The top eight things to do in South Devon for families

South Devon was more or less made for families. It’s a bewitching blend of beautiful beaches, wonderful water sports, fun ferry rides and corking kid-friendly attractions. And it’s all with easy reach of our fabulous holiday park at Leonards Cove. There are so many awesome family activities that its hard to pick the best. But we’ve managed to in our top eight things to do in South Devon for families.

Blackpool Sands

Chill out at Blackpool Sands

Visiting Blackpool Sands is one of our favourite things to do in South Devon for families - and not just because it’s right on our doorstep. Just 10 minutes away from Leonards Cove on foot, Blackpool Sands is a perfect, sheltered curve of golden sand framed by pines. 

Add gin-clear water, a cool cafe, kayak and stand up paddle board hire, guided kayaking trips and even a beach sauna, and you have a clear winner.

Dartmouth Castle

Explore Dartmouth Castle

English Heritage-run Dartmouth Castle is another one of the very best things to do in South Devon for families. Crowning a headland at the mouth of the gorgeous River Dart, there’s been a fortification here since the 1380s. A big expansion in the 1400s brought an artillery tower, while extra gun batteries were added in the 1540s. 

Today you get to prowl around mazy passages, clamber up the battlements, try on helmets, get to grips with cannonballs and discover a cunning 15th century chain device that could be stretched right across the river mouth to stop invading ships in their tracks.


Hop on a boat and cruise the Dart

Framed by historic and pastel-painted buildings, Dartmouth is one of Devon’s most beautiful spots. And with its fabulous fleets of ferries and passenger boats it’s also one of the easiest places to get afloat - making it one of the best aquatic things to do in South Devon for families.

The two car ferries shuttling across the river are not only a very handy way to get to Torbay, they’re also huge fun. Especially the Lower Ferry, where you drive or walk onto a floating platform that’s prodded across the river by a separate boat. 

From Dartmouth, you can also board cruises to Totnes, or hop on passenger ferries to Kingswear, Greenway, Dittisham and Dartmouth Castle, ensuring heaps of waterborne fun.

Slapton Beach

Spy birds at Slapton

For many, one of the most popular things to do in South Devon for families is to take a trip to Slapton. This stretch of Devon coast is simply spectacular - especially when viewed on the drive down from Leonards Cove. A steep, switchback road winds down to the shore, revealing sweeping Slapton Ley - the largest natural freshwater lake in the south west. It’s separated from 3-mile Slapton Sands by a thin pebble ridge.

Walking trails weave around the Ley, taking in reed beds, boardwalks, woods and three bird hides and viewing platforms. Perfect places to look out for Wigeon, Goldeneye, Sandwich Tern, Great Crested Grebe and the rare Cirl Bunting.

Sherman Tank - Exercise Tiger

Take in WWII history at Torcross

At the south end of the Ley, you’ll find one of the most poignant things to do in South Devon for families. The massive Sherman tank that sits beside the car park at Torcross is a memorial to more than 900 men who lost their lives here during a World War II training exercise.

Exercise Tiger was held in 1944 and involved 30,000 men training for the D-Day landings at Utah Beach. Their flotilla came under fire from German E boats and hundreds lost their lives. The Sherman tank that now sits at Torcross was one of those that sunk along with the men. It was raised from the water just over the road in 1984. 

Signs beside the tank tell the moving story, and outline how some 3000 people from seven local villages were evacuated from their homes in 1943 so the training could take place.


Go to Torbay and get underground

Torbay, with its 20 beaches, amusement arcades, cinemas, pirate crazy golf courses, and massive indoor pool (including water slides), is high on many people’s list of the top things to do in South Devon for families.

It’s also home to Kent’s Cavern - an awe-inspiring labyrinth of beautifully-lit caverns and show caves featuring 400 million year-old rocks, stalagmites, stalactites and the remains of Ice Age animals. 

Kent’s Cavern is one of the most important Stone Age sites in Europe and they do a cracking job of telling the story in a fun and engaging way. Expect lots of early tools, bones and teeth. And the stories of the cave bears, cave lions and woolly mammoths who used to live in these parts.

Babbacombe Model Village

Laugh lots at Babbacombe Model Village

For a place crammed full of life in miniature, Babbacombe Model Village is a huge hit - definitely one of the most fun things to do in South Devon for families. It’s made up of hundreds of tiny, cleverly crafted buildings and settings inhabited by equally tiny people. All set within a beautifully planet, steep sided valley. The scenarios are often animated and laden with puns - all in all it’s a fantastic array of brilliantly bonkers British eccentricity at its best. 


Discover Leonards Cove

And one of the very best things to do in South Devon for families is to discover Leonards Cove. Our picturesque holiday park has a stunning clifftop location with wrap-around sea views. The range of accommodation is superb. Our luxurious self-catering cottages, lodges and mobile homes have all the home comforts you need for a delightful stay - some even have their own hot tubs. Our camping fields welcome both campervans and tents, and offer sea views and wi-fi as well as a playing field, shop and superb on-site restaurant.

At Leonard’s Cove you’re just a 10 minute stroll to glorious Blackpool Sands, while Dartmouth and Start Bay are just 11 minutes away by car. Kent’s Cavern, Babbacombe and all the attractions of Torbay are only 20 miles away.

 Why not discover Leonards Cove today?

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