England: kentisbury grange

What to do

Exmoor National Park

Covering 267 square miles of breathtakingly beautiful countryside, the Exmoor National Park is one of the UK’s finest natural treasures.

The incredibly varied landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland has been shaped by man and nature over thousands of years to create the perfect environment for all manner of outdoor pursuits.

There really is something for everyone from hiking, cycling, or horse riding through the rugged valleys to rock climbing, sailing, fishing or simply enjoying the gentle comfort of a cream tea in a picturesque country inn.

Exmoor has three visitor centres - in Dulverton, Dunster and Lynmouth – where you can find informative displays, maps, publications and a wealth of specialist knowledge to help you get the most from your visit to this enchanting corner of the South West.

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Watermouth Castle

This magnificent Victorian Castle is surrounded with landscaped gardens just waiting to be explored with rides for children of all ages, a massive maze and a whole host of eclectic curios and diversions.

Scare yourself silly in the spooky Dungeon Labyrinths with its hilarious hall of mirrors or enjoy the spectacular performance of lights, music and fountains in the underground Water Show Extravaganza.

The kids will love the adventure playground, fairground rides, Big River Ride and much much more.

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Ilfracombe Aquarium

Whatever the weather you can enjoy a fascinating and educational trip to Ilfracombe’s award winning aquarium.

The carefully recreated habitats are home to over 75 species of aquatic wonders that are found in the local waters of the region.

The unique journey takes visitors through a number of zones beginning with the SOURCE of an Exmoor stream, down RIVER to an ESTUARY then to a local ROCKPOOL, HARBOUR and eventually to the COAST and out to LUNDY.

Facilities include the Pier Cafe which sells a variety of sensibly priced products that can be enjoyed in the sheltered outside seating area or in the Rocket House Gallery building.

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Dartington Crystal

The Dartington Crystal Visitor Centre gives a fascination insight into the way the famous Dartington glass is manufactured.

During your visit you will learn about the history of glass and see the master craftsmen at work, blowing and engraving these collectible works. Hands on activities include glass painting, glass blowing or the chance to have a cast made of your hand or foot.

There is of course a gift shop as well as a cafe. Kids admitted free.

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The Big Sheep

This all-weather attraction near Bideford is part theme park, part zoo, part educational field trip and part working farm.

With indoor and outdoor attractions which include activities as diverse as mountain boarding, climbing, high rope walks, dog trials, pony rides and sheep racing there is so much to do it is almost impossible to fit it all in to one visit.

Children will love the nursery barn and lamb feeding sessions so make sure you take your camera to capture some ultra cute photos of your time here.

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Quad Bikes and Paintball

Test your quad biking skills to the maximum with an exciting session on the longest track on the Southwest - 1.6 kms of bumps hills, jumps mud and puddles.

All ages welcome from six years and upwards. Top of the range Yamaha quads and racing helmets provided. Qualified instructors give full training prior to session.

After a morning on the quad bikes what better way to use up some of that adrenaline induced energy than an afternoon of paintball?

Based in 20 acres of natural woodland with a range of arenas and scenarios the Survival Paintball experience is open to all ages and experience. Gun, ammunition and full protective equipment is provided – just bring your shooting skills and away you go.

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North Devon Surf School

The North Devon coast enjoys fabulous waves that roll in from the Atlantic Ocean making it one of the UKs most popular surf spots.

The North Devon Surf School at Westward Ho! will get you into the water on standing up within a couple of lessons with its relaxing and friendly approach to tuition.

Lessons take place in the relatively mellow waves of Westward Ho! and because most experienced surfers head for the more powerful waves of other beaches the surf is rarely crowded meaning you have plenty of space to try out your new skills.

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Exmoor Zoo

Exmoor Zoo prides itself on being different and as their website says is “neither a wildlife park nor a city zoo”.

The emphasis is on contact with the animals and on educating visitors about their feeding habits and natural habitats.

There is a great range of activities throughout the day to entertain the children as well as a playground and the fantastic Walk on the Wild Side experience where you get up close and personal with a range of animals under the close supervision of a member of the Zoo Education Staff.

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Featuring four levels of fun, Funderzone is North Devon’s largest indoor soft play centre and is sure to be a huge hit with the kids.

This play Mecca for children under 12 features obstacles tunnels, ball pools, cannons, rope bridges, log ramps, spider webs, punch bags and five slides to entertain children of all ages.

Adults can relax in the Funderforest Cafe which serves up a range of freshly ground coffee, smoothies and cold drinks. Free WiFi is also available.

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Quince Honey Farm

Set deep in the Devon countryside, with 1500 hives kept amongst the wild flowers, the Quince Honey Farm has been producing quality honey since 1949.

The three main attractions are Bee World – an exhibition of honey bees, honey production and bee related information, The Happy Bee Playhive – a new indoor soft play area for the kids and the Leaf Cutting Ants – tropical ants from Trinidad, see them cutting leaves and carrying them back to the nest.

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Lundy Island

This unspoiled natural haven, just a few miles off the coast of North Devon, is home to an amazing array of rare flora and fauna that attracts nature lovers from all over the world.

The waters around the island are another of Lundy’s incredible treasures. The warm southern currents meet the cooler waters of the north to create ideal conditions for a diverse and thriving marine environment.

Getting there is easy as the island has its own ship, the MS Oldenburg, which sails regularly from Ilfracombe and Bideford.

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Woolacombe Beach

A seemingly endless swathe of golden sand stretches down to the rolling breakers of the Atlantic Ocean. Unspoilt and timeless Woolacombe beach encompasses all that is good about the seaside.

There are official qualified lifeguards on duty to watch over the powerful surf – It is safe to bathe but younger children need to be supervised as the waves can pack a punch.

Watch out for the tide that can sweep up the beach as fast as you can walk – many an unsuspecting tourist has returned from a refreshing swim to find their belongings have disappeared into the churning waters.

There are surf hire shops for boards and wetsuits as well as a lovely cafe just off the beach which serves a full menu of snacks and meals. There is also a fish and chip shop in the town for that real seaside eating experience.

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