Ever wondered what it would be like to get an insider’s view on a new place? Well throughout 2014 Tots100 will be bringing you just that, with a series of Out and About posts written by our members scattered across the UK.
This is your chance to find out what a place is really like to visit with kids, and where to go when you get there. From where to find the best park to which cafe does the tastiest hot chocolate, our parents can go one better than the guide books, because they actually live in the town they’re writing about.
This week we’re heading to Devon to find out all about Exeter from Kate who blogs at My Family Fever.
a guide to exeter…
Whether you’re looking for a traditional Devon cream tea, seeking adventure or just somewhere to occupy the kids for a few hours, Exeter has it all.
1. Clip ‘n’ Climb
If you have a little one who likes to climb then Clip ‘n’ Climb is the place for you. Lots of different climbing puzzles and adventures for all ages (over 4) and abilities, and great all weather fun. Plus, it wears the children out, which is obviously an added bonus!
2. Exeter Quay
A beautiful place for a walk with the children as there is so much to see. There is a water wheel, some stunning bridges, a small water cascade which my children love to stand and watch for unspecified amounts of time, and even a boat which will carry you from one side of the river to the other for a few pence. Plenty of places to eat here too.
3. Riverside Leisure Centre
One for the water babies, this is a lovely, large and clean swimming pool, suitable for all ages. There are regular inflatable fun sessions as well as toddler splash for the small ones, and if swimming isn’t enough there is a soft play centre on site too. Built on a small retail park, there are shops and places to eat right next door.
4. Quad world
One for the adrenalin junkies, Quad World is the place to go for engines, noise and mud. If you haven’t ridden a quad before, you get full training and everyone is provided with safety gear. It’s a great place to let off some steam and brilliant for birthday parties if you are looking for something out of the ordinary.
5. Haldon Forest Park
A hidden gem this one – not everyone knows about Haldon Forest Park, but once you do, you will be a frequent visitor. Lovely woodland, and something for everyone. Hoards of different trails to follow, from gentle strolls to mountain biking options. There is an activity trail for children with toys, dens and activities to explore along the way. Plenty of picnic spots, stunning views and a café to boot. For the ultra adventurous, there is even a Go Ape centre for the zip wire, high rope walking thrill seekers.
6. Royal Albert Memorial Museum
You might not necessarily think of a museum is the best place for children, but this museum is a great option. As well as the usual museum displays, there is a great hall of animals, plenty of computer type discovery stations and a Bee bag for the younger visitors, which contains a selection of toys and activities to keep small people occupied as they wander around.
7. Curious about Exeter trail
This is a choice of 2 treasure hunt walks around Exeter, with clues to answer and pictures to discover. You can download the trail map and then wander around exploring Exeter in your own time. The trail takes you past a lot of interesting sites, and there are plenty of places to stop and eat along the way.
8. Tenpin bowling
Based on a small retail park, this is ALWAYS a winner with our children as they love bowling. There are child-friendly options available such as bumper bars and ball rollers, as well as a food bar and arcade in the building. Just across the road from the Tenpin Bowling centre is a lovely child friendly pub, a park and the Quay.
9. Bicton park botanical gardens
There are lots of places worth a visit outside of Exeter and Bicton Park Botanical Gardens is one of them. Around 15 miles from the city centre, this is a beautiful place to visit, and packed full of things to do. There is a woodland railway, indoor soft play, a HUGE outdoor play area with some fabulous slides, mini golf, a maze and a nature trail. For the grown-ups there are the gorgeous gardens and glasshouses to explore, the museum which my children love as there are some classic cars and motorbikes, as well as cream teas and a lovely restaurant.
10. Makeart Exeter
For the creative types, MakeArt is just fabulous. You can paint and decorate your own pottery pieces at the same time as enjoying tea and cake. As well as the traditional ceramic painting, there is also jewellery making, silk painting, glass painting, mask making – as well as special themed activity days. There are parent and toddler arts and crafts sessions so even the smallest members of the family can take part. And the cakes are delicious. Winner.