7 Special events for the May half term in South Devon

By Caroline Stephani on May 3, 2017

Planning a family break this half term? As our new blog post shows, there’s plenty going on down in South Devon to keep everyone entertained. When school’s out, South Devon’s wide range of family-friendly attractions love to put on a show.

We’ve put together seven highlights of this May half term holiday in South Devon, from performances at a top local petting zoo to quests at a historic castle.

1. Dartmouth Castle

Dartmouth Castle is situated in a stunning location on the edge of the Dart Estuary. Enjoy the coastal views as you explore the history of this evocative building which has guarded Dartmouth for over 600 years.

Smugglers and Sea Dogs

Sunday 28th May to Friday 2nd June

Dartmouth CastleHistorians should head to Dartmouth Castle this half term to enjoy taking part in musket drills, undertaking a smugglers’ quest and listening to tales of ‘dastardly deeds from Dartmouth’s swashbuckling past.’
This family event is running daily from 11 am until 5 pm.

Find out more on the English Heritage website here.

2. Greenway

Greenway House near Brixham and Dartmouth

Greenway is a beautiful National Trust-owned house and estate, which sits on the bank of a winding stretch of the River Dart, opposite the picturesque village of Dittisham. The former home of Dame Agatha Christie, Greenway has been lovingly restored in stunning 1940s detail.

Exploring Greenway gives visitors the chance to learn more about the life and work of Dame Agatha, from her classic mystery novels to her global archaeological expeditions.

River Dart canoe expedition

Mon 29 May 2017

On Monday 29th May, the National Trust is organising something a little different to their usual programme. Starting at Stoke Gabriel at 10.00 am, an instructor will lead a canoeing expedition down the Dart to Greenway Quay, where everyone can enjoy refreshments and explore the house and gardens. After that, it’s back upriver to Stoke Gabriel.

Participants must be aged 12 or over.

3. Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June 2017

The pretty market town of Kingsbridge will host its annual Food and Music Festival on Squares Quay, with the music starting at 6 pm on Friday 2nd June. This family friendly event offers a line-up of live entertainment to suit all tastes, along with delicious street food from over 20 local businesses.

Since 2015, the Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival has included a ‘Kids’ Zone’ on the green in front of the library. Here, children can participate in lots of activities from learning woodland skills to face-painting and fancy dress.

Find out more about the Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival here.

4. South Devon Railway

The South Devon Railway and Dartmouth Steam Railway are great reasons to visit South Devon.

Running between Buckfastleigh and Totnes (Littlehempston), the South Devon Railway is one of our region’s two steam train operators. The wonderfully evocative experience of riding a magnificent steam train is complemented by the beautiful woodland scenery the journey takes in, along with the delights of the traditional stations at both sides of the journey.

Ticket to ride

Friday 26th to Sunday 29th May

Taking a steam or vintage diesel train from Totnes to Buckfastleigh is always a nostalgic experience, but for three days in May these journeys will be less about the golden age of steam and more about the psychedelic fashions and groovy tunes of the 1960s. Listen to the swinging soundtrack and enjoy a real ale, either at Buckfastleigh Station or en route.

Find out more about this event on the South Devon Railway website here.

5. Overbeck’s House

February half-term - Overbecks

Overbeck’s House, now owned by the National Trust, is the former home of the scientist, inventor and collector, Otto Overbeck. Famous for its natural history collections, unique gardens and stunning views, it’s one of South Devon’s must-visit attractions.

Plant it, grow it, eat it

Saturday 29th May to Thursday 4th June

As part of the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ programme, Overbeck’s is giving budding gardeners the chance to plant their own seeds to take home. Kids can learn from the National Trust’s expert gardeners in the fresh air and picturesque surroundings at this stunning spot above Salcombe’s South Sands.

Find out more from the National Trust here, or read this article on three must-visit National Trust properties in South Devon.

6. Pennywell Farm

Pennywell Farm is one of several animal attractions in South Devon and probably the best option for those who want to pick up or pet a range of cuddly creatures.

Summer half term at Pennywell Farm

Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June

With its plethora of pet-able critters and range of indoor and outdoor activities, Pennywell Farm is always worth a visit for families. When the holidays come around, there are even more reasons to pop over to Pennywell, which you’ll find just off the A38 near Buckfastleigh.

There’s a busy programme of live entertainment and events this Whitsun week, with performances from Mr Phil, Poco Drom and Spangles the clown providing two shows a day.

Find out more on the Pennywell website here.

7. Woodlands

Woodlands Family Theme Park has rides for all tastes, including this toboggan slideSpecial summer half term fun

Monday 29th May to Friday 2nd June

Last but by no means least, Woodlands Family Theme Park, on the B3122 near Dartmouth, always hosts a range of fun events, from concerts to educational activities.
This summer half term, there will be:

We hope you’ve found something of interest from these seven highlights. Remember there are lots of ways to entertain yourself in South Devon all year round, but especially in spring and summer.
Take a look at this A-Z guide to things to do in South Devon here.

 This article on indoor attractions

or these 51 reasons to visit South Devon.

The TV room/snug at Hillfield Farmhouse near DartmouthReady to book your break?
Save up to £200 on your May half term holiday with Coast & Country Cottages.