Exciting Family Adventure Days in North Devon

Days Out to Remember in North Devon

Sweeping bays, Atlantic waves, idyllic countryside and dramatic uplands; if you’re looking for a family holiday packed with exciting wild places and full of outdoor adventures, North Devon could be just the ticket.

We’ve picked out a handful of exhilarating North Devon days out the whole family can enjoy…

Taking Up The Tarka Trail

Inspired by Henry Williamson’s classic novel ‘Tarka the Otter’, the Tarka Trail embraces 163 scenic miles along towpaths, riverside tracks, coastal trails and moorland ways. Follow the waymarks along these popular hinterlands which have been designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. Whether you’re in the mood for an afternoon stroll or a day-long walk, the Tarka Trail is waiting to be explored, as is its stunning array of wildlife.


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The trail itself encompasses two main loops; the northern loop which runs from the ancient borough of Barnstaple along the coastal headland to the seaside enclaves of Croyde and Ilfracombe before traversing the dramatic Exmoor uplands. The south loop also begins in Barnstaple before following the riverways and backwaters inland towards the moorland town of Okehampton and the wilds of Dartmoor beyond. Both trails are also popular with cyclists, with bike hire available from specialist outlets such as Tarka Trail Cycle Hire.

Surfing Woolacombe Bay

The North Devon coast has become something of a mecca for surfers who flock to its beautiful beaches to ride the Atlantic rollers. Surfing has never been more open and accessible with surf schools popping up all along the Atlantic coast, a great way to get some expert tuition from local surf gurus. Woolacombe Bay is one of North Devon’s most exciting breaks and the ideal setting for your first surfing adventure. Here you’ll find the dedicated surf coaches of Woolacombe Surf Centre, an accredited surf school that’s been rated as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ by Surfing England. Why not sign the whole family up for a thrilling surf session and unleash your inner surf dude. The centre also runs coasteering and kayaking adventures, a great way to discover North Devon’s secret coves and inlets while making a splash with some adrenaline-fuelled activities.


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Wild Swimming at Tunnels Beaches

Take a wild dip in the renowned tidal pool at Tunnels Beaches, famous for its network of hand-carved tunnels. Backed by cliffs, the sandy shores and rockpools make it perfect for family beach days. History buffs will be fascinated by stories of ‘Old Ilfracombe’ and the tales behind the impressive underpasses which include a fascinating insight into the Victorian bathing etiquette for boys and girls, and boating decorum for ladies – sure to induce a chortle. This history-steeped corner of the North Devon coast is loved for its rugged beauty and was rated third best rock pooling beach in the UK by BBC Wildlife Magazine. A landscaped picnic area, complete with benches and parasols, is another popular feature and great for those sunny alfresco lunches.


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Acres of Fun at the Milky Way Adventure Park

It’s been voted Devon’s large family attraction of the year, acres of outdoor and indoor fun, anything from slides and assault courses to roller coaster rides and dodgems. When you’re not enjoying the Milky Way Adventure Park’s white-knuckle rides and all of its thrills ‘n’ spills, you can sit back and be entertained by live shows, including displays from the North Devon Bird of Prey Centre. You can find this all-weather attraction near the charming fishing village of Clovelly, between Bideford and Bude, folded into the beautiful North Devon countryside.

Revel in the Regency of Arlington Court

More affectionately known as ‘the unexpected jewel on the edge of Exmoor’, Arlington Court’s rich history is woven into its five-hundred-year association with the Chichester family. As well as its impressive collection of horse-drawn carriages – from humble servant wains to elegant, gilded coaches – the estate also boasts other curiosities such as its exhibits of model ships and shells which have added to the house’s eccentricities for generations. Outside you’ll be able to roam at your leisure around the picturesque gardens and winding footpaths, discovering the popular lakeside walk, the formal Victorian and walled gardens and the exotic plants that thrive in the humidity of the magnificent garden conservatory. Wildlife enthusiasts will be enthralled by the bat roosts in the cellars, the olden heronry and the estate’s bird hide.

Escape to Lundy Island

A warden, a ranger and a farmer are amongst the tiny population of Lundy Island, just 28 in all. This unspoiled setting is a haven for all sorts of seabirds and marine life, including seals and puffins. Visitors can travel to the island (which remains undisturbed by road traffic) via a ferry to experience a day in the life of this isolated community in the mouth of the Bristol Channel. The small village includes an inn, the Marisco Tavern, a Victorian church, and even a 13th century castle built by King Henry III in an attempt to establish law and order both on the island and within the surrounding waters. The name Lundy has its origins in the old Norse word lundi and means ‘puffin island’.


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Today, the island is managed by a conservation charity on behalf of the National Trust having been named as England’s very first statutory Marine Nature Reserve, and also, its first Marine Conservation Zone – such is the rarity and significance of Lundy’s flora and fauna. Lundy Island remains one of the wonders of the British Isles providing an exciting destination for a memorable family day out, by land and by sea.

Jumpin’ for Joy with Air Extreme

If you’re stuck on a rainy day and your little monsters are tearing at the walls, it’s time to head for Air Extreme near Barnstaple, North Devon’s very own freestyle trampoline centre. Let the kids jump around ‘till their heart’s content with wall-to-wall bouncing, trick trampolines and dual tumble tracks. It’s the perfect place for them to safely perform aerial turns and flips into soft landing zones with a fun factor score that’s off the charts!

Discover the Underwater World of Ilfracombe Aquarium

Another one of North Devon’s top indoor attractions, the award-winning Ilfracombe Aquarium is a sanctuary for aquatic life, anything from hermit crabs to octopuses. The aquarium has recreated stunning natural habitats which are home to more than seventy-five species of fish. You can find this gem of an attraction in the Old Lifeboat House on Ilfracombe’s historic harbour, a ten- minute drive from Woolacombe Bay.

Discover scintillating coastal trails, beautiful sweeping bays and dramatic upland wilds when you book a holiday in one of our North Devon holiday cottages.