If you have children the summer holidays can be a little daunting - especially for the purse strings! To make your task easier we’ve compiled this list of free or low-cost family activities around Crediton, and a little further afield, which will keep everyone entertained without spending too much.
(1) Feed the ducks in Shobrooke Park
A visit to Shobrooke Park, just outside Crediton, is a great way to spend a few hours. Feed the ducks or have a picnic by the lake or under some of their magnificent trees. You could also try flying a kite – buy one from Adams Hardware if you don’t already have one - or you could make your own!
If you have older children, then a 5 mile circular walk, mainly on footpaths, from the Crediton Leisure Centre to Shobrooke and back again is really lovely. You’ll find the details of this route and other local walks on this website.
(2) Follow the Sandford Scarecrow Trail
An extremely popular summer activity for all the family. After visiting Sandford Community Stores to buy your official trail map (only £4), you can enjoy a beautiful walk around Sandford hunting for scarecrows. Whether you are in the heart of the village or strolling along the Millennium Path, you will have great fun exploring this lovely village and spotting the delightful scarecrows, each one designed and made by local residents.
The trail is suitable for walking, pushchairs and bicycles. With snacks available at the Community Stores or refreshments at the two local pubs, the Rose & Crown and Lamb Inn, you can make a day of it.
(3) Play at the Waie Inn
This family – friendly pub in Zeal Monachorum has exceptional all weather facilities, including the Waie2 Play indoor playground, with climbing frames, tube slides, tunnels, air cannons, ball pools, rope bridge and loads more. The cost is £3.50 for up to 2 hours of play (free for under ones) although you do have to buy your food and drink on site.
There is also a small indoor swimming pool and an excellent outdoor play area.
(4) Visit Crediton library
The library is free to visit to borrow books, join in a story time and take part in other family activities during the school holidays. It is open five days a week and is fully accessible to all, with off-road parking, including a disabled space. Aside from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, the library lends DVDs and audio books.
This summer they are running The Gadgeteers Reading Challenge, which includes a series of themed events for children linked to space travel, many of them free. Full details can be found on their website and Facebook page.
(5) Have a beach day at Dawlish Warren
Dawlish Warren is a 45 minute train journey from Crediton Station (with a change in Exeter and costing £7 return for an adult). It is a stunning location with clear Blue Flag awarded seas on three sides and a wide beach, which at low tide connects to a large sandbank called Pole Sand. The beach stretches from Warren Point to Langstone Rock, an extraordinary landmark of red sandstone standing 15 metres high.
At the tip of the spit is the Warren Holiday Village with arcades, go karting, children's rides and cafes (none of which are free of course)
(6) Visit The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth
This free-to-visit, award-wining attraction has something special to offer all year round, whatever the weather.
With activities, trails, tours, talks and demonstrations, there’s so much to explore with your own herd. Friendly dogs on leads are welcome too. Since its humble origins as a charity in 1969, The Donkey Sanctuary has grown from a UK organisation rescuing donkeys from neglect and abuse, into an international animal welfare advocate, transforming the lives of these hardworking animals and the people who depend on them for their livelihood.
The sanctuary is open 7 days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Admission and parking is free, though donations are welcome to help many more donkeys with troubled pasts live a life of total sanctuary.
(7) Go Geocaching
Download a geocaching app and eat your heart out around Crediton. There are plenty of stashes to find all over the Mid Devon countryside.
Or why not have a go at Letterboxing – an early forerunner to geocaching with boxes to be found across Dartmoor? When you find one of these unusually placed letter boxes you can record your find with a stamp that you’ll find inside and you can put your own stamp inside their book too.
(8) Wild Camp on Dartmoor
Whilst you’re on Dartmoor, you could also camp! Dartmoor is a designated wild camping area. You can pitch anywhere in the National Park for free as long as you take your litter home and don’t disturb moorland wildlife, flora and fauna. Basically, leave the National Park as you found it.
A train from Crediton will take you on the Dartmoor Line straight to Okehampton, where you can start your journey onto the moors on foot!
(9) Meet the animals at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum
At RAMM you can get up close and personal with Devon’s rich history and global connections - for free - with interactive exhibitions at Exeter’s multi-award winning museum and art gallery.
A firm favourite with children are the specimens in the Case History Gallery, including life-sized examples of an African bull elephant, a huge suspended whale and Gerald the giraffe.
As well as visiting exhibitions, families can get involved in a variety of courses and workshops. Just check their website for details. It goes without saying that the museum is the perfect place for a rainy day!
(10) Discover the Exeter Sculpture Walk
A great option for slightly older kids, the Sculpture Walk is located on the Streatham Campus at the University of Exeter, said to be the most beautiful campus in England. Entry is free and there are 39 sculptures to discover, some indoors and some in the open, including works by distinguished artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Geoffrey Clark, Peter Randall Page and Paul Mount.
You can download a map here The full walk takes about two hours or, if you prefer a shorter walk, a wander around the outdoor sculptures alone will take around an hour. A brilliant opportunity to appreciate and explore art, in a stunning setting, full of exotic trees and shrubs, with lovely views across the city to the sea at Exmouth.
Bring a picnic and make a day of it. Or why not bring pens, pencils and paper and get your children to interpret the sculptures by drawing them?
(11) Explore Tiverton Museum
Tiverton Museum is a family friendly museum that offers free entry to accompanied children aged 16 and under, providing an interesting (but inexpensive) day out with the kids.
This vibrant little place is full of fantastic collections of photos, objects and archives that record the history of Mid Devon from the late 19th century onward. There are 15 galleries to explore, covering agriculture, local industries, farm wagons and the everyday home life of Mid Devon folk.
Highlights include the ‘Tivvy Bumper' GWR steam engine (you can climb inside the cab), a horse drawn Silverton Fire Engine dating from 1837, and a small archaeological display, which includes 400,000 year old hand made axes.
The museum also runs fun holiday activities, so check online before you visit to see what's on. This summer there is a particular focus on toys through the ages.
(12) The Plymouth Fireworks Championships
This year The British Firework Championships will take place in Plymouth on 17th and 18th August. It will of course cost to travel there, but this free event is world-class and well worth the trip if you haven’t been before.
Each evening there will be three professional firework displays, each lasting 10 minutes. As the Hoe is the focal point for watching the championships, entertainment is provided there throughout both evenings with a fun fair and live music.
(13) Explore Exeter with a Red Coat Guide
Explore Exeter with a Red Coat Guided Tour – they are fact filled and free. Operating throughout the year, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day, all tours (apart from the Historic Quayside tour) depart from the Hooker Statue on Cathedral Green. Dogs are not permitted on the tours and children must be accompanied by an adult. The tours may contain steps, slopes and steep or rough ground, however the Red Coat guides will do all they can to make tours accessible to all. There are several on offer lasting from 90 minutes to two hours. Book your place in advance on the website.