North Devon is a beautiful region of glorious contrasts – and that extends to the weather too! For every period of glorious sunshine, there are days when the weather’s a little more… wet. But the joy is that there’s still lots to do with the family when it’s rainy in North Devon.
Voted Devon’s Best Large Attraction in 2016, this adventure park is possibly the biggest all weather, family day out in the South West. Even when it's wet outside there are so many things to do indoors, with over 110,000 sq ft of indoor activities. All the family can play together here too, as the rides and attractions are designed for adults as well as children – and all for one entry fee. Play on the indoor Droid Destroyer Dodgems and Clone Zone, hurtle round the enormous Time Warp soft and adventure play, relax and watch one of the undercover live shows (including Birds of Prey – yes, indoors!) or take part in sports and crafts, including archery, laser target shooting and pottery (there is an extra charge for this). Younger children will particularly love the innovative Little Stars play centre, with its space themed soft play, sensory room for babies, dressing-up and role play pizzeria, and the Bouncing Balloon Room.
And with lots to do outside too including huge jumping pillows, two roller coasters, the brand-new Gravity Rider donut slide and a fun maze, The Milky Way is somewhere you’ll want to visit during your holiday whatever the weather. Book online before you go and you’ll save money – and whilst you’re there remember to grab a VIP super saver ticket that will get you in for half price all season.
This outlet shopping village near Bideford is all under cover, and has shops that’ll appeal to everyone in your group – plus food and play options too. Big names selling discounted lines there include M&S, Gap, Beauty Outlet, Cotton Traders, Denbury, Cotton Traders, Salt Rock, The Works, Holland and Barrett, Mountain Warehouse, Pro-Cook, Tresspass, Urban and Cadbury (yes – there is a whole shop selling only chocolate, at low prices!) – so as long as someone in your group likes clothes, make-up, sweets, toys, books or cookware, then they’ll be happy! You’ll also find a choice of places to eat, as well as mini-bowling and the Atlantis play area.
What a way to let off some energy! Air Extreme is an award-winning trampoline park, with what seems like 1,001 ways to bounce. Packed with activities to suit everyone, whatever your age or ability, you’ll have an amazing time. Activities can be as easy or as challenging as you like, and though you have to be aged over 5 to join in the main sessions, there are special early morning sessions for little ones. If you need a break from the action, or you’re simply happy to watch the high-flying action unfold, you can sit in the cafe area with coffee and a cake.
Barnstaple Pannier Market
This is one of the UK's largest, most historic and prettiest indoor markets – and there's something for everyone. Largely unchanged in over 150 years, you can expect to find everything from fresh local produce, flowers and crafts, to prints, pictures, toys, collectables and antiques. It’s open all year round from 9am-4pm, except Sundays and bank holidays – and there’s a great mix of national and independent shops nearby, including those at the recently-refurbished Green Lanes Shopping Centre, and more artisan finds at Butchers Row. If you want to make a full day of it, eat at one of Barnstaple’s many town centre cafes, then take in a film - Scott Cinema on Boutport Street has 5 screens.
Even if it’s raining you can still get active on your holiday. Right by the riverside just a couple of minutes’ walk from Barnstaple town centre is the North Devon Leisure Centre, and a wide range of sports and activities to get stuck in to: swimming (including a learner pool, quieter areas, jacuzzi and lanes), badminton, soft play, squash, racketball, table tennis, badminton, bowls – and a gym. If tennis is more your thing then take just a further minute’s walk down the road from the leisure centre and you’ll find Tarka Tennis, which has lots of courts indoor and out, many of which can be booked on the day. Both centres have equipment available to hire, but do phone before you set out to check availability.
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