October half term is the perfect opportunity to squeeze in some family fun before winter sets in and the countdown to Christmas begins. Many of South Devon’s array of family-focused attractions put on special shows, set up extra events or even transform themselves completely during the autumn break, so it’s a great time for fun-filled holiday, particularly for those bringing little ones.
Here are some October half term highlights from around South Devon.
1. A packed programme at Pennywell (24-29 October)
Pennywell Farm is a popular petting zoo near Buckfastleigh. There are cuddly critters like guinea pigs and miniature pigs, and well as larger animals including shire horses, and you’ll find several fun rides and non-animal-related attractions too, plus an indoor play area and café.
At no extra charge, Pennywell Farm is putting on a busy programme of half term performances and activities to entertain the family. There are four farm rides in operation, and every half an hour there’s either a special show, activity or display. Entertainers include regular visitors, Mr Phil, Matt Pang, Poco Drom and Elfic.
2. ‘Woodlands Scream Park’, featuring Marty’s Monster Manor (21-29 October)
Woodlands, just a few miles from Dartmouth, is Devon’s largest family theme park, with large indoor and outdoor centres, lots of thrilling rides and a substantial petting zoo. In the holidays, there are always special events to look out for.
Marty the friendly monster welcomes you to his eerie and mysterious and labyrinthine lair, complete with a creepy cave, ghoulish graveyard and more. Marty’s Monster Manor is just one aspect of what Woodlands has planned for October this year, promising its transformation into ‘Woodlands Scream Park’ for the half term holiday. There’s also a monster disco on Friday 27th October.
3. Get some autumn inspiration at Greenway
Greenway is Dame Agatha Christie’s former holiday home, located on a stunning section of the River Dart and best accessed by either the steam train or a ferry from Dartmouth. The house, garden and grounds are all magnificent, described by Dame Agatha as ‘the loveliest place on earth.’
There are a couple of child-centred activities at Greenway this October.
Pumpkin poetry trail (21-29 October)
Pumpkins will be carved with poetry along a creative trail for kids to follow this half term, with visitors encouraged to write their own verses.
Cook on a campfire (25 October, 14:00 – 16:00)
Greenway’s National Trust rangers will share useful bush craft tips with kids on the forested grounds of Greenway, and they’ll get the chance to roast marshmallows on an open fire.
4. Big savings on the South Devon Railway (23-27 October)
The South Devon Railway is a lovingly maintained and wonderfully nostalgic steam train service, which runs between Totnes Littlehempston and Buckfastleigh. Many passengers combine their trip with a visit to Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and, at Buckfastleigh, Dartmoor Otters and Buckfast Butterflies. A combined saver ticket is available for all these attractions.
Kids under 16 (proof of age may be requested) can travel for just £1 during the half term holiday. There’s a café and museum and Buckfastleigh Station, while Littlehempston Station is in easy walking distance of the pretty medieval town of Totnes.
5. Coleton Fishacre
This Art Deco country retreat near Kingswear, now run by the National Trust, is ideal for those with a soft spot for the Jazz age. There’s an award-winning café on site and some stunning grounds to explore, while for the kids there are often special events during school holidays.
There are a couple of child-friendly events at Coleton Fishacre this October half term.
Hunting for Gold (21-29 October)
Golden symbols will be hidden around the gardens at Coleton Fishacre. There’ll be a little prize for every kid that can find them all.
Pirate Day (24 October)
There’s lots of pirate-themed fun to be had on Tuesday 24th October, when kids are invited to dress up in their most timber-shivering outfits to take part in arts and crafts sessions at the ‘creative pirate school’.
Other great family attractions to enjoy this October
There’s plenty more to enjoy in South Devon this half term, from autumnal walks on the South West Coast Path to scouring the rockpools for creepy crawlies, to a host of indoor attractions ideal for little ones.
How about one of our creative attractions like Paper Bird Island in Salcombe, the Art Café in Kingsbridge or The Ceramic Studio in Totnes? All of these are open during the October half term and make great indoor activities for rainy days.
If the children need to burn off steam, there are soft play centres in Salcombe and Kingsbridge, where the adults can enjoy a well-deserved coffee and snack while the little ones can quite literally bounce off the walls.
Find out more about what to do in South Devon from our ‘Family days out’ pages.
With around 400 holiday homes within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we’re sure to have the ideal base for your fun-filled family break.