – all you need is glue and paper and it’s such a lovely thing to do with the children.
Close to the cottages there’s a fantastic play area; there are swings and a trampoline, and the setting is just gorgeous, with a backdrop of wooded hillsides and big open fields where you can run around, play rounders, football, French cricket, whatever you want. There’s a games room too, with something for all ages – play pool, table football or table tennis, and for little ones you’ll find plenty of books and games. Lots of smiles, lots of fun, that’s what our half term holidays in Devon are all about.
You might want to go up to Dunkeswell Aerodrome to watch the planes come and go, and have lunch at The Aviator Café, or go to Wildwood Escot where there’s a whole world to discover; there are animals to see, falconry displays, a maze, play areas and even a Saxon village! Children love animals and round here there are several good places where you can get up close to all sorts of creatures and wee beasties. Ferne Animal Sanctuary is home to a menagerie of rescue animals, Axe Valley Wildlife Park has lemurs, meerkats, wallabies, reptiles and birds, with feeding times and handling sessions for visitors to join in. If you go to the Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth you’ll see more donkeys than you’d ever imagined! Stroke as many as you like, adopt one if you want, and then go and see the hermit’s cave in the woods and let the little ones loose in the farm themed play area.
How about the seaside? Okay, it may not be wall to wall sunshine but you can still have a lot of fun on the beach on your half term holiday in Devon. The beaches of the Jurassic Coast are only a short drive away; at Lyme Regis you can see all sorts of sea life in the marine aquarium, play crazy golf, see prehistoric delights at Dinosaurland Fossil Museum, and see what you can find in the rockpools. At Seaton you can have a time travelling adventure at Seaton Jurassic and ride on the tram to Colyton. At Beer you can pootle round the gardens at Pecorama on one of the trains, or go and take in the wonders of Beer Quarry Caves. Book up for a fossil hunting walk at Charmouth, or go down to Exmouth where there are two miles of sandy beach and watersports.
Also close by is Diggerland, which is seriously good fun – come on, who doesn’t want to get behind the wheel of a digger? They have rides as well, and go-karts and dodgems, so it’s a great place to go. Bicton Park is another one; there’s a miniature railway, crazy golf, a rural life museum, a shell house, a nature trail and play areas. One of the biggest family attractions in Devon is Crealy Theme Park & Resort and all we can say is, well, you’ll have the happiest children on the planet if you have a day out here! Over 60 rides, 200+ animals, food shacks, cafes, animal experiences – what’s not to like?? Exeter is good too; as cities go, it’s small but has a really friendly vibe about it -and plenty to do, whether it’s just exploring Rougemont Gardens, meeting Gerald the Giraffe at the RAM Museum, getting to grips with things at Clip n Climb, walking beneath the city streets in the medieval Underground Passages, or taking in the splendour of the cathedral. It’s a brilliant day out.
That’s the best kind of half term holidays, don’t you think? Getting out and about but not overdoing it, striking the right balance of fun and adventure with quieter, more relaxing times together, having a leisurely lunch in a cosy country pub, or snuggling up together on the sofas to watch a family movie, big bowls of popcorn, the warmth of the wood-burner – perfect. Happy days, special times. Book one of our cosy country cottages for your half term holiday in Devon; come and stay, come and play! The only thing is you’ll probably wish you could take a little piece of it home with you. Ah, but never mind, you can always come again next year….