Treat yourself to a refreshing break in the South West this May half term. Come and enjoy the warm sun, pretty hedgerows adorned with wildflowers, moors buzzing with bees, and woodlands and gardens filled with birdsong.
Spend your days exploring a new stretch of stunning coast path, or trying your hand at sailing, surfing or paddleboarding, ending with relaxing evenings on the beach watching the sun go down. A UK holiday is just a car drive from home but feels a world away from everyday life.
Here’s our top pick of 15 things to do in the South West this May half term…
National Trust owned Brownsea Island is an idyllic spot in the middle of Poole Harbour. Catch the ferry across to explore its cliffs and beaches, woodlands and heathlands, and spot an array of unique wildlife, including a thriving population of the rare red squirrel, wading birds and Sika deer.
Nearby to Sandbanks, Compton Acres is a must-visit for all garden lovers. Featuring ten acres of ornamental gardens with five different themes, including a subtropical area and a Southern Hemisphere collection, it’s a tranquil place to visit at any time of year. The popular café and tea rooms serve an irresistible selection of hot and cold food.
Situated the Lyme Regis seafront, at the heart of the Jurassic Coastline, the museum hosts fascinating exhibitions, gallery talks, fossil walks and lots of children’s educational activities.
Home to amazing fossil collections and exhibits showing you how to go and uncover your own ancient treasure. Packed full of history and fascinating insights about this very special stretch of Jurassic coastline. Also featuring fossil walks and talks.
Perched high on the cliffs overlooking the stunning Salcombe estuary, this fascinating home of an eccentric inventor with its exotic gardens are a joy to visit in spring. The house features quirky wildlife collections, a resident ghost for children to find in the doll’s house, and delicious Devon cream teas you’ll find hard to resist, especially when eaten on the terrace with views of the vibrant garden and turquoise sea beyond!
Over 800 acres of forests, gardens and rivers, buzzing with life in the late May sunshine. There’s a wide choice of walks to suit all levels of ability and dog-friendly routes available.
Enjoy spectacular sweeping views across Start Bay from this most southerly headland in Devon. Visit the lighthouse for rugged rocky scenery and fascinating lighthouse tours. Afterwards be sure to make time for the scenic walk down to the stunning beach at Mattiscombe Sands. Keep your eyes peeled for seals swimming in the water or sunbathing on rocks – they are often spotted here.
8. South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh to Totnes
For a memorable family day out, take a trip back in time on the nostalgic steam railway running through the beautiful countryside between Totnes and Buckfastleigh. Be sure to visit the popular miniature train at Buckfastleigh while you’re there for a ride along the pretty riverside.
9. Becky Falls
A beautiful ancient woodland park on Dartmoor with iconic waterfalls in an idyllic setting which offers a great family-friendly day out. This half term, enjoy dog-friendly woodland walks, a letter-boxing trail, meet the meerkats, animal encounter shows and feeding sessions.
Packed with adventures and fun for all the family, with over 25 activities included in the price, let your children’s imagination run wild! Highlights include adventure playground, assault course, dam pool, jungle fun, pirate ship, secret valley, snake slides, toddlers beach and more!
11. Kingsbridge Food & Music Festival (1st to 3rd June 2018)
Eat, dance and be happy at the 2018 Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival. A FREE, three-day celebration of the Devon’s best food, drink and live music on the town square in Kingsbridge.
Full-on family fun, come rain or shine, with indoor and outdoor play areas, rides, slides, animal activities and falconry displays. Visit between 26th May and 3rd June for Dino Week and the chance to encounter dinosaurs in their natural habitat, embarking on an exhibition like no other! Get up close to these mesmerising creatures for a week you’ll remember for years to come!
The famous biomes are well worth visiting at any time of year, but this May half term’s fascinating ‘Invisible Worlds’ week will be full of interactive exhibits, extraordinary artworks, hands-on experiments and exciting events – revealing the world beyond your senses: too big, too small, too fast, too slow and too far away in space and time.
14. Wild Week, Lost Gardens of Heligan
Discovered under a tangle of weeds 25 years ago, today the Lost Gardens of Heligan are among the finest gardens in Cornwall. This May half term Heligan’s Wild Week is back – a week of fun outdoor activities, with grubby knees guaranteed!
15. Tintagel Castle
The iconic Tintagel castle ruins, perched on the rugged North Cornish coast, are the perfect place to enjoy dramatic coastline, history, myths and stunning scenery. Tintagel in late spring is even more alluring – alive with wildflowers, insects and birds with shimmering seas as a backdrop.
Book your perfect family-friendly half term holiday cottage in the South West