Wet weather things to do in North Devon
North Devon is a beautiful region of glorious contrasts – and that extends to the weather too! For every period of glorious sunshine, there are days when the weather’s a little more… wet. But the joy is that there’s still lots to do with the family when it’s rainy in North Devon – just check out our guide below.
For Families: The Milky Way Adventure Park
Voted Devon’s Best Large Attraction in 2016, this adventure park is possibly the biggest all weather, day out in the South West, and enjoyed by all ages. Even when it's wet outside there are so many things to do indoors, with over 110,000 sq ft of indoor activities. All the rides and attractions are designed for adults as well as children – and all for one entry fee. Adults and older children ride the indoor Droid Destroyer Dodgems and Clone Zone, relax and watch one of the undercover live shows (including Birds of Prey – yes, indoors!), take part in sports and crafts, including archery, laser target shooting and pottery (there is an extra charge for this), or hurtle round the enormous Time Warp soft and adventure play. Young children will particularly love the innovative Little Stars play centre, with its space themed soft play, sensory room for babies, dressing-up and role play pizzeria, and the Bouncing Balloon Room.
And with lots to do outside too including huge jumping pillows, two roller coasters, the brand-new Gravity Rider donut slide and a fun maze, The Milky Way is somewhere you’ll want to visit during your holiday whatever the weather. Book online before you go and you’ll save money – and whilst you’re there remember to grab a VIP super saver ticket that will get you in for half price all season. For more information and to book, visit www.themilkyway.co.uk
For Bargains: Atlantic Village
This outlet shopping village near Bideford is all undercover, and has shops that’ll appeal to everyone in your group – plus food and play options too. Big names selling discounted lines there include M&S, Gap, Beauty Outlet, Cotton Traders, Denbury, Cotton Traders, Salt Rock, The Works, Holland and Barrett, Mountain Warehouse, Pro-Cook, Tresspass, Urban and Cadbury (yes – there is a whole shop selling only chocolate, at low prices!) – so as long as someone in your group likes clothes, make-up, sweets, toys, books or cookware, then they’ll be happy! You’ll also find a choice of places to eat, as well as mini-bowling and the Atlantis play area.
For Shopping – and History: Barnstaple Pannier Market
This is one of the UK's largest, most historic and prettiest indoor markets – and there's something for everyone. Largely unchanged in over 150 years, you can expect to find everything from fresh local produce, flowers and crafts, to prints, pictures, toys, collectables and antiques. It’s open all year round from 9am-4pm, except Sundays and bank holidays – and there’s a great mix of national and independent shops nearby, including those at the recently-refurbished Green Lanes Shopping Centre, and more artisan finds at Butchers Row. If you want to make a full day of it, eat at one of Barnstaple’s many town centre cafes, then take in a film - Scott Cinema on Boutport Street has 5 screens.
For the Energetic: North Devon Leisure Centre
Even if it’s raining you can still get active on your holiday. Right by the riverside just a couple of minutes’ walk from Barnstaple town centre is the North Devon Leisure Centre, and a wide range of sports and activities to get stuck in to: swimming (including a learner pool, quieter areas, jacuzzi and lanes), badminton, soft play, squash, racketball, table tennis, badminton, bowls – and a gym. If tennis is more your thing then take just a further minute’s walk down the road from the leisure centre and you’ll find Tarka Tennis, which has lots of courts indoor and out, many of which can be booked on the day. Both centres have equipment available to hire, but do phone before you set out to check availability. Also try Air Extreme, an award-winning trampoline park, with what seems like 1,001 ways to bounce.
For Thrillseekers: the sea!
Well, you’re going to get wet anyway! In North Devon you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to watersports and places to enjoy them – as well as the vast, family-friendly beaches of Woolacombe, Saunton and Westward Ho! you’ll also find tiny and often deserted coves with stronger waves to test your skills. The area around Woolacombe offers opportunities for surfing, paddleboarding, kitesurfing, kayaking, coasteering, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, diving, wild swimming … and many more exciting watersports. If you’re a beginner, want to improve, or need to hire equipment then contact one of the many instructors that operate around Woolacombe, such as Woolacombe Surf Centre, Woolacombe Surf or Nick Thorn Surf School.
For Foodies: Great Food and Drink!
A wet day is a great excuse to enjoy North Devon’s fantastic food and drink - – whether you’re into fine dining, reaxed meals or pub lunches. Fans of fine food – or those looking for a special occasion meal – should try Noel Corston in Woolacombe, the Michelin-starred Thomas Carr at The Olive Room in Ilfracombe, Number 8 in Bideford or The Coach House at Kentisbury Grange (which is under the wing of Michelin-starred Michael Caines). Prefer things a bit more laid-back? Try Beachside Grill at Saunton, or Blue Groove in Croyde which is a great spot for a cool, surfy atmosphere. For brilliant food in a laid-back pub atmosphere try The Instow Arms or The Boathouse in Instow, The Royal George in Appledore, The Grove Inn at King’s Nympton, or The Rock Inn at Georgeham – and The King’s Arms just down the road is very good too!