Easter Holidays Days Out and What’s On Events in Devon Dorset and Somerset
As the tourism season kicks off in the West Country there are no shortage of events and activities for all the family. So if you are looking for something to do with your children or grandchildren then take a look here.
I’ve included a mixture of activities and events for different budgets but with a focus on getting outdoors where possible. There’s lots of lovely gardens and tea rooms included so perfect even if you don’t have little ones in tow.
The activities are ordered by county so let’s start with my home, Devon.
East Devon Countryside Events
With sites across East Devon, there are a number of fantastic nature reserves in our local area. With great outdoor based activities for children to get stuck into as well as fun nature trails, so there’s sure to be something that suits your family. Better still these events are also very affordable.
Last year we took part in the Real Egg Trail at Seaton Wetlands which was a fun way to discover every corner of the nature reserve. Afterwards you can take a ride on Seaton Tramway which follows the nature reserve along the estuary.
Axe Valley Wildlife Park
Enjoy a day out at this East Devon wildlife park near Axminster over the Easter holidays. There’s lots of family fun with animals and birds to see of all shapes and sizes.
This Easter the guinea pig fishing sounds intriguing and there is an Easter Egg trail to follow. More details here Axe Valley Wildlife Park
After a great day with the children over half term I would encourage anyone head for Wildwood Escot over Easter. They now have wolves in residence which I would love to see. Along with red squirrels, wild boar and a very confusing beech maze this is a great day outdoors. There is also an indoor toddler play are and a lovely cafe. Look out for the extra activities run by the Forest School team. Take a look at our day out on this post.
Seaton Jurassic is not what I expected. If your children are massive dinosaur fans they may be a little disappointed. I’ve yet to write up a visit review. It was interesting and interactive, just not quite what I was expecting. However over Easter there is an Egg-citing Easter Dinosaur Egg Hunt (1st to the 16th April) so why not give it go! Take part a fun Dinosaur Easter Egg Hunt, follow the clues, complete the trail and claim your prize! £1 per clue sheet. 1st to the 16th April.
If you are planning a day out in Seaton children can also enjoy the lovely newly refurbished play park (just by the Seaton Jurassic car park) Also brand new is the fun Jurassic themed adventure golf (crazy golf to me!) at Seafield Gardens near the clock tower. There are more details about Seaton on the town’s website here.
Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary
A favourite with locals for years this is a wonderful place for a walk or run. Perfect for all ages and abilities you can go as far as you feel able to. A short walk around the main centre will bring you up close with some of the donkeys that are being cared for, or stretch your legs out into the fields for a longer walk and enjoy the views. If you are feeling really fit then you can walk all the way through the woods and even down to the beach. There is also a fun maze (look up on the posts for numbers to help you find your way!). Whatever you choose there is the superb Hayloft Cafe for that much needed refreshment break.
Over Easter there is a fun Holiday Hunt trail to follow (£3 separate charge for this, 11am – 3pm) but entry to the Sanctuary is by donation only so this is a great value day out.
Ferne Animal Sanctuary
Based just outside Chard in beautiful countryside, this animal sanctuary is a lovely place to spend a few hours. There is a good path all the way round making it ideal for pushchairs or wheelchairs. You can enjoy watching ducks and wildfowl, see rabbits, cats and some other larger animals. With a small play area and a cafe you can visit here knowing that your money will be put to good use looking after the animals that have been rescued.
During the Easter school holiday there will be a rabbit trail around the Sanctuary as well as the chance to make things that the rabbits can interact with to ensure they are happy bunnies. More details here – Ferne Animal Sanctuary
Forde Abbey Gardens
Head to the beautiful Forde Abbey in South Somerset near Chard for an Alice in Wonderland themed Easter egg trail this April. The gardens will be transformed into a fantasy landscape with elegant tea parties, some oversized botanicals, magic potions and secret doors – the perfect backdrop for an Easter egg trail and family fun day out.
Inspired by the adventures of Alice, artist Laura Barrett has created a series of silhouettes that capture the story’s quintessential charm around the garden.
After a race around the beautiful gardens you can make the most of the lovely café, then browse the plants, flowers and gifts available in the garden shop. More details on their website here – Forde Abbey
Alice In Wonderland trail open from 14th – 17th April – Normal admission charges apply.
National Trust Easter Egg Trails
Most of you will know that the major National Trust properties hold Easter Egg trails. but those lovely folk from Cadburys have helped extend the hunt! One of our favourites is Stonebarrow Hill above Charmouth. What a fabulous place to be – we’ve braved rain and wind before but it was still fun to take part in. This self-led, family egg hunt lets you follow the trail around the beautiful countryside at your own pace and collect a Cadbury chocolatey treat at the end.
Unlike some of the properties it’s only held on 2 days – Fri 14 and Sat 15th Apr 2017. Turn up anytime between 11:00 – 15:00 Costs £2.50 . Free parking for NT members.
Last year we tried the egg trail at Burton Bradstock. This was up over the hill around the beach but also very enjoyable. Made all the better by giving you an excuse to go and have a snack or a meal at the Hive Beach Cafe. Open Good Friday through to Easter Monday.
Other Dorset options include Clouds Hill, Max’s Gate and Hardy’s Cottage and Kingston Lacy.
The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester
I’ve not personally been here (my 2 girls are not dino mad despite my best efforts to turn them into young Mary Annings) but if you are looking for wet weather option over Easter then this may be well worth a try. It’s not a huge museum so don’t expect more than an hour or two there. More details on their web site link here.
However there are other attractions in Dorchester – The Tutankhamun Exhibition, the Teddy Bear Museum and Terracotta Warriors. You can by a special Gold Pass – 5 attractions for the price of 2 which sounds like pretty good value.
Town Mill Lyme Regis
A tour around this historic working watermill makes for a a really interesting visit in Lyme Regis.
Throughout the Easter school holidays, from 1st April to 23rd April, join the Hot Cross Bunny Hunt. Starting and finishing in The Miller’s Kitchen, follow the clues all around the Town Mill complex and claim a prize. Find out more about the Mill and what else there is in the Town Mill complex on their website. Open 11am to 4pm.
End your Town Mill trip with a visit to the lovely Courtyard Cafe (tucked in the corner of the Mill complex) – this one gets my personal recommendation and caters for all diets!
Gardens and Easter Egg Trail at Mapperton House
On my list of places to visit, Mapperton House and Gardens near Beaminster looks lovely. With it’s large manor house and wonderful looking grounds it’s not surprising that it has been used as a film set on a number of occasions. The house is open for guided tours and the Sawmill Cafe looks like it’s worth a visit in it’s own right.
This Easter children can enjoy an Easter Egg hunt on Monday 17th April (£3).
More ideas from other blogs
I hope you can find something you like here. I have focused on my local area around Axminster, Lyme Regis and Chard, but if you are heading further into Devon then why not take a look at these other ideas:
South Devon – A great list by blogger Organised Jo: 18 Easter Holiday Activities
Visit South Devon (which includes East Devon) have also put together some ideas – Children’s Events in South Devon
Dorset – an events listing from Dorset Tourism