It goes without saying that it’s usually beautiful and sunny in South Devon, but when we do get the odd day when the sun doesn’t come out to play it’s all ok – there are some fantastic ways to make sure you still have a time to remember. So, here are a few of our tried and tested ways to keep the kids entertained until the sun reappears…
1. Living Coasts
If there’s one bunch who don’t mind at all when the Heavens open, it’s the penguins that call the Living Coasts zoo beside Torquay harbour home. You’ll probably have them all to yourselves, and they even have their own penguin crossing for when they fancy waddling around with their visitors. Did someone say photo opportunity?
2. Kents Cavern
You can’t get further from the rain than retreating underground, and the prehistoric caves at Kents Cavern in Torquay will keep the kids fascinated for an hour or two. There are regular guided tours, and the guides will fill you in on the tales of our ancestors who called the caves home…they’ll even plunge you into darkness and show you what it was like to live by the light of an improvised shell candle.
Aaaaaaaw, we love Bygones. Completely covered, this nostalgic attraction enables its visitors to forget the century and wind back the clock for a few hours. You’ll wander back through time, peering into shop windows packed with real objects from back in the day, and the blitz experience is a dramatic way to live for a few seconds just how loud (and terrifying) an air raid would have been. It’s not all scary though, there are sweet shops, steam trains and plenty of surprises to bring the displays to life.
4. Torre Abbey
Perhaps the grandest building in the whole of South Devon, Torre Abbey sits just behind the seafront in Torquay, and it’s the perfect way to while away some time catching up on the area’s history. Once home to the Cary family (a well to do bunch who were close to the Singers of sewing machine fame when they lived in Preston), Torre Abbey’s been carefully restored and is just as entertaining for the kids as it is mums and dads.
5. Greenway House
Owned by the National Trust, Greenway House is the former (and very beautiful) summer home of local girl Agatha Christie. Much as it was when the family used to spend their summers there hiding from the gaze of the world, the house is the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon as there’s plenty to keep you occupied inside. Agatha and her husband Max were keen explorers, and you’ll find a whole room full of the treasures they collected on their travels when Max was an archaeologist.
6. Torquay Museum
Torquay Museum’s a gem of a local attraction, and it hosts some of the best exhibitions you’ll find on the English Riviera. With a whole collection dedicated to Dame Agatha Christie, you’ll find interactive displays to engage the younger members of your group, as well as a surprisingly diverse collection of artefacts and treasures.
7. Fish and Chips
If there’s one thing that makes us smile when it rains during a holiday it’s the fact that there’s something traditional about a wet day during a trip to the coast, so you might as well go the whole hog and get yourselves some good old fish and chips while you wait for the skies to brighten up.
8. Vue Cinema
If it’s the perfect weather to see that film you’ve been promising the kids you’d take them to, then head to the Vue Cinema on Paignton’s seafront. With everything you need for that family film afternoon during your South Devon holiday, it’s a great choice for a wet day and you’ll find plenty of family friendly pubs and restaurants just across the road.
Who says the beach is out of bounds when the skies are grey? We think they’re beautiful whatever the weather, and there’s nothing to say you can’t put the kids in their wellies, grab their fishing nets and spend some time seeing what’s living in the rock pools when the tide goes out. You’ll even be able to get an ice cream…well this is Devon after all…
10. Take the plunge
Ok, so it may not be the weather for pulling on your swimwear and running into the sea, but thanks to the English Riviera Centre in Torquay you can still take the family swimming – and there’s even a wave machine and a flume so it’ll be just as much fun as being out in the sea.