Activities for children in East Devon during the school summer holidays

PUBLISHED: 09:40 06 August 2019

A rockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDC

A rockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDC

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As every parent knows, it does not take long for the novelty of the school holidays to wear off, and children to start complaining that they are bored.

Rockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDCRockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDC

As every parent knows, it does not take long for the novelty of the school holidays to wear off, and children to start complaining that they are bored.

Fortunately, local visitor attractions lay on plenty of extra entertainment for children during the long break.

If you are planning on going to the Sidmouth Folk Festival, there is also a full programme of activities for children and young teenagers there. Here is the second part of our guide on what to do in East Devon during the summer holidays.

Stuart Line Cruises. Ref exe 20 18TI 3400. Picture: Terry IfeStuart Line Cruises. Ref exe 20 18TI 3400. Picture: Terry Ife

Discovering wildlife

East Devon District Council's countryside team organises regular nature discovery events for children and families, particularly in the school holidays.

Among those coming up are Rockpool Rambles in Exmouth and Sidmouth, a family bushcraft day at Offwell Woods and several events at Seaton Wetlands, including its Summer Holiday Club, from Tuesday, August 20 until Thursday 22.

Some activities are free, others suggest a donation of just £3 or £4 per child. For full details, visit the council's website

Preparing a meal in the Saxon village. Picture: Wildwood EscotPreparing a meal in the Saxon village. Picture: Wildwood Escot

Experience a piece of history

Take a trip back in time with an early medieval re-enactment group, who will be invading the Saxon village at Wildwood Escot for the weekend of August 10 and 11. The Westencynn Vikings group will give an authentic representation of Viking and Saxon clothing, craft and combat.

This will include an exciting battle, and demonstrations of different weapons and fighting styles, and there will be a chance for some children to train in weaponry with the warriors.

Children will also see demonstrations of different types of weaving, and spend time in the forge learning how metal tools, weapons and ornaments were made. Visit Wildwood Escot's website for more information.

Children with the re-enactment group. Picture: Wildwood EscotChildren with the re-enactment group. Picture: Wildwood Escot

Swashbuckling pirate fun

The Pocketwatch Theatre Company will be putting on interactive pirate-themed entertainment at Powderham Castle during Pirates and Parrots Week, Monday August 19 to Friday 23. Admission is included in the price of a day ticket. See Powderham Castle's website for details of the venue's other attractions.

Boat trip to Sidmouth

If all that pirate activity makes the kids want to get out on the sea, take a day trip from Exmouth to Sidmouth with Stuart Line Cruises.

Children's entertainment at Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1141. Picture: Terry IfeChildren's entertainment at Sidmouth folk week. Ref shs 32 17TI 1141. Picture: Terry Ife

The boat travels along the stunning Jurassic Coast and lands on the pebbled beach at Sidmouth. You then have around three hours there before taking the boat back to Exmouth. There is one of these trips on the last day of the Sidmouth Folk Festival, Friday August 9 (see below). For details and bookings visit Stuart Line Cruises' website.

Sidmouth Folk Festival

There is plenty for children of all ages to do at the folk festival. The 'Children's Festival' is centred on Blackmore Gardens. There are three children's marquees and a new area for quiet family activity. There are games and craft sessions for youngsters, who can also listen to storytellers and be entertained by walkabout performers.

There is also a programme of workshops for children of all ages to get involved in music, song and dance. Some are drop-ins, others will be preparing and rehearsing for a performance at the end of the week. For full details of the festival visit its website.

A rockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDCA rockpool ramble in Sidmouth. Picture: EDDC

On the railways

A week-long series of railway events on the Beer Heights Light Railway at Pecorama takes place during the Festival of Steam and Food from Monday, August 19 until Monday, August 26.

All the resident steam locomotives, along with guest engines from all over the country, will operate an intensive train service on the line. There are also model railway operating sessions in the Station Gallery during the last August bank holiday weekend. Pecorama has plenty more to offer including its gardens; see its website for more information.

A day with the donkeys

Children with the re-enactment group. Picture: Wildwood EscotChildren with the re-enactment group. Picture: Wildwood Escot

The Donkey Sanctuary has created a family puzzle trail for summer entertainment, in which you have to solve clues to work out which is which of its nine adoption donkeys. The trail takes you around the sanctuary's grounds to different locations where the clues can be found. Admission to the sanctuary is free and the trail costs £3.

There is also the chance to visit the garden display, Donkeys Matter, which won prizes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It is themed around the importance of donkeys in some of the world's poorest communities, where they are used to carry supplies of clean water.

On Sunday, August 11, there is the annual Summer Fair, with live music and entertainment, donkey demonstrations, family games, and stalls. Admission to the Summer Fair costs £2.50 per adult, under 12s are free. Find out more about The Donkey Sanctuary here.

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