The cost of keeping yourself and the rest of the family entertained can really start to add up, especially if the weather isn’t on its best behaviour. Our ten free ideas for days out around the county will leave your bank account looking healthy and your heart feeling happy.
1. Go Fossil Hunting
Being lucky enough to live on the Jurassic Coast brings the opportunity to explore and gain an insight into the 185 million year old stretch of cliffs, caves and beaches. Spend a morning looking for loose fossils amongst the sand and rocks, away from cliff faces, and see what you can find.
2. Meet the Donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary
Hang out with over 500 donkeys and take part in a range of donkey-orientated activities suitable for the whole family. As a registered charity the sanctuary firmly believe that visitors should be able to see their work, and the donkeys, free of charge so no admission fees or parking charges apply. Donations of course are warmly welcomed!
There are more organisations, social enterprises and charities than ever doing amazing work around Devon. Why not recruit the whole family and learn something new whilst making a difference for those in need. Everyone has something to offer, whether it’s a skill, a listening ear or just a bit of extra time. You don’t have to necessarily commit to loads of hours or something too regular either. You never know, it might become something you love!
For a huge list of available volunteer opportunities near you, visit www.devonva.org/want_to_volunteer
4. Follow a Town Trail
Many Devon towns have local town trails which encourage visitors and residents alike to explore the area. They can be themed towards art, history or just simply showcase some of the best attractions and sites to be seen. Visit your local Tourist Information Centre to find out more or check out over 20 Town Trails listed here: www.pinns.co.uk/devon/towntrails.html
5. Learn about your Town or Village’s History by Visiting your Local Museum
Both young and old will be fascinated to learn what went on right where they eat, sleep and play today. Pop along to your local museum and enjoy the exhibits and artefacts – you could even ask for any specific history of interesting happenings on the street where you live.
6. Go back to School
Why not develop your skills or improve your education with one of the many free courses available to adults and children. Learn Devon provide a number of free classes from their five centres dotted around the county, including adult GCSE classes for those who have not already achieved a grade C or above, maths confidence classes, and even courses for grandparents to help them learn creative activities that they can share with their grandchildren!
7. Get Crafty at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen
Pop along to this contemporary crafts venue in Bovey Tracey for free admission to multiple gallery exhibitions, free craft activities and a relaxing riverside setting. There’s always a full programme of events on the go too so be sure to check the website to find out what special events are happening this month, including the chance to meet the makers themselves! www.crafts.org.uk
8. Learn about Nature at a Local Nature & Wildlife Reserve
Devon boasts a whole host of specially designated natural spaces. From Sites of Special Scientific Interest, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, our county is a hive of natural wonder and interest. Spend the day visiting a local nature or wildlife reserve and learn more about the animals, insects, plants and geology to get a better understanding of the areas we live in. Discover how the large sand spit at Dawlish Warren was formed, why Exmouth’s estuary is a globally important area for birds or what purpose bird ringing serves at Seaton’s Wetlands.
9. Escape to the Gardens
Take a break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by spending time relaxing in one of the many open gardens in the area that are free to enter. Pinces Gardens, founded in 1720, entices visitors with its rose garden and magnificent Wisteria arch or hide away from the crowds on Sidmouth beach by strolling through Connaught Gardens and enjoying views along the coast from this cliff top haven.
10. Have some Fun on the Farm
Meet the animals and learn more about farming life by visiting the Countryside Trust’s Occombe Farm – a South Devon working farm that’s open to the public at no charge and has free parking too! Here you can make friends with the resident alpaca, ducks, lambs and chickens as well as being able to explore the bunkers of the wartime gardens or embark on the 2km nature trail. Find out more at www.countryside-trust.org.uk/occombe