So it’s your summer family holidays in North Devon, and everyone is excited to have a fun day out exploring the local area. But when you wake up and look out the window in the morning, you see… rain! This is an age-old connundrum on any ‘staycation’ or holiday in the UK – good old British summertime can be an unpredictable beast when it comes to the weather. But fear not, there are still plenty of great things to do in North Devon when it rains! Here are our recommendations for the most memorable days out in North Devon in the rain!
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean that you can’t get active and enjoy a day of adventurous activities! Luckily, there are lots of adventure days out in North Devon that don’t involve being exposed to the elements. Get your blood pumping and learn a fun new skill with these exhilarating active days out.
Climbing at Rock and Rapid Adventures
Of course, we have to recommend one thing, and one thing only as the top choice for a rainy day activity in North Devon – climbing! There’s nothing like the thrill of scaling our awesome indoor climbing walls here at Rock and Rapid Adventures, and it’s certainly a surefire way to turn a dreary wet-weather day into an epic adventure! Book a climbing taster session with a qualified instructor and see how high you can climb on our indoor rockwall, which features climbs of varying difficulty, or head into our bouldering cave to try some short, challenging routes. You’ll forget about the rain completely while you’re pushing yourself on the wall, whilst having a great laugh. And we also offer a range of tasty hot drinks and snacks, so you can relax and watch your family and friends in action if you prefer! Call us on 01769 309 003 to book a session now! Open 9.30am to 9.45pm weekdays, 10am to 6.45pm weekends.
If airbourne activities are more your thing, why not pop into Air Extreme? This trampoline park is based in Barnstaple, and is suitable for everyone aged 3 and above. At Air Extreme, you can book in for various different kinds of “jump sessions”, whether you’re looking for a general session, a disco jump or a fitness-based experience. But this isn’t just your normal trampolining experience – there are several exciting obstacles and challenges to be had whilst you’e jumping! Test your technical skills jumping to land on the air bag, tumble tracks and performance trampolines, or play a game of dodgeball, air ball, compete on the ‘hole in the wall’ board or joust with giant soft poles on the ‘Battle Beam’ trampolines. If the kids are jumping off the walls, this is the place to bring them! Open Monday to Sunday 10am-7pm.
Let’s Go Bowling and Skating
Get a bit of healthy competition flowing with a game or two of bowling during your next rainy day in North Devon. Head on over to Let’s Go! in Barnstaple, and you can enjoy a range of fun group activities, from bowling to snooker, pool and karaoke. Alternatively, if you’re reading this in the winter months, they also offer ice skating in the UK’s first eco-friendly rink, which could be a fun and unique activity to try during the festive season! Open Monday to Sunday 11am-10pm.
It might be the school holidays, but there’s no reason why the kids’ education shouldn’t continue – informally, of course – throughout the summer. As they say, you should learn something new every day – and with these educational attractions in North Devon you’re sure to do that, whilst having a great time as a family!
Quince Honey Farm
Looking for a family day out that gives you a real taste of what makes North Devon so naturally beautiful – whilst being able to shelter from the rain? If so, Quince Honey Farm is a great option. Better still, it’s located just across the link road from us, so you could easily combine a climbing taster session with a visit to Quince for a full day out in South Molton! Tour the sunflower-strewn farm and hives, meet some curious critters (from stick insects to snakes!) and taste lots of delicious varieties of local honey. There are lots of bee-related activities to enjoy for all ages, from wax candle rolling to trying your hand as a beekeper (or ‘mini-beekeeper’) under the guidance of the keepers themselves! And there is also a ‘Play Hive’ ready for the little ones to let off some steam while you put your feet up in the cafe! Open 10am-6pm daily.
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
If you’re a family of animal lovers and history buffs, then Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park makes for the perfect day out! Set over 28 acres within the North Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the park is full of roaming lions, wolves, primates penguins, meerkats and sea lions. However, what it is really famous for are its life-sized animatronic dinosaurs! Come and meet the animals and watch the dinosaurs in wonder, and if it rains, you can simply pop into the indoor play area for a break. You can also explore the Tomb of the Pharoas, Critter Cavern and Tropical House to find out all about world history – ancient and natural alike. There are plenty of food and drink facilities on-site, too. Open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.
Ilfracombe Aquarium is North Devon’s only aquarium, and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for something to do indoors. Located in the Old Lifeboat House on the harbour, the aquarium gives a fascinating insight into the marine life of North Devon. Here, you and your little ones can discover over 75 species of fish, following a route exploring the source of an Exmoor stream, down-river to an estuary, a local rock pool, to the harbour and coast and finally the unique marine reserve of Lundy Island. There is also a great cafe and gift shop for a nice pit-stop. Open 10am-5pm over the summer.
When you want a family day out that will get everyone out of the rain, with plenty of activities under one roof, a theme park is the ideal choice. Here in North Devon, we have several amusement parks of different sizes, offering indoor play and entertainment for all ages.
The Milky Way
The Milky Way is one of Devon’s favourite family adventure parks. Based near Clovelly, Bideford, The Milky Way offers a range of attractions for children aged 1 through to the teens (and some that adults might secretly enjoy, too!) From the Little Stars soft play area, Timewarp indoor play area and Bouncing Balloon Room to the Droid Destroyer Dodgems, Gravity Rider 30ft donut slide, archery and laser tag – there is so much to explore! New for 2019 is the Ziggy’s Blast Quest interactive experience, where kids can protect Planet Earth from space rocks by piloting Cyber Scooters and shooting Blasteroid Lasers! The park also offers various shows each day, from science demonstrations to pottery and much more. Open Mon-Sun from around 1am to 6pm daily.
The Big Sheep
Bring the experience of famyard life in Devon inside and out of the rain – whilst also trying out some fun attractions – at The Big Sheep. This family attraction is based just outside Bideford and offers a range of whole-family activities. One of the highlights of The Big Sheep is the Nursery Barn and Pets Corner, where children of all ages can meet goats, ducklings, piglets, sheepdog puppies and much more. Get involved during a lamb feeding show, or watch the fun and hilarious sheep racing for a taste of rural culture. Alternatively, you can visit the Ewetopia indoor play area, or go on a fun farm tractor safari! Open weekdays: 10am until 6pm, Weekends: 10am until 5pm.
Set in a beautiful and historic location, Watermouth Castle a great day out to please adults and children alike. Here, you can explore the Victorian displays of antique toys, games, armour, handcarts and even a model railway. Head over to the Dungeon Labyrinths to see magical fairytales come to life, explore the Hall of Mirrors and work your way through the maze to the Smugglers’ Dungeon. Wander around in Gnome Land, or sit back and relax while you watch the Water Show Extravaganza. And of course, the adults can marvel at the architecture and history of the castle itself, too! Open Mon-Sun from around 1am to 6pm daily.
Arts and Crafts
Feeling artsy? Stay cosy inside and flex your creative muscles with these crafty attractions and art-based days out in North Devon!
If you’re looking for an immersive arts-based experience in North Devon that will leave you with another feather in your creative cap, then you should visit Tarka Pottery. This pottery studio in Little Torrington was founded by Jax Williams, a potter with over 30 years of experience, to help people harness their creativity in a fun, expressive way. Why not visit for a throw, build and glaze day to make your own piece of pottery, or an exciting pottery throwdown where you can compete against friends and family to make the best pot! Open 10am to 4pm.
The Plough Arts Centre
The Plough Arts Centre in Great Torrington is famous in the South West for putting on some of the best performances and events in the local area. Here, you will find fascinating exhibitions, exciting theatre productions, live comedy and music, talks from high-profile speakers and a range of regular workshops. Try your hand at storytelling in the Storytelling Circle, join a yoga class or learn the art of Tai Chi in this brilliant venue. Open 10am-10pm.
Another attraction with a big reputation based in Great Torrington is Dartington Crystal. Many people know Dartington Crystal for their fine glass products – but did you know the factory is based right here in North Devon?! Drop by the visitor centre to discover the history of this prestige brand, with everything from glass-blowing demonstrations to live freehand engraving showcases and a factory tour. Dartington also offers a range of creative activities for all ages, such as hand casting, glass painting and jewellery making! Open 10am-5pm weekdays, 10am-4pm weekends.
There you have it – our selection of the best rainy day activities in North Devon for families! When you pop in for a climbing session, why not ask our friendly staff for more recommendations? We have lots of leaflets for local attractions, and we can make suggestions of what else you might want to do during your visit… If you can bear to tear yourself away from the climbing wall, that is! For more information, give us a call on 01769 309 003 – we would be happy to help!