Kenniford Farm

I was looking for somewhere new to visit with the kids and took to Instagram to ask for inspiration. With thanks to DevonDaze, I found out about Kenniford Farm and off we went.

The farm is a working pig farm and has received THREE highly acclaimed Taste of the West awards. It’s off the beaten track a bit and my satnav tried to take me to the wrong place but thankfully Kenniford Farm has placed an enormous sign at the turning from the A3052 so you can’t miss it.

On arrival, I was pleased to immediately spot parking, toilets and highchairs. You can’t miss the entrance to the Play Barn and to see the climbing frame, swings and slide from the carpark.

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There are chickens and ducks freely roaming around and ponies and pigs to visit to see. There were some gorgeous newborn piglets to watch from the play barn which was a real treat. A sandpit, tractors and trailers to pedal around and a colouring table: there’s plenty for the children to do. The play barn is free to use for paying customers of the farm shop.

The cafe has a good quality menu with plenty of choice for children and the staff were really friendly and helpful.

We were there for a bite to eat and a play and the kids really enjoyed it. My one year old, as she’s not walking yet, was probably a little too young to really appreciate it all but she had fun on the baby swing, looking at the animals and playing with her new toy from the farm shop. My three year old loved everything she played with and particularly loved her banana milkshake! Definitely worth a visit and we will certainly be back, although sadly not to play on the climbing frame as mums and dads are not allowed! Ha!

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Pecorama

We had a lovely albeit wet trip to Pecorama today. As it was a special charity day, the prices were set at £7.50 per person for all 3 years and upwards, rather than the usual £8 for 3-16, £10 for 17 to 64 years (correct at the time of writing!). They were raising money for Parkinsons UK, Step One and The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth.

We hadn’t been before so the first thing we were blown away by was the view from the carpark!! You climb a lot of hills to reach the carpark, all the time with the sea behind you so as you step out of the car and see the view of the coast, it takes your breath away. I’ve lived in Devon for a year now and still can’t get over it.

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When you first arrive and buy your tickets, you can go through the ticket office to the Model Railway Exhibition and my 3 year old was mesmerised. All have working trains that are chugging or whizzing around the incredibly detailed tracks and there are little buttons to press to make particular things work on the models. You can also pay 10p to work the big train display that’s outside – again, with an amazing view.

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Now, be prepared, it’s all set on a hill. So, little legs need to be ready and if you’re pushing wheels then be prepared for a bit of a workout. It is paved though so there’s no trouble getting pushchairs and wheelchairs around, it’s just a bit of effort!

We were very excited to meet a couple of miniature donkeys that had come across from one of our favourite places to visit, The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth. The representative from the Sanctuary was very welcoming and friendly and told us all about Angus and Fergal and let us have a little stroke.

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We went for an early lunch in The Garden Room for the kids – a couple of sandwiches, a cream tea, a coffee and some desserts cost approximately £15. Friendly staff, clean tables and highchairs/colouring etc available, it all felt perfectly child-friendly. There was even a table set up for a Birthday Party (note to self: the 3 year old was very excited by this).

Then we let the little ones loose in the Play Station. A very tall soft play, which my husband (who considers himself an expert on such things) said is on the more ‘challenging’ end of the soft-play spectrum! But, he and my three year old made it round a number of times and enjoyed themselves immensely. Me and our one year old had some fun in the baby area – small but good – and a toddle around while she sought out attention from all the waiting parents. I then got her to sleep by walking her around the gardens IN THE POURING RAIN.

A free face paint afterwards (I imagine this was only on as it was a charity day) and then we headed home with a few things left to see for our next visit. We didn’t make it onto the train nor did we play in the outside play area due to the rain. There’s a picnic area should you wish to take one, plenty of toilet facilities and baby change and a well-stocked shop with lots of fun things to buy. There’s a few options for food if you don’t bring your own.

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Top tip: take cash. You can only pay by card at the ticket office and in the restaurant (not sure about the Play Station cafe or the other restaurants). We didn’t make it on the train as it’s an additional £2.50 per person and we didn’t have cash – we could have gone back down to the ticket office but we decided with the rain coming down to call it a day.  We also fancied a cream tea on the Orion Pullman Car when we first arrived but that too was cash only and for some reason we didn’t bring any!

In conclusion, we had a really lovely morning. Sadly rain stopped play a bit and so it ended up being quite pricey having cut the day short but we really enjoyed it and we’re considering an annual membership. Have you been? What did you think?

Lyme Regis

We had a lovely road trip out to Lyme Regis today. The weather was overcast when we left so a good time for a trip to the beach when you’ve got young children as it’s not too busy and it’s not too sunny. Obviously, as it’s Devon, the sun shone in the afternoon and so it became a little too sunny and a quite busy within no time!

In a last minute rush down to the impromptu decision to go, I pulled together a very quick and a very basic picnic using the leftovers from our daughter’s first birthday yesterday. Thankfully the fridge was full of picnic-friendly food!

It’s only a half hour drive from where we live in Ottery St Mary and a very picturesque journey down country lanes. The girls enjoyed the treat of seeing the Seaton Tramway pass by when we were stopped at the crossing. Note to self: pick a day to travel by Seaton Tramway!

Parking was easy, we found a carpark up the hill but still very central to the shops and the sea was in sight (do you shout ‘I can see the sea’ when it appears on the horizon or is that just us?). There was more parking down on the sea front but only with limited spaces. The parking metre in the car park we used accepted coins but also the RingGo app – essential for us as we never seem to be carrying the right change.

Be prepared for the hill – hold on tight to the buggy/wheelchair on the way down and prepare for quite the push on the way back up! We spotted public toilets down by the seafront but didn’t use them so can’t comment on accessibility I’m afraid.

I loved the selection of shops in Lyme Regis – plenty of independents and plenty of the brands that I love. Along the seafront there’s an array of ice cream shops and bars and further down towards the sandy part of the beach there’s an arcade, trampolining for the kids, kayak hire and more.

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The esplanade was wide enough to fit the people wandering up and down it but also to park your buggy right on the edge of the pavement and to sit next to it just down on the stones. It provides a great little seat then too for those of us who aren’t too flexible and able to sit on the ground.

We had a brief walk around, picnicked on the stone beach hoping to avoid seagulls stealing our sandwiches and then enjoyed an ice cream whilst admiring the coast. A little walk back to the car, popping in to browse some of the shops and it was back to the car in time for the girls to nap on the way home.

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There’s obviously so much more to see but for today, it was a lovely addition to our list of #DevonAdventures had.

 

Creation Station Exmouth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe lovely Sam at Creation Station Exmouth very kindly invited me and both my girls along to a session with her last Friday at Ocean on the seafront in Exmouth.

I’ve never been one for messy play and I’m really not very creative so I was looking forward to someone else taking the lead and letting my girls get their hands dirty, literally!

On this occasion, Sam’s class wasn’t at full capacity and so she was able to put on creative activities for the babies and for the older children (my daughters are 1 and 3). Classes are usually for just the one age group, allowing Sam to concentrate on age-appropriate activities for them. Both girls were given waterproof all-in-one suits to wear to protect their clothes – note to parents, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty as there’s no grown up waterproof suit! If you have a baby to chase after, you’ll be covered by the end, but thankfully in washable paint.

My baby was invited to crawl and splodge through paint and foam all over a roll of paper taped down onto a waterproof floor cover. The baby was quick to show that she wasn’t used to this messy play thing at all and spent the first ten minutes just smiling at the paint and admiring it from afar before crawling around the wet stuff and touching none of it. With a bit of encouragement from me (sitting her in the paint) she went on to create quite the masterpiece, only eating a little paint along the way. Later, footprints and handprints and any other bit of smudged paint that looked remotely artistic were cut out and tied to a mobile made of ice cream sticks and voila, we had a fantastic hanging decoration to show for our work!

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During this time, Sam had been working with my older daughter encouraging her to be creative in a different way. She painted a lovely picture which was then used to create a sail for a sailboat she made from modelling clay, buttons, painted matchsticks and a lot of glitter. She was so proud of her creation.

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Sam was great with both of my girls, encouraging them to get their hands dirty and unleash their creativity. If you do like a bit of messy play and like crafts I would recommend talking to Sam to find the right class for you. Crafty adults will enjoy finishing off their kid’s projects or adding embellishments to crafts made by the little ones – everyone can get involved!

Hosting Creation Station at Ocean in Exmouth was ideal to make more of a morning of it. You get a discounted entry to soft play and so the kids can burn off some energy in there while you enjoy coffee and cake. Perfect.

Sam, thank you – we had lots of fun.

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Chococo Exeter

What a lovely day we have had in Exeter. Our first stop was Chococo Exeter – really child friendly. My 3 year old had a hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate buttons (already cooled with cold milk so she could drink it immediately – very important!) and was able to sit at the kid’s table to do some drawing before pegging her picture on the wall. There’s highchairs, baby change facilities and the staff are so helpful, it’s definitely worth a visit and that’s without even mentioning the delicious handmade chocolates!! Tip: the kid’s stuff is upstairs and it’s best to leave your pushchair at the bottom.

After a little bit of shopping, we also had an impromptu picnic in Cathedral Square and were able to admire beautiful Exeter Cathedral in the sunshine before heading home with a quick stop-off at the playground.

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens

I must admit, I’m a big fan of Bicton Park Botanical Gardens and the husband is too. We bought a year’s membership last year and we have used it so much that we have definitely had our money’s worth!

Come rain or shine, Bicton has something for everyone, although you will always get more from it on a dry day. If you just fancy a walk around the grounds, you won’t be disappointed. From beautifully manicured lawns to swans gliding around on the lake, there’s plenty to see and plenty to explore. There are a few fairly steep hills around Bicton so be prepared for little legs to get a bit tired and for it to be a fair push up the hill with a buggy or a wheelchair but they’ve signposted the gentler hills to make life a little easier and it’s not so bad that you won’t be able to catch your breath at the top!

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When we first arrive, our daughter always wants to play in the hay barn – a covered area with hay all over the floor and mini-tractors and wheelbarrows and trailers. You wouldn’t expect that picking up hay and moving it around would be so much fun but our daughter plays for ages in there!

Next we venture down the hill to The Play Barn which is an indoor soft-play. It always  seems nice and clean and buggies aren’t allowed in but they have provided bouncy chairs and highchairs should you need them for the babies. They’ve even thought to designate an area with comfy chairs for breastfeeding. Top Tip: take cash as the cafe in The Play Barn doesn’t take cards and we all need that strong coffee when watching the kids run around soft play. Our one year old loves the perfectly ample baby/toddler space and our older daughter has loads of fun in the other areas. Be warned, the ball pool is deeper than you think (much to my sister-in-law’s dismay as she fell straight in and I didn’t laugh at all, no not one bit!). Toilets and child-friendly food means that you could just visit The Play Barn if the weather was a bit rubbish outside and you’d have everything you needed.

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When you emerge from The Play Barn, you could take the train that takes you around the Gardens (buy your ticket at the shop) and visit the great outdoor play area. With lots of space, a mini-golf (pay to play), huge pirate ship and a set of 5 little-person-sized houses to play in, you’ll be dragging the kids away at home-time.

There’s a shop and a restaurant too and plenty of space in the grounds to take a picnic. Dogs are welcome for £1 but must stay out of the restaurant area, Orangeries and Childrens Play Areas.

If you’re just going to be visiting for one day, the family ticket will set you back £34.95 but compare that to annual membership for a family of four at £49.95, you’ll see why it’s worth buying the membership. With free parking, accessible toilets, pushchair friendly grounds and child friendly meals – we keep going back.

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The Tumbling Weir & Ottery St Mary

Our Bank Holiday Weekend guests had to turn back on their journey to Devon as the traffic was so horrendous that a 3 hour journey was going to take 7 hours! As we all know, travelling for any length of time with kids in the car if it’s not nap time can be a challenge so I don’t blame them at all for deciding it was better just to go home again.

It meant we were left with an afternoon to ourselves and the sun was shining so off we went out for a walk.

We moved to Ottery St Mary a month ago and we are still exploring. The Tumbling Weir was on our To See list as a tourist attraction here in the town. You’d be forgiven for walking straight past the entrance as it currently looks like a building site! Immediately next to the road leading to the weir is a construction site where more houses are being built but follow the brown sign for The Tumbling Weir Hotel and you’ll find it. It’s tucked away and now looks a little sad but it’s worth a visit if you’re interested in a little bit of history.

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It’s a man-made circular weir that allows the water from the stream to reach the River Otter (Wiki). There’s a bit more to it than that but you’ll read all about it on the information board that’s here.

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With the factory now closed, there’s not much else to see here but the history is fascinating and from here there’s more to explore in Ottery St Mary.

Follow the path next to the River Otter up to the bridge and stop for a game of pooh-sticks.

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And then visit the playground at Land of Canaan – careful though, on a hot day one of the slides can’t be used. We found that out just in the nick of time and managed to save our daughter’s bare legs!

You could always have a picnic here as there’s plenty of space or have a wander into the centre of Ottery St Mary. There’s a Sainsbury’s if you want it but we would recommend Tickety-Boo, a cafe that serves good coffee and lovely food and has a great indoor play area for under-11s and a baby play zone.

A delicious coffee and a slice of cake was just what was needed to re-fuel for the walk home.

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Welcome to Devon Adventures!

Who am I?

I am a Brummie and I recently moved to Devon with my family. I have two girls aged 3 and 10 months, a mischevious dog and a fairly well behaved husband! I wanted to discover more about Devon and in particular to see what fun things there are to do here with a young family and so I created Devon Adventures. I intend to share our adventures with you here on this blog but you can also find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as DevonAdventures.

Why should you follow?

As my bio says; expect reviews, news and beautiful views! I hope to inform you of all the helpful things that we mums and dads, grandparents and carers of little people need to know, such as:

  • what’s on?
  • how do we get there?
  • how easy is it to park?
  • are there accessible toilets?
  • how healthy or otherwise is the food?

and all the things that I would want to know before I head to a new place with a car/train/bus full of children.

Along the way, I’ll be sharing some local information and knowledge and I won’t be able to resist sharing some interesting parental information that I read online when I’m trying to figure out just what it is I’m meant to be doing!

Connect with me

Please do — I’d love to chat. I’m going to need a little assistance along the way and will be seeking out new friends in Devon who can share their insider knowledge with me.

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