Coasteering in South Devon is hands down one of the region’s most popular outdoor activities, especially for thrill-seeking groups of...
With autumn fast approaching, October half term in South Devon is just weeks away. The summer holidays are now officially over and a new type of normality is taking hold, so it comes as no surprise that we find ourselves making plans for the next break in the school calendar year, which luckily is soon to be here. Whilst South Devon is one of the UK’s most popular summer holiday destinations, it’s a region that positively thrives all-year round, and you will find some exciting events for families to enjoy during the October half term. In the aftermath of Covid-19, our events calendar does look a little different this year, but don’t worry, because there is still so much on offer. From socially distant Halloween fun to cosy lunches in front of an open fire, a South Devon getaway will have the whole family creating special memories. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, October half term in South Devon is bursting with autumnal goodness.
We’ve collated a list of things to do this October half term in South Devon to inspire your holiday adventures. Use the quick links below to find something in particular or read on for an overview of what’s on over the half term period…
With over 2,500 animals across 80 acres of land, you’re in for a wonderfully wild day out when you visit Paignton Zoo. Explore specially designed habitats, from the savannah to the wetlands and the tropical rainforest, getting up close to the animals at every turn. There are plenty of play areas and a popular Jungle Express train should you want a change of activity. If you’re staying in Dartmouth, be sure to enjoy a jam-packed day and journey to the zoo on the Dartmouth Steam Railway. This year, throughout October half term, the zoo is hosting ‘The Great Big Brick Safari’ where you will find over 80 wild animal creations made from thousands of Lego bricks. Guests are invited to search the zoo grounds and spot all of the models, keep your eyes peeled for the life-sized lion, gorilla, hyena, kangaroo and macaw!
Nearby holiday cottage: Diddly Squat
South Devon is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and as you would expect, natural beauty is found at every corner. From opulent dream homes to cultural properties and their bountiful gardens, the National Trust Properties in South Devon like Overbeck’s in Salcombe, or Greenway in Kingswear, not forgetting Saltram and Coleton Fishacre are perfect places to explore. Not only are they family-friendly but they also offer an immersive opportunity to learn about the local history, both fun for kids and adults. This year, in line with the Covid guidance, the National Trust have opened their gardens, park and toilets, and are asking visitors to book in advance on their website. Tickets are released every Friday and whilst member’s visits are free, non-members will need to pay when booking. Tickets sell out fast and there is a strict non-access policy to those without a ticket, so try to be organised and book ahead.
Nearby holiday cottage to South Devon’s National Trust properties: Little Starboard
A full day of hands-on animal activities, Pennywell Farm boasts a wealth of outdoor activities for toddlers and young children. Enjoy tractor rides and seeing the animals up close, including snuggling miniature piglets and exploring the farm. To make the experience as safe as possible, Pennywell Farm has introduced various new systems, including temperature checks on arrival and a one-way system around the farm. Most notably, the amount of tickets on sale each day is now limited and all visitors, including season holders, must book their tickets in advance. There are now two daily sessions with morning (9am – 1pm) and afternoon (2pm – 6pm) visits available.
Nearby holiday cottage: Coomery Barn
Dartmouth Castle is an impressive artillery fort that was built to protect Dartmouth harbour. Some of the earliest parts of the castle date from the 1380s, so as you can imagine, it’s steeped in history and tales of old. Highly educational, there is plenty to do inside the castle and if the weather prevails, make a full day of it with a river boat trip from the town quay up to the castle. Once you’ve explored the castle, why not head to Sugary Cove for a fresh sea swim, or if you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, navigate the nearby South West Coast Path and woodland walks where you will find an abundance of wildlife and birds. Dartmouth Castle is currently open from Wednesday through to Sunday, and similar to other attractions, you will need to book your tickets in advance and your session will be timed. To help adhere to social distancing measures, there is a limit to visitor numbers and you won’t be able to visit the castle without your booking confirmation.
Nearby holiday cottage: Crowthers
Woodlands is Devon’s largest family theme park, located just a few miles from Dartmouth. This year the park looks a little different with the indoor areas currently closed (due to Covid restrictions), but fear not, you can enjoy an array of outdoor attractions from exhilarating vertigo rides to rapid water coasters, or for something more gentle, watch one of the daily falconry displays. One of the most popular family attractions in the South West, book your tickets in advance to guarantee your entry.
Nearby holiday cottage: 4 Keeper’s Cottage
Plymouth Aquarium, the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) is the UK’s largest aquarium, located in Britain’s Ocean City of Plymouth. Run by the Ocean Conservation Trust, the charity is dedicated to connecting people with the Ocean, so expect a highly interactive experience with something for all the family to enjoy. The aquarium is made up of four zones which include ocean discovery (you will get up close with stingrays, sharks and luminescent jellyfish!), animal husbandry, conservation and also research projects, so it really does provide a jam-packed day out. To help adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, entry is timed and tickets must be booked online with a time slot chosen in advance.
Nearby holiday cottage: Dunford Street
Kents Cavern is a prehistoric cave system in Torquay and is well regarded for its archaeological and geological features. When you visit, you can explore the caves and get up close to weird and wonderful stalactites. This October half term Kents Cavern invites you to bring your little witches, wizards, ghosts and ghouls to the cavern for a very batty adventure. You will head into the mysterious underground world of the caves to find a series of hidden pumpkins, and if you find the right answer you can claim a prize. There is also a woodland bat challenge should you want to try and claim a bat expert card.
Nearby holiday cottage: 4 Dartmouth House
Attractions aside, there are plenty of things to do this October half term in South Devon, especially if you enjoy spending your time outdoors. In the aftermath of Covid-19, we have a deep-rooted appreciation for the wonderful world we live in and luckily, we now have the freedom to enjoy it. South Devon is the ultimate natural playground and come rain or shine you will always have a wealth of activities to enjoy. Download our free South Devon Walking Guide to navigate spectacular trails that tread both coast and countryside, or head to Dartmoor for some wild and rugged Dartmoor walks. If you’re keen to get amongst the elements, plunge into the best wild swimming spots in South Devon, or try surfing, sailing, kayaking or even coasteering – the list is endless. For even more ideas and inspiration, read our blog on things to do in South Devon, and for seasonal activities, read our guide to autumn in South Devon.
Book your October half term in South Devon with Coast & Country Cottages, and be quick as availability is limited! We have an enviable collection of family friendly holiday cottages that are simply perfect for an autumn break. From traditional coastal cottages to country escapes and sea and river view properties, we have something to suit your holiday requirements. Choose a holiday cottage with a hot tub or an open fire for a little luxury on those crisp autumn evenings, or perhaps a luxury holiday cottage with an indoor pool, games room and snug, should you want to bunker down in colder weather. We also have plenty of dog friendly properties should you want to bring your canine companion on your October half term adventure.