Kids carrying snow - things to do in Devon this winter
Devon, Family days out

12 things to do in Devon this winter

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone but Devon isn’t just a summer destination. In fact there’s plenty to do outside of the main holiday season – take it from a local! But let’s keep this our secret – the beaches are bliss! If you’re wondering what to do in the South West between autumn and spring then here’s our top things to do in Devon this winter.

Looking for things to do in Devon this winter? Here's our go to list of activities to do with kids including days out, soft play, pottery, events & swimming #VisitDevon #destinationguide #winter #travel #familytravel #thingstodo #daysout #December #January #February #March #SoutWest #England #UK

Enjoy Christmas in Devon

If you are looking for festive things to do in Devon this winter then take a look at my Christmas in Devon post for all the best festive days out, including Crealy’s Christmas Spectacular.

Search for Polar Bears in Plymouth

Between 1 December 2019 and 1 March 2020 there’s a fun activity trail along Plymouth seafront. Spot 20 polar bears and find out how climate change is threatening the environment. There’s also the chance to win prizes if you seek out all the bears.

Find out how to take part in the Polar Bear Explorer trail.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Visit a theme park

All of Devon’s theme parks have large indoor play areas and attractions that are open in the winter months. Most are open on the weekends in the run up to New Year and close in January. When they reopen some have great winter ticket deals.

Devon’s theme parks are also where you’ll also find some of the best Christmas days out in Devon including Santa’s grotto, shows and other festive activities.

Baby driving car at The Crealy Christmas Spectacular - Devon's best Christmas day out

Ride a train

Devon has several steam railways which chuff along former branch lines. These run services at the weekends in the run up to Christmas.

One to look out for is the Train of Lights run by Dartmouth Steam Railway between Paignton and Kingswear and its Santa Express complete with panto-style entertainment. We went a few years ago:

Embrace the season and head outdoors

It’s rare to find snow on the coast, but with the highest peak of Dartmoor measuring 621m this is where you are most likely to find the white stuff.

Please gauge the situation wisely and stay safe. If you don’t have 4×4, don’t attempt to go deep into the National Park as it is very easy to get stuck in drifts, causing problems for yourself and others.

Snow on Dartmoor road

Haldon Forest is an easier part place to access and has paths and cycle routes overlooking Dartmoor and Exeter.

You’ll also find the latest Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler trail here which is an easy and fun activity with kids whatever the weather.

Mr Tin Box with Baby shoulders at Zog Trail in Haldon Forest - things to do in Devon this winter

Another fun place to grab some fresh air in the winter is River Dart Country Park. There’s plenty of adventure playgrounds and a bike pump track open all year round.

And who could forget Devon’s beaches. These are just as amazing in the winter as in the summer.

In the off season you’ll find many deserted. You’re also more likely to find free parking and that dogs are allowed to scamper on the sand.

You’ll find some lovely beaches in South Devon and plenty of hidden gems along the north and south coasts.

Broadsands Beach in Devon - things to do in Devon this winter

Go under the sea

The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is ideal for wet days in the winter. The whole attraction is undercover and is home to the country’s largest tank.

National Marine Aquarium building in Plymouth - great Devon family days out

Paint some pottery 

My kids have really got into crafts in the past year and love painting pottery. Our closest pottery painting workshop in Devon is China Blue in Totnes.

Baby's dog pottery - China Blue, Totnes

You can also find pottery paining at:

Poppins Pottery in Torquay

Honiton Pottery in Honiton

Tarka Pottery at Little Torrington

Go underground

Kent’s Cavern is at a constant temperature of 14°C all year round making it an ideal Devon attraction for winter and wet days.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Go indoor climbing

A great activity for teens in Devon is climbing. Here’s where you’ll find climbing walls in Devon:

The Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter

Clip N’ Climb Exeter

Clip N’ Climb Plymouth

Dart Rock Climbing Centre, Buckfastleigh

Visit a Trampoline Centre in Devon

In indoor activity bound to tire the kids out is bouncing. Here’s where you’ll find trampoline centres in Devon:

iBounce Newton Abbot and Exeter

Super Tramp in Plymouth

The Barn Indoor Climbing Wall in Tavistock

Wall in the Hall in Tiverton

Air Extreme in Barnstaple

Brace yourselves and head to soft play 

When all else fails young kids, and some big kids, love soft play. And as you’re in Devon it’s very likely you’ll find a decent coffee and slab of cake on offer too!

Our favourite ones are at the Woodlands and Crealy theme parks as we can include them as part of a bigger day out.

Kids in soft play at Woodlands theme park

However, if you just need a quick fix, here’s some other places where you’ll find soft play in Devon:

Drakes Den in Plymouth

Bear Feet in Exeter and Newton Abbot

Funderzone in Barnstaple

Monsters Mansion in Tiverton

Jump in Plymouth

Wait 2 Play in Crediton

Sam’s Funhouse in Exmouth

Planet Play in Crediton

Plymouth Soft Play Cafe

Go Swimming

One of our favourite days out in Devon in the winter is swimming at the Waves Pool at the Riviera Centre in Torquay. There’s a wave pool, flume and water feature for kids. 

Here’s where else you’ll find indoor swimming pools in Devon:

Finlake Falls in Newton Abbot

Flamingo Pool in Axminster

Admiral Swimming Centre in Brixham

Torbay Leisure Centre in Paignton

What about things to do in Devon at other times of year?

Here are some more handy posts on things to do in Devon with kids:

You’ll also find plenty of Devon inspiration in my big Devon family holiday guide.

Looking for things to do in Devon this winter? Here's our go to list of activities to do with kids including days out, soft play, pottery, events & swimming #VisitDevon #destinationguide #winter #travel #familytravel #thingstodo #daysout #December #January #February #March #SoutWest #England #UK