Holiday in Devon with grandchildren
A very nice holiday in Devon
Our granddaughters were 4 and 8 years old when we took them to Devon for a fortnight's holiday in mid July - right at the beginning of the school holidays.
We were fortunate with the weather because it rarely rained. We stayed in a small cottage complex in east Devon, about half an hour from the sea but in a quiet country location. The accommodation was good because there was a duck pond with ducks to feed, other children staying in adjoining cottages to play with and a safe environment.
We went out most days, to the seaside, parks such as Crealy, a few National Trust Properties, a trip to the Swannery in Dorset, visits to various towns and villages in north and south Devon.
Devon is small enough to explore by car. The north Devon coast near Croyde has some fabulous large sandy beaches. There are plenty of surf schools there and people flying kits on the beach which tells you that it can get a bit breezy. We liked Sidmouth beach best for the children because there was everything at hand that they enjoyed. They liked crabbing and searching for creatures in the rock pools, paddling, making sand castles, going for a stroll along the beach. A convenient and very pleasant cafe high on Jacob's Heights provided tea, ice cream and refreshments. There is a lovely garden there where you can sit and enjoy the flowers.
Sidmouth is also good for shopping with a wide range of shops and eateries.
We used to stop en-route at Honiton to stock up on supplies at the supermarkets to take back to the cottage. Because we usually ate lunch out, we cooked simple meals in the evenings which made life easy. We often ate at the table in the garden because it didn't matter if the children dropped bit of food - the birds soon disposed of those. There was a dishwasher to deal with dirty plates.
One of the great successes of the holiday as far as the children were concerned was Crealy Park in Devon. They had a fabulous day out here trying out all the rides, riding a pony, having a picnic.... all the things that children enjoy. The park wasn't as crowded as some in the south east of England which meant shorter queuing times and because we stayed until closing time there was a good hour at the end with no queues at all. My oldest granddaughter went on the log flume 8 times, one after the other.
The donkey sanctuary was quite a nice place to visit although the children were soon bored but then Crealy is a difficult act to follow for excitement. Perhaps better for adult visits.
We adults enjoyed seeing the thatched cottages and even villages of Devon. The National Trust houses and gardens were brilliant for a day out. We especially liked Castle Drogo in Devon; it has a stunning garden and the house has an interesting history, also Killerton and Clyston Mill. Clyston Mill was a great place to explore with the children because it was informative and hands on. They had a quiz sheet to complete which always helps to keep them involved and looking around them. The guide at the Mill was just fantastic, very enthusiastic and ensured that we had a memorable visit.
For family holidays, Devon is great because there are so many places to visit, very nice seaside resorts. We visited a few seaside towns on the south and north coast of Devon. We also popped over the border to Lyme Regis in Dorset to see what that was like. It just happened to be a Lifeboat week with various events such as a sea rescue to look at. The beach got rather crowded though and wasn't a patch on Sidmouth, although nice for a change.
Other things that I remember with interest are watching a hot air balloon coming down in a nearby field. We all jumped in cars and went off to help. The children thoroughly enjoyed jumping in the now grounded basket and helping to flatten the balloon and roll it up. Riding old-fashioned trains to a small village where there was a horse tethered outside the pub.
We would recommend Devon for a holiday for anyone with children because there are just so many places to visit and fun things to do.
If we went alone we would probably go walking on Dartmoor and Exmoor, do more shopping, visit museums and even more National Trust and other historic places. Another year, another Devon experience.
The cottage we stayed in was at Hembury Court Barns near Honiton in east Devon.