If you’re exchanging the rat-race for the South West’s idyllic countryside and magnificent coastline this February half term, you’ll find there are plenty of activities here to keep the family happy on your winter holiday.
From rugged moorland, to windswept beaches, to craggy cliff tops, to mile upon mile of picture-perfect rural landscape – no trip to the West Country would be complete without at least one blast of fresh air and exercise during your stay. Don the layers and waterproofs and drag the kids out on a refreshing winter’s ramble – you’ll all feel energised by the clean air and natural scenery, but you could hint at the prospect of cake and hot chocolate afterwards if they need an added incentive!
When you’re looking for a specific holiday activity to keep your loved ones entertained, you’ll discover there’s lots of choice despite the winter season. Whether it’s historic houses, beautiful gardens, fascinating museums, nostalgic steam railways, or even the chance to earn kudos braving the wintry waves – there’s something to appeal to every family member.
Here’s our top pick of 12 family-friendly things to do in the West Country this February half term…
A beautiful island with wonderful views, open on winter weekends for picturesque walks along cliffs or through woodlands. Home to the rare red squirrel as well as many other species of bird and wildlife. Catch the ferry across from Poole or Sandbanks.
2. Lyme Regis Museum, Lyme Regis
Packed with interesting and quirky displays relating to Lyme Regis and the surrounding area. Featuring locally found fossils revealing the fascinating history and geology of the Jurassic coastline, and guided fossil walks for the chance to uncover a fossil of your own. Winter opening Wed – Sun 10am to 4pm.
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3. Haldon Forest Park, near Exeter
Haldon Forest is the perfect spot for an active (and potentially very muddy!) day out. Choose a peaceful woodland stroll, or hire bikes and tear round the biking trails for an exhilarating experience. Or if you’re after a proper adrenaline rush, try the Go Ape tree top adventure.
4. Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh
This action-packed family farm offers animal antics, rustic rides and super shows make for a memorable half term treat.
5. South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh – Totnes
Travel back in time with a trip along this nostalgic steam railway running through scenic countryside between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.
6. Becky Falls, Dartmoor
These iconic waterfalls are set in an idyllic Dartmoor location and offer a super family-friendly day out with dog-friendly woodland walks, letterboxing trail, animal encounter shows and much more!
7. Overbecks National Trust, Salcombe
Fascinating home of an eccentric inventor perched high on a cliff overlooking stunning Salcombe. Quirky collections, resident ‘ghost’ to find in the doll’s house, exotic gardens and delicious Devon cream teas!
8. Discovery Surf School, Bigbury
Professional surf coaching for all ages and abilities all year round, including hire of winter weight wetsuits and boards. Guaranteed to have you up and riding in your first lesson!
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9. The Eden Project, Par
A brilliant family day out! Visit the world-famous biomes. Explore the largest indoor rainforest in the world. Enjoy an ice skating session. Tuck into delicious, sustainable, homemade food in the canteen. Special half term events include fun Early-Man themed activities.
10. Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell
Unique historic gardens that until 25 years ago had been lost under a tangle of weeds. Now lovingly restored to some of the finest gardens of Cornwall.
11. Monkey Sanctuary, Looe
Offering a safe haven for rescued monkeys, and currently home to 37 individuals, each with a distinct personality. Here you’ll get an intimate insight into a working sanctuary and the chance to meet some of the characterful residents.
12. Tintagel Castle, near Port Isaac
Atmospheric, mythical castle ruins perched high on the cliffs between Padstow and Bude, offering scenic walks with magnificent rugged views.
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