As the sun-drenched days of the summer break approach, our minds naturally turn to the perfect days out to make the most of the weather (and keep the kids busy!)

From thrilling outdoor festivals to creative workshops, interactive nature trails to vintage fairground rides, there's something for all tastes and budgets going on in the region this summer.

So, if you’re enjoying some or all the summer holidays in South Devon, we thought we’d give you a helping hand with things to do whilst you’re in the region. Get ready to create lasting family memories as you immerse yourself in the charm and allure of this extraordinary region. Have a look at some of our highlighted family and summer holiday events that are taking place below. 

If you’d like to view a full list of what’s on during the holidays, please click here.

Guess Who Adoption Donkey Summer Trail, The Donkey Sanctuary

3 June - 30 Sept 2023

Think you know everything there is to know about the nine adoption donkeys at The Donkey Sanctuary? Soak up the sun with their summer trail and find out!

The sanctuary has put together some crafty clues to help you uncover nine hidden identities. Match the donkeys to the traits (don’t worry if you don’t guess them straight away!) and once you’ve finished, you’ll receive a prize!

Combine family fun, exercise, and brainpower for just £5 per trail, including a prize when you complete the trail. Head to the Gift Shop or The Shed to pick up a trail sheet and you’re ready to uncover who is hiding where.

Plus, with a new play area, daily talks, scenic walks, engaging exhibits, award-winning gardens and, of course, hundreds of adorable donkeys to meet, there’s so much to explore with your own herd, whatever the weather!

Sparky’s Woodland Adventure, Dartmoor Zoo

22nd July - 3rd Sept 2023

This summer from 22nd July - 3rd September, grab your little adventurers and pop along to Dartmoor Zoo.

Sparky the dragon has lost his belongings and it’s up to you to find them and save his summer travels! Follow Sparky’s trail around the Zoo, mark off where you’ve found his items and find Sparky at the end of your trail to enjoy your yummy gold coin wages.

There are two trail pack options available which can be purchased on the gate, one even includes your very own dragon plush.

Dartington International Summer School & Festival, Dartington Hall

22nd July - 19th Aug 2023

Dartington Music Summer School & Festival is four weeks of shared music-making from 22nd July to 19th August, with courses and workshops on offer for musicians of all ages and abilities, from medieval, folk and classical music to new composition and jazz!

Now in its 75th year, the Music Summer School provides a unique opportunity to step away from the everyday and find time to play, listen, learn, and grow. Throughout the programme, the school has events designed for families to discover their love of music together, from relaxed, fun concerts, to immersive week-long courses for children and their adults.

Kids can get involved with everything from a fun and interactive ‘Mini Music Makers’ session featuring puppets and parachutes, to the ‘Sounds Creative Lab’ workshops with plenty of opportunities to jump about and enjoy music!

Medieval Month, Powderham Castle

23rd July - 19th Aug 2023

From axe throwing to catapult-building, there’s something for everyone to get stuck into during medieval month at Powderham Castle. Running from July 23rd until August 19th, the castle will be celebrating all things medieval.

Entertaining guided tours inside the Castle take you through secret doors and even across a haunted landing! Outside there are acres to explore and discoveries to be made. Children can earn themselves a Powderham medal on the nature trail, get stuck into arts and crafts in the Nature Nook and even plant a seed to take home in their Potting Shed. There is always a treasure trail to follow and a prize for completing it!

Visit the Walled Garden Play Area & Pets Corner, home to a friendly pets and adventure play castle, get close to the deer on a deer park safari (available daily in the school holidays) or simply take time to relax and enjoy the stunning views.

Make the most of your unlimited 7-day free return and see how many activities you can do! Don’t forget to head along on August 20th for the finale of Medieval Month ... Jousting with the Knights of Albion!

Altitude Festival, Cullompton

27th July – 29th July 2023

Whether you’re looking for a variety of tasty local street food, craft beers and ales, family fun entertainment or quality original music and DJs, Altitude Festival has it all!

Now in its seventh year, Altitude Festival, nestled in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offers an intimate and affordable family experience.

The festival was founded by a group of friends who wanted to create a high-quality family event in a rural location that promoted some of the best musical artists in the Southwest. This year, musical treats include psychedelic blues, Brazilian eastern fusion, beat boxers, pastoral folk, retro pop, roots reggae, a gospel choir and Afro Jazz. There’s even a 14-piece big band fronted by grime and hip-hop DJs. What an eclectic mix!

The Birdwatching Tram, Seaton Tramway

23rd July – 22nd October 2023

Join Seaton Tramway for a ride through two beautiful nature reserves, Seaton Marshes and Colyford Common, next to the glorious River Axe estuary, which plays host to an ever-changing selection of birds through the seasons.

Seaton Tramway's special Bird Watching Trips give you exclusive access to remote parts of the valley; where visitors are likely to see between 30 and 50 different species of bird during their 2-hour trip!

The trips will be led by local experts who know the estuary well, answer your questions and help you to complete a checklist of birds for you to take away.

Rangers Academy, Dartmoor Zoo

31st July – 4th August 2023

21st – 25th August 2023

Running from Monday to Friday, Rangers Academy at Dartmoor Zoo is a full week packed with practical activities, lectures and animal encounters; giving 13 - 18-year-olds a range of exciting new skills (perfect for adding to your CV)!

The maximum intake for each course is 12 students, ensuring a much more personal experience, giving you the chance to get up close and hands on with some of the species in the zoo’s collection.

For younger animal enthusiasts itching to get stuck in during the summer break, there is also...

Rangers (6-12), Dartmoor Zoo

21st – 23rd August 2023

The 'Rangers' is a fully interactive, three-day workshop at Dartmoor Zoo that will have younger kids thrilled with animal encounters and activities designed to engage, educate and entertain.

Open to children aged 6-12 and available during the school holidays, Rangers provides parents with a fascinating, fun and educational alternative to childcare. Led by fully qualified teachers and teaching assistants the three-day workshops will keep the kids busy and entertained from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Summer Holiday Workshops, Pom Stitch Tassel

1st Aug – 2nd Sept 2023

Join Pom Stitch Tassel for a Summer holiday full of craft workshops, perfect for keeping little hands busy!

The studio will have all kinds of crafts going on, from macrame to pom poms to tie dye to sewing- there's a total of 15 workshops to choose from!

Whether you are local to the area or visiting on holiday, all creatives are welcome at Pom Stitch Tassel. Children age 4+, adults and families are all welcome to join the workshops, with prices starting from £12.50 per person.

Summer Evening Illuminations, Babbacombe Model Village

1st – 31st Aug 2023, Tuesdays & Thursdays

Enjoy thousands of miniature lights, special fire and lighting effects at Babbacombe Model Village’s enchanting evening illuminations!

The lights come on at dusk, but it’s worth noting that this is both a day and night experience for visitors. Some of the details in the models and scenes (and the spotter sheet characters) are not so visible after dark, meaning it’s important to experience the village in daylight too for the full experience.

Enjoy a daylight visit first and then go around again after dark, when visitors are welcome to bring their own light bites to enjoy on the outdoor terrace as the village transforms from day to night.

Buckfast Abbey’s Summer Fair

3rd – 5th August 2023

Building on the success of recent years' events, Buckfast Abbey will host this year’s Summer Fair over three days: Thursday 3rd – Saturday 5th August!

Head along for a range of different stalls offering exciting locally made goodies. There will also be brilliant live entertainment, including singer Meghan Rae, Brent Singers, Rock Choir, Edgemoor Two Folk Duo and many more. For kids, you can expect ‘Animal Encounters’ as well as the chance to meet some friendly alpacas and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Entry is free and parking is just £5 a day.

Love Summer Festival, Plymouth

3rd – 7th August 2023

‘Love Summer’ in Plymouth is a festival made for families. If the children are happy…. everybody’s happy!

This independent festival is purposefully kept small enough to be friendly but still big enough so that everyone can have a proper party. Guests can see the likes of DJ Dave Pearce, Danny Rampling, Maddy V, The Mouse Outfit and over 100 more acts across three covered venues.

Together with a full program of entertainers, magicians, jesters and general fools, the festival not only offers great music for everyone to boogie along to but also hopes to provide activities where all children can learn new skills whilst having fun.

Boasting an on-site pottery studio, a junior media crew for wannabe YouTubers, circus workshops for all ages, an exclusive DJ Academy for teenagers, a wonderful mobile zoo and fantastic craft and graffiti workshops, there’s no chance your little ones will get bored at this festival!

Newton Abbot Country Show, Newton Abbot Racecourse

12th August 2023

Save the date for the return of the much-loved Newton Abbot Country Show on Saturday 12 August 2023 at Newton Abbot Racecourse.

This fun-filled family event promises to have plenty for the whole family to enjoy including: Humaryn Shetland Pony rides; miniature train rides; displays from the wonderful Dartmoor Hill Pony Display Team and the Recycled Racehorse Falconry Team; farrier displays, ferret racing, axe throwing, a children's play area and much more.

There'll be lots of shopping opportunities too with outdoor traders, an indoor Craft & Gift Fair and a food hall on the first floor.

This year's show will run from 10am to 4pm with ample on-site free parking.

Shaldon Regatta, Teignmouth

20th- 28th Aug 2023

There’s something for everyone to take part in or just watch in the oldest family-friendly Regatta of its type in Britain, established in 1817.

All events happen on the "Ferry Beach" or on the Teign estuary so can be seen from the comfort of your chairs or beach towels on the sand or promenade.

Events will include Rounders, Beach Volleyball, Tug of War, Beach Kriket, Beach Sports, King Kanute, Duck Race, Rowing Races, Sailing Races, Otter Races and lots more!

Totnes Summer Fair

23rd August 2023

Roll Up! Roll Up! for the Totnes Summer Fair on Wednesday 23 August from 11am to 5pm in the Market Square and Civic Hall!

Come to Totnes to enjoy a day of family fun, including:

  • Free traditional summer games (including hook-a-duck)

  • Vintage rides (including a children’s traditional carousel and swing boats)

  • Free live music and street entertainment

  • A free puppet show

  • Delicious street food

  • Free kids crafting activities

  • Free face painting

  • Local gift stalls

The whole occasion is set to be a free, fun family day out!

‘Robin Hood’ by Illyria Outdoor Theatre, Cockington Court

28th August 2023

This summer, the award-winning Illyria Outdoor Theatre company presents Robin Hood, an action-packed heist for the whole family!

A team of cheeky misfits swoop in to bring down the greedy Sheriff of Nottingham, and they never miss. This fast-moving production delivers huge laughs, swashbuckling adventures, and well-deserved revenge! Pack a picnic and cheer on the underdogs as Illyria hits the target in another unforgettable season of outdoor theatre.

Pebbles on the Beach, Torcross

29th August 2023

Join Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve on a family-friendly exploration through time along the Start Bay coastline. 

Wander along Slapton Sands and around to Limpet Rocks, looking at the formation of our fascinating coastline and how the unique stretch of beach came to exist.  

You will get the chance to look at the lithology of the shingle ridge, where these pebbles came from and the journey they've taken to get here. Wonder to yourself about how these materials were used and what impact this has had on the local area. Finish the journey by building stone skyscrapers, taking on the rock skimming challenge and get involved in a beach clean. 

The event is open to all, and dogs are welcome. Sensible footwear will be needed to walk along the beach and potentially a small climb over the slates of limpet rocks. 

Whether you visit South Devon for a day, a week or even longer, we hope you enjoy your summer holiday in our wonderful region. To stay up to date with the latest South Devon blog posts and events, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t forget, we love seeing your photos of South Devon in summer! You can share them with us by tagging @visitsouthdevon on social media.




Comments are disabled for this post.