Devon, Family days out, UK

17 awesome Devon family events this autumn

Devon may be one of the UK’s most popular summer holiday destinations but there’s still plenty of reasons to visit the south west as the days draw in. We’ve compiled this list of some awesome Devon family events happening this autumn to inspire your days out and short breaks before the end of 2016.

Devon family events this autumn

Fall food festivals in Devon

Exmouth Mussel Festival, 24 September

Exmouth Beach and Gardens, East Devon. Free.

If you like your Moules Mariniere you’ll be in heaven. This is the second Exmouth Mussel Festival and this year it has been paired with the Spirit of the Exe event to offer food, live music, cooking demonstrations and competitions on the seafront. Kids will love the seaside themed crafts, learning to forage for edible treats on the shoreline and making sand sculptures with expert Mark Anderson.

Plymouth Seafood Festival 24-25 September

Barbican and Sutton Harbour, Plymouth. Free.

Celebrity chefs from the region and beyond will be demonstrating delicious fishy dishes in the cookery theatre. There will also be plenty of stalls offering freshly caught and prepared seafood and shanty bands providing live entertainment throughout the weekend. Children will enjoy taking part in the crabbing competition on the Sunday.

Dartmouth Food Festival 21-23 October

Dartmouth harbour and town, South Devon. Some activities must be booked and paid for in advance.

Food and drink to suit all taste buds is the on the menu during Dartmouth Food Festival. There’s three days packed with cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, talks with food writers, and cookery workshops for adults and children. A whole day of the festival is dedicated to children, with events and activities to get kids excited about cooking. Don’t miss the free story telling sessions with tales of funny food and even ginger bread man making.

Clovelly Apple Day, 28 October

Clovelly Village, Nr Bideford, North Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

This traditional autumn event adds apple themed events to the usual activities on offer at this beautiful fishing village. Children can see apples being pressed to make fresh juice, try bobbing for apples and take part in arts and crafts. There’s a competition for the best carved, sculpted or decorated apples. Later in the day there’s a harvest hunt and a special tour with a spooky theme.

Clovelly Herring Festival, 20 November

Clovelly Village, Nr Bideford, North Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Clovelly’s Herring Festival. The village once relied on its huge catches of herring and today celebrates that heritage. During the event there will be cooking demonstrations, food and craft stalls, shanty singers and street entertainers. For families there will be free arts and crafts, face painting and a treasure hunt.

Special services on Devon’s railways

Explore Seaton Branch Line Tour, 24 September

Seaton, East Devon. £14.25 per person

Tram enthusiasts will get a behind the scenes tour of the branch line including a 1.5 hour ride. There will be plenty of stories about the service, which runs along three miles of the Axe Valley.

Devon Railway Centre’s Halloween Special, 22 October

Tiverton, North Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

The Centre’s narrow gauge and miniature railways will be running special spooky services for Halloween. There will be a pumpkin themed trail and children aged three and over will receive a Halloween treat.

November Diesel Gala weekend at South Devon Railway, 4 November

Totnes and Buckfastleigh, South Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

The vintage railway line from Totnes to Buckfastleigh will be running diesel locomotives from its own stock as well as welcoming visiting engines for the day. The ‘guest star’ will be a BRCW Type 2 (Class 26) No. D5343, which will be helping to run extra services through the Dart Valley. There will also be opportunities to see diesel engines not in service and look around the museum at Buckfastleigh.

Family-friendly exhibitions and trails

Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition, until 25 September

Hannahs at Seale-Hayne, Newton Abbot, South Devon. Free.

Visitors to this historic house can take a step inside the world of Harry Potter thanks to this mesmerising exhibition of illustrations, sketches, models and prints from the brand new edition of J.K.Rowling’s Philosopher’s Stone. The exhibition and events around it are coming to a close but there’s still time for families with older children to book onto a special Harry Potter themed astronomy talk on 23 September with stargazing, hot chocolate and cookies around the campfire. Booking a place for this event is essential  (£10) but the exhibition is free and open daily until 25 September.

Great Big Rhinos Project, until 9 October

Various locations in South Devon. Free

All across Exeter and the English Riviera there’s 42 life-sized rhino sculptures to be found. Each has been sponsored and decorated in a unique style to help raise funds to save rhinos in the wild. Children will love following the rhino trail and ticking off the ones they spot on the mobile app. There’s even a competition to win an opportunity meet the real rhinos at Paignton Zoo if you check in at each sculpture before the end of the project in October.

Spooky fun for Halloween

Halloween at Crealy, 22-30 October

Exeter, East Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

There’s a new Halloween attraction at Crealy Adventure Park & Resort this autumn that is set to give visitors the shivers – the Creaky Hotel. It’s an interactive, spooky experience that sounds like it might be best suited to older children. Every child visiting the theme park will be given their own pumpkin to carve and there will be treats on offer for anyone brave enough to meet the Treehouse Trolls.

Halloween Fun Day at The Big Sheep, 22-31 October

Bideford, North Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

There will be plenty of spooky goings on at The Big Sheep theme park during the school half term with extended opening hours so you can soak it all up. Highlights include daily fancy dress competitors, a Halloween pantomime, a haunted house and witches flying school. For those aged 14 and over there fright nights on 29, 30 and 31 October with a scary maze, live music and hog roast.

Spooky Halloween Hunt at Bygones, 22-31 October

Torquay, South Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

Dress up in your spookiest outfits and take a step back in time at Bygones for its skeleton trail. In among the usual exhibitions of Victorian street scenes, model railways and vintage amusements you’ll find clues that will earn you a frightful treat at the end of your visit.

Snakes & Lanterns Week at Powderham Castle, 23-31 October

Exeter, East Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

Children visiting this beautiful castle and estate will have a chance to win their own pumpkin to carve in the Potting Shed. If they’re really brave they can meet some slithering and slimy guests visiting from Dartmoor Reptiles.

Halloween Evenings of Mini Horrors at Babbacombe Model Village, 25-31 October

Torquay, South Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

After dusk, the famous model village will be transformed into a scene of mini-horrors with miniature Halloween characters, a ghost tour and spooky illuminations. The 4D Cinema will also give visitors a 3D experience of a haunted house with spine-tingling special effects. While the whole experience is aimed at families some parts are not suitable for pre-schoolers.

Devon firework displays

Crealy Firework Display, 29-30 October

Exeter, East Devon. Normal admission prices apply.

There will be fireworks at Crealy on two nights this year. The show begins at a family-friendly 6pm each night and the park and rides remain open until 8pm.

Bonfire Fire Works Party at The Big Sheep, 5 November

Bideford, North Devon. £5 per person.

Families can bring along their own Guy Fawkes for a guy competition and enjoy an early evening display at 6pm, ideal for toddlers. This will be followed by the main display at 7.45pm. The theme park’s outdoor play area will be open until 9.30pm.

It’s our first autumn living in Devon so we can’t wait to get along to some of these events. Which ones appeal to you?

You can search these websites to find out even more about what’s happening in Devon this autumn and winter: Visit North Devon, Visit South Devon, and Visit Devon.

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17 awesome Devon family events this autumn including food festivals, railway rides, exhibitions, Halloween fun and fireworks in the South West of England

Images courtesy of Pixabay.

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