Ten great FREE summer days out in Devon

PUBLISHED: 11:01 15 July 2014

Enjoy a day on beautiful Dartmoor

Enjoy a day on beautiful Dartmoor


In Devon this summer there are lots of ways to get out and about without breaking the bank. Here are 10 great suggestions from Visit Devon.

1 Letterboxing on Dartmoor – the original Geo-caching!

Letterboxing is an outdoor hobby that combines orienteering with treasure hunting and puzzle solving. You can entertain your family for weeks getting obsessed with finding over 100 Letterboxes and being able to join the exclusive 100 club! Individual letterboxes usually contain a notebook and a rubber stamp. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp, either in their personal notebook or on a postcard, and leave an impression of their personal stamp or sign their name in the letterbox’s “visitors’ book” as proof of having found the box and letting other letterboxers know who has visited.

2 British Fireworks Championships - Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 August

Believed to be Britain’s most spectacular fireworks display, six top pyrotechnics companies set off four tonnes of fireworks over Plymouth Sound as they battle it out to become the British Fireworks champion. Plymouth’s Hoe offers the perfect viewing platform for this truly incredible competition.

3 Blackpool Sands Beach

Blackpool Sands, set in a sheltered bay surrounded by evergreens and pines, is one of South Devon’s most beautiful natural treasures. An award-winning privately managed ‘Blue Flag’ family beach with turquoise blue sea giving it an almost Mediterranean feel. With sand pits, a bathing raft, kayaks for hire, a range of delicious hot and cold food and a beach shop, it has something for all the family.

4 Sidmouth Folk Week – 1-8 August

A unique week-long seaside celebration of music, dance and song taking place in the charming East Devon regency coastal resort – a must in every festival goer’s annual diary. There has been a folk festival in Sidmouth in the first week of August every year since 1955, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to over 700 diverse events with a promise of ‘something for everyone’ – from major league concerts to small intimate sessions. The town’s streets and venues come alive with festive atmosphere as holidaymakers and festival goers join together in a music-based holiday to remember.

5 House of Marbles

At House of Marbles near Bovey Tracey there are lots of fascinating things to do, all for free! You can watch glass making, explore the 4000 year history of glass, look through the history of Bovey Tracey Pottery, browse the vast historic collection of marbles and read the in-depth explanations of how marbles have been made throughout the years. We have one of every marble which has been in our range. There is a games museum where you can step back in time and look through the collection of board games, marble games and bagatelles from the early 1600’s. You may spark a childhood memory with some popular classics. There are also Marble Runs, a Shop, a Café, Garden and Restaurant.

6 Deep Water Solo Climbing Competition – 30 – 31 August

A great sporting event for spectators, the UK’s first ever Deep Water Solo climbing competition takes place in Exeter at the Quay Climbing Centre. It is free for spectators to view but you may wish to bring a soft cushion to sit on as no additional quayside seating is supplied. There will however be refreshments supplied by the surrounding café’s and bars. Deep Water Soloing is a popular form of climbing where climbers attempt to climb rocks directly over water without the aid of ropes. It attracts some of the world’s top climbers seeking ever more difficult challenges in the sport.

7 Dawlish Airshow - 22 & 23 August

The seaside town of Dawlish is a premier resort on the south coast of Devon and, with its glorious bay and dramatic coastline, it’s the perfect setting for the spectacle that is ‘Dawlish Air Show’. Each year this event attracts over 80,000 people to watch an array of aircraft take to the sky at this award winning air show. Friday 22nd is a Family Fun Day and Saturday 23rd August is the Air Show. Front-line military jets such as the Harrier, Tornado and Typhoon are joined by formation display teams like The Army’s Blue Eagles, The Red Arrows and dynamic civilian teams like The Blades.

8 Berry Head

See if you can spot dolphins, seals and basking sharks at Berry Head. Berry Head National Nature Reserve guards the southern half of Tor Bay. One of the gateways to the English Riviera Global Geopark, it is an internationally-acclaimed heritage site, home to a fascinating variety of wildlife and history, with recently-restored Napoleonic War fortifications. Enjoy the stunning views and superb local food at the new Guardhouse Cafe, visit the Visitor Centre, enjoy one of the many events, and walk the ramparts as the soldiers did 200 years ago. It’s also a great site for some serious rock climbing and kayaking for the more adventurous. Berry Head is free to visit and open all year.

9 RSPB Free Family Walks at Darts Farm

Fan of the outdoors? Family looking for a great afternoon out? Join a wildlife wander around Darts Farm, Topsham. Look for kingfishers, buzzards and all sorts of other exciting wildlife. Keep the kids entertained with the funky nature bingo game. Meet outside Cotswold Outdoor or drop in to the RSPB shop. The views across to Goosemoor reserve are stunning and our resident expert will be alongside to answer questions and point things out. Binoculars can be hired from The RSPB Shop - the route provides some great lookout spots along the way. The walks start at 2 pm every Saturday from The RSPB Shop, Darts Farm.

10 Meet a donkey

Visit the residents of The Donkey Sanctuary near Sidmouth; a lucky bunch of around 400 animals who are being looked after by this excellent charity. Entry and parking are free, and visitors can spend as much time as they like meeting the donkeys and taking strolls along its lovely field walks with self-guided summer nature trails.

For more information on all of the events and days out below plus many more go to the Visit Devon website. You will also find places to stay, places to eat, and the Ultimate Guide to Devon blog with rainy days out suggestions, guides to an Active holiday in Devon and much much more.

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