Looking for things to do on your fun family staycation in Devon this year? Why not consider visiting some of the glorious gardens and charming castles that the county has to offer?!
Devon is full of beauty and romance, housing two of the UK’s most impressive National Parks: Dartmoor and Exmoor. But you may not realise that Devon is also home to some of Britain’s most picturesque gardens, family estates, and castles. Most of the gardens and castles here are open throughout the year, making for a delightful day out that the whole family will enjoy, whatever the weather…
Take a Stroll Around These Glorious Gardens
A large network of lovely gardens is dotted across the whole of the county. Many of them feature adventure playground areas for children and cafes or shops for a much-needed rest break, making them ideal for all ages. Wander around these gorgeous gardens and admire the abundance of flora and fauna, tuck into a family picnic on the luscious lawn, or feast on a delicious Devonshire cream tea in the café area. The possibilities are truly endless!
Killerton House is a National-Trust owned 18th Century house, nestled in the pretty village of Broadclyst. Making up part of a historic estate, the gardens and surrounding parkland cover a huge 6400 acres – with a truly stunning Georgian house at its core. The gardens are glorious all year round, with exotic rhododendrons, magnolias, champion trees and formal lawns on display. Walk down winding, meandering paths, venture up an extinct volcano, discover an ancient Iron Age hill fort or just admire the spectacular views towards Dartmoor during your day out at Killerton House.
Knightshayes is a formal woodland garden with one of the most spectacular and varied collection of plants in the whole of the UK. The gardens house over 1200 plant species that are totally unique to Knightshayes, with a separate walled kitchen garden that is positively brimming with home-grown produce. This stunning Gothic Revival house is surrounded by acres upon acres of 19th Century parkland – you can enjoy wonderful woodland walks and discover enchanting Exmoor Horn sheep, before allowing the kids to let off some steam in the wild play area.
Fursdon is one of Devon’s oldest family homes, just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral city of Exeter. This ancient country estate is nestled in the heart of rural Devon countryside, boasting a fascinating variety of flora and fauna. Embark on a tour of the manor house and family museum or stroll around the pristine gardens, before finishing off the day with a tasty treat from The Coach Hall tea-room.
Rediscover History at One of the County’s Charming Castles
Step back in time and brush up on your knowledge of medieval British history in one of Devon’s charming, quaint castles. Devon boasts a fascinating portfolio of traditional castles; some of which are many hundreds of years old, whilst others have a fresh youthfulness about them. Hop in the car and take the children for an interesting yet educational day out, full of excitement and enchantment.
Bickleigh Castle is home to a 14th Century castle, enshrouded in magic and mystery. Set within 30 acres of lush green pastures, the castle sits snuggly in the Exe Valley – one of Devon’s most precious hidden gems. Unfortunately, much of the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War; however, some buildings surrounding a central courtyard area did survive. This group of ancient buildings forms a wonderful water castle, which is best discovered on one of their dedicated castle tours.
Castle Drogo is an iconic, dramatic castle, towering above the terrific Teign Gorge. It was designed and built by the renowned 20th Century architect Lutyens, who drew inspiration from the surrounding rugged Dartmoor tors. Castle Drogo was only constructed 100 years ago, making it the last castle ever built in English history. Spend your day exploring the interior of this historic castle, strolling around the luscious Lutyens gardens, or exploring the wonders of the Teign Valley; finished off with a traditional Devon cream tea and slice of cake in the castle café.
Powderham Castle is an ancient Devon family home, set within an ancient deer park that runs alongside the Exe Estuary. The castle blends Georgian, Victorian, and Gothic architectural styles, with some parts dating back as far as the 14th Century. Unearth secret doors, admire amazing architecture, and discover the terrifying tale of the haunted landing during the castle tour. When you’ve finished admiring the marvellous interior, you can pet the animals that live in the Walled Garden or take a stroll around the well-groomed lawns. The only limit is your imagination!
Fun Family Holidays at Exe Valley Glamping
Set within our 150-acre family farm, Exe Valley Glamping provides the perfect escape from daily life, allowing you to reconnect with nature and each other. Our spectacular glamping site is nestled on the banks of the river Exe and situated near the charming village of Bickleigh, well-known for its picturesque bridge and thatched cottages.
If you’re looking for a last-minute family break this summer, we still have the following dates available:
Monday 7th – Friday 11th June
Friday 11th – Monday 14th June
Monday 14th – Friday 18th June
Monday 21st – Friday 25th June
Monday 28th – Friday 2nd July
Monday 5th – Friday 9th July
Monday 30th – Friday 3rd September
Dates are filling up fast – book now to avoid disappointment!